The body is ours, and it is ours to protect. However, every day, we are inching farther away from having body autonomy. From how many babies or euthanasia, where does our body autonomy go?
Is body autonomy really a possibility in our complex societal structure?
Or, is societal complexity just another excuse, a mere myth to stop us from having full body autonomy?
This is what we will be discussing in the excerpt below.
- The true meaning of body autonomy.
- Problems we are still facing in society &
- The problem with body autonomy is that too much of something doesn’t create a balance.
Body Autonomy Meaning
The quote that begins everybody’s autonomy discussion is
‘My body is for me, my body is my choice.’
This means only you have the principle right to make any decision for your body. No one has the fundamental right to make any decision for you unless you consent to it.
Violating someone’s body in the form of sexual assault and necrophilia is punishable by law.
Government imposing decisions on body autonomy is also not something people bode well with.
For the UNFPA (United Nations Population Funds), body autonomy is a critical issue.
Through the societal looking glass, body autonomy is the means for reaching gender equality.
What Does A Lack Of Body Autonomy Does To A Society
The negative consequences for a society with a lack of body autonomy are huge. Here are a few.
It Is A Violation Of Human Rights
The fundamental of human rights is to have the right to choose. Not mold oneself in a certain way, but rather have the option. The lack of autonomy over the body might also take control over the mind.
Impacts Reproductive Rights
Right-to-body autonomy is indeed a subset of feminism. Without body autonomy, women will always be under the pressure to reproduce (or not to in some cases). This can create huge issues with the changing times where surrogacy is also in the picture. Affecting family planning and bringing a child in bad environmental conditions will become normal.
A person who doesn’t have control over their body doesn’t have control over other external factors as well.
This makes them more susceptible to coercion, violence, and extortion related to the body. When brought up with the idea of less control, they might not even be able to raise their voice against these extortions.
Heavily Undermines Equality
According to a 2021 census report on State of World Population, nearly half of the female population does not have body autonomy.
Unfortunately, it is denied either by their own family members or the government of the country they live in.
Currently, the USA is dealing with its biggest fight for body autonomy, when abortion rights as a fundamental right were abolished.
Many believe that if the government can take control over such basic rights, soon we will be left with no fundamental rights.
Restricts Societal Growth
By denying something as basic as control over one’s body, we are stunting development in our society.
If one is too concerned about how to protect their basic rights, they wouldn’t have the time or energy to explore their creativity.
Lack of body autonomy can also hinder someone’s will to express themselves.
Myths About Body Autonomy
Here are some of the myths about body autonomy that society has been feeding us for a long time.
Myth 1: Body Autonomy Is A Radical Thought
Many believe that having control over one’s body is restricting group decisions. The basis on which our society stands.
However, without the proper balance of decision-making, our society is simply leaning on one formula.
Plus, since we have yet to build a diverse body to make these group decisions, indigenous and marginalized communities often face injustice. This is because no one is placing their best interest first.
Myth 2: Body Autonomy Is Just Another Feminist Issue
Yes, the term body autonomy is seen mostly through the aggrieved eyes of feminism. This is because of the rising number of sexual violence issues. However, it is not just a feminist issue.
To give you an example of body autonomy, deciding something for the disabled community in the name of benevolent marginalization. Or medical decisions other than reproductive issues.
It is high time we recognize lack of body autonomy has a wider issue, affecting every gender, race, and society.
Myth 3: Body autonomy is not a traditional or religious approach
Maintaining one’s religion and tradition on one’s free will is something. But, imposing bodily control for the purpose of religion is a clear violation of human rights.
Religion and body autonomy can co-exist in a democratic society without any coercion.
This is what the UNFPA is striving towards, and creating messages for strict religious communities everywhere.
Problems With Body Autonomy
Without the proper balance of responsibility, no right can co-exist. So, these are the problems one can face when there is fundamental body autonomy with no fundamental responsibility.
- Adults might start imposing their idea of body autonomy on children. Going as far as making bodily transformation before the child is of age to consent. For example, injecting gender therapy hormones into a child.
- Depleting reproductive health due to poor decision-making or coercion by a partner. For example, too many abortions on one body.
- This leads to behaviors that are extremely harmful, like drug and alcohol addiction.
In order to cope with the negativity of ‘too much body autonomy,’ some laws are necessary. But the justice system and government should understand that each case is different. Therefore, with the right proof, the medical field should see everyone as an individual. That is, not to force any law without the proper understanding.