In our society, men are accustomed to getting what they want, and this sense of entitlement is only fueled when women give in to the demands of Giving Tree Patriarchy, exhausting all their resources in the process. That’s why, as much as I would theoretically like to, I am choosing not to give my diabetic boyfriend a kidney.
Now you may be tempted to condemn me and label me as “selfish”, but for marginalized groups, a degree of “selfishness” can be an act of resistance. The same people who would encourage me to give boyfriend going through renal failure a kidney are those who would force a woman to carry a life-threatening pregnancy to term. My thing is the same as that.
“Would you have me die just to protect the life of some man?” is what I said to at the hospital when we found out I was a perfect match, to which the doctor replied, “This operation has a 99.7% survival rate,” and my boyfriend replied, “Some man?”
Do you know how inequitable our healthcare system is in its treatment of women? Seriously, do you? Because I don’t really know the specifics but I’ve read some headlines that suggest serious systemic issues.
When I weigh whether or not to give my dying boyfriend one of my precious kidneys, I have to make room for my own self-care, which is actually a term that originates from Black Americans learning how to medically care for one another within their community because white healthcare providers would not treat them, but also applies to me individually.
To abate misunderstanding, my refusal to give my partner an operational kidney does not stem from a place of personal fear, nor is it because I just don’t really want to. Rather, it is a matter of principle.
After all, I only have one spare kidney to give. What if I give my boyfriend a kidney, and then a woman of color needs a kidney and I can’t give one to her? It’s unlikely since my best friend is my white sister and she’s in perfect health, but what if I become best friends with a cool woman of color and she needs one? She would be indebted to me forever!
So you see, not giving my boyfriend a kidney is a feminist issue, and it’s a hill upon which I must die, though of course not literally because I have two healthy kidneys.