Book of the Month

Ramona's picture

It's Settled then: Women We're at War

Don't expect me to be going over every single attack on women's rights, just because I'm writing about modern-day, 21st century, 2012, just-in-the-last-month attacks, which, as you might have noticed, are escalating at such a dizzying pace we can no longer ignore the rumblings of war.  

It's ugly and it's all out there. Even Rush Limbaugh's scrubbed transcripts of his diatribes against Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown University student who had the temerity to attempt to testify before certain members of congress about the need for free contraception.  Even Patricia Heaton's deleted tweets about that same student (AKA G-Town Gal).  They're out there.  They're not going away.

No, we're here today to look at the big picture:  How did this latest war of the sexes start?  What was the catalyst?  And what can we do to grind it to a halt now that it's started? 

The obvious answer to question number one is that it's all Obama's fault.  As a part of his health plan (the catalyst), he told insurance companies they would have to offer contraceptive care at no cost to women.  (That would mean, for most, no  co-pay.)  Birth control aids would be free and available everywhere, and since it was mandatory, not to mention laudatory,  not to mention commonsensical and a long time coming, that was supposed to be it.  End of conversation.

Ha!  We wish! .

President Obama's first mistake was that he thought he was taking steps toward helping women more effectively and responsibly manage their reproductive years, when what he was actually doing was antagonizing pissants who have been posing as Manly Men for so long they're not about to be ousted from their comfy zones.

A whole host of Catholic Bishops, pseudo-religious politicians, and paid-to-be-mean pundits jumped on the bandwagon called Control the women by denying birth control, and weren't they surprised when the women they were so itching to suppress wouldn't give in?  A real donnybrook ensued, with everybody weighing in, pro and con, and here we are, in the middle of it all, coming out swinging, and if they want a war, okay, they've got one.

Some highlights:

----The Susan G. Komen Foundation is taken over by a Right Wing zealot who makes it known from Day One that Planned Parenthood can kiss SGK goodbye.  Susan Komen's sister/founder helps figure out a way to do it.  A huge, unprecedented fuss ensues.  Right Wing zealot goes on to greener pastures.  The sister stays and apologizes -- a Pyrrhic victory that nobody feels good about.

----Long probes up the vagina with cameras on the end used not as medical tools but as instruments of shame-- Zap!  Gone!  Battle won!

----Gooey cold stuff massaged onto a bare belly so a government-issue wand can be waved, not to detect a zygote already determined by other methods to be there, but to establish once and for all that a woman doesn't actually have control over her own body--  Still working on it but we've got them in our sights.

----Dozens of state legislatures scrambling to make laws against contraception and abortion so harsh Draco the Greek, if he were still alive, would be crying foul-- This one may take a while.

The legal issues, having some semblance of form and substance, are easier to deal with.  There are wise and learned people on our side ready to take them on.  But there's another, uglier issue and it's one we've faced many times before.  It's our old but formidable nemesis: blind, consuming hatred toward people of our gender.

With the rise of the Tea Party and pressure from the Religious Right-to Life-until-It-Actually-Becomes-a-Child, fortified by resident misogynist Rush Limbaugh and hard line Catholic Men in red robes and black robes and pullover sweater vests, the battle to enforce the reproductive rights we've already fought long and hard for is a battle we can't afford to lose.

 The spotlight is on Rush Limbaugh at the moment, but it's Rick Santorum we need to keep an eye on.  He showed his hand when he talked about his reaction to President Kennedy's 1960 speech to the Baptists, where JFK said he would fight hard for the separation of church and state.

Santorum wanted to throw up when he read that.  Why?  Because it's disgusting and unforgivable that  Kennedy had the chance to pave the way for an American Pope and he didn't take it.  Rick will remedy that when he's president.  And guess who will suffer the most under his reign?

The obvious goal is to make sure Rick Santorum never becomes president, but once that threat is gone we'll still be fighting those others working to take us down.  We thought that war was over, but all we really won, we know now, was détente.

Men (and, incredibly, other women) are fighting against those of us who go on believing our reproductive rights are sacrosanct.  Suddenly they're coming out of the woodwork, no longer pretending that Roe v. Wade is all that's keeping us apart.  Now it's about contraception -- a real puzzler, since birth control is the obvious remedy for unwanted pregnancies.

Only women can incubate babies.  It's a fact. If they get knocked up and it's not a good time, the sex police want us to believe they have no one to blame but themselves.  Really?  What other species on the planet punishes the female for being impregnated by a male?  Birth control is a two-way street.  It's irresponsible and gutless to pretend that women did this to themselves, and yet we're hearing it louder and clearer every day.

And why is that?  Because to the people who are coming at us with the same hoary arguments, it's not about the control of birth, it's about the control of sex. That nutty comment by Santorum backer Foster Friess about birth control being as simple as holding an aspirin between our knees?  The admonishment from Rick Santorum that all birth control should be banished because it can only lead to badness?  Rush Limbaugh's crazed, three-day masturbatory fantasy about the reasons women want free birth control?  Sex, sex, and yet again, sex.

It's the same tiresome struggle, but this time we're going to win.  Why?  Because we have a secret weapon.

It's men.  There are more than just a few good ones out there and they're on our side.  They're men who work with us, talk with us, and see us as equals.  They're men who live with us and see our roles as complementary and not competitive or without merit.  They're men who can love unconditionally and have grown so far beyond the ancient need to keep women bound and tethered, they're willing to fight beside us until this war is ended.  Some of them are already at the front lines.

So put that in your pipe and smoke it, you dirty old men of yesterday.  A new day dawns and you've been left behind.  It has to be this way.  It's the way human progress works.

 

 

(Cross-posted at Ramona's Voices)

Rush is really suffering from all of this. He is losing advertisers (140 or so so far), he cannot find paying advertisers, local markets cannot afford to pay for his three hours...and it appears that this new 'scare' is affecting beckerhead and hannity and other right wing nuts.

Polls are demonstrating that female 'independents' have had it with the legislation you recite.

The legislative attacks on women (and voters and the poor and workers in general) have been incredible, just as you say.

But I think that there is good news here.

I think you women including women in Congress; female reporters and pundits (except FOX of course; and even female bloggers like yourself and Mac are having an affect.

I mean look at Planned Parenthood! There was a concerted effort to bury PP as ACORN was buried last year.

And it appears that PP aint goin nowhere!

When Peggy Noonan becomes this agitated, something is afoot.

That Bunt Amendment is toast.

We will see.

But I know one thing for sure. If we keep the WH, if we keep the Senate and if we take back the House, it is going to be because of the women!

That is for sure.

It would appear that the "invisible hand" is giving Rush the middle finger.devil

That took me a minute; which means that it is a very fine line indeed. I therefore render unto you the Dayly Line of the Day Award for this here Dagblog Site, given to all of you from all of me.

The invisible hand of capitalism is giving the finger to rusho.

I could not have said this half as well!

Yes, Richard, yes to all.  And I'm right there with you on Peggy Noonan's response.  Shows how scared they really are that they've leaned too far to the Right and now they're having a hard time straightening up.

Garry Trudeau is highlighting one aspect of this in Doonesbury this week. http://www.doonesbury.com/

Many newspapers that normally carry him are not this week.  Others are putting this week's strips on the editorial page.  

As Trudeau opines, a significant amount of this is about pandering to the GOP base, which may not in the end be able to block Romney from the nomination, but is the--minority, clearly, but still huge--part of the electorate which is active, fluid, and up for grabs on that side of the aisle at the moment.  

I don't know offhand which if any of these is true: a) the underlying views of the American public have shifted significantly so that higher proportions of the public than previously support that agenda b) relatively high proportions of people with that agenda have gotten into advocacy, including politics, in a big way; or c) the actual level of political and other advocacy activity of the folks who support the right-wing anti-women agenda is not hugely different, but the level of engagement and electoral political activity of the rest of the public is relatively low right now, leaving a more open than usual field for it to have influence.    

A lot of underlying economic anxiety that does not see politics as offering any security or reassurance or solutions or even hope, particularly, has left the 99% still relatively disengaged, split, cynical about electoral politics, and therefore inactive politically.  The playing field is more wide open right now than usual for hot button cultural issues to suck up the oxygen.  Anything that can get significant minorities to the polls is capable of becoming a winning campaign issue these days, it seems.  Even with unpopular issues, it's not the worst possible bet that enough of those opposed have tuned out or won't bother to vote against.

I remember a time not too long ago, not long ago at all in fact, when it was thought that the "soccer moms" were the key swing vote that would decide otherwise close elections.  Fair to say that the GOP agenda in state after state doesn't exactly appear to be aiming for that vote?  What happened with that?  The question is, will enough of those opposed to the war on women vote to send it back under the rock it crawled out from under?  

This might be seen as OT, I realize, but not so much as I think about it.  For the philosophically inclined (meaning those here who occasionally read academic philosophy) I recommend Annette Baier's Moral Prejudices, written in the 1990s.  I just finished reading it last night.  In addition to being excellent and interesting philosophy in its own right, it raised my consciousness about some of the consequences of the complete domination of ethics, as a branch of philosophy, by men with views and orientations tending to be very different from those of women in ways Baier's book--without engaging in invidious anti-male stereotyping or charges (she finds much to recommend in the philosophy of David Hume, who I believe DanK is knowledgeable about)--really helped me understand much better.  I might do a separate blog on this, more likely so if anyone expresses interest privately.

To connect this back with the topic of the thread, witnessing the behavior of middle-aged male state legislators in state after state might be seen as Exhibit A today of what Baier has been writing on this topic of differences (or difference tendencies, if you prefer) in the moral outlooks of women and men.

So, Republicans have no idea how insurance works, do they? Your insurance provider doesn't give you anything at "no cost to you."  That "free" annual physical you get isn't free, it's covered by your premium.  There is no "free" birth control.  The cost of it is now covered by the premium.  But, hey... my premiums also pay the bonuses of insurance company executives.  I guess those are "free" too!

Something that really puzzles me about this conversation is that erectile dysfunction drugs and therapies (and vasectomies, too) which are covered by insurance are scarcely mentioned. Seems the first two words of any response to objections to the availability of contraception ought to be erectile dysfunction. The hypocrisy is mind numbing.

I hesitate to delve into the topic of this post because I am so enraged and sickened that it is even needed.  And, sadly, it definitely is!

The initial debacle has again given birth (pun intended) to a being that was thought/hoped by most to have drawn it's last putrid gasp.  It's tentacles seem to be ever multiplying, desperately grabbing onto whatever/whoever doesn't turn away in disgust and disdain.

And, while it gives me no joy, the fact that so many women heed the siren call and willingly succomb, seemingly with no resistance, shames and disrespects us all. Perhaps it's irrational to assert more blame for the females who still choose to be ignorant and/or play the submissive, but I do.  

And a little note of interest; Since all the destructive blather is being touted under the phony guise of insurance and covering contraception (women's only), I do find it 'interesting' that vasectomies are covered without debate or outcry, never objected to by either the 'churches' or republicans.  Hmmm.

In an outdoor interview with Ann Rubin of KSDK.com, Romney offered a few suggestions on how he would cut the deficit.

"Of course you get rid of Obamacare, that's the easy one, but there are others," he said. "Planned Parenthood, we're going to get rid of that."

Finally the attacks have gotten so mean that even the most unpolitical women voter is paying attention. This war has been going on for a long time and is long past due that there is a push back. I don't think the angry genie can be put back into the bottle by the GOP. This quiet activism is growing much larger then the Tea Party that MSM hyped up. I guess ladies sitting at computers organizing boycotts and sending emails doesn't make good sound bites. But if they bring down the mighty mouth piece of right extremism, talk radio, it will hint what coming in November.

Good point.  It may well not be the Occupy phenomenon that in the end has the biggest impact on the GOP's near-term fortunes, but the attack on women.  

Latest Comments