War on Women: a treasury!

Thursday, March 15th, 2012 · 18 Comments »

No real connective tissue in this post; just a handful of gems from this week’s War on Women.

First, Maureen Dowd (yes, Miss Clinton Derangement Syndrome herself):

Hillary Clinton has fought for women’s rights around the world. But who would have dreamed that she would have to fight for them at home?

“Why extremists always focus on women remains a mystery to me,” she told an adoring crowd at the Women in the World Summit at Lincoln Center on Saturday. “But they all seem to. It doesn’t matter what country they’re in or what religion they claim. They want to control women. They want to control how we dress. They want to control how we act. They even want to control the decisions we make about our own health and bodies.

“Yes,” she continued to applause, “it is hard to believe that even here at home, we have to stand up for women’s rights and reject efforts to marginalize any one of us, because America needs to set an example for the entire world.”

Well, yeah, but…I’m sorry, seeing this in a MoDo column makes me woozy. Several commenters at the Times had the same reaction; for example, “Tyrannasaura” from Rochester:

Who would have thought that Hillary Clinton would have to fight for women’s rights at home? Oh, I don’t know — maybe anyone who read your columns between 1992 and the present? The ones that simpered and snickered over her husband’s infidelities, called her “the most degraded wife in history,” repeatedly compared her to a sadistic dominatrix during the 2008 campaign, speculated without any basis whatsoever that she would hijack the Democratic convention, and then, when you turned out to be wrong about that, that she would secretly connive with John McCain to defeat Obama? And how like you to keep bringing up the ludicrous notion that Obama might replace Biden with Clinton on the 2012 ticket, even if you know it’s absurd. When will women finally be liberated? Well, for starters, when we learn to stop kneecapping each other.

Yup. Though I hasten to add that there will probably always be anti-women women; we’re half the population, and the purpose of feminism isn’t to get all women to agree with each other. The purpose of feminism is to defeat patriarchy, and for that, we just need critical mass. This feminist theory public service announcement has been brought to you by my left cerebral hemisphere; we will now return to our regularly scheduled posting and linking.

Here’s MoveOn’s video of women repeating the horrible crap wingnut men have been saying about us:

And now, as if that weren’t enough, the Republicans are trying to defeat the Violence Against Women Act.

What a splendid party the GOP is. Simply splendid. Against contraception and in favor of wife-beating. They should just do what the godbags in Afghanistan did and publish a statement: “men are fundamental and women are secondary.”

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18 Responses to “War on Women: a treasury!”

  1. falstaff says:

    Reading Dowd’s column made me think of an expression of my mother’s: “I don’t know whether to shit or go blind.”

    Re the GOP: They clearly want to lose, by any means necessary. There is simply no way to read what is going on except as a concerted effort to guarantee massive electoral defeat. Only then can the victimhood they feel match objective circumstances, and relieve the painful cognitive dissonance. Not that they don’t actually feel the misogyny and xenophobia — they surely do. But they aren’t just rudderless… haven’t just thrown whatever passes for adult supervision overboard… they are flooring it toward the canyon, without a time-spanning DeLorean to provide a bridge over it.

  2. Violet Socks says:

    So falstaff, you agree with my revolver in the study theory?

  3. Carmonn says:

    Interestingly, though, gas prices seem to be affecting Obama’s approval rating more than this is. If by some miracle Romney manages to become President, the Democrats are going to explode in rage and return to the women’s rights equal electoral defeat refrain. It’s so glorious to be an eternal pawn in a political game.

  4. arran says:

    Violet, more about the critical mass! These women should read, or re-read, the accounts of the success of the women’s movement in the ’60s and ’70s. I was a young woman in my 20s when it began to open up. It happened because women joined together in solidarty and moved through the obstacles. It can happen a second time.

  5. KendallJ says:

    Yes it can arran. Its interesting that men keep trying to frame this misogynist hate speech as conservative vs. liberal.

  6. falstaff says:

    Violet — I agree they’re really intent on self-destruction here, but I’m not sure it’s as consciously calculated as your metaphor implies. To me, it seems more like a fever than a plan.

  7. Riverdaughter says:

    I disagree with you and Falstaff, violet. The republicans definitely are playing a winning game here. It has several parts.
    1.) they motivate their base
    2.) they are expecting Obama’s cool dispassionate response to be inadequate, which it is, thus demotivating the Democrats’ base.
    3.) they are going to make life so expensive for the middle class, poor and unemployed this summer and fall that voters of every political persuasion will turn against Obama. If Obama can’t figure out how to intervene using his executive branch powers and political capital, it won’t matter how much he blames republicans for being obstructionists. The blame will fall on him.
    4.) the Republicans are going to drag out their primary so that they grab all of the media attention for thei agenda. By August, their agenda will seem somewhat normal and only someone like hitler will sound off the wall.
    You heard it here first.

  8. Miss Clairol says:

    Obama’s base is anything but demoralized. If anything, terror of the Republicans has unified the party and brought virtually all of the doubters on board. Even, by and large, those who understand the role that Democratic complicity has played in all this. At this point, he could say, “If you vote for me I’ll partner with the Republicans to ban contraception, you dimwitted suckers are going to get everything that’s coming to you,” and it wouldn’t matter.

    I’m not suggesting that the Democratic base is necessarily large enough to decide the election if the Republicans are equally motivated to vote for someone whom they consider to be a RINO and cult member, but Obama will be rewarded by his paymasters. For one brief shining moment, the economy will be lit by the fire of 99 cent gas.

  9. Violet Socks says:

    Riverdaughter, I think the Republicans are winning the long game, no question. The long game is to normalize extremist rightwing craziness so that it becomes mainstream, and they’re definitely winning there. Obama is helping them, too; especially when he does things like mark out contraception as a special thing that can be refused on the basis of “religious liberty.”

    But there is also a short game, an immediate contest for the next election, the next victory. And in that respect, I think the Republicans are screwing up. They’re making a mess of 2012 (at least so far), what with their clown car primary and so on. I don’t really see this as a planned maneuver so much as just a byproduct of who and what they’ve got to work with. (And Falstaff, I would definitely agree that it’s more fever than anything premeditated. I was making a jokey reference to literary theory and the hero’s journey, so that suicide at this point is morally and dramatically required, etc., etc.)

    But back to short term and long term strategies. Ideally, Republicans would like to be winning everything at all times—immediate tactical victories as well as longterm strategic victories. I just think that in this case, they’re probably going to suffer a short-term loss while nonetheless continuing to win the long game.

  10. falstaff says:

    Honestly, I am losing my sense of narrative trajectory — which is a drag, because it provided a lot of self-satisfied intellectual pleasure to me.

    The part of my mind that is still holding onto my preferred narrative still thinks there’s a roughly generation-length rhythm/dialectic that plays out between the GOP and the Dems, and that we were slated to enter a Dem era, but with Obama, the wrong actor walked onstage — it was supposed to be a real Dem, a strong Dem; it was supposed to be Hillary. Nonetheless, this meme-monger insists, the GOP is a crumbling institution — it can’t field good candidates, its vaunted conceptual apparatus (rightwing think tanks, Fox, talk radio, Drudge, et al) are in disarray, can’t raise money (down to a menagerie of one-off lunatic billionaires), etc. — in other words, it can’t organize effectively to achieve a goal, and the candidates and primaries we’ve seen are one demonstration of that. It got taken over by its nutjobs, the Tea Party, the first cadre of elected officials in my lifetime whose goal is to prevent governance entirely. And so despite Obama’s myriad failures, he’s the Luck Child who will win a second term, and maybe his successor will be the leader we could have used in 2008.

    That’s that narrative. But obviously there are other stories in this naked city — including the credible one that Lakoff and you are telling, Riverdaughter. Maybe that’s right. To me, it’s sufficiently depressing that I don’t like to sit inside it — not just because of its proposed short-game outcome, but because it implies one or the other of two things I really hate: either (a) there’s a majority of our fellow citizens who are sufficiently fertile soil for this deeply hateful mishagas to grow in, or (b) people really are as susceptible to transparent meme-manipulators as some behavioral psychologists argue.

    For the time being, anyway, I’m gonna keep my mental dial tuned to my preferred (and possibly delusional) channel.

  11. Violet Socks says:

    Falstaff, your mention of the generational thing reminds me that there is an even longer pattern here, the longue durée, which is, um, longer than the long strategy I mentioned earlier. (I think we need more adjectives.)

    The longue duree is actually in our favor, I think: the tide of history is gradually more progressive. And that’s happened in our lifetimes, obviously. Certain aspects of women’s rights or racial equality that were cutting edge in the Sixties are now just considered baseline normal.

    So there’s a great long trajectory (which is measured over generations), then there’s a strategic game the Republicans are playing (which is measured over years and decades), and then the short term tactical thing.

    Hmm. I think I need one of those Mayan calendar wheels.

  12. falstaff says:

    Exactly. In the long run, we’re all Keynes.

  13. jackyt says:

    The only way any politician will even get a whiff of a passing nod from me is when I hear:

    Freedom of religion guarantees the right of each individual to practice any religion of his or her choosing. It does not guarantee, and it does not allow, any one or any institution to impose its religious beliefs on any one else. Withholding women’s health care services is not religious freedom. It is denying 53% of the population their right to exercise religious freedom.

    No mealy-mouthed appeasement is acceptable. I demand my rights, and my daughter’s rights, and my daughter’s daughters rights! Damnit!!

  14. jackyt says:

    P.S. of course I voted for Hillary since she supports, unfailingly, my right to autonomy.

  15. Lexia says:

    “Exactly. In the long run, we’re all Keynes”

    Good one, Falstaff!

    (I can’t navigate the registration on your site well enough to applaud your high-brow puns there; I hope it’s not too rude to do so here)

  16. falstaff says:

    I welcome all applause, wherever it appears. :) I thought about naming the blog something like “The Pun-dit (and dat),” but feared it would bring down the fury of the Pun Control Police on me. Plus, Shakespeare himself was punning on his own name when he created the character (or, perhaps, modified the name of the historical Sir John Fastolfe). So I got a verbal twofer (natch).

  17. Lexia says:

    Pun on, pun ever!

    With regard to the full-steam ahead regression of female U.S. citizens’ rights: there’s a weirdly appropriate forced birth campaign going on at the local University’s campus,where almost all leftists were pro-Obama: ads everywhere featuring a young white woman with salon styled curly hair staring straight ahead and the words: “Pregnant? ChooseHope.org” (with the name in the signature O colors, of course)

  18. jackyt says:

    too good not to share all over the place!