The Right’s Fear & Loathing of Women
By Earnest Prankheimer
After the Tea Party sweep of Nov. 2010, Republicans won the U.S. House and expanded their control to over twenty states. Since then a veritable locust plague of anti-women laws has infested the country. Over 1100 bills have been proposed, and 83 have been enacted into law. The most egregious of these are in Texas and Virginia. There, women wanting an abortion must submit to a medically unnecessary and invasive transvaginal sonogram. In essence, this is state-mandated rape with a foreign object, and I’ve been told it can be very painful. Remember, these are the same people who crow about big government intruding into our private lives. The condescending subtext for this boorishness is that women — the carriers and givers of life — are somehow incapable of making such a decision without the firm, but more emotionally stable, judgment of a man.
The National Organization of Women calls them “ritual humiliation” laws. Do you think for one moment that men would stand for having one of these wands stuck up their asses by a female physician every time they needed a Viagra prescription? Your damned right they wouldn’t! I’d be happy to save them the embarrassment, though, by administering that wand myself, and with great gusto, too.
Whence cometh this madness? From the Paleolithic reptilian brains of the Right Wing. They hate everything not exactly like them; people of color, gays, and women most especially. They’ve been this way since their ancestors, the puritans, landed on these shores some 400 years ago. Our rose-colored children’s books tell us they fled Europe to escape religious persecution, but the truth is that they were kicked out of Europe because they were a bunch of fundamentalist whack-jobs. The buckles on those pilgrim hats were fastened way too tightly.
To understand this psychosis we need to go even further back, to the very beginning — Genesis (no, not the group with Phil Collins & Peter Gabriel). God told Adam & Eve not to eat of the forbidden fruit, which you may recall was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil. They did anyway, as He must have known they would, for does He not know it all? Then later He found them hiding, ashamed of their nakedness, and asked Adam what he had done. And here we find the very first laying of blame — the woman, she made me do it. Of course, she in turn blamed the serpent, but that didn’t help her case. It’s interesting to note that God punished her first; she would bear children in sorrow, “and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee (italics mine). THEN he punished Adam, but not at first for eating of the fruit, but “Because thou hast harkened unto the voice of thy wife . . . “ Then he threw their asses out of the garden.
Here we see the Lord as the first Republican — old, white, and male. He begins laying down all kinds of laws, and we get the patriarchal authoritarianism common to the Abrahamic faiths. Women have it worst in Islam. Not only do they have to wear those beekeeper outfits, but in several countries young girls are sexually mutilated so they can never experience sexual pleasure, which they have no right to. They are vessels merely, to be filled and then emptied. But back to the Bible.
The Book of Leviticus devotes much of one chapter to women’s issues, in this case issues being defined as “a discharge (as of blood) from the body. Chapter 15: 19 — “And if a woman have an issue, and her issue in her flesh be blood, she shall be put apart seven days, and whosoever toucheth her shall be unclean until the even.” There’s a great deal made of not touching anything anywhere around her, and lots of uncleanliness. Even after she’s “cleansed of her issues” she must bring two turtles or two pigeons to the priest, who must “make an atonement for her before the Lord . . . “ Then she’s okay again, at least until the next month.
There are issues aplenty in Leviticus; hell, there are two full chapters dealing with leprosy alone. More misogyny loading . . . please wait . . .How long a woman will remain unclean after childbirth also depends on the gender of the child. For a male child she shall be unclean seven days plus thirty-three. But for a female child her uncleanliness is extended to fourteen days plus sixty-six. Then another animal will be sacrificed for yet another atonement (of yet another natural bodily function). Oh, sure, I understand the Lord was trying to give some ignorant, primitive desert people a lamb’s leg up, as it were, over the surrounding tribes. But Yahweh was never King of the Universe, he was a local tribal deity, (and with plenty of issues of his own). Further on, in Numbers 5 it says a man who suspects his wife of infidelity takes his wife to the priest, who makes her drink some holy water mixed with dust from the floor of the Tabernacle. It’s called “bitter water” and if it has no effect on her, she’s innocent. If guilty, though, “this water that causeth the curse shall go into thy bowels, to make thy belly to swell, and thy thigh to rot: And the woman shall say, Amen, Amen.” The New Testament has numerous examples as well.
This is our Judeo-Christian heritage, and these barbaric attitudes have been part of America since our beginning. Until the 1920s or so, when a woman’s husband died another man was appointed by the courts to oversee his property; the poor widow was left out of these decisions entirely. After the Civil War, in 1870, the 15th Amendment gave black people the right to vote (which they’re still fighting for), but it took another fifty years before the 19th Amendment gave women that same right. Until the early 1980s, it was still legal in several states for men to rape their wives. Even today, women still only make about seventy-five cents for every dollar a man makes. And now we have this onslaught on women’s health, reproductive systems and sexuality. While the rest of the developed world moves forward with the 21st Century, in America we’re careening backward to the 17th Century. What’s next, witch burnings? All this is no less than a new and legal way to bully, beat, or sexually abuse women.
What’s the problem with these men? Is it that women, due to their child-bearing and monthly cycles, are closer to the natural world which men are obsessed with controlling? I think there’s something else in our ancient DNA, the idea that when a woman gives birth, there’s no doubt who the mother is, but there could always be some doubt as to who the father is. So men feel they need to control the woman’s sexuality because they’re afraid she might be having sex with someone else. Maybe someone with a bigger penis, which is why they hate women having contraception.
Where are all you Republican Stepford Wives? Why do you put up with these assholes? Have you been so beaten down you can no longer speak for yourselves? Do you have so little self-esteem, so much self-loathing? If you have even a shred of self-respect, I have a solution, and her name is Lysistrata. That was the name of a play by Aristophanes, set during the Peloponnesian War. She persuaded the women of Greece to stop having sex with their husbands until they negotiated a peace. I call upon all of you to do the same. I know, they’ll run off to their prostitutes (they’re doing that already). And so I call also upon you practitioners of that ancient art — you must refuse them too, no matter how much you need the money. When you interview prospective clients, if they are Republican, you must turn them away.
I realize that you will all be putting yourselves in danger, because these same men are the ones who enjoy beating their women. I speak from personal experience here, as my father used to beat my mother regularly. In fact, he beat and kicked her severely just hours before I was born, so you could say I have an insidher’s perspective. Despite the risk, I urge you to go ahead anyway. Maybe you could have a burly friend nearby, or better yet, a taser. You will be performing a brave and heroic service not only to yourselves, but to your country. We’re all counting on you.