I just realized that those of progressive and liberal ilk have been making what looks like a major mistake. One that is causing the left and for that matter the middle to miss a big opportunity to get a moral and public relations leg up in the Great American Culture War. This is in labeling the assault on women's rights and status by the right as a "War on Women." Of course there IS a cultural and legal war on one sex, one that the comments by Todd Akin have done a marvelous job of forever exposing to the nation (click here). But the theocon war is actually more specific in its target.
Fact is that lots of American women are part and parcel of the war on women. On other women. The list of female warriors against their sisters is endless -- Phyllis Schlafly, Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter, Michelle Bachman, Michelle Malkin, Christine O'Donnell, Laura Ingraham, most of the women on the Catholics' Eternal Word Television Network and the evangelicals' Trinity Broadcasting Network, most of the female delegates as the GOP convention, most female members of the GOP.
The reality is that gobs of gals are more than fine with banning abortion, including for rape and incest, for limiting or eliminating access to contraceptives, for making any sex outside of marriage a societal taboo especially for women, for teaching children just abstinence only, for encouraging women to be stay at home moms, for making all women wives who submit to the authority of their husbands and the patriarchal god, and making divorce the no-no it used to be. Theocon gals make up about a fifth to a quarter of the female population.
The War on Women is not being waged against social conservative women because they are fighting on that side of the war. This is why when conservative females hear talk about the War on Women they roll their eyes and deny it exists. How could any one be so silly as to think the conservative movement is causing trouble for their sex when they are part and parcel of that very campaign? The simplistic term War on Women gives them plausible deniability.
The War on Women is really the War on the Women of the Left and Middle. On the two thirds who think that nonadulterous nonmarital sex is OK, and the majority who think that abortion should be available to a greater or lesser degree. The War on Mainstream Women is a massive project -- partly grassroots but also ginned up and funded by powerful right wing elements here and abroad -- to compel all women to be virgins until they achieve wedded bliss, and then limit sex to procreative purposes at least until the eggs run out.
It is easy enough to see how the War on Liberal Women is set up. It's main feature is screaming hypocrisy of two sorts. One is on liberty. The other is on sexism. Let's start with the later.
As I pointed out elsewhere (click here), conservatives think that liberal women who have sex outside of marriage are sinful sluts. As per Rush Limbaugh trashing the openly progressive Sandra Fluke as a slut the delight of his audience. That nontheoconservative women are pretty much sluts is the core concept behind the theory that women who claimed to have become pregnant via rape could not have become pregnant via rape because a women who has truly been raped against her will cannot get pregnant, so a woman who does get pregnant really wanted it, ergo she actually is a slut trying to hide her sinful desires that probably lured the man into not really raping her.
In contrast prominent conservative women who are known to be sexually active outside of marriage are given a fornication pass. Most notably the never married as she enters middle age vehement anti-abortionist Ann Coulter who makes no secret that she is having intercourse, presumably using contraceptives, on a regular basis. Far from being condemned for her sinful ways, she is a darling of the right, and a sex symbol for many a young male conserve. Then there is the Janine Turner you may remember her as the bush pilot in Northern Exposure. She gave a speech at the Mitt convention in
-- she wrote a whole book about it. She has a point there, but Turner does not seem to realize that suppressing abortion is not the one great theocon goal, making women behave as though it is 1912 is. But I digress. The point is that rather than being labeled a slut by Limbaugh, she was invited to speak to the biggest Repub event of the year.
But wait, there's more. Conservative men are not sluts not matter what. Not Limbaugh who is in marriage #4 and hardly likely to have been chaste before and in between. Serial adulterer and divorcee Newt Gingrich won a southern presidential primary and appeared at the GOP convention. Fellow adulterer and divorcee John McCain gave a speech at the
And there is the liberty thing. Conservatives go on, and on, and on about liberty this, liberty that, liberty today, liberty tomorrow. It's supposed to be their big thing. They want all Americans to enjoy liberty, not like those big gov loving liberals. During the GOP bash The Daily Show got a good dig in at this right wing conceit. A delegate (male) responded to Samantha Bee's query about Romney not be in accord with the party platform banning abortion due to rape and incest with, "Is it Romney's choice to be different from the platform? Well of course, who are we to tell someone how they should act?" He also proffered that the "government has a purpose and we lose sight of that, and the purpose of government is to protect your individual liberties."
Another delegate (female) on Romney's divergence from the platform, "I do not believe for one second that [Romney] had made this decision lightly, it's not for me to judge." Bee concurred that "It's a really personal issue deciding what people's personal issues are," to which the delegate replied "It certainly is." A different delegate (female) declared "That's what our county is, is the individualism. We get to be who we are. I mean everybody gets to choose the path they choose because that's their choice."
What social conserves want is the small government that gives them the liberty to do whatever they damn well please, AND the big government that they can use to deny liberty to the rest of the population; the right's War on Women is a War on the Liberty of Those Women Who Dare Disagree With The Self Righteous Theocons. It is a project to reduce women to the status of 2nd class citizens whose behavior is determined not by their individual selves, but by the religious right -- like it used to be until the social revolution of the 1920s started the long term revolution of the female half of the western world. Even some so-called libertarians go for this cynical duplicity, Ron and Rand Paul are anti-choice. On The Daily Show convention segment one GOP delegate (male) acknowledged the theocon agenda when he told Bee that "personal liberty is, is the whole arc of our civilization, no question about that," "Except in cases of abortion," Bee countered. "Except in the case of abortion, exactly," he agreed.
It is liberals and moderates who more favor womens' liberty. Assume that a 30 year old woman, married or unmarried, accidentally gets pregnant. She wants to have the kid -- that's fine with your liberal or moderate. It's her choice. If she does not want to continue the pregnancy that too is her liberty according to the moderate or liberal. But not to the theocon who wants her to be punished as a murderer if she is so sinful as to have the procedure. Say that a 14 year old girl is raped by a relative and ends up pregnant. She wants to have the kid -- that's fine with the liberal or moderate. It's her choice. If she does not want to continue the pregnancy that too is her liberty according to the moderate or liberal. But not to the theocon who wants her to be punished as a murderer if she is so sinful to have the procedure.
Accurately labeling the conservative assault on the majority of American women The War on Mainstream Women will give the majority of Americans of the female persuasion and their allies the advantage by making it explicit that theoconservatives whether they be boy or girl are trying to deny the liberty of those who do not buy into their narrow minded, controlling world view. It makes clear that it is particular types of women who are the targets of the anti-liberty campaign. It helps to point out that the theocons are a minority attacking a majority, although if theocons were the majority it would still be wrong. It leaves the men and women of the right less able to deny they are engaged in a war on those women they don't approve of, while it puts them on the spot for their flaming hypocrisy and cynical scams, even as it joins the center and left into a more overt alliance against the damn traditionalists.
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