A few weeks ago, Chris Matthews mentioned that blacks got their right to vote 50 years before women. Yesterday, Meryl Ann Butler wrote an article, suggesting similar ideas, WHEN ANATOMY TRUMPS COLOR: Race and Gender Patterns and their Possible Effect Upon the 2008 Presidential Race, saying;
In race and gender patterns in the United States, men of color have traditionally been granted their rights in advance of women. Therefore, as long as this pattern continues, Barack Obama is better positioned than Hillary Clinton to beat John McCain, or any other white male Republican.
One woman commented on the article, titling her comment, THE WAR AGAINST WOMEN, saying,
You can argue whether racism or sexism is stronger in America, but I don't think you can argue that women - both black and white - have not been the victims of systematic violence. "The War Against Women" by Marilyn French, talks about this.- Advertisement -
Leonard Shlain wrote a fascinating book, THE ALPHABET and the GODDESS, collecting together a report on the research which described how the advent of writing changed the way the brain processed information.
Cultures went from storytelling and oral transmission of cultural history to the more linear writing. This changed the way the brain worked and culture changed from a female, priestess and empress, earth mother worship culture to a male dominated one.
It's not that the brain changed, but the patterns of use changed. Much has been written on this by other language experts and anthropologists.
Hillary faces this and more challenges in her efforts to win the Democratic primaries and the presidency.
More recently, Susan Faludi, in her book Terror Dreams, describes how the response to the 9/11 attack mirrored, or recapitulated early America's treatment of women-- as helpless, dependent and weak. When I first heard Chris Matthews observe that black voting rights came before women's, Faludi's book came to mind. Faludi used a biomedical analogy-- the concept the ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny--- that the stages of development of a fetus recapitulate the evolutional stages from single celled micro-organism to fish to amphibian to reptile to hairy mammal. It's tough to fight the tide of nature. And tough to fight the inertia of centuries old cultural habits.
Today, right wing values include rejection of the feminine-- not just women, but the whole spectrum of feminine archetypal ways of seeing, living, thinking. Bush and his machismo offer undereducated men who have lost their jobs through globalization and outsourcing a dose of viagra to make them feel more masculine.
Hillary is a huge threat to their sense of self, sense of power. There's nothing rational about it.
Until the left faces this reality-- that part of winning with progressive, liberal values includes changing men's and religion's reactions to the feminine-- the left's strategy for success will be unsuccessful. That's a challenging assignment. Just look at how so many religious organzations are built upon "values" that reject equal rights and treatment for women. Southern Baptists, the Catholic Church, Islam, Orthodox Judaism-- they all require different and not equal treatment for women. Most, if not all of them, argue that women are better off that way, with more power in the home, protection from men, etc.
This is not an easy battle. I do think "battle" is the right word, because the churches, temples and mosques that oppose equal rights for women, that oppose the ascendance of the feminine, consider efforts to give women equal rights, to give women the right to control their bodies an assault upon the faith, upon the church.
When we look at the progress women have made-- that it took just 50 more years to give women the vote, then we can be hopeful, that such change has overcome the millenia old cultural inertia that has resisted the changes sought.
This comment ought to get me in trouble. Sadly, the battle for women's rights may actually be stoking Islamic terrorism. I believe that the main inspiration and motivation for Islamic terrorism is the assault of western culture and values upon Muslim culture. When Christian missionaries attempt to evangelize and convert Muslims, it is understandable that religious leaders and practitioners see t his as an attack on their culture and values.
The fact is, Christianity has an ugly history of demonizing non-christian cultures as heathen, as despicable, and of going in and destroying those cultures, often assisted by devastating diseases carried by the missionaries and soldiers. Many cultures, even whole civilizations have fallen in the face of Christian evangelical assaults.