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50 Years of Frightened White Men, Today the Tea Parties

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Mary Shaw     Permalink
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Conservative American white men are terribly afraid these days. And rightly so.

They are finally starting to lose their power.

First of all, May 9, 2010, marked the 50th anniversary of the birth control pill. On that date in 1960, the pill was approved for use in the U.S. by the Federal Drug Administration. And American women finally had control over our reproductive lives.

It was a turning point, to be sure.

Before the pill was available, a sexually active woman almost always faced the risk of pregnancy. And, prior to Roe v. Wade, a pregnant woman was forced to bear the child with or without the baby's father's financial or emotional support, or else seek a dangerous and illegal back-alley abortion.

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For the men, however, there were no official consequences. And they got used to that.

Sowing their wild oats was what men were expected to do. If a woman did the same, she was labeled a slut and allegedly deserved the consequences.

These days, even in the 21st century, women who enjoy sex are still labeled as sluts by men (and even some women) who fear female sexual power. But the joke is now on the men who disrespect their female counterparts, because those men are looking more and more foolish in their whining as they lose more and more of their power in government, in business, and in the bedroom.

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After all, we now have our third female U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, who was also a serious candidate for President of this country.

And we now have our first female Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, who is next in line for the Presidency after President Obama and Vice President Biden.

In the business world, statistics for the period from 1997 through 2006 showed that women-owned businesses grew at nearly twice the rate of all U.S. firms (42.3% vs. 23.3%).

The misogynistic right can't stand it. And so they resort to kindergarten-style sexist commentary, and sometimes bullying tactics.

Like the men who shouted, "Iron my shirt!" at a Hillary Clinton campaign rally in 2008.

Like the House Republicans who preach that Speaker Pelosi should be put "in her place".

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To these guys, I guess, a woman's place is still in the kitchen -- barefoot and pregnant, as they used to phrase it back in the day.

And I cringe when I think that this may be what they think is appropriate for their own daughters. Fortunately, however, their daughters today have choices and will hopefully be more open-minded about them. (I hold up the beautiful and open-minded Meghan McCain as a powerful example of conservative offspring gone modern.)

Meanwhile, it gets even worse for the bigoted and insecure American white man. After all, the 1960s also marked the height of the civil rights movement.

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Mary Shaw is a Philadelphia-based writer and activist, with a focus on politics, human rights, and social justice. She is a former Philadelphia Area Coordinator for the Nobel-Prize-winning human rights group Amnesty International, and her views (more...)

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