Okay, H/T to Lawyers Guns and Money…This entry on Andy Borowitz blog is exactly what the GOP final push needs. A new slogan!
With less than two weeks to go until Election Day, there is a deep divide among Republican leaders over whether to emphasize misogyny or racism as the campaign’s closing theme.
In one camp is the Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock, who says that his view that God is sometimes O.K. with rape is “gaining real traction with a key demographic: men who don’t like women very much.”
“I can’t tell you how many misogynists have come up to me at my rallies and said, ‘Thank you for saying what you said,’ ” he told reporters today. “I think they’re like, finally, someone’s taking a more nuanced position on rape.”
With the realization that 31 states allow rapist to take their victims to court to gain visitation or custody of those “gifts from god” i.e. babies they produce, I think that Borowitz is on the right track.
But in the other camp is the former New Hampshire governor John Sununu, who worries that the Republican Party’s emphasis on misogyny is threatening to drown out its “winning message of racism.”
“I understand the appeal of Mourdock’s anti-woman theme, but I worry that it’s going to overshadow our core value of racism, which is still our best shot at winning this thing,” he said. “In politics, you’ve got to dance with the one who brung you.”
You know, that’s true, a recent poll from the AP is supporting Sununu’s stance.
Hoping to heal a possible rift with so little time left until Election Day, the R.N.C. chairman Reince Priebus said today that there is room for both views in today’s Republican Party: “Our ‘big tent’ message to voters should be this: come for the misogyny, stay for the racism.”
That is the perfect solution!
The GOP: Come for the Misogyny, stay for the racism.
So, I read this: “Your Women Are Oppressed, But Ours Are Awesome”: How Nicholas Kristof And Half The Sky Use Women Against Each Other.
Now, it’s got me thinking about being part of the problem instead of supporting my goal to be part of the solution.
The idea is that these types of programs seem to be gender activism but are portrayed in a way that is supportive of western patriarchal imperialism. Okay, I just sounded like some kind’ve Marxist Feminist but it’s not all that cut and dried. Let me try to explain. These programs are akin to the idea of poverty porn. I understand this because of how I felt watching people in tour buses gawk at my hurricane ravaged ninth ward neighborhood with their voyeuristic tut-tutting over the state of the damage and the slow recovery. Big deal. Now, they’ve seen it. Does this change anything? I just felt like some kind of passive object that made them think,” wow, glad that’s not me”. It’s not a great feeling to be looked at like some kind of victim even when it’s the “oh, look, she’s doing something about it” vibe you get from them.
I’m one of the people that is highly concerned about the way the world treats women and girls. Please note “the world” includes “the United States”. This country is horrid to women and girls. It becomes worse with every elected Republican and DINO. I’ve also been extremely pissed at the way many so-called women and humanity friendly sites seem to shred other cultures’ treatment of women with sadistic, xenophobic, and high hatted-glee. Should there really be a ruler for misogyny and oppression that lets us pull the ruler out on others to make us feel better about the treatment of women and girls here? Do you really think we don’t have sex trafficking here in the US? Do you think we don’t support a rape culture or encourage mutilation of women through plastic surgery or extreme dieting?
I’ve never been able to clearly express it, but, I hate this concept of “Look at how horrible these (fill in the blank) foreigners treat women” given we’ve got the likes of a Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney running for our highest offices and the Republican party has pretty much been over run by misogynists and religious fanatics. Is there some kind of smug self-satisfaction people get by telling themselves that at least “We don’t (fill in the blank) to women here”? The recent spate of superiority hissy fits mostly applies to Arab/Muslim religions but it carries farther than that. Do we really need to measure which country treats it’s child brides worse or isn’t it enough to see the entire practice any where is abhorrent and should be ended? It happens to Catholic girls in Belize, Hindu girls in India, Protestant girls in Kentucky, and Muslim girls in Nigeria. Do we have to slice and dice their suffering by religion, country, or continent?
So, let me quote some of this essay. It deserves consideration.
There are plenty of critiques I could make of Kristof’s reporting (in this film and beyond, see this great round-up of critiques for more). Critiques about voyeurism and exotification: the way that global gender violence gets made pornographic, akin to what has been in other contexts called “poverty porn.”
For example, would Kristof, a middle-aged male reporter, so blithely ask a 14-year-old U.S. rape survivor to describe her experiences in front of cameras, her family, and other onlookers? Would he sit smilingly in a European woman’s house asking her to describe the state of her genitals to him? Yet, somehow, the fact that the rape survivor is from Sierra Leone and that the woman being asked about her genital cutting is from Somaliland, seems to make this behavior acceptable in Kristof’s book. And more importantly, the goal of such exhibition is unclear. What is the viewer supposed to receive–other than titillation and a sense of “oh, we’re so lucky, those women’s lives are so bad”?
Makes you think doesn’t it? The article is written by Sayantani DasGupta who teaches at Columbia University.
The issue of agency is also paramount. In the graduate seminar I teach on Narrative, Health, and Social Justice in the Master’s Program in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University, I often ask my students to evaluate a text’s ethical stance by asking themselves–“whose story is it?” For example, are people of color acting or being acted upon? Although the film does highlight fantastic on-the-ground activists such as maternal-health activist Edna Adan of Somaliland, the point of entry–the people with whom we, the (presumably) Western watchers, are supposed to identify–are Kristof and his actress sidekick-du-jour.
In fact, many have critiqued Kristof for his repeated focus on himself as “liberator” of oppressed women.
This theme then carries over to the idea of imperialism so omnipresent in western, white male cultures. It creates a rescue theme and it justifies the idea that superior white men can go rescue oppressed women by any means including drones that murder them and their children and define them as collateral damage.
Although a few passing comments are made about rape, coerced sex work, and other gender-based violence existing everywhere in the world–including in the U.S., hello?!–the point that is consistently reiterated in the film is that gender oppression is “worse” in “these countries”–that it is a part of “their culture.” In fact, at one point, on the issue of female genital cutting, Kristof tells actress Diane Lane, “That may be [their] culture, but it’s also a pretty lousy aspect of culture.”
There’s nothing that smacks more of “us and them” talk than these sorts of statements about “their culture.” Postcultural critic Gayatri Chakrovorty Spivak, in fact, coined the term “white men saving brown women from brown men” to describe the imperialist use of women’s oppression as justification for political aggression.
Spivak was writing about British bans of widow burning and child marriage in India to make her point, we can see the reflections of this dynamic is the way that the US has justified wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as missions to “free Islamic women from the Veil.” (For a fantastic critique of this rationale, see Lila Abu-Lughod’s “Do Muslim Women Really Need Saving?“) According to Spivak, this trope of “white men rescuing brown women from brown men” becomes used to justify the imperialist project of “white man” over “brown man.”
And this formulation is consistent, pretty much across the board, with the film. White/Western dwelling men and women highlight the suffering, as well as local activism, of brown and black women. Brown and black men are portrayed consistently as violent, incompetent, uncaring or, in fact, invisible. And it’s only a small leap to realize that such formulations–of countries incapable of or unwilling to care for “their” women–only reinforce rather than undermine global patriarchy, while justifying paternalization, intervention–and even invasion of these “lesser” places–by the countries of the Global North.
So, the argument here is not that speaking out against violence and oppression is bad. It’s the argument of what are you doing when you try to speak for others. That isn’t empowerment of women. It also frequently is used to support the goals of patriarchies as they vie with each other for power.
As feminist philosopher Linda Martín Alcoff argues in her essay “The Problem Of Speaking For Others,” that part of the problem of speaking for others is that none of us can transcend our social and cultural location: “The practice of privileged persons speaking for or on behalf of less privileged persons has actually resulted (in many cases) in increasing or reinforcing the oppression of the group spoken for,” she writes.
So, take a look at the photo above. It was part of the narrative of the essay. Does it make you feel oh, so, good about the way we treat our women compared to the Taliban? I saw this photo elseblogs and on Facebook. It actually creeped me out. I found it less empowering of women pilots for many reasons. Why didn’t my gut tell me to feel all so superior?
First, look at the implication of the words “OURS” and “YOURS”. These words indicate possessions right? OUR women? YOUR women?
Second, let’s think about the actual life experience of women in the U.S. military where rape isn’t just something you think about on your way to your parked care in the night. These women are subjected to some pretty high powered sexism and risk rape by their fellow soldiers in a high powered rape culture. Then, let’s also think about how these women can’t control their reproductive decisions because the congress refuses to let them make their own decisions about abortion. Get raped, sweetie? Remember, Paul Ryan says that’s just another form of conception for those lovely little beans that prove his gonads work!
From the first link and The Guardian we learn:
A new documentary by director Kirby Dick, The Invisible War, about systemic rape of women in the military and the retaliations and coverups victims face, has won awards in many film festivals, and recently even triggered congressional response. The examples of what happens to women soldiers who are raped in the military are stunning, both in the violence that these often young women face, and in the viciousness they encounter after attacks.
Yes, “our” women can fly planes in the military but they are also subjected to sexual assault, cover-ups, and poor treatment. This is from the second link above at Jezebel. Yes, “our” women can fly planes in the military but we’re not going to give them coverage of abortion services because “our” men in congress want them to goosestep to “their” beliefs.
The military reported 471 rapes of servicemembers in 2011, but the real number is probably higher, since the Pentagon’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office estimates that only about 13.5 percent of all rapes and sexual assaults in the military are actually reported. Several hundred women in the military become pregnant as a result of rape each year. Despite these statistics, the 200,000+ women serving on active duty are often prohibited from getting abortions in military health centers — even if they’re willing to use their own money — because it makes some conservative politicians at home feel all icky.
Yes, current Pentagon policy is even more restrictive than the 1976 Hyde Amendment, which prohibited federal funds from being used to provide abortion services except in cases of rape, incest, and endangerment of women’s life. The Department of Defense only provides abortion coverage if the life of the mother is at stake; if she’s raped but can survive giving birth, her right to choose essentially goes out the window. If she still wants an abortion, the military might generously allow her to pay for the service with her own money, but only if she can prove she was raped — which is extremely difficult to do, especially within a few months. Without a stamp of rape-approval from the higher-ups, servicewomen (including military spouses and dependents) have to venture off-base for services or fly all of the way back to the United States, all to assuage the fears of politicians — the majority of whom, it’s safe to say, are not overseas fighting for their country — that the government would be “endorsing” abortion if military facilities granted women the same rights they have back home.
Feel all warm and smug about not living among the Taliban now? I’m ignoring all the coverage we’ve given all year to the likes of Todd Akin who probably would use more biblical punishments for women, gays, and lesbians if he thought he could get away with it. Who doesn’t think that ol’ Todd secretly hopes some one blows up the local planned parenthood and takes out some doctors and nurses in the process? Does lusting in his heart for right to life violence count? Surely, we can honestly attest to the fact that we have some extremely sick religious extremists of our own. I wonder if the Swedes would like to come do a documentary on how women in the US are so far down the ranks of gender equality that we maybe deserve rescue too?
So, anyway, this made me think. What does it make you think?
Sandra Fluke gave a wonderful speech to the DNC on Wednesday. The young woman rose to prominence after being denied an opportunity to be the only women speaking to a Issa congressional panel on the coverage of birth control in all insurance programs. She was savagely attacked by the right wing press then and now. Here are some horrible tweets that show exactly how awful women in the spotlight are treated by the right.
Let’s get one thing straight first: Contrary to what Limbaugh said, just because a woman wants to have easier access to contraceptives does not make her a slut or a prostitute.
But in order to promote a radical agenda that would deny women access to something so basic as birth control, conservatives took to Twitter after Fluke’s speech to, once again, repeat the disgusting falsehood that she wants the government to “pay” for her social life and to bash her for “whining” about it on a national stage.
Here’s a sampling of tweets that Think Progress spotted:
Sandra Fluke: I am woman, hear me whine.
— Todd Kincannon (@ToddKincannon) September 6, 2012
— Michelle Malkin (@michellemalkin) September 6, 2012
Don’t lecture conservative women about empowerment while demanding that we pay for what goes on in your bedroom #DNC2012
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) September 6, 2012
I wonder if she has “Birth Control Martyr” business cards.
— Jonah Goldberg (@JonahNRO) September 6, 2012
I hope someone was passing out free condoms tonight, otherwise Sandra Fluke might be in trouble tomorrow.
— Michael Berry (@MichaelBerrySho) September 5, 2012
Sandra wants taxpayers to pay for her tanning appointments.
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) September 6, 2012
So, there’s a new “fish” story from Paul Ryan out and about the web. First, we heard that Ryan lied about his marathon running feats. Now, we’re hearing a story about Mountain Climbing. Lies seem to come easy to Romney and Ryan, as BB pointed out. This one is really interesting. How many fourteeners has Ryan really climbed?
Craig Gilbert, of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, wrote the original story, back in 2009, about Ryan’s mountain-climbing record. He has now written an update and amplification of exactly what Ryan told him then. Here are relevant parts from the original interview:
Ryan: “My mom was very outdoorsy … We spent our summers doing backpacking trips in the (Colorado) back-country, you know, Snowmass Lake, Capital Peak, spent all our summers doing that … went all over White River National Forest, just the whole Elk range. I mean I’ve climbed every fourteener in that range and the three around there … So I got into climbing fourteeners when I was 12, with my brother, Stan. My mom got us into that.”
Question: “How many fourteeners have you climbed? Or how many times?”
Ryan: “38. I think that’s my last count.”
Question: “Those are just climbing peaks that are 14,000 feet?”
Ryan: “I’ve done it 38 times. … I’ve done 38, but I think the number of unique peaks is something like twenty… no, no it’s like thirty or something like that. I counted it up a year or two ago.”
Question: “Most of those in Colorado?”
Ryan: “All of them are in Colorado. So I think I’ve climbed like 28 (peaks), and I’ve done it 38 times, because I’ve done a number of them a few times. So I was, you know, kind of into that stuff.”
So, now folks that are real fourteeners are weighing in on the possibility of that actually being true. According to folks that know what they are doing, it’s likely another Ryan Whopper. So, is Ryan a serial peddler of fish stories or has all that reading of Ayn Rand prevented him from processing reality?
I loved Jared Bernstein’s post on yoyo economics and politics. It’s a theme that both Barack Obama and Bill Clinton spoke about at the DNC. The idea of YOYO (your’re on your own) vs. We’re in This all Together is a good way to put the election this year.
Protecting the rights of individuals has always been a core American value. Yet in recent years the emphasis on individualism has been pushed to the point where, like the diners in hell, we’re starving. This political and social philosophy is hurting our nation, endangering our future and that of our children, and, paradoxically, making it harder for individuals to get a fair shot at the American dream.
This extreme individualism dominates the way we talk about the most important aspects of our economic lives, those that reside in the intersection of our living standards, our government, and the future opportunities for ourselves and our children. The message, sometimes implicit but often explicit, is, You’re on your own. Its acronym, YOYO, provides a useful shorthand to summarize this destructive approach to governing.
The concept of YOYO, as used in this book, isn’t all that complicated. It’s the prevailing vision of how our country should be governed. As such, it embodies a set of values, and at the core of the YOYO value system is hyper-individualism: the notion that whatever the challenges we face as a nation, the best way to solve them is for people to fend for themselves. Over the past few decades, this harmful vision has generated a set of policies with that hyper-individualistic gene throughout their DNA.
The YOYO crowd—the politicians, lobbyists, and economists actively promoting this vision—has stepped up its efforts to advance its policies in recent years, but hyper-individualism is not a new phenomenon. Chapter 1 documents archaeological evidence of YOYO thinking and policies from the early 1900s, along with their fingerprint: a sharp increase in the inequality of income, wealth, and opportunity. The most recent incarnation can be found in the ideas generated by the administration of George W. Bush, but the YOYO infrastructure—the personnel with a vested interest in the continued dominance of these policies—will not leave the building with Bush. Unless, that is, we recognize the damage being done and make some major changes.
One central goal of the YOYO movement is to continue and even accelerate the trend toward shifting economic risks from the government and the nation’s corporations onto individuals and their families. You can see this intention beneath the surface of almost every recent conservative initiative: Social Security privatization, personal accounts for health care (the so-called Health Savings Accounts), attacks on labor market regulations, and the perpetual crusade to slash the government’s revenue through regressive tax cuts—a strategy explicitly tagged as “starving the beast”—and block the government from playing a useful role in our economic lives. You can even see this go-it-alone principle in our stance toward our supposed international allies.
While this fast-moving reassignment of economic risk would be bad news in any period, it’s particularly harmful today. As the new century unfolds, we face prodigious economic challenges, many of which have helped to generate both greater inequalities and a higher degree of economic insecurity in our lives. But the dominant vision has failed to develop a hopeful, positive narrative about how these challenges can be met in such a way as to uplift the majority.
If you’d like to read the full text of President Obama’s acceptance speech last night it is reprinted here in full.
If you reject the notion that this nation’s promise is reserved for the few, your voice must be heard in this election.
If you reject the notion that our government is forever beholden to the highest bidder, you need to stand up in this election.
If you believe that new plants and factories can dot our landscape; that new energy can power our future; that new schools can provide ladders of opportunity to this nation of dreamers; if you believe in a country where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules, then I need you to vote this November.
America, I never said this journey would be easy, and I won’t promise that now. Yes, our path is harder – but it leads to a better place. Yes our road is longer – but we travel it together. We don’t turn back. We leave no one behind. We pull each other up. We draw strength from our victories, and we learn from our mistakes, but we keep our eyes fixed on that distant horizon, knowing that Providence is with us, and that we are surely blessed to be citizens of the greatest nation on Earth.
The election theme music is Bruce Springstein’s “We Take Care of Our Own”. Quite a contrast to the Throw yo Momma from the Trian, isn’t it? I love this song because it was written partially about Hurricane Katrina.
“From the shotgun shack to the Super Dome …”
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Let me juxtapose a few things before I go on a full-on rant about Stephen Marche’s Esquire article: “The Contempt of Women; The rise of men. And the whining of girls.” The rise of men? When the hell did they ever fall? Did my paycheck and I miss something?
Consider superstar athlete and gymnast Gabby Douglas whose gold medal wins were greeted by racist and sexist comments about her hairstyle.
As the controversy surrounding Gabby Douglas’ hair drags on, we’re left wondering: how did it get to this point?
It’s still shocking that while Douglas was busy rewriting Olympic history and making the country proud, a string of negative Twitter comments about her “unkempt” hair stole the spotlight. Some are blaming the media for that shift in focus to Douglas’ hair, while others see the story as a segue into a much broader subject: black women’s hair.
Black women’s hair has always been a hot (and often, touchy) topic–inspiring documentaries, books, movements, and full-blown debates. So it’s no surprise that after Douglas’ meteoric rise to the public eye, opinions of her hair would be shared via social media outlets and beyond. However, the problem lies in the fact that those comments have somehow out-shined the Olympian’s gold medals.
Then, there’s this delightful tidbit of news from the likes of suffering white christian men everywhere as reported by Raw Story: “Man with Bible threatens to rape woman during ‘Gay Day’ in Michigan”.
Police in Grand Rapids, Michigan say that there was nothing they could do after Bible-preaching protesters threatened to rape and murder pro-LGBT activists at a “Gay Day” event over the weekend.
In a video posted to YouTube, several protesters with Bibles can be seen shouting at a woman celebrating in the inaugural “Gay Day” celebration, an event organized by the human rights group Tolerance, Equality and Awareness Movement (TEAM) to showcase the community’s diversity.
“Back in the day there was no free power, there was no going to the mall,” one protester tells the woman. “There was, ‘sit your ass in this house until I bring my ass home.’”
“And if your ass get to going out there like you said, guess what?” a second protester adds. “You get raped. And that’s what’s going to happen to you. … Keep your pussy clean, that’s all you need to do. Do you understand?”
After one man claims, “the Lord said that,” the woman challenges him to find the corresponding Bible verse.
He responds with Isaiah 13: “Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished.”
Here’s a video that has me in mind of exactly what girls and women are taught to avoid daily. This one has a happy ending because the little girl in this elevator–who could have been a victim of who knows what–went full metal backpack karate kid on the sceevy old dude (via Edinburgh Eye).
Now, given what we ALLLLL know and since I just grabbed a few of this week’s outrages to illustrate just how far we’ve come, baby, let’s read some tidbits about how dudes are beginning to feel redundant and put out. The poor, long-suffering darlings! Bless their little victimized hearts!!
Contempt for men has become so widespread and acceptable that it’s a commonplace for politicians’ wives. Michelle Obama loves to describe her husband’s morning breath and struggles with smoking and failure to put away his socks. Her pull quote: “He’s a gifted man, but he’s just a man.” Got that, boys? You can be editor of the Harvard Law Review,first African-American president, director of the assassination of Osama bin Laden, loving husband and father, and an innovator of “absorption marijuana ingestion” to boot, but in the end “just a man.” Michelle uses that hokey line because it inevitably provokes warm ovations and knowing laughter. The wife of the British prime minister, David Cameron, has borrowed the technique, moaning about how Cameron “makes a terrible mess” when he cooks and can be “quite annoying.” This is what the political operatives call “humanizing the candidate”: Contempt for men is what ordinary women understand.
There’s a well-developed intellectual expression of contempt for men, too, encapsulated in the idea of the “masculinity crisis” — men are doomed, in this argument, by their own inherent natures to flounder in the emotionally complex, predominantly social postindustrial world. Dozens of books have circled around or near the concept, but none had actually made a persuasive, research-grounded argument until Hanna Rosin’s The End of Men and the Rise of Women. The book begins with a somewhat expected girl-powered farewell to male power. The American middle class, she writes, “is slowly turning into a matriarchy, with men increasingly absent from the workforce and from home, and as women make all the decisions.” Her numbers make a case: Women now have half the jobs in the American workforce. Three quarters of the 7.5 million jobs lost during the recession belonged to men. Of the top fifteen growth industries in America, twelve are almost exclusively the preserve of women. In the postindustrial economy, men’s physical strength becomes more or less irrelevant. And women are also setting the groundwork for the curve to continue: “Women now earn 60 percent of master’s degrees, about half of all law and medical degrees, and about 44 percent of all business degrees,” writes Rosin. Three years ago, more women than men earned Ph.D.’s.This isn’t because men are inherently stupid or broken.
Oh, really? It seems to me that this article makes the case for the contrary argument to that last statement; not for it as Marche insists. Here’s more about the poor put out man who is just a victim of self-loathing and I guess, its companion, low self esteem. Don’t forget to read the part about how certain parts of the country have miniscule rape statistics. The men must just be really put out there!!!
President Bush was proud of being small-minded, proud of being ornery, taking the maximum number of vacation days possible, proud of never traveling, not knowing other languages, and just in general not knowing and not caring. He fit neatly into a pattern with the other recognizable men on television. In advertising, the lumpen male idiot is the go-to. Other versions of male self-loathing are more sophisticated. The best and most refined comedians of the moment all take it for granted that the masculine is inherently the stupid, the obese, the miserable, the lazy, the selfish. Take Louis C. K. — his hatred for his own hungers is his best material. Much of Daniel Tosh’s material, both on his show and on tour, is about men’s selfishness, irresponsibility, and general grossness. Extreme pornography, the avoidance of fatherhood, and Stone Age sexism are defining traits. Male self-hatred is the comic cliché of the moment — the L. A.-is-like-this-but-New-York-is-like-that, white-people-drive-like-this-but-black-people-drive-like-that, what’s-with-the-peanuts-in-airplanes of the moment: Can you believe how gross men are? Male comedians go to this safe material for the same reason they do anything: for the approval of women. Rather than resist the contemptuous gaze of women, they have learned to share it.
It’s just hard to know where to start on all of this. I’m sure you’ll have some choice comments that will be far wittier and rapier than mine. I would just like to say that when we start discussing Phelp’s hair instead of his future career plans, when little girls or women don’t have to fear what will happen when left alone near men, and when all the pay gaps, discrimination cases, and sexist, misogynist ads and “joke” banter about women goes anyway then I will have a chat with this poor, put out white dude. Oh, and I stuck in one of those gratuitous Hillary-bashing cartoons so you’ll be reminded of all those poor put out men that had to run against her and her monstrous cankles.
Until then, I will just shoot him a HUGE look of contempt AND raise him one Kiss my Vagina, you Asshole!!