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Praise great Gaia for the awesome perks of being a woman!

Sure, we women may have once been second-class citizens, but ever since the radical feminists destroyed the patriarchal structure of our society and totally ended sexism forever, usurping all the levers of power in the public and private sector, it's been a non-stop gravy train of government handouts and free rides, as we enjoy our superior status in society by lording it over the oppressed menfolk. Am I right?

No, of course not, but that's the mindset of the Republican Party, as it continues to wage war against women's rights and privileges. Damn broads have too many rights nowadays, and those excessive rights infringe on the more-important-rights of Catholic bishops who think women's health care restricts their religious liberty; the rights of men who abuse their wives and girlfriends because sometimes that's the only way to keep them in line; and the rights of Republican taxpayers to ensure that their money is not spent on programs and organizations of which they don't approve. At its core, this mindset assumes that women are stupid, greedy, conniving, dishonest and irresponsible, and that's why we need the self-appointed experts in the Church and Congress to both protect women from themselves and protect defenseless men and the government from a nefarious women's agenda.

At Slate, Dahlia Lithwick perfectly sums up this mindset:

But what’s so striking about so many of the GOP initiatives that implicate women this year is that they betray not a deep suspicion of “politicians who say we should be dependent on government programs,” but rather a deep suspicion of other women. Underpinning virtually every changed rule and policy, every effort to defund and repeal, lies an argument about the ways in which women are trying to defraud the government and simply can’t be trusted.
Women can't be trusted. That's why Republicans attempted to redefine rape last year, to eliminate the "rape loophole" women were supposedly exploiting in order to obtain abortions. It's why we've seen bill after bill in state legislatures around the country to "inform" women about their pregnancies so they'll make the "right" decisions about their reproduction. It's why we've seen open hostility to equal pay laws because any wage gap can be explained away with the "truth" that women just don't care about making money and seek out lower-paying jobs. It's why we've seen attempts to defund Planned Parenthood, because despite all evidence to the contrary, it exists solely as an abortion mill for slutty immoral women to kill their babies for the sake of convenience. After all, only immoral sluts need health care.

And it's why this week we saw House Republicans fight for their version of the Violence Against Women Act, excluding protections for lesbians, Native American women and immigrants because those women don't really experience domestic violence and don't really need protection. In fact, according to Republicans and the organizations that lobbied for the watered-down VAWA, those women who claim to have been abused are just lying in order to reap the numerous benefits that come with being a victim of domestic violence. As Anna North at Buzzfeed reported:

Bill Ronan says he was "one of the fortunate ones." He says his wife falsely accused him of domestic violence in order to get American citizenship, but that a sympathetic police officer stood up for him. That's why, he says, he was never charged — but he claims that countless men in America have lost their homes and lives to fraudulent allegations of domestic violence by immigrant partners.

"We have welcomed many scam artists into our country," he says.

Ronan is now a poster child for the strange new turn taken by the debate over the Violence Against Women Act. To him and his allies, immigrant women making false allegations are the true abusers, and men like him — accused of domestic abuse — are the true victims. [...]

Ronan is part of a group called the National Coalition for Men, which calls itself "the oldest men’s group committed to ending sex discrimination" and which has endorsed the Republican-sponsored House version of VAWA Wednesday.

Right Wing Watch also reported on the coalition of so-called men's rights activists and anti-feminists who supported the Republican version of VAWA, including convicted felon Timothy Johnson, who told police at the time of his arrest, "I admit it. I hit her, that's the only way I can get her attention."

In other words, sometimes bitches just need hitting, and if you pass laws saying otherwise, you're infringing on men's right to hit them. And any woman who says otherwise should just shut the hell up. The menfolk don't need to hear what women think about the laws that affect them. Like Arizona Rep. Trent Franks, who this week held a hearing about the "Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act," which would ban all abortions after 20 weeks in the District of Columbia, and refused to allow D.C. congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton to speak. Like Rep. Darrell Issa, who held a men-only congressional hearing a few months ago about birth control, because certainly women have nothing to contribute to a conversation about their own health care.

The message from Republicans is clear: women have too much freedom, and they're abusing that freedom by taking advantage of government assistance, making false allegations against innocent men, and of course, inflicting their radical agenda on defenseless taxpayers and religious institutions. That's why Republicans must act to right that wrong by restricting those freedoms to ensure that men—and only men—can make decisions about women's lives and livelihood. Because, as Lithwick notes, women cannot be trusted to make those decisions for themselves. And now, as national media has focused on the War on Women and Republicans are desperate to claim that they are in fact the party of and for women (all overwhelming evidence to the contrary), Republicans are wrapping up their anti-woman agenda in the co-opted language of feminism, claiming that all of the draconian measures they seek to implement are actually for women's good. Nothing could be further from the truth, though, no matter what kind of language Republicans use. Their War on Women is simply a continuation of a battle as old as time to control women by denying their rights, restricting their sexuality, and demanding that they shut the hell up when they dare to speak out against it.  

As Lithwick concludes:

You can argue all you want about whether it’s better for women to have access to health care, child care, maternity leave, equal pay, and preventive medicine. But when you base those arguments on rickety old Elizabethan stereotypes about deceitful women and their lying ways, it becomes harder to call yourself the party of women.


This week’s good, bad and ugly below the fold.

  • Ahem:
    Everybody, it seems, is talking about women in this campaign - what they should do, how they should act, who they should be in society. But do women see themselves reflected in the dialogue - or is the mirror of political rhetoric distorting their concerns? How, exactly, is all this talk about women playing among women? [...]

    "They really must not know what exactly is going on," said a university student with friends who've had both babies and abortions. "They" are the male politicians who still outnumber women at all levels of elective office, but also the two men running for president who keep trying to one-up each other in reaching out to this vital, but hardly monolithic, voting bloc.

    The upshot: Whether seen as real or manufactured, something about the so-called "war" is resonating among American women who could well make the difference on Election Day. Many are acting out and speaking up. Many are, in fact, girding for battle, in one way or another.

    As [registered independent Wanda] Ramey put it: "They've woken a sleeping giant."

  • Washington Post columnist and asshat Dana Milbank thinks caring about women makes you a woman, because obviously, no real man could care about women:
    The current issue of Newsweek has a photo of President Obama with a rainbow-colored halo superimposed over his head and the title “The First Gay President.”

    Nonsense. Obama is not the first gay president. He is the first female president.

  • Michelle Obama:
    As women, we're used to hearing about fitness in terms of inches and dress sizes. We may know better, but we're up against near-constant reminders and pressures to look good and take shortcuts to get there.

    The truth is, being a healthy woman isn't about getting on a scale or measuring your waistline—and we can't afford to think that way. Instead, we need to start focusing on what matters—on how we feel, and how we feel about ourselves. [...]

    So, here's the bottom line for us women: No more excuses. Today, we're more empowered than ever before to take control of our lives and our health. Whether it's pushing ourselves a little harder at the gym, calling our doctors to make sure we're up to date on our screenings, or reminding our girlfriends that they can access these preventive health care services without a co-pay—we can all truly make a difference, not just for ourselves, but for our mothers and daughters, our grandmothers and granddaughters, and all the women in our lives who we love.

  • Hooray for young women:
    Komen. Sandra Fluke. Transvaginal. The reason these words are instantly recognizable—the reason the “war on women” is now part of the national conversation—is largely thanks to younger women and online organizing. Behind every recent battle against the onslaught of sexism has been the energy and activism of young people—on blogs, Twitter, Tumblr and Faebook. And in a long-overdue but welcome change of message, the mainstream feminist movement that once claimed young women didn’t care about feminism is finally catching on.
  • About that mancession:
    Since the beginning of the recovery, women have gained only 16 percent of the almost 2.5 million jobs added, which is part of why their unemployment rate has dipped only 0.2 percentage points while men’s has been reduced by 2.4 points. [...]

    April’s jobs report had more positive signs for women’s job growth than any over the past few years. According to the National Women’s Law Center’s analysis, they gained almost three-quarters of the jobs added last month. As the report notes, that’s “the largest share of monthly job gains for women since the start of the recovery.” [...]

    But it may not be time to get comfortable yet. As Joan Entmacher, vice president of NWLC, told me, because the overall number of jobs added last month was so small, it didn’t take much for them to come out on top. After all, 73 percent of only 115,000 jobs won’t make a huge dent in a high unemployment rate.

  • Don't like Roe v. Wade? Sen. Rand Paul says Congress can pass a "We Don't Have To Listen To You, SCOTUS" bill and ignore the law:
    Working from what the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade, pro-life lawmakers can pass a Life at Conception Act and end abortion using the Constitution instead of amending it. . . . Signing the Life at Conception Act petition will help break through the opposition clinging to abortion-on-demand and get a vote on this life-saving bill to overturn Roe v. Wade.

    A Life at Conception Act declares unborn children “persons” as defined by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, entitled to legal protection.

  • Mississippi Republican state Rep. Bubba Carpenter (yes, that's his real name) says he's awful proud of his state's repeated attempts to pass unconstitutional laws to ban abortion. And, typical "pro-lifer" that he is, he doesn't give a rat's ass if those laws lead to dead women:
    It’s going to be challenged, of course, in the Supreme Court and all — but literally, we stopped abortion in the state of Mississippi, legally, without having to– Roe vs. Wade. So we’ve done that. I was proud of it. The governor signed it into law. And of course, there you have the other side. They’re like, ‘Well, the poor pitiful women that can’t afford to go out of state are just going to start doing them at home with a coat hanger. That’s what we’ve learned over and over and over.’

    But hey, you have to have moral values. You have to start somewhere, and that’s what we’ve decided to do.

    Nothing says "pro-life" like, Die in a back alley, you immoral whore!
  • Our military still has a problem acknowledging that yes, there are women in combat:
    The 207,308 women currently serving on active duty comprise some 14.5 percent of the U.S. armed forces, according to the military. While more than 2 million women have served since the Revolutionary War, some 1.9 million of them are currently living -- an unprecedented generation of women at war. The number of female veterans has doubled since 1990 and is expected to skyrocket given further drawdowns in the Middle East. [...]

    Yet while women are undeniably at war, the full extent of their roles and capabilities still isn't formally recognized by the military brass. Today's servicewomen perform many of the roles that official policy says they cannot. Often, their service and suffering remain ignored by or invisible to the Pentagon and the public. [...]

    "The Department of Defense is committed to removing all barriers that would prevent Service members from rising to the highest level of responsibility that their talents and capabilities warrant," the report says. But it continues, voicing the concern of those who oppose women in combat: "There are serious practical barriers, which if not approached in a deliberate manner, could adversely impact the health of our Service members and degrade mission accomplishment. Change of this magnitude requires sufficient time and resources."

  • cassandracarolina wrote a great diary on Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's denial of the War on Women as part of her endorsement of Mitt Romney:
    Like Phyllis Schlafly and other prominent GOP women, you seem to have adopted the “I’ve Got Mine; F*ck You” approach to life. In the twilight of your career, you're ready to throw your lot in with the menfolk, and leave the women to fend for themselves. Stay classy, Kay.
  • Straight white male privilege explained:
    Imagine life here in the US — or indeed, pretty much anywhere in the Western world — is a massive role playing game, like World of Warcraft except appallingly mundane, where most quests involve the acquisition of money, cell phones and donuts, although not always at the same time. Let’s call it The Real World. You have installed The Real World on your computer and are about to start playing, but first you go to the settings tab to bind your keys, fiddle with your defaults, and choose the difficulty setting for the game. Got it?

    Okay: In the role playing game known as The Real World, “Straight White Male” is the lowest difficulty setting there is.

  • Good news from Oklahoma:
    In an unprecedented ruling recognizing bodily integrity and reproductive choice as fundamental rights under the Oklahoma state constitution, an Oklahoma state judge has found that a law severely and arbitrarily restricting medical care for women seeking an abortion is unconstitutional and cannot be enforced. [...]

    Judge Worthington ruled that the bill’s restrictions on medication abortion are unconstitutional because they are “so completely at odds with the standard that governs the practice of medicine that [the bill] can serve no purpose other than to prevent women from obtaining abortions and to punish and discriminate against those women who do.”

  • Poor Christine Todd Whitman feels alienated from the Republican Party:
    At a lunchtime discussion Thursday, former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman — a Republican — said she feels ostracized by her party. But, she said, average Republicans — "people who believe in the party that I grew up with, the party that believes in the individual" — have more in common with her than many liberals might think,

    Whitman claimed that the majority of Republican women support the right to choose. They may oppose late-term abortions, she said, but few actually want abortion banned in all cases — and that Mitt Romney's opposition to abortion rights is the major reason he's had trouble appealing to female voters.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sat May 19, 2012 at 04:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Pro Choice, Sexism and Patriarchy, Abortion, and Sluts.

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