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After following some of the comments in the threads of bonddad's diary, "Dennis Prager Endorses Marital Rape" (link: and Yosef 52's response, "No, Prager is NOT Advocating Marital Rape" (link: , with respect to both diarists I think they're missing the point. The crux of the problem with Prager's arguments in his - ahem - piece, "When A Woman Isn't In The Mood, Part 1" is where his make this gem of an argument:

Compared to most women's sexual nature, men's sexual nature is far closer to that of animals. So what? That is the way he is made. Blame God and nature. Telling your husband to control it is a fine idea. But he already does. Every man who is sexually faithful to his wife already engages in daily heroic self-control. He has married knowing he will have to deny his sexual nature's desire for variety for the rest of his life.


Now, take these remarks in the context of John Stuart Mill, when he wrote about the institution of marriage in his book, "The Subjection of Women":

...the adoption of this system of inequality never was the result of deliberation, or forethought, or any social ideas, or any notion whatever of what conduced to the benefit of humanity or the good order of society. It arose simply from the fact that from the very earliest twilight of human society, every woman owing to the value attached to her by men, combined with her inferiority in muscular strength, was found in a state of bondage to some man. Laws and systems of polity always begin by recognising the relations they find already existing between individuals. They convert what was a mere physical fact into a legal right, give it the sanction of society, and principally aim at the substitution of public and organised means of asserting and protecting these rights, instead of the irregular and lawless conflict of physical strength. Those who had already been compelled to obedience became in this manner legally bound to it.


Granted, Mill wrote this in the latter part of the 19th century when "reprehensible" doesn't even come close to describing the inequality married women faced, both with respect to their legal rights inside a marriage and their economic viability outside that institution. That being said, Prager's comments about men's sexual nature being closer to animals, and women having to put up with it with gentle understanding and quiet submission - 'cuz that's just how God made us - brings us right back to the essence of Mill's arguments in favor of women's equality.

It's about the sex, stupid.

Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for President of the United States, puts it even more bluntly:

The false and hollow relations of the sexes are thus resolved into the mere question of the dependence of women upon men for support, and women, whether married or single, are supported by men because they are women and their opposites in sex. I can see no moral difference between a woman who marries and lives with a man because he can provide for her wants, and the woman who is not married, but who is provided for at the same price. There is a legal difference, to be sure, upon one side of which is set the seal of respectability, but there is no virtue in law. In the fact of law, however, is the evidence of the lack of virtue, since if the law be required to enforce virtue, its real presence is wanting; and women need to comprehend this truth.

The sexual relation, must be rescued from this insidious form of slavery.


Even Elizabeth Cady Stanton - decades before Woodhull's speech - wrote to Susan B. Anthony:

It is vain to look for the elevation of woman so long as she is degraded in marriage.


So, instead of getting caught up in discussions of whether or not "non-consentual sex" is exactly like rape, or whether bonddad's analogy was appropriate, let's just call Prager's comments what they are: That Ole Time Sexism.

Not new age marriage self-help advice. Not "Dr. Phil For Conservatives".

Sexism. Just like your great, great, great Grandmother used to experience.

Don't just take my word on it - listen to The Man himself:

Unless one believes that women and men are the same and therefore the same things bring them happiness, the feminist emphasis on career has been an obstacle to many women's happiness. As a rule, women derive most of their happiness from relationships, not from work. Men need both to be happy far more than women do.

This ditty comes from an article Prager wrote about the Eveel Feminism being the cause of the rise of depression in women. Seriously. To whit:

Assuming that any new phenomenon – in this case, much higher rates of depression among women – suggests a new cause, the major new cause can only be the consequences of feminism

link (emphasis my own):

So, per Prager, as a woman I need to not have a career if I'm married because that'll get my pretty little head all sad and such. And, if my husband wants to get his groove on, well, I should just shrug it off and stare at the ceiling, because it's not like I had any other independent means of supporting myself.

Dennis: thanks, but no thanks. I'd rather not go back to the bad old days of the 1800's.

Originally posted to grannyhelen on Fri Dec 26, 2008 at 07:26 PM PST.

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