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All the Elephants in the Room

It seems that every time we talk about a war waged against women, there is always some republican, or “conservative” (tea party weirdos who want “to go back in time to a better, whiter-privileged America”) or faux-libertarian (which is a combination of the conservative and republican…conserblican??) not a real libertarian, behind the attack.

Charles Murray

It baffles the mind that a narrow-minded, self-made racist/sexist, like Charles Murray is ever taken seriously with philosophical(ly-challenged) comments like, “no woman has been a significant original thinker in any of the world's great philosophical traditions.” [Charlie tips his hat to the obvious no-brainer, yet still manages to sugar-coat why women have had a hard time] “Social restrictions undoubtedly damped down women’s contributions in all of the arts, [however, Charlie thinks women still only contributed intellectually to what amounts to that of a dodo bird] but the pattern of accomplishment that did break through is strikingly consistent with what we know about the respective strengths of male and female cognitive repertoires.” [Now the Good…NO, GREAT news, Ladies] “Women have their own cognitive advantages over men, many of them involving verbal fluency and interpersonal skills,” [Because, and here comes his “intellectual” contribution to our society, amounting to no more than vomiting an overdose of moron] “women are more attracted to children than are men, [that’s just “icky” sounding] respond to them more intensely on an emotional level, and get more and different kinds of satisfactions from nurturing them.”

You mean I get MORE and DIFFERENT kinds of satisfaction from diaperin’, cleanin’, maintainin’ and lovin’ on kids??? That’s all my brain was built for??? Well I am just so relieved! All those crazy intellectual “thoughts” about receiving equal pay, reproductive choice, domestic abuse, convincing people that having a baby as a result of rape or incest is not any will of God, but only the will of (very stupid) men, rape of any kind, fighting for the ratification of ERA, keeping my voting rights pure and not having to show my ID every single damn time and just thoughts about equality and justice in general…. Oh I am so glad, I’ll just go back to brushing my hair and minding the children!

“Dampen”…what a weak euphemism. Try, “completely shit on” where women’s contributions to society are concerned, and yet it did not stop any of them from actually happening. Some examples include:

Mary Wollstonecraft - Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792) A great political theorist and philosopher. She challenged the modern day thinking (in her day) of the treatment of women. She is also the mother of Mary Shelly, who went on to contribute one of the GREATEST WORKS OF ARTS of all time…

And

Sojourner Truth – Author of, “Ain’t I A Woman,” which challenged and deconstructed the white, patriarchal treatment of White women v. Black women. (This made her an intellectual and a philosopher).

There are many more examples of women contributing greatly to, not just our society, but the world! And depending on your definition of "arts"....

Women chemists such as Stephanie Kwolek,  who in 1965 invented the lightweight yet practically indestructible material known as Kevlar, which we now use for bullet-proof vests. This was a MAJOR and LIFE-CHANGING discovery! Thanks to HER, thousands of lives, including those of our combat soldiers, are saved from bullets and shrapnel!  It is also used in other materials such as:

“underwater cables, brake linings, space vehicles, boats, parachutes, skis, and building materials.”

These are just a three of the MANY examples of women contributing in hugely, different ways but because of social standards of the time, their efforts were “dampened” (shit on), and our pages in history were robbed from us. An example of this has been written in a NewScientist article where massive scientific breakthroughs, from discovering the genetic gene for Down Syndrome to the structure of the DNA molecule, were credited to men, but stolen from the women who actually made the discovery!

Again there are many more examples…tremendous amounts, but men like Charlie aren’t interested in the truth. Newsflash Charles! True intellectuals look at the conclusion of an argument, then ask “why.” Intellectuals would go backwards in the timeline of that event and learn why women have not been “real contributors.” Logic dictates we have brains, we possess all five senses, just like men so why the disparity? Then once the intellectual has deconstructed the “fact” itself, they write the reasons supporting those facts. You, Charles, take the “end-fact” and race forward from there. That is what makes you, and anyone like you, a racist, sexist pig. You cannot bear the weight of history and cannot accept that your White, male ancestors had a big role in the disparity. You just see the conclusion, and immediately make the judgment.  All that means is you have some form of intellect, but you are no intellectual! And in the end, with all your books, you will be the one who have contributed little!

Mike Huckabee

When my blog-forum mate, "ramara," pointed this one out to me, I thought it was going to be another run of the mill GOP talking point about women, but as she said, this one is in the “shakes-your-head-in-disbelief category.” Huckabee made a comment at Iowa's Faith and Freedom Coaltion on Tuesday,  about what, to me, amounted to making daily decisions based on acceptance by “the crowd” and giving in to peer pressure, but he said it with layer of Duck Dynasty:

“Guys like to go fishing with other men. They like to go hunting with other men. Women like to go to the restroom with other women. I don't get that. I can tell you this much: if I ever say, 'I have to go to the restroom' and some guy says, 'I'll go with you,' he ain't goin' with me. That much I know.”
Aside from the 1950’s idea that women “like” going to the toilet together, as if that is the only time we get to ‘gossip’ (women are publicly verbal nowadays, thanks to feminism, we don’t need the bathroom as our guard to vent…we do it wherever we want, just like you men). Men saying that women like going to the bathroom together is like women saying the men like to going fishing together to watch their stag films! But I digress…. What I noticed most of all about what he said was the last couple sentences, where he questioned the logic of a man wanting to go to the restroom with him. Is this an implication that somehow said guy will go to the bathroom with Mike, and use it as an opportunity to ‘go gay’ on him?  Does he feel sexually threatened by another man? Does he fear gay men that much? It reminded me of the current rape culture women are suffering through, as well as street harassment. I'll explain.

I have heard this kind of fear of gay men before coming from people like Huckabee.  
Jimmy Swaggart felt threatened by gay men for simply looking at him “in that way” and said he would use murder to resolve the issue:

“I've never seen a man in my life I wanted to marry. And I'm gonna be blunt and plain; if one ever looks at me like that, I'm gonna kill him and tell God he died."  
Here’s my question: Why is it okay for a man to fear another man having sex with them against their will, and be supported in their fear (however stupid their reasoning is), but women are not?

First of all, all gay men are no more rapists than all heterosexual men. It is stupid to equate the two. But here is where I am getting at: When women are scared of men in this way (and other ways), when we feel threatened through street harassment, or of potentially being raped, why is it “our fault” for dressing provocatively, our overreaction, or walking down the street alone, or going out when ‘we should be at home,’ or "we led them on somehow' and whatever else anyone decides to come up with to avoid blaming men? Why does the reasoning always come down to “boys being boys” or “guys are visual” (as if women were blind). And why then, are men like Huckabee and Swaggart so disgusted by the idea that a gay man could find them attractive?  You know why? Patriarchal society have taught heterosexual men to fear gay men not because a sexual threat is real, but because if a man gives another man that kind of attention, subconsciously the physical strength becomes equalized between the men. A man becomes "threatened" at the idea of not being able to fight off a potential attack. It is this idea of not being able to fight off a potential attack that makes the attention "unwanted." In other words, welcome to our world guys! Except our threat is all men in general, which is why rape has nothing to do whether a man is gay or straight because it is not about sexual intercourse. Rape is a sadistic crime (amongst other things) which has to do with power. Women have been saying this for years.  

So, if men do not like like being overpowered by other men, and that kind of attention is uninvited, what makes you think we want that kind of attention from you? When we say "NO" or "back off" or "leave me alone" or "shut the fuck up," I rarely hear of men coming to the verbal rescue of women when we get told we are "a bitch," or "uptight" or worse, as a result of our rebuttal! The Puerto Rican Day Parade in 2000 is a horrific example of what actually happens to us, univited! What makes you think women invite the attention any more than you? How are we to blame, if you do not see yourselves to blame?

All I can say is women fear men on this level, especially when the threat of harassment and rape is real every damn day of our lives, no matter our sexual preference (Teena Brandon)! Now you understand an inkling of what we have to go through on a daily basis! And, by the way, there was no ‘real threat’ present when Huckabee and Swaggart made their comments. Huckabee felt discomfort from potential potty-time with another man and Swaggart was ready to shed a man's blood if he ‘looked at him in that way,’ much less think about getting penetrated by an actual penis against their will? Not so harmless now, is it? When a woman feels threatened, we get no sympathy or empathy from men, like Swaggart and Huckabee, or the party they represent at all…we get the blame! As matter of fact, these guys generally fear penises so much, they want to make laws telling other men where they can and cannot stick it, which again, has nothing to do with why you have a general fear of the act itself. In other words, gay sex and rape are two very different issues. If you make laws preventing gay sex (or gay marriage) it will not stop the very act of rape (or your fear of it) from happening because one hasn't anything to do with the other. However, do I understand your fear of being raped by a man? YES.

So where are all the laws protecting women? Why all the pushback from the men in your party(ies)? These threats are not just some silliness we created in our minds as a potential for happening, THEY ARE REAL!  Rape happens to women way more often, and pregnancies result so frequently, that we are the ones in need of help!  Where are you guys when we need protection from street harassment (and guys are not just looking at us 'in that way' but actually coming up in our faces and physically touching us)? Where is the empathy and understanding? Why do you blame women for the problems you men are clearly responsible for? If 'men are men' then what is the difference between a man "looking at you that way" and a "man looking at us that way?"  So excuse me if I think you might be wearing that suit “a bit too tight” in the seat, Mike, or that you should maybe consider not ever going out alone, or that “guys are visual” or “boys are boys” or that you might be "inviting the attack by leading them on somehow" after all, they are men and men do what they do, right?  Or is it God's plan?  What does your Bible say?

Originally posted to This Week in the War on Women on Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 03:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Feminism, Pro-Feminism, Womanism: Feminist Issues, Ideas, & Activism.

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