It’s been almost two years since this notorious Ms. Magazine cover. So how’s it working out?
Who was wrong?
I am almost as sick of hearing about and seeing Sarah Palin as I am hearing about and seeing Barack Obama, but the news is awful, the weather is boo boo, and as a liberal fem I am apparently supposed to go into a screaming emotional PMS induced rant every time her name is even brought up. Why fight it?
I don’t plan on reading or buying her new book. Do any of you? I didn’t think so. But Historiann has the scoop.
Don’t miss Michelle Goldberg’s analysis of the feminist history in Sarah Palin’s new book, America by Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith and Flag. Apparently, it gets worse after the diabetes-inducing title. I agree with Goldberg that “[i]n some ways, it’s a good thing that Sarah Palin calls herself a feminist. It means that, even among conservatives, women’s equality has become a normative position, the starting point for debate. It means that feminism has gone from something that the right wants to destroy to something it wants to appropriate. That’s progress, of a sort.” This is indeed a new development–Phyllis Schlafly’s days are over, for now, and it would be even too intellectually dishonest for Palin to pretend that feminism had nothing to do with shaping the possibilities of her political career.
As an optimist I am also pleased that a woman politician at least has to call herself a feminist to get anywhere, much less conservative woman. But this step forward is not to Bible Spice’s credit. A woman in politics has to call herself a feminist now because of the treatment a certain plucky Secretary of State received not just in 2008 but throughout her entire life in public service. Just sayin’. Let’s continue.
However, Palin is all wet when it comes to American history in general, and as Goldberg explains, feminist history in particular: she claims Elizabeth Cady Stanton as a devout Christian–a woman who once said that “[y]ou may go over the world and you will find that every form of religion which has breathed upon this earth has degraded women,” and who wrote her own version of the Bible. (Truly, this is more laughable than the people who try to re-claim Thomas Jefferson as a godbag.) Palin repeats the flimsy lie that Susan B. Anthony was anti-abortion, and she repeats the distortions of Margaret Sanger’s work and career by claiming that she advocated “Nazi-style eugenics.” (She cites the esteemed historian Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism on Sanger.)
Elizabeth Cady Stanton and another fun fem, Amelia Earheart, also rejected the usefulness of remaining faithful to their husbands. Amelia even passed a petition about it around. Hillary wasn’t the first classy lady to question standing by her man. So far that’s Hillary: 2 Sarah: 0.
Sarah Palin is a huge disappointment. She could have countered her detractors the right way and continued working for the people of her beloved Alaska, but instead she has allowed herself and her family to be turned into celebrity jokes. Marketing yourself as a pundit on Fox News and giving yourself a reality show on TLC is not the way to prove you’re Presidential material. So much for all that maverick talk about Middle America. She should have taken a leaf out of that crazy bra burning feminist Hillary Clinton’s book instead of Barack Obama’s. Now she and him are like the American Idol clones of Presidential Politics. If they are both running in 2012 we won’t even be able to take a break and watch an episode of House or Dexter without one of them guest starring. They and their brands will be EVERYWHERE. God help us all!
I still don’t believe you have to be liberal or pro choice to be a feminist, but Caribou Barbie stopped caring about standing up to the good old boys a long time ago. It was probably some time in between the grand finale of Dancing with the Stars or a deep philosophical connection with Dick Morris while he was ghostwriting her new book. At least now she is caught up to the President and has managed to write two autobiographies without actually accomplishing much of anything.
Either way, from now on she’s on her own.
As if we want to be reminded of the 2008 election, Rebecca Traister has just written a book expressing her desire for a “Sarah Palin of the Left” and letting us in on the fact that Hillary Clinton’s run for the Presidency was historic, she was the first woman to win a presidential primary, and she won more primary votes than any other presidential candidate in history, man or woman. OMG, no way! The book is called Big Girls Don’t Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women.
According to Jezebel, this is the book we’ve been waiting for.
Rebecca Traister: As often happened at lunches about Hillary, within moments there was a furious conflagration about how young women didn’t know anything about feminism. I found that the election offered a sort of match that lit what was already pretty dry tinder. It wasn’t so much that Hillary made different generations of women angry at each other. It’s that Hillary gave them the excuse to have the fight they’d been spoiling to have for a very long time.
Cat Fight! Whooooop! Let’s watch the ladies get crazy!
Traisier goes on to spout the usual propoganda about Hillary’s bad campaign, Mark Penn, Raycists, Obama was more inspiring and blah blah blah, and then finally gets to the root of the problem as to why Hillary and her supporters were such epic losers.
You could go back and hear the same conversations around the foundation of the feminist and lefty blogosphere and hear young women saying, ‘Well, the women of the traditional feminist organizations aren’t listening to us, so we’re moving into our own realms.” Some of the older women — I’m using older women and young women very broadly, I don’t meant to be talking in derisive generalizations — you could hear them say, “These young women don’t take their rights seriously, they blog all day, they’re not activists.”
So in the end, Hillary lost because of a giant cat fight between third wavers, who are bratty and didn’t want to listen to their mommies and old second wave crustaceans who just wanted to call their daughters unappreciative of the rights they got for them.
Wow. I was under the impression that Hillary lost because delegates were stolen from her and the party refused to have a fair nominating process because they wanted a race baiting empty suit that would allow them to keep lining their pockets with cash from the pharmaceutical and financial industries. But apparently it’s much more complex than that. Actually, it has much more to do with my relationship with my mother.
I should use this opportunity to tell you something about my mom. She had me when she was thirty three. Hillary was the same age when she had Chelsea. I love my mother to death. I’m crazy about her and she’s crazy about me, but I was only partly raised by her. She has bipolar depression and severe anxiety and when I was six and she and my father had been divorced for a couple of years, she had a nervous breakdown and checked into the loony bin. My brothers and sister and I were almost put into foster care, but instead we went to live with my father and step mother (Foster care would have preferable), and from then on, we only saw her periodically on visitation.
I suppose I could be categorized as having very bad “mommy issues.” That has nothing to do with anything, but since we’ve all ready delved so deep into trashy Freudian psychobabble, I can say with absolute certainty that Traister is talking out of her ass. I find myself seeking out the approval and affection of older women more because of my complicated relationship with my mom.
Traister is simplistic and conformist in her musings, and while she is quick to put blame on young women, she has high praise for young men.
At the time, I wrote about what I perceived as a complicated misogynist vibe coming from some of the young male Obama devotees in the last stages of the primary cycle. I think one of the reasons that I was so struck by it — and this is not to give some pass to all younger men — is that there is such a marked generational change among men. There’s more of an awareness of gender, they’re often raised by feminist moms and working moms. Men who are [at least] used to the idea of equally splitting domestic duties; they’re active fathers.
I had actually come to expect much more from young men. We’re very lucky to live with a new generation of men, and I think our kids will be luckier still. But this was an instance in which some old attitudes seemed to bubble up among younger men.
See? The next generation of kids will be so lucky to be raised by Obots.
Dig it: What if young women who supported Obama weren’t trying to thumb their nose at their mothers? What if they were seeking the approval of their fathers? When I was small I would sometimes pretend to dislike Hillary and other assertive women. I thought my dad might give me a hug if I pretended to agree with him about stuff.
But no, we women “asked for it.” Traister blames women for blaming other women for what happened to the Secretary of State. She falls into the timeless “divide and conquer” trap that the Patriarchy sets up for us. Instead of uniting over our common interest: equality, feminists and more specifically mothers and daughters are pitted against one another over things like choice and porn and made to believe that we are our own worst enemy. I am constantly lurking on threads, on Clinton friendly threads no less, that have plenty to say about the lack of authenticity of “young feminists.”
And really, what is that? Plenty of young women supported Hillary and plenty of older women supported Obama. I’m twenty years old. I like doing my hair and getting my nails done and tanning, and I’m a feminist because I believe in equality. I am not a “third wave” feminist. I’m a feminist. I’m not a “fun feminist.” I’m a feminist. I’m not a white feminist. I’m a feminist. I’m not a pro choice feminist, I’m a feminist. I’m not a liberal feminist. I’m a feminist. I’m not a feminist Democrat. Honestly, I’m just a fricking feminist. That’s my only MO.
Every woman, old or young, is a feminist deep down, even if she doesn’t know it, because she is a human being. Feminism is about humanity. “Humanist” is a more appropriate term, but feminist is the one we have. Let’s stop putting labels on women. Let’s stop questioning each other’s choices. Let’s stop being so cruel to one another, and instead start working together.
And let’s not read Rebecca Traister’s new book.
From USA Today:
Emily’s List, a fundraising group that has raised and spent more than $43 million to elect Democratic women to office, is taking on Sarah Palin.
Leaders of Emily’s List are holding a press conference in Washington tomorrow to unveil a campaign targeting Palin, the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, and the candidates she has endorsed.
The group says it wants to counter Palin’s appeal to women: “Sarah Palin has predicted a rising tide of mothers and women voters will support her so-called ‘Mama Grizzly’ candidates,” says a just-issued Emily’s List press release.
“We call upon women — and men! — to let their voices be heard and to reject Palin’s reactionary candidates and backward-looking agenda.”
(Cuz we all know that feminism is only for the right kind of women.)
I dunno. I was raised by a feminist single-mother who was (and still is) pretty conservative on most issues. Maybe that’s why I like and admire Sarah Palin while disagreeing with her on almost everything.
I think Emily’s list is making a mistake. Feminist groups should be pushing candidates like Hillary Clinton, not bashing other women they don’t agree with. The circular firing squad hurts all women.
But what do I know, I’m just a guy.
The Confluence is a liberal blog and does not support Sarah Palin blah blah blah.
She is a conservative pro-life Republican yadda yadda yadda – do I really need to keep explaining this shit?
Here at The Confluence we don’t drink any flavor of Kool-aid.
Kudos to the President for nominating another lady to the supreme court. Well done. But something’s not right here. What is it…? Oh, yeah.
I’m really, really glad Obama chose a woman. I really, really wish she were more liberal. I suspect she’ll be okay on Roe and other “social issues,” but her attitude to executive power is alarming.
Also, rumors abound that Kagan is gay. Let’s just pretend for a second that we care….
Glad that’s over.
As for social issues, the President has really given us a treat! He picked someone that is kind of pro-choice! OMG! But wait…
As a White House adviser in 1997, Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan urged then-President Bill Clinton to support a ban on late-term abortions, a political compromise that put the administration at odds with abortion rights groups.
Documents reviewed Monday by The Associated Press show Kagan encouraging Clinton to support a bill that would have banned all abortions of viable fetuses except when the physical health of the mother was at risk. The documents from Clinton’s presidential library are among the first to surface in which Kagan weighs in the thorny issue of abortion.
The abortion proposal was a compromise by Democratic Sen. Tom Daschle. Clinton supported it, but the proposal failed and Clinton vetoed a stricter Republican ban.
In a May 13, 1997, memo from the White House domestic policy office, Kagan and her boss, Bruce Reed, told Clinton that abortion rights groups opposed Daschle’s compromise. But they urged the president to support it, saying he otherwise risked seeing a Republican-led Congress override his veto on the stricter bill.
Oh. But still! Since Kagan is probably a lezbo, she must support gay marriage, right? Wrong.
The meme has taken hold that Kagan is a stealth candidate who has avoided taking positions on important constitutional or other issues throughout her career.
But on one issue of critical importance to the left — the constitutional right to same-sex marriage, Kagan has staked out a very clear and unequivocal position: There is no constitutional right to same-sex marriage.
In the course of her nomination for Solicitor General, Kagan filled out questionnaires on a variety of issues. While she bobbed and weaved on many issues, with standard invocations of the need to follow precedent and enforce presumptively valid statutes, on the issue of same-sex marriage Kagan was unequivocal.
Kagan is a winner in other ways, too:
“Like Harriet Miers, she doesn’t have a record to tell us how she would adjudicate from the bench. They led a rebellion against the executive branch and the same thing should happen here.”
“I object to appointment somebody that has no track record. Corporate power is a big one because of the Citizens United decision, and also Miranda. There are a lot of things where it would be helpful to be able to examine past writings.”
“If I was in the Senate, I would vote no, because like Harriet Miers she doesn’t have the judicial experience.”
“Accepting Kagan just because people like Obama is wrong. That’s appropriate for American Idol, not the Supreme Court. Nobody knows what she stands for but him. It’s just a cult of personality with Obama. This is the Supreme Court.”
There is something fundamentally wrong about this. Everyone is used to Obama constantly rejecting his base. They are like devoted mistresses who constantly tell themselves that their boyfriends will leave their wives–he is just making a compromise right now; it’s a secret game of eleven dimensional chest and during the election time he will come crawling back. But really, why do liberals have to compromise in the first place?
The selection of Solicitor General Elena Kagan to be the nation’s 112th justice extends a quarter-century pattern in which Republican presidents generally install strong conservatives on the Supreme Court while Democratic presidents pick candidates who often disappoint their liberal base.
Along the way, conservatives have largely succeeded in framing the debate, putting liberals on the defensive. Sonia Sotomayor echoed conservatives in her Supreme Court confirmation hearings last year by rejecting the idea of a “living” Constitution that evolves, and even President Obama recently said the court had gone too far in the past. While conservatives have played a powerful role in influencing Republican nominations, liberals have not been as potent in Democratic selections.
Well, I don’t know. Maybe the blogger boyz just need a reality check. For one thing, Obama is just not that into them.
For another, the notion that Obama is a “Democratic President” is laughable anyway. Democratic Presidents don’t pass Heritage Foundation Health Insurance Reforms and then claim it as the biggest victory of their Presidency. Just sayin.’
The Democratic Party is obviously in trouble, and that is no secret. But they can’t be any worse than Republicans, right? NOTHING is worse than a Republican. I mean, Elena Kagan might not be perfect on social issues, but at least she’s more liberal that Laura Bush!
On her media tour for her memoir, Spoken from the Heart, Laura Bush stopped by Larry King Live, where she opened up for the first time about her advocacy for marriage equality, as well as her belief that Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision regarding a woman’s right to an abortion, should be upheld.
Filed under: astroturf, Barack Obama, Blogosphere, Democratic Party, DNC, Failbots, feminism, From the files of unintentional comedy, gay, Gay community, gay marriage, Gender Equity, General, government, gratuitous gloating, Health Care Reform, Hillary and Bill Clinton, LGBT rights, Liberalism, pro-choice, pro-life, snark, we told you so, Worst President Ever | Tagged: When Pigs Fly | 18 Comments »
WHHHOOOOOOOOOO! Health Care Reform for white men has passed! The most historical event evah in the history of historicalness has occurred! A Democratic Congress and a Democratic President has made a Republican Healthcare Bill Law! Insurance companies will be able to not provide helpless children with adequate care at last!
All this change! All this hope! I can’t take it! I’m going to spontaneously combust!
The world is going insane, and while normally I like insanity, this is not the good kind. Obama has just passed national RomneyObamacare–a Nixon wet dream originating from the Heritage Foundation in the 1990s in opposition to Hillarycare, and yet lunatic “Tea Partiers” are running around vandalizing the houses of Congressidiots who voted for the heaping pile of shit, screaming that they are “socialists?”
Obama signs an executive order restricting women’s access to abortion, and so called “progressives” and “feminists” are having kool aid induced orgasms as they compare the passage of a Health Insurance Reform Bill that would be better served as toilet paper to the Civil Rights Act? What the fuck?
Well, maybe I’m being unfair. The Bill IS Historic. Historically shitty.
I find myself–and we all must admit that I am normally so cheerful and chipper, yes, you know you all love me– I find myself feeling gloomy. I’m walking around campus with my hands shoved in the pockets of my fake leather jacket with a cigarette hanging out of my mouth–and I don’t even smoke! Security officers are mistaking me for troubled youth and are performing random searches on me.
Well, I am troubled. I’m troubled about a lot of things, but in terms of politics and current events, I am troubled about the fact that, as MYIQ said a few weeks ago, there appears to be no end in sight.
But what really has me bummed out right now is the realization that there is no end in sight for the mess this country is in. The single biggest problem facing our nation is the illness in our political system. When I say “illness” I mean the equivalent of an inoperable cancer that has metastasized. If we fixed our political system then we would actually be able to do something about those other problems.
For most of my adult life I believed that the Democrats were the good guys so even when they were getting slapped around by the Republicans I could support them and hope that after the next election they would grow a pair and start standing up for the liberal ideals they campaigned on.
I finally realized that the majority of the Democrats who hold elected office are not only corrupt but they have the same agenda as the Republicans. Oh, the say they’re on our side, and when it’s time for them to represent us they might make some speeches andr play some parliamentary tricks but when the nitty meets the gritty they lose on purpose. Lots of times they don’t even bother to put on a dog and pony show anymore, they just vote to bail out Wall Street or take away our civil rights as if that’s what we wanted them to do.
Now as far back as I can remember the Republicans were corrupt and they tended to be pricks or assholes, and sometimes both, but they weren’t insane. Nowadays there’s a lot of GOPers that are crazy as shithouse rats. That not only includes the elected ones but the voters too. Then you got the tea baggers who don’t think the Republicans are crazy enough.
I can’t believe that I am living in a country–I country I have grown up loving with every fiber of my being despite its flaws–where this is happening. The passage of a bill that bails out the Health Care Industry is historic! And in honor of Women’s History Month we passed it on the backs of women and their reproductive rights! Cats bark! Fish have tails! Catholic Priests are ethical in their treatment of young children!
Of course, intellectually I understand, there is always hope. Democrats are going to lose a lot of seats in November and while the Republicans that come into office will be even worse, the door will open for real liberals, not phony “progressives,” to show Donna Brazile and Howard Dean’s “New Coalition” to be ineffective and thus we will be able to take our party back.
But sometimes, in this Golden Era of Hope and Change, politics just isn’t enough. For once in our lives, we needed policy. Good policy that would actually have given broke-ass students like me real Health Insurance. Just a few weeks ago, before my spring break, I came down with the flu and missed a week of classes I’m still making up. If I had insurance, I might have been able to get antibiotics and missed only one day, maybe two. This bill does nothing to help me. For one thing, I’ll be done with my undergraduates and possibly even my graduates by 2014. At this rate I’m going to have to start stripping for my ‘scrips, just like a number of poor senior citizens who will shortly be facing cuts in medicare due to this lame-assed bill.
Sometimes, I get tired. Sometimes, I don’t want to live life day to day anymore. Sometimes I think things will never get better. Trying to get something to eat, trying to fill up my gas tank–always being hungry, worrying about my mom, worrying about my friends, worrying about all the people around me at my school who are going through the same thing.
Sometimes, honestly, I’m just tired. And today, forgive me, but I have to lament over the fact that politics took precedence over policy. Sorry.
Filed under: Barack Obama, big pharma, corruption, Cost of Sexism, Democratic Party, Failbots, feminism, From the files of unintentional comedy, going forward, government, gratuitous gloating, Health, Health Care Reform, healthcare, Hillary Clinton, NOW, obama administration, Politics, populism, Poverty, pro-choice, Public Plan, Religion in government, Single Payer, snark, Sunlight before Signing, The Cost of Sexism, The Obama Depression, The unParty, zombies | Tagged: Health Fail Reform | 144 Comments »
Back in February I did a post about gender based violence and I mentioned prehistoric egalitarian societies that centered around life or earth based religions. I got some shit for it, which is perfectly okay. Usually if you’re not irritating someone then you’re not actually accomplishing anything.
In a post on Tuesday, Violet Socks had Artemis March write a guest post about an exhibit on prepatriarchal “Old Europe” in New York City in honor of Women’s History month. She explains:
To appreciate the enormity of what’s at stake here, I invite you to read Joan Marler’s summary of Gimbutas’ work discovering and reconstructing Old Europe (OE), and another about her interpretation of its demise and the prehistoric transition to patriarchy in Europe. Marler is executive director of the Institute of Archaeomythology, dedicated to developing interdisciplinary approaches to the study of prehistoric and present cultures.
The disappearing acts perpetrated through the OE exhibit are hardly unique. Another example is the archaeological team at a key Neolithic site in Asia Minor (Çatalhöyük). Marguerite Rigoglioso exposes the strategies and tactics through which they deny evidence of, and even the possibility of, prehistoric female deities and female authority, and try to marginalize and discredit Gimbutas and others who have the courage to name what they see rather than project a patriarchal pattern onto every prehistoric society.
Marler’s and Rigoglioso’s work helps to bring home an appreciation of the some of the layers and complexity of the struggle to reverse millennia of female invisibility and the intense political struggles over the all-important issues of patriarchal origins and its finite existence rather than its alleged innate nature. Male entitlement, sole male authority, and male control over women are not god-given or “how things are,” but integral to an historically finite, socially constructed type of socio-political system that’s been around for only a few thousand years.
Many who point to the probable existence of Egalitarianism prior to and during the early parts of the bronze age are accused of “Red Tent Feminism,” which isn’t even feminism, IMHO. A feminist believes in the social political and economic equality of men and women, not the social, political and economic superiority of one gender, be it male or female.
The truth is that the existence of such evidence that points to prehistoric cultures that were not patriarchal is not useful because it somehow validates the superiority of women over men or a “separate but equal” nonsense mentality. On the contrary, it is useful because it shows us that patriarchy is not just “the way things are.” It is useful because it validates patriarchy as being detrimental to the evolutionary progress of human beings, rather than beneficial.
As SOD has explained in many informative ways via her posts about social dominance, BMSD sexual fantasies aside, it is partnership between men and women that makes progress for humankind possible, not the dominion of one social group over another.
A lot of people have trouble believing that patriarchy isn’t the norm, and that doesn’t make them anti-feminist, it makes them observant. Patriarchy is ingrained into our psyches not only because it is currently the cultural norm, but because it is drilled into our heads by the media, the entertainment industry, and most of all by religion.
Christianity, by all accounts a fairly new religion, tells us through canonical scripture that man is inherently evil because he took the apple from the tree of knowledge from woman (and a serpent or dragon, which was a symbol of feminine divinity in prebiblical times) and therefore he is condemned unless he accepts the son of a male God who dies on the cross for the original sin in his nature perpetuated by woman and her seductive serpent as his savior and lord. As a narrative it gives us no other option than patriarchy, because not only is mankind evil because of women (after all, isn’t everything a woman’s fault?), GOD isn’t even a woman.
The Bible is the world’s number one best seller and is put forth as the absolute truth by many. Even as a very young child, I could never embrace or even wrap my head around that way of thinking because to me it made no sense. For one thing, it is fairly obvious that the Earth is not five thousand years old, and for another, it didn’t add up that man could be created first when women were the ones who had kids. That still does not make any sense to me and it never will. Hence part of the reason I only talk to my parents twice a year. But I digress.
Human nature is of course, imperfect. By pointing to evidence of prehistoric egalitarian civilizations, no one is saying that it isn’t. The people who lived in those cultures felt pain, sadness and anger. They mourned at the loss of loved ones and sometimes, they failed. Just like the rest of us. No one who recollects those times through archeological evidence recollects them for nostalgic purposes. But how does that saying go? A person who doesn’t know his past has no future. As Artemis explains:
As Mary Daly used to say, by distorting and disappearing our past, they have ravaged and purloined our present and our future. Disappearing acts have gone on for millennia, and they are going on right now, right in front of us. They can be blatant and concrete, as in the absence of women on our currency, our stamps, and the paucity of female statuary in our public life—a situation Lynette Long has recently taken on. They can be as elemental and profound as changing cosmological deities and their stories from female to male—a transition that the late Paula Gunn Allen tracked in numerous Native American traditions, and observed is still taking place. Disappearing acts can be far more devious, complex, and multi-layered as is the case with bringing these Old European artifacts forward.
As we go through Women’s History Month, it is important to remember that our history did not start with the suffragist movement. It did not start with Joan of Arc or Catherine the Great or Rosa Parks. As someone we know and love once said back in a speech in Beijing in 1995, Women’s rights are Human rights. And by extension Women’s history is human history.
Human history started way before any of us could remember it or write it down. And the knowledge that women might have and in fact probably made the very first doctors, priests, writers, artists, and yes, leaders is knowledge that should stay with us all through Women’s History Month. Because those nameless women and American Sheroes like Susan B Anthony and Shirley Chisholm and Margaret Chase Smith aren’t just our past. They are our future.
O’Keefe and Giles, in their portrayal of pimp and prostitute, reek of puerile classism. Were it not for the overwhelmingly noxious fumes emanating from the handful of ACORN employees who were apparently willing to enable a child prostitution ring exploiting illegal immigrants, the stink of the ill-informed moral superiority of O’Keefe and Giles would drive evolutionarily advanced members of our species to avoid contact.
Let’s cut to the chase. The child prostitution enablement shown in the videos is beyond the pale. It is wholly unacceptable. Giles and O’Keefe deserve credit for exposing this potential for promoting abuse with ACORN’s structure.
For ACORN to continue doing the good they do for the community, they must clean their house. This said, many houses and streets in the U.S. are in need of a good cleaning.
Credit granted where it is due, I am discomforted by the prurient form of Puritanism implicit in the method O’Keefe and Giles chose to expose ACORN’s illness. Their sting starts with a young female sex worker trying to buy a home, before it lures the ACORN workers into the ugliness of underage sexual exploitation. My issue with O’Keefe and Giles is that they appear to believe that people engaged in the sex trade should not be able to have normal life dreams.
Life in the Sex Trade
Life circumstances lead some people to prostitution. In our culture, it is rarely a profession of choice. This is something our political class should be well aware of, given the large number of personally undertaken, hobby social science, in-depth probes they have engaged in over the years.
There are volumes of research on the various factors and dynamics that create the participants in the world’s oldest profession. In our culture, an experience of sexual abuse and economic vulnerability are common themes in the dynamic of becoming a prostitute.
Should being a sex worker be a barrier to living as other citizens live?
If a sex worker wants to buy a home, and she meets all of the relevant requirements for obtaining a mortgage, other than that she cannot state her profession on the mortgage application because her form of employ is illegal, what is she to do, other than lie? If that sex worker wants to do the proper thing as a citizen and pay her taxes as a self-employed person, what is she to do, other than lie?
The simple answer is that citizens who want to pay taxes and buy homes should not choose to live the lifestyle of a prostitute. This is the type of answer one expects from those who are ignorant of the dynamics that create prostitution, especially in the underage realm. For example, leaving is often not merely a personal decision and few pimps are as non-threatening as the one portrayed by James O’Keefe. Accordingly, it fits that such an answer would come from those who choose to disregard how the practice of their political philosophy enhances the conditions that create the sex trade.
In this regard, Ms. Giles words to Sean Hannity on how she conceived the project:
It’s amazing what girls think about when they are jogging. And that was just something that popped into my head. I had never seen an ACORN office, I really didn’t even know that they existed and I jogged into the wrong part of town, saw some homeless people and street ladies and I put two and two together when I turned around to get back into a safe neighborhood. And it’s like — what if these people went into ACORN — a prostitute and what would come from that? No bills, no nothing — would they get a house? Could they start a business? So we put it to the test.
It is telling that Giles was interested in whether or not ACORN would help a street lady buy a home and, apparently, not so interested in what caused the women to become street ladies. Then again, perhaps that’s simply a feature of rarely running into the “wrong part of town?” Regardless, Giles began her project with two targets, ACORN and street ladies who wanted to buy a home.
For O’Keefe and Giles, having to live with the danger, and adopt the stigma, attached to selling sexual services does not seem to be enough punishment. They appear to think there is something improper about a prostitute wanting to own a home, which, if she worked there, would also be a brothel. They seem unable to see that owning a home might serve as a base upon which to leave the sex trade. Thankfully, many ACORN employees are not afflicted by the anti-New Testament immorality that informs that type of thinking.
ACORN: The Bad and the Good
ACORN has problems at a variety of levels. It is reasonable to call for a proper audit of the organization, given their government funding. A good time for the audit might be immediately after a full accounting of every dollar of TARP funding is released to the public.
Notwithstanding ACORN’s many problems, it provides valuable community services. ACORN employees work to bring a better life to many citizens and many of these citizens reside in the underclass. Working with people in the underclass requires empathy for their circumstance and a pragmatic attitude that involves working with limited resources to bring about optimal results, which will necessarily be modest at best. To me, it is entirely appropriate for an ACORN accountant to bend a category to find a way for a sex worker to pay her taxes so she can buy a home. (Perhaps the idea of a citizen wanting to pay taxes is outside the worldview of the young Republican film makers?)
O’Keefe and Giles have done a community service by exposing rot in the structure of ACORN. Unfortunately, their methodology lacks the discipline of the precautionary principle. As a tool for the healing of the body politic, therefore, the methodology of O’Keefe and Giles is flawed, because they are willing to worsen the lives of sex workers to achieve their aim of disarming ACORN. Accordingly, the methodology of O’Keefe and Giles is unethical because it causes a wholly unnecessary amputation, where a good anti-biotic would have done the job. For this reason, I reject the pseudo-Puritanism implicit in their methodology for its lack of empathy and wisdom.
Filed under: Cost of Sexism, culture, domestic violence, feminism, Gender Equity, General, Human Rights, Media, Politics, sexism and misogyny | Tagged: ACORN, Big Government, child prostitution, Cotton Mather, Democratic Party, documentary, Fox News, Hannah Giles, illegal immigration, James O'Keefe, Obama, prostitution, Puritan, Puritanism, Republican Party, sting, US Congress, US Senate | 183 Comments »
While reading Dakinikat’s post on Geithner’s profanity-laced rant against Sheila Bair and Mary Shapiro I could not help but wonder how the dynamic would have been changed had either Bair or Shapiro been in Geithner‘s position and vice versa. This lead me to wonder if their gender might have influenced his performance tactic or if his control issues manifested themselves in a gender-neutral fashion. Then, having recently read a piece in Der Speigel on the Mosuo matriarchy, I wondered how differently the whole episode would be playing out, if the Mosuo matriarchy’s institutional structure was guiding their behavior.
At the outset, it is worth noting that the Mosuo matriarchy is only one of potentially myriad forms of matriarchy. This brief mainstream media-derived post should not be seen as claiming that all matriarchies would carry similar features based upon a specific essentialized version of human femaleness in its socially-dominant context.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Is Mosuo society a paradise for feminists?
Coler: I had expected to find an inverse patriarchy. But the life of the Mosuo has absolutely nothing to do with that. Women have a different way of dominating. When women rule, it’s part of their work. They like it when everything functions and the family is doing well. Amassing wealth or earning lots of money doesn’t cross their minds. Capital accumulation seems to be a male thing. It’s not for nothing that popular wisdom says that the difference between a man and a boy is the price of his toys.
Hmm. I think it fair to suggest the Mosuo’s take on the role of the Federal Reserve Bank, and Wall Street in general, would proceed along a vastly different tack then it did in the aforementioned meeting. Given the downplay of capital accumulation, how does this cash out in terms of social organization?
SPIEGEL ONLINE: What is life like for a man in a matriarchy?
Coler: Men live better where women are in charge: you are responsible for almost nothing, you work much less and you spend the whole day with your friends. You’re with a different woman every night. And on top of that, you can always live at your mother’s house. The woman serves the man and it happens in a society where she leads the way and has control of the money. In a patriarchy, we men work more — and every now and then we do the dishes. In the Mosuo’s pure form of matriarchy, you aren’t allowed to do that. Where a woman’s dominant position is secure, those kinds of archaic gender roles don’t have any meaning.
Filed under: Cost of Sexism, culture, domestic violence, Economy, feminism, financial bailout, Financial Meltdown of 2008, Gender Equity, General, sexism and misogyny, The Cost of Sexism | Tagged: capital accumulation, civility, family, feminism, gender division of labor, gender roles, marriage, Mary Shapiro, matriarchy, Mosuo matriarchy, Sheila Bair, Tim Geithner | 11 Comments »