I Would Like to Say Goodbye to Patriarchy

I would like to take the time to say goodbye to patriarchy.  I’d like to say goodbye to the idea that women are nothing but sexual playthings, something to be undressed, or something to be used to satisfy the male ego. I would like to put forward the idea that women are people too, somebody who, like another guy, you can pal around, not somebody to get drunk and take advantage of. I’d like to put forward that idea that we can talk to women and take what they have to say seriously. The idea that on some basic level, women are absolutely equal with men, and like the Constitution says, have the same inalienable rights.

Sadly, I cannot say any of that. Patriarchy shows no sign of going quietly into the night. Look at not only the anti-woman legislation coming from Republicans everywhere, legislation attacking women’s reproductive choices and health, but at comments about rape, about equal pay for equal work. Can we really expect people who think women’s bodies are magical to treat women like people? It was one thing for ancient peoples to be confused by the workings of the human body but in the 21st century, we know where babies come from.

At least, liberals do.

Why do Republicans cling to ideas that, like David Niose said, would have been out of date a century ago?

Look at Todd Akin and his rape comments. And he’s not alone or even the first. Imagine having somebody running as a major-party vice presidential candidate who thinks there is such a thing as  “forcible” rape? And we do. I think Abe Lincoln would have bitch-slapped Paul Ryan and felled him like a rotten tree.

But look at that charming smile.

Todd Akin had something to say about pay too, you know. He isn’t just interested in raping women’s bodies. He wants to rape them economically too.

He says businesses should be able to pay women less than men, showing that on a fundamental level Tood Akin misunderstands the principles upon which America was founded.

He defended voting against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act by saying,

Well, first of all, the premise of your question is that I’m making that particular distinction. I believe in free enterprise. I don’t think the government should be telling people what you pay and what you don’t pay. I think it’s about freedom. If someone what’s to hire somebody and they agree on a salary, that’s fine, however it wants to work. So, the government sticking its nose into all kinds of things has gotten us into huge trouble.

Coming from a politician belonging to a party that has also attacking restrictions on child labor, perhaps this attitude should not surprise us. After all, how successful can a wealthy Republican be if he can’t underpay and overwork the women and children? After all, if they’re not weak and malnourished enough he won’t be able to get to the lifeboats ahead of them when the ocean liner sinks.

Meanwhile, Forbes reported in May thatformer General Electric chairman and chief Jack Welch thinks women just aren’t working hard enough.”

Oh, that’s all it is. Men get paid more because they work harder? There you go ladies.

Forbes’ Jenn Goudreau was moved to say, “It should be no surprise to anyone breathing that performance matters. But by the way Welch framed this conversation, one would infer that he assumes women are just 3% of corporate CEOs, 7% of top earners, 14% of executive officers and 16% of board members because they’re slacking off.”

Women haven’t missed all this. They are as aware of what Republicans are saying – and doing – as they are of what President Obama is saying – and doing. They heard Obama when he said, “My administration will continue to fight for a woman’s right for equal pay for equal work.”

Ann Romney says she wants women to wake up, but I think women have woken up. What is this Republican message, that patriarchy is good for you? That it’s all for your own good, and by the way, yes, we insist?

After all, what business do women have working in the first place? They’re supposed to be at home,  pregnant and having babies and taking care of her man. What difference does it make that as CNN reported back in 2004, midway through Bush’s administration, that “according to the AFL-CIO, the average 25-year-old woman who works full-time, year-round until she retires at age 65 (if that’s when she’s able to retire) will earn $523,000 less than the average working man?”

It’s all because of the woman’s choices. Like rape, it’s all the woman’s fault.

Yeah, I don’t think we’re at patriarchy’s end, just yet. That same CNN article predicated equal pay not before 2050, leaving another couple of generations of women to work their fingers to the bone for less. Another Republican administration bent on imposing patriarchal values out of the Bible rather than Democratic values out of the U.S. Constitution will set women back even farther.

Lilly Ledbetter, in a special report to the CNN Election Center, wrote back in April that America has Romney’s answer on the question of equal pay for women: crickets. We’ll get back to you on that. Given a chance to embrace and engage America’s women, the Romney campaign acted like deer in headlights.

There is no doubt Romney would like women to vote for him. But Romney can’t appeal to women without enraging the patriarchal forces he so much depends upon, the voices of religious extremism and bigotry. He wants women to vote for him anyway, just because, I suppose, it’s a woman’s place to do what a man wants her to do.

I don’t call that much of a sales pitch. The simple fact is that in the America of 2012, the forces of patriarchy have coalesced in the Republican Party. It’s not to say there aren’t misogynists out there who are liberals or progressives, but as a party, as a politico-theological movement, the GOP has embraced the ancient idea that man is the master and woman should submit to him simply because that’s how God wants it.

You can’t reason with these people because they will tell you that you don’t negotiate with God. The only defense you have is to keep them out of power in the first place. And keep in the back of your mind the fact that the last time they were in a position of authority like that, they kept it for over sixteen hundred years.

I don’t know about you, but if they win, talk of equal pay in 2050 is hopelessly optimistic

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