Sarah Jones wrote yesterday about the GOP “mansplaining” to women that they should not care about equal pay. Hard as it is to believe, it gets worse. Patrice Lewis wrote over at World Net Daily the other day that surrendering control to her husband is what truly makes a woman free, and that the real oppressors of women are feminists, who want “to make their husbands submissive and subservient.”
So it’s okay to make a wife submissive and subservient, not a husband? Why doesn’t the husband feel equally liberated when the woman makes the decisions? Why, as Patrice Lewis claims, does it make life easier for the husband to be head of the household, and not the woman? Well, it turns out that because men and women are biologically different, and, well…gosh darn it, that’s just the way God wants it:
I like to think that God in His divine wisdom came up with the spiffy concept of a division of labor for the sake of efficiency. Divisions of labor are utilized over in the workplace to increase efficiency. Why not try it at home as well? Feminists call this oppression. Homemakers call it freeing.
According to Lewis’ scheme, she is the Heart of the household and her husband is the head. While both are important, she says, “someone has to have the final say in a house for peace and order to prevail, and that job goes to my husband.”
A wise Head takes advice and counsel from his Heart. My husband and I discuss all household decisions and mutually agree on nearly everything. But if there is a dissenting opinion between us, and unless I can demonstrate why my position is superior, then I defer to his guidance.
Oooh, sacrilege to the feminist cause. Feminists, presumably, must always have the last word, which I interpret as meaning feminists try to make their husbands submissive and subservient.
Like most Republicans, Lewis hasn’t been paying attention. What women are talking about is being treated equally, like people as fully human and fully realized as their male counterparts, equal before the law, receiving equal pay, and being treated in all respects as men expect to be treated in our society. It is not a basic premise of feminism that men are inferior to women and should be treated as submissive and subservient. But Lewis interprets the idea of women being given an equal voice as one that automatically makes men inferior.
To use her own words, her logic is shocking, appalling and outrageous. The answer is not either/or, it is both, because both are human beings and therefore deserving of the same respect and treatment. But the conservative mind seemingly cannot conceive of a world where women are not an inferior species, inferior physically and inferior mentally by being slaves to their emotions.
Look how difficult it has been for conservatives to grasp the fact that women like sex as much as men, let alone the fact that women object to the idea that a man has a right to run around putting babies in whatever womb he wants.
No one will deny that a woman’s physiology is different and that, for example, women will lack a man’s capacity for upper body strength. Men have testosterone that women lack, and women have estrogen. Simple fact. But that does not make women inferior to men. It makes them different in certain respects. It does not make them less human. It does not make them second class citizens by default.
As for intelligence, one study of 2,500 brothers and sisters found “a disproportionate number of men in both the stop 2 per cent and the bottom 2 per cent,” and that therefore “the male of the species is actually more intelligent – but he’s more stupid as well” (This explains a lot). Take that, Patrice Lewis.
But here’s the thing: the average scores of men and women were the same. The facts are that there have been studies that claimed men are smarter than women and other studies that show women are smarter than men. Pick your poison. At least one of the researchers who gives men the nod also says race determines intelligence, so you might want to take that into account when you consider his findings.
The real question here is why do intelligent, capable women frighten conservative men so much? Why do they surround themselves with the vacuous Barbie doll-types in short skirts and plunging necklines that populate Fox News? Why do they gravitate toward “faux” real women like Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin with their room temperature IQs? Because such women are not a threat to their position of privilege.
Women who want equal treatment, who want equal power, equal pay for equal work and equal respect, threaten that sense of privilege, just as other religion and no religion threaten the Christian sense of religious privilege they have so long enjoyed in our culture. And the two, as we so often see, are closely intertwined. After all, it even says in the New Testament that women should “know their role.” But then, hey, so should slaves and servants, and look how that barrier got overturned despite Paul’s defense of the slave-owning class.
Look, times change. It’s not the Bronze Age anymore. It’s not the Middle Ages. We live in the 21st century and women are no longer relegated to the kitchen, there to remain barefoot and pregnant according to the whims of her husband. Women can have careers too, if they want. The fact that some men (and women) don’t like this does not mean there is something wrong with the women who do want it; it means there is something wrong with those, who like Patrice Lewis, are so threatened by the specter of change.
But let’s be real here for a minute: without fear of change, the Republican Party would suddenly find itself without a platform.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.