Women’s Rights: Distracting, Shiny Objects?

With all the rightwing nuts running about, I must make a post mortem on the election and women’s rights. Which would be comical, if it weren’t scary. Ok, both.

Let’s start with Katherine Fenton, scolded for asking how the candidates would ensure equal pay for women in the second debate. All hell broke loose in Wingnut-Sphere where the “femanazi question” was deemed illegitimate and Fenton became the “Whore of Babylon” inciting “Twitter hate masturbation” as Amanda Marcotte over at Pandagon put it.

Nearly every Republican congress member knows better, having voted down the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

The loony right’s insensitivity to rape has been widely panned, but deserves a brief review. Representative John Koster cavalierly called it “The rape thing.” Mike Huckabee sees rape as an alternative baby delivery system and Paul Ryan minimizes rape by calling it a “method of conception.” In fact, Paul Ryan co-authored a bill with Todd Akin (victims of “legitimate rape” don’t get pregnant) to narrow the definition to “forcible rape.”  Richard Mourdock found forced pregnancy through rape “a gift from God” and told folks to “get over it.”

Feminist, Caroline Heldman wondered how pregnancy from rape could be a gift from God if raped women can’t get pregnant?

Meanwhile, Republicans voted time and again against contraception and abortion (even to save a woman’s life) even though contraception prevents abortion.

And if women die because they can’t get the procedure legally and safely, who cares, says Mississippi State Rep. Bubba Carpenter:

They’re like, “Well, the poor pitiful women that can’t afford to go out of state are just going to start doing them at home with a coat hanger.” That’s what we’ve heard over and over and over. But hey–you have to have moral values.

Laws that lead to women’s deaths are moral?

In other news most of the GOP refused to protect all women in the U.S. from domestic violence.

And, they pushed to block cancer screenings and HIV testing for underprivileged women.

Women’s rights just aren’t important says Eric Fehrnstrom, senior campaign adviser for Mitt Romney.  They’re just “shiny objects” that are used to distract voters from real issues as he explained to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos:

Mitt Romney is pro-life. He’ll govern as a pro-life president, but you’re going to see the Democrats use all sorts of shiny objects to distract people’s attention from the Obama performance on the economy.

First it’s women as objects. Now it’s women’s rights as objects.

These guys haven’t got a clue. And they lost, big time.

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on November 9, 2012, in feminism, gender, rape and sexual assault, reproductive rights, sexism, violence against women, women and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Dark cesspools of misogyny, those Republicans are.

  2. There were so many men in politics talking about rape in ways that were just… appalling. It’s clear they haven’t been very well informed. It’s scary that they are in positions of authority and that people do look to these men for this kind of information. After Mourdock said that rape is a gift from God, Mitt Romney continued to support him, saying that they have a difference of opinion, but that wouldn’t get in the way of his supporting Mourdock. It’s like, we just disagree about that one little rape thing, it’s not really a big deal, it doesn’t mean he’s not a stand-up guy.
    During the debates, news broadcasters were discussing how women voters were responding to the candidates performances, and the reporters were saying women found Obama’s demeanor to be “a turn-off,” and Romney’s to be a “turn-on.” Would they say that about men– that he found something in politics to be a turn-on or a turn-off? I’ve never heard anything like it; and it’s because we don’t look at men in the sexualized way that we do women. Women are sexualized even when it comes to voting and politics.
    Regardless of what happened in the election, we still live in a patriarchal society where misogynist behaviors are taken lightly. The fact that someone who wanted to take away essential women’s rights got 48% of the vote says a lot about our country.

  3. I’ve been thinking a lot about the “pro-life” position and how these men can be SO horrible. I accept that they genuinely believe abortion is murder and I guess if you believe that, you will honestly fight for laws that prevent women murdering. fair. but what I don’t understand is why this is true even where the life of the mother is at risk, or where the foetus is already dead inside her. In both cases, it seems to me that you can claim that abortion is murder all you like, but in reality you are forcing the mother to be punished, essentially, for falling pregnant. In both cases, it’s wholly likely the mother WANTED to keep the child until she miscarried or it was about to kill her, and it’s here that we see that these far-right moralists see women as nothing but baby-delivering vehicles/whores.
    I
    ‘m glad they lost.

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