Domination Culture’s Assault on Title IX
Why is Education Secretary Betsy DeVoss fighting against the interests of other women by weakening Title IX protections from sexual harassment and violence in schools, narrowing the standards used to determine what counts as a crime and making it more difficult for victims to come forward?
Some women accept the “patriarchal bargain” which bestows power and privilege in return for betraying their sisters. Others have unconsciously internalized patriarchy so that it simply seems natural and normal. Still others seek to advance domination culture because it richly rewards themselves, and patriarchy’s strong arm helps uphold that system.
Domination culture in the US today is marked by the interconnecting power and privilege of various groups, including men over women, white over people of color, straight over gay, cis over trans, Christian over non-Christian, and the rich over everyone else. It’s a pattern that closely cleaves to the far right of American politics. In contrast to a partnership society that supports widespread equality, this scheme facilitates submission to powerful interests as widespread domination comes to seem natural and normal.
Ms. DeVoss’ long record of supporting big-money lobbyists who work to advance wealthy interests suggests that her underlying goal may be less buoying patriarchy, in particular, than strengthening that broader system of domination that buttresses the rule of the rich.
Yet both patriarchs and the wealthy can find their aims backfiring on them in unexpected ways.
On the one hand, rape and rape culture may bolster a sense of male power and privilege over women’s minds and bodies. Getting away with sexual crime further sustains male privilege and reinforces the patriarchy. If DeVoss gets her way fewer women will report, fewer men will be punished and more women will be assaulted. In this downward spiral patriarchy will grow stronger.
But are men ultimately more benefited than harmed? Women who are raped are more likely to be turned off from sex, which does not benefit most men at all. More broadly, the women men love — their partners, their lovers, their daughters and sisters and mothers, and their friends — are wounded and traumatized.
In this system men may be winning. But are they happy? Fortunately many men understand this and have become partners in the fight for equality.
Meanwhile, pillaging the poor enlarges wealthy reserves beyond anything that could ever be spent. Yet the plunder can actually impair the rich. Look at any third world country and see moneyed elites trapped behind barbed wire compounds that are marooned within impoverished landscapes. When the people can find no money in their pockets sales and profits drop and economies collapse. And “peasants with pitchforks” (as the old saying goes) are not a welcome sight.
The rich may be winning. But are they happy? Again, fortunately many wealthy Americans see this, too, and are partners in leveling the playing field.
In the meantime, the Department of Education is still accepting public comment on the proposed changes (until January 28, 2019). Please make your voice heard!
Posted on January 21, 2019, in rape and sexual assault and tagged Betsy DeVoss, Department of Education, domination culture, rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, Title IX. Bookmark the permalink. 29 Comments.