Friday, February 17, 2012

Contraception issue brings out some truly ugly misogyny (updated)

I guess that when you fuel arguments like the one we're engaged in now about contraception, it should not be a surprise that it can bring really ugly misogyny out from under a rock. But I must admit to feeling a punch in the gut when I read this headline this morning at the Daily Caller: What are women for?

Of course I had to go take a look - at least on the off chance that perhaps the author was doing some metaphysical look at the purpose of humankind. But of course I knew better given the nature of the site on which its posted.

So yes, the author - James Poulos - is really asking the question about the utility of women. Of course, the next question that comes to any non-misogynist's mind is "utility to whom?" For the author who is obviously a man, the answer to that question must be a given because it never comes up. The result is that underlying the whole thing is that the question of women's utility to men must be an important question that we should all ponder deeply. I'm sure that next in the series will be questions like "What are Blacks for?" and "What are Jews for?" etc.

Mr. Poulos only makes the matter worse by embracing the medieval idea that to find the utility of women, one must focus only on their sexuality. That also comes as no surprise...the question itself is a launching pad to talk about abortion, contraception, homosexuality and women's sexual lives in general. So not only are we required to justify our utility to men in the first place, now the only part of our being under consideration is as sex objects. And yet, the author finds us wanting even in that realm.

Given all that, you might not be interested in Mr. Poulos' answer to the question about "what are women for?" But just in case you are even slightly curious, he does answer the question...finally.

To the growing discomfort of many, that framework hasn’t come anywhere close to answering even the most basic questions about what women are for — despite pretty much universal recognition across the political spectrum that a civilization of men, for men, and by men is no civilization at all, a monstrously barbaric, bloody, and brutal enterprise. A few inherently meaningful implications about what women are for flow naturally from this wise and enduring consensus, but no faction of conservatives or liberals has figured out how to fully grasp, translate, and reconcile them in the context of our political life.

In his view, the purpose of women is to somehow tame the "monstrously barbaric, bloody, and brutal enterprise" of maleness. Other than giving men a pass for their individual acts of brutality, this seems to me to be equally insulting to men. And given his views, one might want to ask Mr. Poulous what he thinks these "monstrously barbaric, bloody, and brutal" men are for. But of course that never occurs to him. Men are the default...the given in this equation.

I have to admit that after reading this I wondered if it was important enough to even write about. It appears as if Mr. Poulos is a neanderthal living in some by-gone day. But in some ways he's not. He's simply saying some things that the men who are making these arguments today keep under wraps. It's ugly stuff. And the more we bring it into the light, the more we'll see it as such.

Update: BooMan's reaction to the same article.

3 comments:

  1. Good grief, this campaign is turning over some rocks that have been sitting for a hell of a long time, with some mighty nasty old stuff under them.

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  2. Feb 17, 1600 Giordano Bruno is burned at the stake by the Roman Catholic church as an unrepentant heretic. His heresy? That the earth revolves around the sun, the sun is a star and that other earths (with humans) exist.

    Fr. Bruno was right. Pope Clement VII was wrong.

    Just another day in the life of Xtian Fundamentalists.

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  3. Have you ever read what Schopenhauer said about women? It's how the average guy thinks of women. We've gotten a little better. The rate of progress is depressing.

    Vic78

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