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Dispatch #54 Day 988 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny

Dispatch #54  July 22th 2019
Day 988 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny
Day 913 Post-Installation of White-Supremacist-Misogynist-Pussy-Grabbing-Self-Aggrandizing-Demagogic-Bully-Illegitimate-PeeeOTUS & his White-Nationalist-Fascistic-Christian-Supremacist-Quislings

Lacking the irony of Casablanca’s Captain Renault, we are just SHOCKED, SHOCKED that the PeeeOTUS is gleefully, and with full-throated uproar, weaponizing white nationalism, dehumanization of nonwhite others, and fascism as patriotism.

Really people?! After 900+ days since his installation – not to mention recent revelations about babies in cages and camps — how can there possibly be surprise and shock?! If we didn’t already understand the endgame, this is a heads-up about the 2020 campaign.

And somehow, despite numerous recitations about four women of color, 4 congresswomen of color, four first-term congresswomen, the outrage and denunciations are only about race and racism. WTF?! Can anyone spell M-I-S-O-G-Y-N-Y? NO we refuse to see it.

It is not incidental or accidental that it is four women of color who are fiercely acting and advocating for justice and equity. Four courageous women of color who are the target of white-supremacist-patriarchal rage. Can anyone say Misogyny? NO we refuse to name it.

The rally chant “send them back/send her back” is decried as so chilling and shocking as to be without precedent. Really?!? We apparently have amnesia about the vicious misogyny that stalked Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2016. “Lock her up” was the ubiquitous chant back then. Michael Flynn proclaimed HRC guilty of treason and noted that execution is appropriate for traitors. Huh, I guess we though that this vitriol was harmless….or perhaps what a woman who dared to run for President deserved.

Democrats have learned NOTHING from 2016. How else does one explain the ascent of Mayor Pete? Any white penis is preferable to a woman, even a gay one.

I have written so many dispatches about the consequences of ignoring/accommodating misogyny. Here are a few greatest hits.

Excerpt from May 8th 2018 39th Dispatch

The most egregious recent narrative premised the neat trick of ‘denying-misogyny-while-imposing-misogyny’ is of course the 2016 Presidential election. Despite the normalizing and fictional analyses that were spun immediately about Hillary’s failures as a candidate and the economic grievances of the working class, the fact remains that the majority of middle and upper income white men and women, including white evangelicals, preferred to vote for racist hate-mongering misogynist ignorant criminal con man, whose life reflects the singular purpose to enrich himself, rather than to vote for a woman. The media and the Democrats continue to regurgitate the lie about Hillary’s election loss, a warning and a threat to other ambitious women from those empowered by Misogyny.

Excerpt from March 18th 2018 38th Dispatch

And while we are on the subject of specious and demonizing working class narratives, we can remember how the misogynist-driven analysis that Hillary lost the [white] working class vote — and lost the 2016 Presidential election — relied on these narratives. ‘Hillary didn’t have a message for [white] working class voters who went instead for Trump’s message of hate and fear.’ Note the repeated normalized lie: working class voters instead of WHITE working class voters.

The New York Times continues its prominent role as the purveyor and normalizer of this fictional narrative. During the recent discussions about the House election in Pennsylvania, reporters constantly slipped in the assertion that Hillary lost the [white] working class vote, either as a predicate or a closing add-on comment to sentences. Drip, drip, drip, language that posits a LIE, but remains a favorite trope of the so-called white liberal establishment.

Ok, so let’s review ONE MORE TIME the voting distribution from the election:

November 2016 Results           Trump        Clinton
                          White Men         63%          32%
                          White Women    53%          43%
                           Black Men          13%         80%
                           Black Women      4%          94%
                           Hispanic Men      33%        62%
                         Hispanic Women   26%         68%

                    White (71% of voters)  58%      37%
                    Black (12% of voters)   8%        88%
                Hispanic & Asian (10%)   29%      65%

By economic class, Clinton won 53% of voters with annual incomes below $30,000 and 51% of voters with annual incomes between $30,000 to $49,999. While a majority of white Trump voters did not have college degrees, the annual incomes of these voters were $50,000 and above ranging to $250,000; definitely NOT working class.

Clinton lost the election for these reasons: (1) Voter Suppression aimed primarily at minority and low-income voters; (2) Misogyny because our rabidly and viciously misogynistic culture cannot allow a woman in the White House; (3) White Supremacy because our rabidly and viciously White Supremacist culture allows a loud and proud white supremacist in the White House; (4) Educated and/or middle and upper income white women did not vote for her; (5) Educated and/or middle and upper income white people and white Evangelicals voted for Trump.

In America, white married women cannot be counted on to support other women running for office. A body of research shows that marriage trumps sisterhood with one notable exception: black married women always seem able to value the larger social/structural issues. https://qz.com/1019349/for-the-2018-us-elections-candidates-shouldnt-rely-on-women-to-vote-for-other-women/; www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/sep/25/white-women-husbands-voting

Misogyny is powerful and pervasive. Researchers found that participants in leadership training never drew or described a leader as female. Researchers found that men and women were unable to hear/see or identify women as exhibiting leadership even when the women uttered the exact same words and/or displayed the exact same behaviors as the men. www.nytimes.com/2018/03/16/health/women-leadership-workplace.html

Excerpt from June 30th 2017 26th Dispatch

Post Script: Although I approvingly quote Krugman’s 6/30/2017 column, I must object that his column does make reference to the Trump-supporting white working class. Democrats and their allies/pundits constantly use this trope to justify ignoring the pivotal roles of White Supremacy, Misogyny and Voter Suppression. HOW MANY ANALYSES ARE NEEDED TO DISLODGE THIS IGNORANCE?! Wealthy and upperclass white men and white women along with Christian supremacists represent his base. Sigh…OK, dear reader, let’s review the evidence AGAIN:

Among white people without college degrees who voted for Trump, nearly 60 percent were in the top half of the income distribution earning more than $50,000 annually…one in five white Trump voters without a college degree had a household income over $100,000….the narrative that attributes Trump’s victory to a “coalition of mostly blue-collar white and working-class voters” just doesn’t square with 2016 election data…white non-Hispanic voters without college degrees making below the median household income made up only 25 percent of Trump voters…a far cry from the working-class-fueled victory many journalists have imagined. Lack of college degree does NOT equal working class….www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2017/06/05/its-time-to-bust-the-myth-most-trump-voters-were-not-working-class/?

“We live in a society of an imposed forgetfulness, a society that depends on public amnesia.” Angela Davis

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Dispatch #53 Day 956 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny

Dispatch #53 June 20th 2019
Day 956 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny
Day 881 Post-Installation of White-Supremacist-Misogynist-Pussy-Grabbing-Self-Aggrandizing-Demagogic-Bully-Illegitimate-PeeeOTUS & his White-Nationalist-Fascistic-Christian-Supremacist-Quislings

Toward the end of her powerfully elegaic new book, These Truths A History of the United States (2018 WW Norton & Co), Jill Lepore describes how the Republic Party in 1980 deliberately abandoned its decades of support for women’s rights (including the ERA, contraception/family planning, and abortion/choice) in order to catalyze an engaged base comprising Catholics and evangelical Christians, as well as white conservatives troubled by civil rights and anti-war activism and the relatively progressive Democratic domestic policies. Driven by seasoned political/PR consultants with money to burn, this ruthless political power grab – powered by conflating the ERA with communism, feminism with the destruction of traditional family and abortion with the murder of children — took just a few years. (See generally Chapter 15 Battle Lines)

We must unequivocally denounce and reject this patriarchal narrative that makes women’s bodies the battleground for power. We must call-out and shame-out this Misogyny Hiding in Plain Sight.

The uproar about Biden’s “flip-flop” for his decades of support for the Hyde Amendment reveals how women’s rights are so routinely degraded. Shock and dismay voiced by Democrats who have been fully complicit with the Republicans in weaponizing women’s bodies and are now, finally, being called out. A recent New York Times article – front page above the fold – lamented the loss of nuance in the abortion debates.

The nuance in how Americans like Ms. Smith-Holmes view abortion has largely fallen out of the noisy national dialogue about when women should be able to end their pregnancies. Complex questions — of medicine, morality, personal empowerment and the proper role of government — are often reduced to the kind of all-or-nothing propositions that are ever more common in the polarized politics of the Trump era.

In the Democratic Party, where politicians could once straddle the abortion divide by airing personal misgivings while also promoting supportive policies, holding a gradated view is no longer the norm. The debate on the left today is far less modulated than it was a decade ago when Barack Obama, then the party’s presidential nominee, spoke of how Americans wrestled with the issue in good faith, saying that “anybody who tries to deny the moral difficulties and gravity of the abortion issue, I think, is not paying attention. www.nytimes.com/2019/06/15/us/politics/abortion-debate-pennsylvania.html

So yeah, the language is enraging — personal empowerment!? And the discussion equally enraging – modulated debate!? Hey Obama, no denying here about the gravity of the abortion issue — a smoke screen for violating women’s human rights.

Women’s human rights/civil rights demand Reproductive Justice – the human right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, have children, not have children, and parent children in safe and sustainable communities. Thank you SisterSong!! www.sistersong.net/reproductive-justice

Let’s be clear that the mainstream media and politicians are characterizing as intolerant, unyielding and divisive the insistence that women’s human rights not be violated. Since America runs on institutionalized white supremacy and misogyny, that women’s human rights are less inviolate isn’t surprising. A friend of mine once observed, if men could get pregnant, then contraception and abortion would be sacraments.

We must demand that reproductive justice and women’s human rights dictate the terms for abortion discussions. No need for moral angst, religious handwringing or national debate. As the bumper sticker says, if you don’t believe in abortion, then don’t have one.

We must demand that misogyny-hiding-in-plain-sight terms – e.g., pro-life, pro-choice, anti-choice – be expunged and replaced by one term: reproductive justice. We must demand that religious beliefs and values cannot be weaponized to violate women’s human rights. No politicians can hold a gradated view on women’s human rights; such persons are responsible for the thousands of poor women whose health and well-being have been and continue to be sacrificed on the altar of the Hyde Amendment since 1976.

Audre Lorde exhorts us to be brave and bold: When I dare to be powerful – to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.

A recent Washington Post article titled “A decade ago these girls weren’t allowed to play lacrosse, now they inspire a reservation” recounts how native girls are seizing the opportunity to be brave and bold.

Joryan Adams paced near the locker room and underneath the championship banners hanging inside Salmon River High, none of which represented her girls’ lacrosse team. At 14 years old, she was among the youngest of the 29 Mohawk girls about to play in a state playoff game, yet she carried herself with a veteran’s maturity. She wore a black undershirt to steel her from the winds howling along the U.S.-Canada border and examined her stick, the one her father shortened with a saw blade to fit her hands and she keeps beside her bed on the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation every night. She stopped to listen to her coach’s pep talk.

“This is the most important part: You guys are starting to believe in yourselves, and you’re believing in everyone else,” said first-year coach Ron LaFrance, a former tribal chief who at one time didn’t believe girls in his tribe should be able to play the sport. “We’re more than just a bunch of girls from the rez …” LaFrance told them, and a few minutes later, the girls lifted their sticks for a chant before making the long walk to the field.

The Salmon River girls’ lacrosse team, in just its eighth year of existence, represents another breakthrough for women on the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation, where lacrosse has deep and sacred roots. The game was founded in this part of North America and has been treated by men for generations as a gift from the creator, a “medicine game” to lift their spirits. At one time, the Mohawks manufactured more than 90 percent of the world’s lacrosse sticks.

But women have been discouraged from playing the sport for generations, too, and only about a decade ago were girls’ youth leagues introduced on the reservation. A varsity program at Salmon River, which is about 10 miles from the reservation, has been budding ever since, empowering girls at a time when indigenous women across the country are facing an epidemic of violence.

On the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation, which is also known by its Mohawk name, Akwesasne, activists are scrambling to spread awareness of the issue, and lacrosse has played a key role in those efforts. The sport has helped redefine gender roles in many cases; more men are attending girls’ games and coaching teams of all levels, including at Salmon River. The game has not only been tied to a cultural resurgence for the Mohawk tribe but also has helped girls better understand their own power and identity amid the challenges and dangers they face.

Eighty-four percent of American Indian and Alaska Native women have endured physical, sexual or psychological violence in their lifetime, according to the National Institute of Justice. One in three has been raped or suffered a rape attempt, twice the national average, according to the Justice Department. The National Crime Information Center in 2016 reported 5,217 missing indigenous women, with only 116 cases logged in the Justice Department’s missing persons database. The epidemic has been attributed to a number of factors, including institutional racism and misogyny, lack of resources for tribal law enforcement and jurisdictional issues on reservation lands.

“In a sense, it’s still a healing game,” said Joryan’s mother, Shelby Adams. “To make you stronger, empower yourself. It lifts them up and makes them stronger as a person. If you’re living in a house where awful things are happening … the game can make it better, because it’s an outlet.” www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2019/06/17/decade-ago-these-girls-werent-allowed-play-lacrosse-now-they-inspire-reservation/

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Dispatch #52 Day 925 Post-Ascendency White Supremacy & Misogyny

Dispatch #52  May 20th 2019
Day 925 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny
Day 850 Post-Installation of White-Supremacist-Misogynist-Pussy-Grabbing-Self-Aggrandizing-Demagogic-Bully-Illegitimate-PeeeOTUS & his White-Nationalist-Fascistic-Christian-Supremacist-Quislings

I AM FED UP AND OUT-RAGED ABOUT THE TERM ‘CULTURE WAR’ BEING APPLIED TO THE WAR ON WOMEN.

I WANT TO SCREAM WHAT THE FUCK!!

So hey, would we describe White Supremacy as the Culture War? Racism measured by the likelihood of being killed by police officers after a traffic stop as the Culture War? Torture as justified by soul-less lawyers and psychiatrists-for-hire as the Culture War? HELL NO!! Human rights and civil rights are at stake, except apparently where women’s rights and humanity are being targeted.

What the hell do we mean by ‘extreme anti-abortion law?’ Mainstream media posture as brave and progressive when they denounce as ‘extreme’ the raft of state laws essentially outlawing abortions, as if ‘extreme’ distinguishes these laws from other ‘less extreme’ anti-abortion legislation. So is this new anti-abortion extremism supposed by make us fight to protect the existing Roe restrictions?!

ANY LAW RESTRICTING THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF WOMEN
TO CONTROL/OWN THEIR BODIES IS EXTREME!

That women are less than human and their human rights are not recognized and easily abridged is baked into the DNA of our patriarchal misogynistic society – so pervasive, so routine, and so matter of fact that we don’t even see the consequences.

For decades, mealy-mouthed cowardly Democratic politicians — unreformed misogynists willing to pander for power – have routinely accepted and supported this chipping away at women’s human rights. Joe Biden’s steadfast support for the 1976 Hyde Amendment showing he is A-OK with treating poor women as less than human is but one example. And, oh yeah, more than 30 years later, our much-heralded President Obama dismissed this ongoing Hyde Amendment atrocity as mere tradition and abortion access as a distraction during the fight to pass the Affordable Care Act. (In case memory fails, Hyde Amendment is the legislative rider that has barred the use of federal insurance programs from paying for abortion, making reproductive health care inaccessible to poor women since 1976.)

I am frankly tired of hearing about gay marriage as an important milestone, or the importance of emphasizing trans rights, or the battle over bathrooms while the insidious characteristics and consequences of institutionalized misogyny are brushed aside.

In her recent New York Times article entitled “We Prosecute Murder Without the Victim’s Help. Why Not Domestic Violence?” Rachel Louise Snyder discusses why domestic violence cases are infrequently prosecuted and highlights the work of a few diligent prosecutors who have overcome the judicial barriers.

In other words, “the barrier to evidence-based prosecution is not about evidence,” as Mr. Gwinn told me not long ago. It never really was. It’s about the kind of violence that is deemed worthy of state attention — like school shootings — and the kind that isn’t, like intimate partner violence. It’s about how we understand, or more often fail to understand, the intersections between family violence and nearly every other social issue we face in this country — homelessness, poverty, mental health, gender equality and yes, mass shootings.

“It’s not about the viability of winning these cases,” Mr. Gwinn said. “It’s about cultural norms and values. And at the heart of it is a stunning amount of misogyny.” www.nytimes.com/2019/05/04/opinion/sunday/domestic-violence-recanting-crawford.html

Winner of the prestigious J. Anthony Lukas Work-In-Progress Award, Ms. Snyder’s just published book, No Visible Bruises What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us, is reviewed by Parul Sehgal in her New York Times article “An Extraordinary New Book Dismantles the Myths That Surround Domestic Violence.” Sehgal begins her review with Between 2000 and 2006, 3,200 American soldiers were killed in combat. During that same period, in the United States, more than three times as many women died at the hands of their husbands and boyfriends. Sehgal references the 2017 CDC report that 55% of female homicide victims are the result of intimate partner violence representing an increase from a 2007 CDC report that 40% of female homicides result from intimate partner violence. www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/66/wr/mm6628a1.htm?s_cid=mm6628a1_w Sehgal notes that domestic violence initiatives, after all, are fairly new in this country; until the 1990s, we had more animal shelters than women’s shelters. She describes how Snyder takes the reader through history — how the O.J. Simpson trial and passage of the Violence Against Women Act, in 1994, transformed the understanding of domestic violence — and up to the series of steps that can save women’s lives today. www.nytimes.com/2019/05/07/books/review-no-visible-bruises-domestic-violence-rachel-louise-snyder.html

In her recent article in New York Magazine entitled “Our Fury Over Abortion Was Dismissed for Decades As Hysterical” Rebecca Traister rages with gusto about her rage:

I have been thinking, like so many people this week, about rage. Who I’m mad at, what that anger’s good for, how what makes me maddest is the way the madness has long gone unrespected, even by those who have relied on it for their gains.

For as long as I have been a cogent adult, and actually before that, I have watched people devote their lives, their furious energies, to fighting against the steady, merciless, punitive erosion of reproductive rights. And I have watched as politicians — not just on the right, but members of my own party — and the writers and pundits who cover them, treat reproductive rights and justice advocates as if they were fantasists enacting dystopian fiction…..

First, never again let anyone tell you that the fury or determination to fight on this account is invalid, inappropriate, or inconvenient to a broader message. Consider that this is also what women and marginalized people are told all the time about their anger in general: that they should not express it, not let it out, because to give voice to their rage will distract from their aims, undermine them; that it will ultimately be bad for them. This messaging is strategic. It is designed to get angry people to keep their mouths shut. Because if they are successfully stifled, they will remain at the margins, isolated, alone in their fury. It is only if they start letting it out and acting on it and working in tandem with others who share their outrage that they might begin to form networks, coalitions, the building blocks of movements; it is when the anger is let loose that the organizing happens in earnest….

The fights on the ground might be the most current and urgent in human terms, but there is also energy to be put into policy fights. In 2015, California Congresswoman Barbara Lee authored the EACH Woman Act, the first serious congressional challenge to the Hyde Amendment, which came after years of agitation and activism, especially by All Above All, a grassroots organization led by women of color and determined to make abortion accessible to everyone. Those who are looking for policy fights to lean into can call and write your representatives and candidates and demand that they support the EACH Woman Act.

Rage works. It takes time and numbers and a willingness to express it, but it is among the most reliable catalysts of social and political change. That’s the story of how grassroots activism can compel Barbara Lee to compel her caucus to take on Hyde. Her willingness to tackle it, and the righteous outrage of those who are driven to end the harm it does to poor women and women of color, in turn helped to compel Hillary Clinton—who’d stated her opposition to Hyde during her 08 presidential effort—to make that opposition central to her 2016 primary campaign; opposition to Hyde is now — for the first time since passage in 1976 — a part of the Democratic Party’s platform.

Above all, do not let defeat or despair take you, and do not let anyone tell you that your anger is misplaced or silly or in vain, or that it is anything other than urgent and motivating. It may be terrifying — it is terrifying. But this — the fury and the fight it must fuel — is going to last the rest of our lives and we must get comfortable using our rage as central to the work ahead. www.thecut.com/2019/05/how-extreme-abortion-bans-in-alabama-and-georgia-happened.html

“You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all the time.” Angela Davis
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Dispatch #51 Day 906 Post-Ascendency White Supremacy & Misogyny

Dispatch #51   May 1st 2019
Day 906 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny
Day 831 Post-Installation of White-Supremacist-Misogynist-Pussy-Grabbing-Self-Aggrandizing-Demagogic-Bully-Illegitimate-PeeeOTUS & his White-Nationalist-Fascistic-Christian-Supremacist-Quislings

On this May Day, I am thinking about Ms. Fannie Lou Hamer. Reflecting on her unflinching courage and fierce determination to dismantle white supremacy. Considering her commitment to justice in the face of vicious racism, brutal personal attacks, and indifference of so-called white allies in the 1960s. A true super-heroine, Ms. Fannie Lou Hamer battled and survived — for a time — the precariousness of living while black in America.

One of her well-known quotes “Nobody’s free until everybody’s free” seems particularly apt on May Day aka International Workers Day.

Although the significance of May Day has been intentionally coopted by the American Labor Day holiday, working men and women in the late 19th and early 20th century rallied and organized for justice against a pitiless and powerful oppressor – rapacious industrial global capitalism. This structural oppression ensures the accretion of power and money to a few elites by promoting hatred and bigotry among the oppressed. We see today across Europe and the US the toxic waste/wake of post-industrial global capitalism: decimated communities are encouraged to hate and fear/blame “the other” instead of the monied elite class for their economic peonage.

This strategy of divide and defeat by pitting oppressed groups of people against each other depends upon the pervasiveness of structural oppressions by race, gender and class; as a result, the only way to feel “free” is to feel that someone “other” is below you. Clueless pundits, politicians and journalists exclaim in disbelief at the success of demagogues in so-called western liberal democracies – failing to see how fear and hate can be so easily be inflamed by scoundrels seeking power during times of socioeconomic distress and disruption.

Ella Baker, recognized as one of the most important African American leaders of the 20th century and well-known not only for her critiques of racism in American culture, but also for her critiques of sexism and classism within the civil rights movement, mentored movement leaders and activists with this guidance: “One of the things that has to be faced in the process of waiting to change the system, how much we have to do to find out who we are, where we have come from and where we are going. In order to see where we are going, we not only must remember where we have been, but we must understand where we have been.”

Angela Davis incisively and instructively diagnoses: “We live in a society of an imposed forgetfulness, a society that depends on public amnesia.”

In little more than two years, we have forgotten what happened in 2016 Presidential election – a race characterized by fomenting fear and violence, brazen continual lying, trumpeting white supremacy, degrading black and brown people, proudly owning misogynist behaviors; and accompanied by the mainstream press manufacturing equivalence between the crook-conman-thug-TV-personality-narcissist-candidate and the white-woman-mainstream-democrat-experienced-qualified-candidate. And oh yeah, we have forgotten the targeted voter suppression (wait, who were those targeted voters?).

Now, incredibly, instead of damning/calling out the Republican approach to immigration as nationalistic and white supremacist, many mainstream Democrats have apparently decided to claim that they also care about “immigration problem at the border.” Where/ who are political leaders with the courage of Fannie Lou Hamer, the wisdom of Ella Baker, and the boldness of Angela Davis!? This utterly despicable administration with its republican quislings have used barbaric tactics that violate every human rights norm to create a disastrous situation for the purpose of distracting attention from economic inequities thriving under post-industrial capitalism. No courage, no wisdom, no boldness…

This amnesia and ignorance by choice contributes to the ongoing malevolent dominance of 21st century post-industrial capitalism in America. Pundits, politicians, big money, and media folks are enthralled with the latest crop of white men – the old jovial one, the older crabby one, the young gay cool one, the middle-aged-reformed-bad-boy-cute-clueless one… Oh yeah, latest white male to throw his hat in the Presidential ring claims: “if we just can get rid of evil rude orange-haired one, then we can return to good polite bipartisan politics!”

The change we need is not about getting rid of Donald Trump, it is about getting rid of what helped Donald Trump get elected — who we are, where we have been, where we have come from. He will be elected again if we ignore this truth.

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Dispatch #50 Day 811 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny

Dispatch #50   January 26th 2019
Day 811 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny
Day 736 Post-Installation of White-Supremacist-Misogynist-Pussy-Grabbing-Self-Aggrandizing-Demagogic-Bully-Illegitimate-PeeeOTUS & his White-Nationalist-Fascistic-Christian-Supremacist-Quislings

 

Toward the end of her powerfully elegaic new book, These Truths A History of the United States (2018 WW Norton & Co), Jill Lepore describes how the Republic Party in 1980 abandoned its decades of support for women’s rights. When asked about his reversal of previous support for the ERA and for family planning/abortion as he became Reagan’s running mate in 1980, George H W Bush waved the question aside saying “I’m not going to get nickel-and-dimed to death with detail.”

Yeah…uh-huh…weaponizing control over women’s bodies is just a detail in the battle for power in the White Supremacist Patriarchy. We women are less than human, part of the flora and fauna, important sources of sustenance both physical and emotional, producers of the next generations. We are seen as bystanders and never participants in making history and telling history.

 

What kind of history is written when a woman is the storyteller? Sarah Smarsh has written a powerful memoir titled HEARTLAND A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth (Scribner 2018). In her review titled “She Grew Up Poor on a Kansas Farm. Her Memoir Is an Attempt to Understand Why.” published in The New York Times, Francesca Mari offers this assessment:

Smarsh escaped poverty, she believes, because, unlike her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, she didn’t become a teenage mom. In part, she says, this was because she was among the first generation of her family to have at least one constant home, dating to when her maternal grandmother, Betty, married her seventh husband, Arnie. (By contrast, Smarsh’s mom, Jeannie, moved 48 times before starting high school.) Such is the reality of poverty. The memoir flickers to life at that home, a humble farmhouse on 160 acres of wheat fields outside Wichita.

With an abundance of land and an under-abundance of cash, Arnie gleefully invents new forms of entertainment. One weekend he loads family and their sloshing solo cups into a tattered canoe, hitches it to his truck and rips through the snowy fields. Through the stories of Smarsh’s witty but withholding mother, her tender but luckless father, her generous step-grandfather and hazardously vivacious grandmother, Smarsh shows how the poor seldom have the vantage to identify the systemic forces suppressing them. Rather, they make do.

From the farm, the book circumambulates several major themes: body, land, shame. Smarsh describes the toll of labor on those who have no choice but to do it — a work force priced out of health insurance by its privatization. Neighbors are maimed by combines and the author’s father nearly dies from chemical poisoning a week into a job transporting used cleaning solvent. Women absorb their husbands’ frustrations, blow by blow. Meanwhile, big agribusinesses strangle the region’s family farms, leaving behind a brackish residue of shame — the shame of being poor and white.

“Poor whiteness,” Smarsh writes, “is a peculiar offense in that society imbues whiteness with power — not just by making it the racial norm next to which the rest are ‘others’ but by using it as a shorthand for economic stability.”

Smarsh is an invaluable guide to flyover country, worth 20 abstract-noun-espousing op-ed columnists. She was raised by those who voted against their own interests. “People on welfare were presumed ‘lazy,’ and for us there was no more hurtful word,” she writes. “Within that framework, financially comfortable liberals may rest assured that their fortunes result from personal merit while generously insisting they be taxed to help the ‘needy.’ Impoverished people, then, must do one of two things: Concede personal failure and vote for the party more inclined to assist them, or vote for the other party, whose rhetoric conveys hope that the labor of their lives is what will compensate them.”

A deeply humane memoir with crackles of clarifying insight, “Heartland” is one of a growing number of important works — including Matthew Desmond’s “Evicted” and Amy Goldstein’s “Janesville” — that together merit their own section in nonfiction aisles across the country: America’s postindustrial decline. Or, perhaps, simply: class. It’s a term that Smarsh argues wasn’t mentioned during her childhood in the 1980s and ’90s. “This lack of acknowledgment at once invalidated what we were experiencing and shamed us if we tried to express it.”   www.nytimes.com/2018/09/10/books/review/sarah-smarsh-heartland.html

 

In 2016 JD Vance’s publishing debut, Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis (Harper), was lauded by both sides of the political divide as presenting a compassionate but tough love assessment of poor white people. In her review of this book titled “In ‘Hillbilly Elegy,’ a Tough Love Analysis of the Poor Who Back Trump,” Jennifer Senior notes that Vance, while acknowledging the impact of economic insecurity, believes the hillbilly culture that promotes an expectation of insurmountable adversity also promotes resentment and a belief that working hard will not ever improve one’s lot. Vance, a conservative, holds his hillbilly kin largely responsible for their misfortunes.  www.nytimes.com/2016/08/11/books/review-in-hillbilly-elegy-a-compassionate-analysis-of-the-poor-who-love-trump.html

 

The distance in perspective between Vance and Smarsh is measured by their gender. Yeah, getting pregnant while being poor makes it just about impossible to “pull yourself up.” How a woman experiences, describes, and understands the impact of poverty and class provides a critical corrective to Vance’s inclination to prescribe personal responsibility as the appropriate approach for overcoming structural inequities. Notwithstanding his self-proclaimed hillbilly culture heritage, Vance’s status as a straight white male provides a certain advantage in responding to the “pull yourself up” exhortation. Conservatives predictably praised the book while liberal and mainstream commentary spoke of important insights into the (white male) working class experience.

 

That women have always been warriors for social justice and community good, and not just for the advancement of the individual, is a history untold and unheralded in America. A just published book by Jessica Wilkerson titled To Live Here, You Have To Fight: How Women Led Appalachian Movements for Social Justice (2019 Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois) examines the social justice brand of feminism that animated Appalachian women in the 1970s. An excerpt titled “The Appalachian Women’s Rights Organization and the Lost Promises of Feminism” provides an overview:

“One woman alone can’t do anything,” activist Eula Hall declared at the inaugural meeting of the Appalachian Women’s Rights Organization. The group had met for the first time at the Mud Creek Clinic in Floyd County, in February 1975….To several of the supporters in attendance, a women’s movement made complete sense given the history of women’s activism in Appalachia. They reminded each other that women in the Mountain South had often been the strongest, most dependable fighters in times of crisis, and the women’s rights meeting marked a moment to consider what women as a group needed to thrive….women were “the most powerful” at “rallies, picketing, and everything else.” During her eight years of community work, declared Sue Fields, a community organizer in southwest Virginia, “It was the women that got things done.” For the past decade, Appalachian women had led numerous social justice efforts, from welfare rights campaigns and women’s self-care meetings to civil disobedience actions to draw attention to poor conditions in the coalfields. The new organization would build on that energy but bring a new gender-consciousness to their analysis of power in the coalfields.

The AWRO members identified two areas that they believed most important to organizing for women’s rights: gender violence and economic hardship. Too many women simply did not have access to decent, well-paying jobs, and the employment most often available to them—so-called “unskilled” labor—paid too little to support a family. With the tightening of social welfare programs, many women in Appalachia saw few routes to economic stability. Those economic concerns entangled with gender violence in the home….the intersection between poverty, a failing economy, and domestic violence could lead to tragic outcomes. “The job situation in Appalachia is bad. Men get disabled young. Tension builds up at home. Beating begins on the wife and often children . . . the whole thing comes down on the women.”

The Appalachian Women’s Rights Organization was a part of a surge of welfare rights activists and their allies who sought to influence emerging feminist policies, especially as related to welfare, work programs, and economic security…..Appalachian feminists took a holistic view, arguing for structural changes that would manifest in support of working-class communities. No single approach could solve their problems. They wanted access to well-paying, union jobs, but they also called for robust state support for those who cared for children and other dependent family members

In this way, they looked more like the “social justice feminists” who were active between the 1930s and 1960s than they did second-wave feminists. As stated by Mary Anderson, appointed the first director of the Women’s Bureau in the 1920s, a feminism that focused on “doctrinaire equality” without “social justice” would fail to improve the majority of working women’s lives. Anderson and others like her were opposed to “equal rights feminism,” which focused on equality between women and men but failed to address the ways that race and class also structured women’s lives. Their conceptions of feminism promoted an expansive social safety net, a robust labor movement, and the valuing of women’s labor in the market and the home. Moreover, like the social justice feminists before them, feminists in Appalachia built on the ideological frameworks of antipoverty, labor, and civil rights movements.

Not surprisingly, the AWRO calls for structural change and redistribution of economic power as well as demands that feminists grapple with intersections of gender and class were sidelined by a narrow focus on improved employment opportunities for women and efforts to address domestic violence.

The AWRO and feminists in Appalachia ultimately turned their attention to the one area of feminist policy where they might make economic gains: access to higher paying jobs in male-dominated industry. They began mobilizing for an end to employment discrimination, especially in the coal mines. Over the next several years, they realized success in legal challenges and in breaking down barriers in workplaces. In making this shift they muted their previous indictments of the mining industry, as well as their commitments to a guaranteed income and rights for caregivers. A woman donning coalminer’s garb became the new, iconic image of the Appalachian feminist. https://pictorial.jezebel.com/the-appalachian-women-s-rights-organization-and-the-los-1831992914

 

In her 1989 Yale Journal of Feminism and Law article, titled Hard Labor: Voices of Women from the Appalachian Coalfields, Marat Moore recounts and salutes the history of these women coal miners:

Like their foremothers, women miners in the 1970’s were motivated almost solely by financial need. But Appalachian women entered the mines with a determination and resilience that reflected generations of social and economic struggle. Coal miners had battled for union recognition in the early twentieth century, and their wives often entered as full partners into that desperate struggle. When their daughters and granddaughters crossed the mine portal, they were bolstered by those survival skills. Yale Journal of Law & Feminism: Vol. 2 : Iss. 2 Article 2.
https://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/yjlf/vol2/iss2/2

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Dispatch #49 Day 803 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny

Dispatch #49    January 18th 2019
Day 803 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny
Day 728 Post-Installation of White-Supremacist-Misogynist-Pussy-Grabbing-Self-Aggrandizing-Demagogic-Bully-Illegitimate-PeeeOTUS & his White-Nationalist-Fascistic-Christian-Supremacist-Quislings

 

We see a new term emerging around the unspoken Misogyny that shapes US electoral politics – “likeability.” While rightly (and righteously) greeted with criticism by social and mainstream media, these criticisms foundered on parsing the application of likeability to women candidates.  I propose a simpler approach: The Vagina Question. If you have one, then you are fucked figuratively and often literally. You understand that your presence in the public space reserved for men is dangerous — consider yourself forewarned.

OUCH! you might be thinking, isn’t that way too harsh?! To quote Joan Rivers, who knew a lot about battling misogyny, “OH GROW UP!”  

In her recent column in The Nation titled “The End of Likability Politics,” Katha Pollitt offers a disdainful assessment of likability with a lighter touch:

Because what is likability if not a deference to men—with a self-deprecating smile? A likable woman doesn’t talk too loud or too much. She doesn’t take up too much space, isn’t too sexy or too dowdy, and gracefully eludes confrontation. In short, she doesn’t demand anything that men would rather keep for themselves, be it political power or sexual autonomy or the right to be safe after having a couple of drinks. A likable woman doesn’t challenge women, either, by reminding them of the compromises they’ve made and the edges they’ve trimmed off their personalities.  Women dancing, women cursing, women running for president, women not apologizing—what is the world coming to? After carefully managing their appearance and behavior for so long, left, liberal, and even not-so-liberal women are full of piss and vinegar and rage. They give no fucks because they have no fucks left to give. “Himpathy”—philosopher Kate Manne’s marvelous coinage to describe the tendency of both sexes to feel sorry for awful men—is no longer the automatic response. www.thenation.com/article/aoc-tlaib-warren-womens-march/

Pollitt’s tone recalls this exasperated comment by Jeannette Rankin first woman elected to Congress in 1916 as Montana’s representative:

The individual woman is required . . . a thousand times a day to choose either to accept her appointed role and thereby rescue her good disposition out of the wreckage of her self-respect, or else follow an independent line of behavior and rescue her self-respect out of the wreckage of her good disposition.

 

Tragically, the ascendency of fierce, and perhaps out-raging, women in Congress comes at a deliberately developed time of great danger for women’s rights. The New York Times just published a gut-wrenching series reporting on how a substantial majority of states are treating a fetus as a person, and a woman as less of one. Read on and be very out-raged:

You might be surprised to learn that in the United States a woman coping with the heartbreak of losing her pregnancy might also find herself facing jail time. Say she got in a car accident in New York or gave birth to a stillborn in Indiana: In such cases, women have been charged with manslaughter.

In fact, a fetus need not die for the state to charge a pregnant woman with a crime. Women who fell down the stairs, who ate a poppy seed bagel and failed a drug test or who took legal drugs during pregnancy — drugs prescribed by their doctors — all have been accused of endangering their children.

Such cases are rare. There have been several hundred of them since the Supreme Court issued its decision ratifying abortion rights in Roe v. Wade, in 1973. But they illuminate a deep shift in American society, away from a centuries-long tradition in Western law and toward the embrace of a relatively new concept: that a fetus in the womb has the same rights as a fully formed person.

This idea has now worked its way into federal and state regulations and the thinking of police officers and prosecutors. As it has done so, it’s begun not only to extend rights to clusters of cells that have not yet developed into viable human beings, but also to erode the existing rights of a particular class of people — women. Women who are pregnant have found themselves stripped of the right to consent to surgery, the right to receive treatment for a medical condition and even something as basic as the freedom to hold a baby in the moments after birth.

How the idea of fetal rights gained currency is a story of social reaction — to the Roe decision and, more broadly, to a perceived new permissiveness in the 1970s — combined with a determined, sophisticated campaign by the anti-abortion movement to affirm the notion of fetal personhood in law and to degrade Roe’s protections.

Political ambition has also played a powerful role. Out of concern for individual freedom, the Republican Party once treated abortion as a private matter. When Ronald Reagan was governor of California, he signed one of the most liberal abortion laws in the land, in 1967. As late as 1972, a Gallup poll found that 68 percent of Republicans thought that the decision to have an abortion should be made solely by a woman and her doctor.

But after Roe, a handful of Republican strategists recognized in abortion an explosively emotional issue that could motivate evangelical voters and divide Democrats. The creation of the legal scaffolding for the idea that the fetus is a person has been the steady work of the anti-abortion movement, at the national level and in every state. Today, at least 38 states and the federal government have so-called fetal homicide laws, which treat the fetus as a potential crime victim separate and apart from the woman who carries it.

The movement has pressed for dozens of other measures to at least implicitly affirm the idea that a fetus is a person, such as laws to issue birth certificates for stillborn fetuses or deny pregnant women the freedom to make end-of-life decisions for themselves. Some of these laws are also intended to create a basis for challenging and eventually overturning Roe.

In the hands of zealous prosecutors, cautious doctors and litigious attorneys, these laws are creating a system of social control that polices pregnancy, as the editorials in this series show. Because of the newly fortified conservative majority on the Supreme Court, such laws are likely to multiply — and the control to become more pervasive — whether or not Roe is overturned. www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/12/28/opinion/pregnancy-women-pro-life-abortion.html

 

The eight-part series is damning and reads like the worst version of The Handmaiden’s Tale with the viciousness of Misogyny toxically twisted by White Supremacy. Yeah you guessed it: the dangers posed by black women having children provides a key tool in the dehumanization of pregnant women, i.e., she becomes only the vessel for another more important life. Crimes include:

Fetal assault Depraved heart murder Delivery of a controlled substance Chemical endangerment of a fetus Manslaughter Second-degree murder Feticide Child abuse Reckless injury to a child Concealing a birth Concealing a death Abuse of a corpse Neglect of a minor Attempted procurement of a miscarriage Reckless homicide.

 

The US War on Women represents weaponized Misogyny; aggressive armament began in the mid-1960’s and escalated in the 1980’s. Patriarchal backlash that smeared and sneered feminists as man-hating lesbians and trumpeted women leaning in could have it all disdained women’s rights as identity politics. Poor women and disproportionately poor women of color suffered unheard and unseen.

 

In April 2012, People for the American Way released The War on Women with this introduction:

In February 2012 the state of Texas decided to cut off reproductive and preventative health services to 130,000 low-income women. The staggering move caps what has been an escalating war on women’s health in state legislatures and in the U.S. Capitol since Tea Party-backed Republican majorities took control of the U.S. House and the majority of statehouses and took a determined minority in the U.S. Senate. While anti-woman rhetoric has been a mainstay of right-wing politics for decades, in the past two years that rhetoric has been turned into a record number of laws – and hurt a record number of women.

One year ago, People For the American Way issued a report on the unprecedented barrage of antichoice bills being unleashed by newly empowered state legislatures. In the year since, perhaps sensing that their window of opportunity might be drawing to a close, far-right national and state lawmakers, in coordination with Religious Right activists, have expanded their attacks. They are targeting not just abortion rights, but also access to birth control and preventative care, as well as contemporary views of women’s roles in the workplace, the family and the halls of power. www.pfaw.org/report/the-war-on-women/

 

A November 7, 2018 New York Times article titled “With Republican Gains in Senate, Social Conservatives Tighten Their Grip” reported that:

Republican victories in crucial Senate and governors’ races this week have tightened social conservatives’ grip across American government, strengthening the party’s power as it seeks to limit abortion rights and push harder to the right on a number of divisive cultural issues.

Even as Democrats captured the House and promised to act as a check on President Trump and Republican policy priorities, conservatives were breathing a deep sigh of relief on Wednesday after strengthening their majority in the Senate.

From the South to Appalachia to the Great Plains, high turnout among evangelical Christians translated into wins for social and religious conservatives as well as anti-abortion ballot measures, demonstrating the potency of a different kind of culture war issue in the midterm elections — one that had nothing to do with immigration or caravans or the politics of grievance and revenge that President Trump campaigned on so aggressively.

In Iowa, voters re-elected a governor who signed a bill this year that sought to ban abortion after a fetal heartbeat could be detected — a move intended to provoke a legal challenge to Roe at the Supreme Court. (A federal court later put the law on hold.) The newly elected Republican governors in Florida and Ohio are opponents of abortion rights and defeated candidates who supported protecting Roe.

In West Virginia and Alabama, voters approved ballot initiatives that would essentially ban abortion, and one that even gives rights to a fetus, in the event that a new constitutional challenge to Roe succeeds at the Supreme Court — an outcome that activists on both sides of the debate believe is possible since the confirmation of Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh tilted the court decidedly to the right. www.nytimes.com/2018/11/07/us/politics/conservatives-senate-judges-abortion.html

 

In her November 11 2018 article in Marketwatch titled “Both sides of abortion debate are calling midterm elections a victory” Kari Paul notes that in addition to West Virginia and Alabama:

Four other states in the U.S. — Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, and South Dakota — have similar so-called trigger laws that automatically ban the procedure in the state if Roe v. Wade is overturned. The Alabama amendment will also prevent state funding from being used for abortion-related health costs, even in the case of rape or when the life of the pregnant woman in question is in danger. West Virginia passed a similar constitutional amendment that said “nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of abortion.” The amendment is expected to clear the way for ending Medicaid funding of abortions in the state. West Virginia and Alabama are currently two of 17 states in the U.S. that allow Medicaid funds to pay for abortions. In 2017, West Virginia’s Medicaid program paid $326,103 for 1,560 medically necessary abortions for low-income women, according to the Associated Press.

The most common reason women seek abortions is being unable to financially support a child, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health research think tank based in Washington, D.C. Women who are unable to obtain abortions are four times more likely to end up in poverty. www.marketwatch.com/story/heres-what-the-midterm-elections-mean-for-abortion-laws-2018-11-07?mod=hp_minor_pos19

 

The War on Women wields many weapons to oppress women that vary by class and color; this dynamic moderates whether and how women can survive Misogyny and Patriarchal rules of engagement.  Poor women remain trapped in poverty, go to prison, see their children die or taken away, live with violence and abuse;  more privileged women must battle other constraints not so obviously deadly to the soul.

 

Patricia Wald, a path-breaking federal judge who became chief of what is considered nation’s second-highest court, recently died at 90. Wald was the first woman to serve on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, widely considered the most important bench in the country after the U.S. Supreme Court. As a young lawyer, she won cases that broadened protections for society’s most vulnerable, including indigent women and children with special needs.  In retirement, she was a member of the United Nations tribunal for war crimes and genocide in the former Yugoslavia. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013.

Shortly before she graduated from Yale Law School in 1951, Patricia Wald secured a job interview with a white-shoe firm in Manhattan. The hiring partner was impressed with her credentials — she was one of two women on the law review — but lamented her timing. “It’s really a shame,” she recalled the man saying. “If only you could have been here last week.” A woman had been hired then, she was told, and it would be a long time before the firm considered bringing another on board. www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/patricia-wald-pathbreaking-federal-judge-who-became-chief-of-dc-circuit-dies-at-90/2019/01/12/6ab03904-1688-11e9-803c-4ef28312c8b9_story.html

 

20 years into the 21st Century, Reproductive Justice and human rights are de facto denied to millions of poor women in America. The War on Women seeks to make this denial de jure for all women. This is not a dystopian science fiction TV show – this is NOW.

Let’s raise up encouragement from Andrea Dworkin, about whom Gloria Steinam said “In every century, there are a handful of writers who help the human race to evolve. Andrea is one of them.” Dworkin lived as a courageous and wounded woman warrior who demanded that the War on Women be named and shamed, and battled dehumanizing violent oppression of women throughout her life. She insisted that:

“A political resistance goes on day and night, under cover and over ground, where people can see it and where people can’t. It is passed from generation to generation. It is taught. It is encouraged. It is celebrated. It is smart. It is savvy. It is committed. And someday it will win. It will win.” https://real-feminist-history.com/2016/12/29/andrea-dworkin/

 

Resistance = Out-Raging Women Warriors Acting Vocally and Visibly in Defiance to Dismantle Misogyny and White Supremacy

 

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Dispatch #48 Day 800 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny

Dispatch #48   January 15th 2019
Day 800 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny
Day 725 Post-Installation of White-Supremacist-Misogynist-Pussy-Grabbing-Self-Aggrandizing-Demagogic-Bully-Illegitimate-PeeeOTUS & his White-Nationalist-Fascistic-Christian-Supremacist-Quislings

 

 An August 2018 New York Times article titled “For Female Candidates, Harassment and Threats Come Every Day” began with this:


Four days before the 2016 congressional primary in her Northern California district, Erin Schrode woke up to tens of thousands of messages. They were everywhere: in her email, on her cellphone, on her Facebook and her Twitter and her Instagram.  “All would laugh with glee as they gang raped her and then bashed her bagel eating brains in,” one said.  “It’d be amusing to see her take twenty or so for 8 or 10 hours,” another said, again suggesting gang-rape.

It has been two years since Ms. Schrode, now 27, lost her Democratic primary and moved on. But the abuse — a toxic sludge of online trolling steeped in misogyny and anti-Semitism that also included photoshopped images of her face stretched into a Nazi lampshade and references to “preheating the ovens” — never stopped. www.nytimes.com/2018/08/24/us/politics/women-harassment-elections.html

 

The abuse already common in many women’s everyday lives can be amplified in political campaigns, especially if the candidate is also a member of a minority group. So common for women that when it happens they don’t mention or feel they should suck it up.  While anyone can be targeted by online harassment, studies reveal that violent, sexualized threats and hate speech disproportionately target women, especially in marginalized groups.  That is even more true when women are leaders and seek power.  www.womensmediacenter.com/speech-project/nameitchangeit

One of the first things Molly Sheehan did after announcing her candidacy for a congressional seat in southeast Pennsylvania was install a home security alarm. The announcement came in April 2017, and almost immediately after the news broke, her inbox on Twitter began to flood with men calling her “dear” and asking for romantic relationships — spiraling into obsessive, unwanted love letter. The record-breaking wave of women running for Congress in the November midterms is currently learning how to navigate a hostile and oftentimes unsafe online environment. www.teenvogue.com/story/online-harassment-is-a-major-problem-for-women-candidates-and-politicians

 

While we are acknowledging and celebrating the women who ran for public office in 2018, we cannot take the accomplishments of these women for granted. We MUST recognize the raw courage and strength required of women who seek power in the public space — this space where the terrorism of Misogyny and White Supremacy warns them away.

 

An August 2017 article in Runners World magazine, “Running While Female. Male runners may be shocked to learn how often women must endure on-the-run harassment. Many female runners have come to just expect it—and that should upset us all,” offers instructive discussion:

Street harassment invades a person’s space and rights, like any form of sexual harassment,” says Debjani Roy, deputy director of New York City–based advocacy group Hollaback! Of the women RW surveyed who have been targeted midrun, 79 percent say it bothers them “a lot” or “somewhat.” And it’s not just annoying or inconvenient—a growing body of research shows chronic harassment can affect a woman’s confidence and exacerbate issues such as depression, anxiety, body-image concerns, and eating disorders. Harassment reminds women that they’re vulnerable, robbing them of a sense of safety.

The public sphere is [still] a male space,” says Michael Kimmel, Ph.D., distinguished professor of sociology and gender studies at Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, New York. That’s why any woman who leaves her home for any reason—to run, to work, to get the mail—could potentially be harassed, and why this is not just a running issue but a societal one. Honks, innuendos, and so on are a man’s way of saying, “You are present in my space and I’m going to let you know it’s my space.” This power play is present in the majority of unsolicited sexual attention, particularly when men are with other men, though not all men are conscious of it. “In a sex-biased culture, street harassment can become ingrained in male behavior,” says Shira Tarrant, Ph.D., a gender studies professor at California State University, Long Beach. www.runnersworld.com/training/a18848270/running-while-female/

 

A November 12, 2018 article in The Cut/New York Magazine, titled “Women Spend More Than Men on Transit Because the Illusion of Safety Is Expensive,” reports:

New York City’s women, on average, spend up to an additional $50 per month more on transportation than male residents, a new “pink tax” from New York University’s Rudin Center for Transportation reports. Those added dollars were, according to participants, spent in the name of safety. (That figure, as noted by Wired, doubles if a woman is a primary caregiver.) Seventy-five percent of female participants said they’d experienced harassment or theft on public transportation. For men, that figure was 47 percent. Only 8 percent of male participants said they avoid public transportation at night, compared to 29 percent of women. www.thecut.com/2018/11/women-spend-more-money-on-transportation-in-nyc-than-men.html

 

WHY am I talking about this!? Weren’t the midterm results evidence of substantial progress for women?!   Yeah, well, let’s recall the claims of post-racism after Obama’s election, and the hyped 1992 as the Year of the Woman.   We STILL live in a society founded/structured on White Supremacy and Misogyny. One election/one small step/one strong challenge will provoke backlash. The urgency of calling-out structural Misogyny must be greater in 2019.

For example, using sexual harassment or #MeToo as lazy shorthand must be challenged. Sexual harassment is a deliberately misleading phrase that wrongly insinuates sex and obfuscates the pervasive oppression of women’s lives under institutionalized Misogyny. The patriarchy enables gendered-violence and gendered-abuse of power to dehumanize/ denigrate/disable/deaden women…..from the chilly classroom to the rape on the job.

Being out-raged is absolutely appropriate and healing and strengthening for women.   Out-raging women show/share the commitment, courage, knowledge and weapons that will dismantle Misogyny. Organizations that recruit and equip women to run for elected office now include programs to prepare women for misogynist trolling, understanding that the strategy of individual women “just silently toughing it out” is counterproductive.

So training designed to encourage/equip women to run spend time on this, and results suggest that women knowing that other women experience this trolling, being able to talk about these experiences, and getting support helps women keep running.  www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/03/12/how-a-new-wave-of-female-candidates-is-training-to-fight-the-trolls-217350

 

Soraya Chemaly, prominent writer, social critic, activist and former athlete, authored “Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women’s Anger” (Atria 2018). Chemaly thoroughly documents the public and private abuse and discrimination faced by women as well as the debilitating impacts in making her case for the righteous and necessary power of women’s anger. Indeed, in her review of Chemaly’s book along with two other books on women and anger in The New Yorker titled “The Perils and Possibilities of Anger After centuries of censure, women reconsider the political power of female rage,” Casey Cep observes:

Chemaly deftly balances these statistics with grim stories to illustrate them, so that the cumulative effect of reading her book is not merely to legitimize women’s anger but to render it astonishing that we are not even angrier. www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/10/15/the-perils-and-possibilities-of-anger (see also www.nytimes.com/2018/09/27/books/review/rebecca-traister-good-and-mad-soraya-chemaly-rage-becomes-her.html?module=inline)

 

Chemaly and her book are center stage in a New York Times article titled “Serena Williams Is Back at Australian Open, for Tennis and So Much More” considers the controversy surrounding Serena’s protest at the 2018 US Open:

As Soraya Chemaly, a prominent feminist activist and social critic, explained: She fits perfectly in these times, “when so much of what is happening in our world is related to gender and race and power. And right now, you can see it. Serena is sitting at that nexus, at the very intersection of all these important social conversations.” Chemaly, the social critic, noted how, during a tour for her new book, “Rage Becomes Her,” “people kept bringing up Serena.” The book urges women to be unafraid of showing rightful anger. Chemaly said she had been asked: “‘What do you think of Serena Williams?’ ‘What does she mean for this moment?’ ‘How would you compare what happened at the U.S. Open to Brett Kavanaugh’” and the anger he displayed before a Congressional panel? “People really want to think about what it means,” Chemaly said.  www.nytimes.com/2019/01/14/sports/serena-williams-australian-open.html

 

In her Guardian column titled “The year in patriarchy: from Kavanaugh’s fury to Serena Williams’s catsuit,” Arwa Mahdawi, successor to Jessica Valenti as the weekly columnist on the patriarchy, concludes:

From pop culture to politics, 2018 was a year of extraordinary firsts for women. 2018 also had a deeply anti-feminist thread. The row over Serena Williams’s catsuit proved you can be a sporting superstar and still have your clothing policed by the patriarchy. We saw the rise of male supremacist groups. Several US states tightened access to abortion, with Iowa passing one of the strictest abortion laws in the industrialized world. Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right misogynist, was elected president of Brazil. Donald Trump remained misogynist-in-chief of America.

While Ford was calm and collected, Kavanaugh raged with self-pity and entitlement. The hearing wasn’t just about what he did or didn’t do, it was about the prevailing power of the patriarchy. It was about male violence, and female silence. It was about the resentment men like Kavanaugh feel if they are held accountable or have their power questioned. Kavanaugh’s subsequent confirmation as a Supreme Court justice was a visceral reminder that, despite the progress feminism has made, we still very much live in a patriarchy. www.theguardian.com/world/2018/dec/29/year-in-patriarchy-brett-kavanaugh-serena-williams-metoo

 

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Dispatch #47 Day 796 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny

Dispatch #47   January 11th 2019
Day 796 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny
Day 721 Post-Installation of White-Supremacist-Misogynist-Pussy-Grabbing-Self-Aggrandizing-Demagogic-Bully-Illegitimate-PeeeOTUS  & his White-Nationalist-Fascistic-Christian-Supremacist-Quislings
 

So YEAH! we have an unprecedented number of women in the Congress, and gloriously we have Nancy Pelosi wielding power again as Speaker of the House. However, recalling the euphoria that greeted the election of Obama as well as the ensuing white supremacist backlash that belied the proclaimed-post-racist-ness, we must know/understand that the midterm elections represent just one step away from fascism and toward equity.

Regular Dispatches Readers are well-informed about how women’s human rights are denied in our misogynistic structure of power and privilege. Living in white patriarchy, women understand from birth that they must abide by certain rules and maintain certain behaviors or they will suffer severe consequences. Misogyny does not, however, require universal gendered-violence such as rape to enforce oppression (aka sexual harassment). The pervasive and toxic nuances of misogyny are equally if not more effective in policing and dehumanizing women, hobbling their hearts and minds.

At the outset of 2019, two years since the ascendency of white supremacy and misogyny, I am heartened by the emergence of ongoing commentary/awareness about Misogyny’s insidiously toxic breadth and depth.  

 

In her December 30th 2018 article titled What It’s Like to Be a Female Movie Critic in the #MeToo Era, Manohla Dargis offers a bracingly honest assessment of her years as a New York Times movie critic while also being female.

Among other things, this year’s torrent of truth-telling has underscored how much ordinary, unremarkable sexism — not just extreme or criminal behavior — women need to deal with just to get through the day. It’s pervasive. It seeps into your home and work, and shapes monumental and seemingly trivial choices as well as your art and your entertainment. The movies may offer us the promise of fleeting escape, but any woman can tell you that this getaway can feel distressingly, depressingly elusive when a film is in lock step with the worst the world gives us.

What I know from a life of watching and reviewing movies is that outrage is tedious, and exhausting. Sometimes it is just easier to go with the flow, though much depends on what’s happening onscreen and off. Sometimes, I don’t want to let a movie’s banal, casual sexism ruin my good time. So, I make expedient and strategic bargains with myself, glossing over some of the sexism and ignoring things that bother me (or trying to).

It’s not that I’m noticing sexism more; I always noticed. It’s that I’m not gliding over the insults and insinuations, the snickering and unmotivated female nudity as easily — as resignedly — as I sometimes did. Years ago, I thought that accepting a certain amount of sexism in movies was the only way I was going to be able to continue loving them. And I couldn’t stay angry all the time; I didn’t want to live that way and still don’t. That was the right call even if it is also true that accepting — or acquiescing to — a degree of subjugation is instrumental to how sexism works: it depends on women getting along, and going along, with their own oppression.

It wasn’t until powerful men were accused of sexually dehumanizing women that the industry’s sexism seemed on notice. Yet as time has passed, too often the focus has shifted to these men, with stories about their falls and potential next steps. I don’t care what Weinstein is going to do next; I’m interested in the women he allegedly assaulted. (He has denied the allegations.) I am also interested in the systems of power that permit male abuse and demand female (and male) silence in return. When we talk about industry sexism, the discussions often earnestly turn on words like representation and inclusion, but what we are talking about is an industry that systematically sees and treats women as inferior. This sexism demands moral outrage too. www.nytimes.com/2018/12/30/movies/female-movie-critic-metoo.html

Shifting to the power arena of economics, a January 10th 2019 New York Times article, titled Female Economists Push Their Field Toward a #MeToo Reckoning, reports on the growing power of women to force the economics profession to acknowledge and rectify its traditions of misogyny.

The economics profession is facing a mounting crisis of sexual harassment, discrimination and bullying that women in the field say has pushed many of them to the sidelines — or out of the field entirely…. Leading male economists offered an unprecedented acknowledgment of harassment and discrimination in the field.

Many male economists long dismissed claims of bias and discrimination, arguing that gender disparities must reflect differences in preference or ability. They pointed to theories that predict that, in the simplified world of economic models, discrimination on the basis of characteristics like gender and race would disappear because of competition.

In recent years, however, a growing body of research has found evidence of discrimination at virtually every stage of the profession, from undergraduate enrollment to tenure decisions. Erin Hengel, a University of Liverpool economist, has found that women are held to higher standards of writing and research than their male colleagues. Alice Wu, then an undergraduate at the University of California, Berkeley, made waves two years ago with a paper documenting rampant misogyny and hostility toward women on a popular online forum for graduate students. www.nytimes.com/2019/01/10/business/economics-sexual-harassment-metoo.html

 

Pioneering warrior for equity and women’s rights as well as universally lauded as the Godmother of Title IX, Dr. Bernice Sandler died at age 90 on January 5, 2018. Her obituaries urgently remind us about the toxic tentacles of structural Misogyny that continue to constrain and dehumanize women as do burqas or corsets.

In 1969, her newly earned doctorate in hand, Bernice Sandler was hoping to land one of seven open teaching positions in her department at the University of Maryland. When she learned she had been considered for none of them, she asked a male colleague about the oversight. “Let’s face it,” was his reply. “You come on too strong for a woman.” When she applied for another academic position, the hiring researcher remarked that he didn’t hire women because they too often stayed home with sick children. Later, an employment agency reviewed her résumé and dismissed her as “just a housewife who went back to school.”

Trained in psychology and counseling, Dr. Sandler devoted decades of her life to documenting, analyzing and stopping the forms of discrimination — subtle and overt — that held women back academically and professionally in educational settings.

When she began her advocacy efforts, many university departments arbitrarily limited the number of women they would hire. Others hired no women at all. Some disqualified married women. Some colleges barred female students from chemistry and other departments that were deemed more suited for men.

She sought to draw attention to what she and a fellow researcher, Roberta M. Hall, in a widely read 1982 academic paper termed the “chilly” classroom environment for women. Female professors, she found, were more likely than male professors to be challenged on their credentials. Those with PhDs were not consistently addressed as “Dr.,” and students expected greater leniency from women when they failed to complete their assignments. Female students, for their part, were more likely to receive an “uh-huh” from a professor when they participated in class, rather than the more engaged response that might greet a male student.

“When Title IX was passed, I was quite naive,” Dr. Sandler said. “I thought all the problems of sex discrimination in education would be solved in one or two years at most. When two years passed, I increased my estimate to five years, then later to 10, then to 50, and now I realize it will take many generations to solve all the problems.”

Sexist practices, she recalled, seemed practically part of the natural order of the world. “When I applied to college it was openly known that women needed higher grades and test scores in order to be accepted….No one complained — it was just the way things were.” www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/bernice-sandler-godmother-of-title-ix-who-championed-womens-rights-on-campus-dies-at-90/2019/01/07

Women have only just begun to attack and tear away at the restrictions required by the Patriarchy. Our outrage cannot be dulled by preliminary victories against the war on women.

Like many women at that time,” Dr. Sandler recalled “I was somewhat ambivalent about the women’s movement and halfway believed the press descriptions of its supporters as ‘abrasive,’ ‘man-hating,’ ‘radical,’ and ‘unfeminine.’ ”

Nonetheless, Dr. Sandler was galvanized and outraged by the casual and unapologetic misogynistic behaviors that defined women’s experiences in academia.

She vacuumed up data on rampant discrimination…such as quotas, like one at the Cornell School of Veterinary Medicine, which admitted two women a year, regardless of how many applied. She found that many academic departments across the country had no women faculty at all and that women were often denied scholarships if they were married.

In 2007 she concluded that Title IX had precipitated a social revolution comparable to the Industrial Revolution. Women and men, she said, “are far closer to equal than they have ever been in the history of the world.” But, Dr. Sandler added, “We have only taken the very first steps of what will be a very long journey.” www.nytimes.com/2019/01/08/obituaries/bernice-sandler-dead.html

 

During the Golden Globes, women from Glenn Close to Lady Gaga to Patricia Clarkson to Regina King consistently called out the industry’s misogynist lens; the drip drip drip of casual disdain that wears away the soul. Out-rage will fuel the long journey for equity, women collectively demanding justice will prevail.

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Dispatches

Dispatch #46 Day 729 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny

Dispatch #46  November 5th 2018
Day 729 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny
Day 654 Post-Installation of White-Supremacist-Misogynist-Pussy-Grabbing-Self-Aggrandizing-Demagogic-Bully-Illegitimate-PeeeOTUS & his White-Nationalist-Fascistic-Christian-Supremacist-Quislings

 

On the eve of the two-year anniversary of the Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny, Democratic hopes for the midterm elections are riding largely on a record number of women running for the House and the out-raged organizing by women across the country.

 

Commentators note a possible reprise of the so-called “1992 Year of the Woman” when 24 women won House seats and 4 women won Senate seats. Then women reacted to the brazen and pitiless misogyny smeared on Anita Hill by the Senate Judiciary Committee led by Joe Biden. (Yeah, that Joe Biden the leading Democratic 2020 Presidential candidate because, you know, he can talk to those white men dismissed by Hillary.)

 

Now, 26 years later, women are out-raged by the ascendency of the White-Supremacist-Misogynist-Pussy-Grabbing-Self-Aggrandizing-Demagogic-Bully-Illegitimate-PeeeOTUS over the most qualified person ever to run for the US Presidency. I can still feel/remember the excited anticipation about electing a woman president being twisted into out-rage; for these two years, woke women have been living with the toxic legacy of brazen and pitiless Misogyny smeared on Hillary Clinton.

 

Hiding in plain sight is the most visible and egregious expression of Misogyny in 2018 – the treatment of Nancy Pelosi by Republicans and Democrats. Now that Hillary Clinton has been dispatched, Pelosi becomes the favorite dog whistle for inciting male anger and fear about what the Democrats will do to the country if they gain power.

 

In an August 2018 column entitled “Whose Afraid of Nancy Pelosi?” Paul Krugman offered an assessment of this powerful politician/woman:

So this seems like a good time to remind everyone that Pelosi is by far the greatest speaker of modern times and surely ranks among the most impressive people ever to hold that position. And it’s interesting to ask why she gets so little credit with the news media, and hence with the general public, for her accomplishments. What has Pelosi achieved?

First, as House minority leader, she played a crucial role in turning back George W. Bush’s attempt to privatize Social Security. Then she was the key figure, arguably even more crucial than President Barack Obama, in passing the Affordable Care Act, which produced a spectacular fall in the number of uninsured Americans and has proved surprisingly robust even in the face of Trumpian sabotage. She helped enact financial reform, which has turned out to be more vulnerable to being undermined, but still helped stabilize the economy and protected many Americans from fraud. Pelosi also helped pass the Obama stimulus plan, which economists overwhelmingly agree mitigated job losses from the financial crisis, as well as playing a role in laying the foundation for a green energy revolution.

But you’d never know that from her media coverage. Or maybe it’s just the fact that she’s a woman — a woman who happens to have been far better at her job than any man in recent memory. It’s a sad commentary on Republicans that they have nothing to run on except demonizing a politician whose track record makes them look pathetic. And it’s a sad commentary on the news media that so much reporting echoes these baseless attacks. www.nytimes.com/2018/08/13/opinion/nancy-pelosi-midterms-democrats-republicans.html

 

Democrats show their willful ignorance and incompetence as they decry identity politics, see women’s right to control their bodies as negotiable, and follow the Republican lead in denigrating this accomplished and powerful Democratic woman. Misogyny dictates that women exercising and/or seeking power are dangerous and alien; indeed, such women must be punished and removed from power. SHAME on these cowardly Democrats.

 

In her article entitled “Nancy Pelosi: Demonized or Celebrated, She Refuses to Agonize,” Kate Zernike reports:

Ms. Pelosi, 78, is the highest-ranking woman in American politics and American political history. And as the only woman at the table for so long, she has become the proxy for all the complicated feelings around women in power.

The caricatures come easily. One ad — Republicans have run more than 61,000 featuring her in the last six weeks, more than either party has run about President Trump— depicts a California congressman walking in a cheap version of Ms. Pelosi’s signature stilettos, more streetwalker than former speaker. Has anyone ever attempted to tar a candidate with Chuck Schumer’s reading glasses or Mitch McConnell’s wingtips?

Ms. Pelosi tells female candidates they have to be ready, to know their issues cold and to have a plan: “I don’t want you to be intimidated by anything people will say, because they’re always trying to diminish whatever it is we have done,” she told the audience at Emerge. To the transgender woman who wants to run for office, and the Muslims who organized after being denied a permit to build a mosque and are now hosting her at a fund-raiser, Ms. Pelosi repeats her favorite aphorisms: “Know your why, know your how” and “Don’t agonize, organize.”

In an interview, Ms. Pelosi did not want to linger on the attacks against her. “The woman thing is a double-edged sword,” she said. “Yes, there’s misogyny out there. But you get a tremendous upside: the support of women.” In her 15 years as leader, 68 new Democratic women have entered the House, and the total has risen to 65 from 42.

Her excitement about the flood of “fabulous women” running for office this year has given her more freedom on the trail. “I’m a shy person,” she said. “For me to be assertive that way, it’s not for me. It’s for the women. To say, don’t take it. Be confident in who you are, what you have to offer. And understand: If you are effective you’ll be opposed. But you’re in the arena. That’s what it is, and it’s not for the faint of heart.” www.nytimes.com/2018/11/04/us/politics/nancy-pelosi-house-leader-women.html

 

The midterms should bring many Democratic women to join Pelosi in the House. We must SEE women with power being powerful and being successful if Misogyny is ever to be uprooted. !!!!YOU GO Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi!!!!

 

Structural Patriarchy continues to define the status of American women. The rules and consequences of hierarchical oppression are pervasive and vary in deadliness by race, age and class. In a column entitled “How Feminist Dystopian Fiction Is Channeling Women’s Anger and Anxiety,” Alexandra Alter’s assessment of the context for these recent books shows the urgency of resistance:

“The Water Cure” by Sophie Mackintosh, which comes out in the United States in January and was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, joins a growing wave of female-centered dystopian fiction, futuristic works that raise uncomfortable questions about pervasive gender inequality, misogyny and violence against women, the erosion of reproductive rights and the extreme consequences of institutionalized sexism.

Louise Erdrich puts a more apocalyptic spin on the themes of reproduction and women’s physical autonomy in “Future Home of the Living God,” which hinges on a cataclysmic biological event that threatens the future of humanity, leading the government to round up pregnant women and seize their babies. “Fighting for women’s rights is an unrelenting battle,” Ms. Erdrich wrote in an email. “I saw that my daughters might have to live with the steady erosion of human progress.”

For Margaret Atwood — who has become a sort of patron saint of feminist dystopian fiction, heaping praise on younger writers who are expanding the genre — it has been both inspiring and unsettling to see the resurgence of interest in “The Handmaid’s Tale,” as women’s rights activists have taken up the language and imagery from her novel as a cultural shorthand for misogyny. “When I wrote the book, I wished we would not be in a situation where these protests would become necessary,” she said. “There’s certainly a very concerted push toward making women’s bodies a possession of the state in the United States.” www.nytimes.com/2018/10/08/books/feminist-dystopian-fiction-margaret-atwood-women-metoo.html

 

While categorized as fiction, this feminist dystopian literature reflects the reality of Misogyny that women must navigate at all times throughout their lives. E.g.,

 

Democratic women must resist and call-out the current mainstream/liberal democrat position that “identity politics” is problematic lens and that an economic lens will benefit everyone. Women know that this position is Bullshit because it ignores the patriarchal hierarchy and structural white supremacy.

Ms. Pelosi, the only woman to ever be speaker of the House, replies that she has been opposed in previous bids for leadership; it’s the vitality of the Democratic Party; she thrives on it. The audience applauds, but she pushes on: “I say this especially to women, because they think women are going to run away from a fight, but you can’t do that.” www.nytimes.com/2018/11/04/us/politics/nancy-pelosi-house-leader-women.html

 

The Year of Women 2018 must become an opportunity to begin seeing women as fully human because women will be fighting and resisting and breaking the rules.
Categories
Dispatches

Dispatch #45 Day 692 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny

Dispatch #45  September 19th 2018
Day 692 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny
Day 617 Post-Installation of White-Supremacist-Misogynist-Pussy-Grabbing-Self-Aggrandizing-Demagogic-Bully-Illegitimate-PeeeOTUS & his White-Nationalist-Fascistic-Christian-Supremacist-Quislings

 

Because Structural Misogyny is so powerful, omnipresent, and invisible much like the air we must breathe, the toxic realities and pernicious consequences of this systemic oppression are as difficult to grasp as a shadow or a wisp of smoke. For a provocative analysis that provides the in-sights necessary to see and to dismantle the structure, DOWN GIRL The Logic of Misogyny, by Kate Manne (2018 Oxford University Press), is required reading. This review of Manne’s book offers a compelling and cogent assessment:

Misogyny is typically understood as hatred, dislike, mistrust and prejudice toward women, and even their dehumanization. For Manne, this is a misleading and “naive” definition that risks limiting misogyny to the realm of emotion and psychology — where it can be particularized and even excused. Manne sees misogyny in systemic terms, especially in its relationship to sexism.

Misogyny should be understood as the ‘law enforcement’ branch of a patriarchal order, which has the overall function of policing and enforcing its governing ideology,” she writes. That ideology is sexism, the belief in inherent female inferiority, and misogyny is the mechanism that upholds and imposes that belief in daily life. Manne uses several metaphors to make her point — too many, really — but her meaning is clear. “Sexism wears a lab coat, misogyny goes on witch hunts. . . . Sexism is bookish; misogyny is combative. Sexism has a theory; misogyny wields a cudgel.”

In this sense, determining whether individual harassers and abusers are themselves misogynists matters less than realizing that an environment where harassment and abuse are chronic — limiting women’s safety, livelihoods and well-being — is itself misogynistic. www.washingtonpost.com/news/book-party/wp/2017/12/01/how-to-define-survive-and-fight-misogyny-in-the-trump-and-weinstein-era/

 

In her article entitled ‘Another Judge, Another Woman, Another Slap in the Face,’ Sejal Singh comments: History repeats itself, but it’s usually a little less blatant than this. Yeah, well, when the rules of the game never change, the outcomes are always the same. Singh knows this of course as she continues:

Contrary to what some of Kavanaugh’s defenders have insinuated, Kavanaugh and Thomas’s alleged disregard for women isn’t just a “personal” problem. On the bench, they can — and will — translate it into law. In 2000, Clarence Thomas provided the fifth vote needed to strike down a key provision of the Violence Against Women Act, which would have granted victims of gender-based violence the right to sue their perpetrators in civil court. He provided a fifth vote in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, which allowed for-profit corporations to decide whether their employers had access to contraception, and voted to curtail equal-pay protections in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire. As Jill Abramson noted, Thomas also cast the key fifth vote in Vance v. Ball State University, a decision dramatically limiting avenues for holding bosses who do the very things he allegedly did to Hill accountable.

Kavanaugh’s nomination was always about entrenching the power of wealthy men over everyone else — women, disenfranchised black voters, immigrants torn apart from their children, working people without health care. Brett Kavanaugh was nominated to preserve the system of power that turns boys like Brett Kavanaugh into “highly respected and high-ranking members of society” in Washington, while making it untenable for women Christine Blasey Ford and Anita Hill to seek recourse when male aggression throws their lives off track. The same system of power prompts his defenders to say powerful men like Kavanaugh should be completely excused for their behavior at 17, while prosecuting poor black 17-year-olds as adults.

When asked whether the allegations against Kavanaugh should disqualify him from serving on the Supreme Court, Ed Rollins, the co-chairman of the pro-Trump Great America PAC, told the Daily Beast, “If this is the new standard, no one will ever want to or be able to serve in government or on the judiciary.” That’s only true if you have a very particular idea of who counts as “everyone.” If this had been the standard all along, Anita Hill, Professor Ford, or the brilliant female lawyers who say they were abused by Kavanaugh’s judicial mentor might have gone on to be judges instead. https://www.thecut.com/2018/09/brett-kavanaugh-and-clarence-thomas-history-repeats-itself.html

 

A powerfully furious column by Alexandra Petri entitled ‘Every man should be worried. At least, I’m worried.’ is such a perfect (perfectly grim) companion to Singh’s piece that I show her entire column in all its out-raging glory:

  • If somebody can be brought down by accusations like this, then you, me, every man certainly should be worried.— A lawyer close to the White House, speaking to Politico.
  • Look, who among us?
  • If, apparently, a single alleged assault at a single party decades ago is to be frowned upon, then no man is safe, right?
  • What’s next? You can’t harass a colleague and serve on the Supreme Court? You can’t pick up high schoolers outside custody hearings and serve in the Senate? You can’t have a meat locker full of female femurs and expect to breeze through your confirmation as interior secretary?
  • How are we going to fill our offices if this is the new rule? I bet you will say I cannot shout at women as they pass on the street before dragging them to a concrete bunker and then still expect to become governor! What next? I’m supposed to make sure everyone I have sex with is willing?
  • This isn’t just my worry. This isn’t just something horrible I am now revealing about myself. This is an every-man problem.
  • If suddenly, as a country, we decide that violently attempting to assault someone is, like, bad, then that knocks out 98, maybe 99 percent of men, just going off the locker-room talk I’ve heard.
  • Look, which of us is 100 percent certain all his sexual encounters are consensual? That isn’t most people’s baseline, surely? You’re telling me I am supposed to encounter dozens, hundreds, thousands of women in my life, some drunk and some sober and some with really good legs and just … not assault any of them?
  • That sounds exhausting. A whole life of that would be excruciating. No, there ought to be some kind of punch card — say, if you treat 65 women with the respect and dignity you would accord any man, you are entitled to one freebie
  • I mean, it’s not as though they’re people, are they? At the moment of conception, yes, but then they come out Daughters, not people! They grow into objects; some become Wives or Mothers, others Hags or Crones. Then they die! If they were people, we would not expect dominion over their bodies, surely; if they were people, we would not feel entitled to their smiles. If they were people, I could read a novel with a female protagonist and not be instantly confused and alarmed.
  • No. They are an unintelligible something else. They are to be put on pedestals, as John Kelly urges, or groped, as the president urges. They are impervious to cold, capable of wearing a bikini on the most frigid day to please us; they can run great distances in heels without discomfort; they were created for us from a rib and designed as our companion. If they have wants of their own, there is really no way of knowing. They say words people might say (You would be forgiven for thinking them people), but remember, they do not mean the words they say. If what they said was what they meant, then they have not wanted anything I have ever done to them!
  • It would just be too terrible if they were people. Then you could not harm them with impunity. Then if you made a mistake (Boys will be boys), you would have harmed a person. Then something else would be at stake in addition to your career, and that cannot be.
  • Besides, if this is wrong, if you have to go through life inconveniently believing that the other half of the world is made of people, too, then what will boys do for innocent amusement? Who among us was not once 17 and partook in a little roughhousing? How were we to know there was — purportedly! — a person in there? Who cannot, in retrospect, be accused of something dreadful? This isn’t just me, I hope.
  • No, if this is the rule, no man is safe. Not the man who shouts at you as you walk down the sidewalk, or grabs you, or puts something in your drink. As all men do, I think.
  • If assault renders a man unfit to serve on the Supreme Court, then how are we to discern the Founders’ intent? I mean, Jefferson, hello? And what is going to become of the presidency? Who wants to live in that world?
  • Every man should be worried. If boys cannot be boys, then how can boys be men who rise to the highest offices in the land? If this stops being something you can get away with, then will anyone still be above the law?

 

For out-raging that is somewhat less fiery, Eli Rosenberg and Lindsey Beyer considered Senator Mazie Hirono’s response when she was asked whether it was up to the women on the Judiciary Committee to stand firm on Kavanaugh. In their article entitled ‘Shut up and step up: Sen. Hirono’s blunt message to men,’ they reported that the Senator from Hawaii was critical of the way Republicans are dealing with Ford’s accusation:

“I expect all of the enlightened men in our country, ’cause there must be millions of men out there who are enlightened, who also will rise up to say we cannot continue the victimization and the smearing of someone like Dr. Ford,” Hirono said. “And you know what, she is under no obligation to participate in the Republican efforts to sweep this whole thing under the rug, to continue this nomination on the fast track and to participate in a smear campaign and basically a railroad job. This is what they did to Anita Hill.”

But it was what Hirono said in response to a reporter’s question that turned the most heads. The reporter, who was not identified in video footage of the news conference, asked whether the four women on the Senate Judiciary Committee — all Democrats — could affect its deliberations over Kavanaugh. Hirono said it shouldn’t just come down to the women

Guess who is perpetrating all of these kinds of actions? It’s the men in this country,” Hirono said. “I just want to say to the men in this country: Just shut up and step up. Do the right thing, for a change.”

“It’s not just something for the women in this country to care about,” she said, “it’s for all of us. That’s why I’ve said to the men: ‘Just shut up and step up.’ And you know, for the men who are offended by this, you should ask yourself: Why are you offended by this? Why don’t you ask yourself: What about this offends you? We should all be holding together. We should all be treating each other like human beings.”  www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/09/19/shut-up-step-up-this-senators-message-men-wake-kavanaugh-accusation/

What can I say except YOU GO GIRL Senator Mazie Hirono from Hawaii!!!

 

How about a shout-out to another courageous-fighter-for-social-justice-and-gender-equity-trail-blazing-woman-warrior-ancestor from Hawaii – Ms. Patsy Takemoto Mink.

With the impassioned nationally-televised speech she gave at the 1960 Democratic National Convention to 10,000 people, Delegate Mink is credited for persuading two-thirds of the Democratic party to continue their progressive stance on Civil Rights Issue, notably opposing motions to delete provisions such as a deadline to desegregate schools by 1963 and to make the Civil Rights Commission a permanent agency from the party’s official platform. In 1965, Representative Mink became the first woman of color and the first Asian American elected to Congress. She authored Title IX, a law which bans gender discrimination among federally-funded education programs. After her death in 2002, Title IX was renamed Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act. She also introduced the first comprehensive Early Childhood Education Act and authored the Women’s Educational Equity Act. All of these laws written by Mink were declared landmark laws by Congress as they advanced equal rights in America beyond what could be imagined during the time. Mink was the first Asian-American to seek the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party in the 1972 election, where she stood in the Oregon primary as an anti-war candidate. For more on her inspiring life, go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patsy_Mink; https://www.womenssportsfoundation.org/education/mother-title-ix-patsy-mink/