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?
- Every man should be worried. At least, I’m worried www.washingtonpost.com/news/opinions/wp/2018/09/17/every-man-should-be-worried-at-least-im-worried/
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/