Monday, January 09, 2006

On betrayal

Okay, so Sunday's Meet the Press featured a face-off between Kate Michelman, author of With Liberty and Justice for All: A Life Spent Protecting the Right to Choose and Kate O'Beirne, author of Women Who Make the World Worse and How Their Radical Feminist Assault Is Ruining Our Schools, Families, Military, and Sports. Two things I noticed:

1. Book titles? Hella long, people. The second one, especially, looks like the headline from an editorial at The Onion. Is there any way at all to encapsulate a book without putting the entire first chapter on the cover?

2. It appears that the era of the sister f***er isn't over after all.

Sister f***ers (and I censor thusly to avoid Yahoo! searches by pathetic 35-year-old men with sister fetishes, although if my dad asks, you can tell him it's 'cause I'm a lady) are a very specific breed. Here are a few things that sister f***ers aren't:

1. Women who choose to stay home and raise families rather than have a career outside the home. I think that these women are wonderful. As I grew up, there were times when my mom worked outside the home and times when she didn't, and it was clear that raising two kids and a husband was a full-time job on its own. Now that she's got an empty nest, raising my dad is still a full-time job. Stay-at-home moms, I salute you. Saaaaa-lute.

2. Women who oppose abortion. I think that these women are wonderful, too, if only because I'm one of them. Is that a shock? I would love to live in a country where every fetus is conceived out of conscious desire to have a child, every woman has access to healthcare before, during and after pregnancy, and every baby has a welcoming home when it pops out. I would also love to have a pony. While I know that I, myself, with the lifestyle and support system that I have, would never have an abortion, I also know that other women don't have my life, and I would never be so presumptuous as to try and make that decision for another woman. I'm against abortion, but I'm also against the idea that the government should be able to dictate what happens to a woman's body.

3. Christian (or other conservative) women. If your religion teaches you to be submissive to a man, go for it. I don't really swing that way myself (I tend to prefer a little more equality in my relationships), but far be it from me to tell another woman how to live her life. A dear friend of mine, a Navy officer currently deployed in the Mediterranean and rather strong and independent to boot, has this attitude about the Christian notion of "headship": "The Bible says he's supposed to be my head, and I believe that. But the Bible also says that, as my head, he's supposed to care about me and look out for me and make decisions that benefit me. He doesn't do that, and I go looking for another head." It's not my way, but it's a way, and who am I to tell her otherwise?

No, a sister f***er is a woman who supports decisions, legislation and actions contrary to her own benefit, or the benefit of other women. Beyond her own willingness to submit to these decisions, she also feels the need to impose them on every other woman out there, and she's going to make a stink about it. Basically, she's not content to set herself back; she has to drag the rest of us back with her. It usually happens for one of two reasons:

1. She's the token girl in the boys' club. She's a woman who's been allowed into the leather-padded, oak-paneled Lounge of the Manly, and she'll be damned if she's going to jeopardize that hallowed position. When men say they hate feminists, she does, too, and when they say that a woman's place is in the home, she says, "Right on." If a man denies the existence of a gender salary gap, well, then, there isn't one, right? Or else he wouldn't have said it. She'll decry working mothers, single mothers, career women, women wearing pants, women converting oxygen to carbon dioxide if it'll make the boys like her. Think Ann Coulter.

2. She's seriously fundie. She's not content to live happily within the constraints of Biblical doctrine; she's going to make sure that you do, too. She usually has some Pat-Robertson-Jerry-Falwell-esque concern about the coming of the End Times, and is sure that it's women throwing off the yokes of servility that's calling down God's wrath. It's not enough that she wear her swim dress to the beach; you'd better be wearing one, too, or you're going straight to Hades and taking the rest of the world with you. Think, oh, take your pick.

These are the women who make the world worse. Kate O'Beirne talked about how horrible feminism is, that it demonizes women who choose to stay at home in traditional roles. Quoi? Women who want to stay at home make the world go 'round. Women who stay at home because they feel they have no other options make the world go slowly. Feminism doesn't force women to work outside the home; it teaches women that that's one option, among many. I'm not denying that there are some uber-feminists out there bothering stay-at-home-moms, but they're only equal to the uber-anti-feminists excoriating working mothers.

Kate O'Beirne, I believe, is Sister F***er Type I, who has gained the approval of the Men In Charge and isn't going to endanger that by stepping out of line. She denies the gender gap, denies that there are such things as "women's issues," denies that most women in the US actually don't want the government dictating the activities of their uteri. Let me unburden you of those illusions, Kate: I've worked for two years to get to the salary at which the guy before me was hired; as long as a woman's gender stands between her and a Traditional Job for Penis-Havers, there will be "women's issues;" and I don't want Bill Frist poking around in my uterus, even on video.

Sister F***ers are just as bad as the radicals who insist that a woman's only place is out of the home. Feminism doesn't try to make women into men or make us better than men; it just fights to make us equal to men. Men can choose whether or not to have kids; we want that. Men can choose whether or not to work; we want that. Kate O'Beirne said that women and men aren't interchangeable, and to an extent, that's true; I'm prettier than the guy who had my job before me, and having a penis, he could do penis-things that I can't do with my lack of penis. But a stay-at-home dad can be just as good a parent as a stay-at-home mom, a woman engineer can be just as good as a man, and women and men make equally good doctors, lawyers, writers, astronauts, hot-dog vendors, garbage collectors, flight attendants, nurses, teachers, and ice-cream tasters.

The world is changing, sure, but not necessarily for the worse. Kate O'Beirne can woman up and step out from the protective umbrella of the Man Club, or she can stay there, but as long as she's living the benefits of feminism, she needs to stop trying to f*** us.

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