I bet he scores a lot of women
The New York Times' Bob Herbert totally gets it in his column today titled, simply, "Politics and Misogyny."
Little attention is being paid to the toll that misogyny takes on society in general, and women and girls in particular.
Its forms are limitless. Hard-core pornography is a multibillion-dollar business, having spread far beyond the stereotyped raincoat crowd to anyone with a laptop and a password. Crowds of crazed photographers risk life and limb to get shots of Paris Hilton or Britney Spears without their underwear. At New York Jets home games, men regularly gather at Gate D to urge female fans to expose themselves.
In its grimmest aspects, misogyny manifests itself in hideous violence — from brutal beatings and rape to outright torture and murder. Fifteen months ago, a gunman invaded an Amish schoolhouse in rural Pennsylvania, separated the girls from the boys, and then shot 10 of the girls, killing five.
The cable news channels revel in stories about women (almost always young and attractive) who come to a gruesome end at the hands of violent men. The stories seldom, if ever, raise the issue of misogyny, which permeates not just the crimes themselves, but the coverage as well.
The latest of these obsessively covered stories concerned a pregnant marine, Maria Frances Lauterbach, who had complained to authorities that she had been raped by a fellow marine. Her body was found last week buried in a backyard fire pit in North Carolina.
But I don't agree with him on the sex trade.
A grotesque exercise in the dehumanization of women is carried out routinely at Sheri’s Ranch, a legal brothel about an hour’s ride outside of Vegas. There the women have to respond like Pavlov’s dog to an electronic bell that might ring at any hour of the day or night. At the sound of the bell, the prostitutes have five minutes to get to an assembly area where they line up, virtually naked, and submit to a humiliating inspection by any prospective customer who has happened to drop by.
I feel women, if properly paid and protected, should be allowed to exploit their sexual power over men -- often the only power they have -- for economic gain. It's mutually consensual. It should be decriminalized.
Herbert hammers it home here:
The Associated Press reported in 2006 that more than 80 military recruiters had been disciplined over the course of a year because of sexual misconduct with young women and girls who had considered joining the military.
There continue to be widespread complaints from women about rape and other forms of sexual attacks in the military, and about a culture that tends to protect the attackers.
To what extent are the candidates of either party concerned about these matters? Do they have any sense of how extensive and debilitating the mistreatment of women and girls really is?
We’ve become so used to the disrespectful, degrading, contemptuous and even violent treatment of women that we hardly notice it. Staggering amounts of violence are unleashed against women and girls every day. Fashionable ads in mainstream publications play off of that violence, exploiting themes of death and dismemberment, female submissiveness and child pornography.
If we’ve opened the door to the issue of sexism in the presidential campaign, then let’s have at it. It’s a big and important issue that deserves much more than lip service.
Thank you Bob.
UPPITY DATE (16/1/08): Dave over at Galloping Beaver -- I don't know why that name always makes me snort -- has a slightly different perspective.
Feminism, in all its complexities, is not getting down. Equality does not involve women accepting an agenda which women do not find comfortable. It involves respect, and if it isn't completely and totally mutual it means nothing. It involves exploiting the human strengths of both sexes and that means that men need to accept that women have human strengths that exceed their sexuality, the one thing on which men keep focusing as the the singularly exclusive power which women possess.
What a lot of men don't seem to be able to fathom is that the movement is not down, but up. Women don't have to change; men do.
Women have nothing to give up! They're crawling out of a hole and demanding the right to stand on the same field that has been occupied by men for who-knows-how-long.
What do men fear from all of this?
A loss of sex? Not likely. I have it on very good authority that all women have an "inner slut". That would suggest, unless I am singularly misinformed, that a male who truly believes in total equality has little to fear.
No. It's a loss of authority. The right to set the agenda. Even when feminists are demanding equality men demand the right to set their agenda.