Tag Archives: misogyny

Sound and Fury

hail-trump
I’m sure he doesn’t know anything about these guys.

As many of you probably know, I am not a fan of our Dear Leader-to-be, Donald J. Trump. The reasons for my antipathy are many and varied, from his choice of the most anti-LGBTQ governor in America as his vice-president to his relationship with the alt-right, a group of racist trolls whose taint was mostly contained to the internet until the Tangerine Nightmare drew them out from under their bridges. And, of course, there are the temper tantrums he regularly throws on Twitter; all of which would embarrass the brattiest of three year olds.

One of more troubling actions of President-elect Trump’s (I throw up in my mouth a little every time I say that) is his refusal to reject the hateful ideology of the alt-right. Not only has he been silent on the matter, he has appointed their top propagandist, Breitbart’s Steve Bannon, as his chief adviser. And, yes, I realize referring to this as “troubling” is a lot like World War I “a little dust up”.

But, there is a break in these awful black clouds of doom, beloved. Last week, everyone’s favorite “short-fingered vulgarian” finally spoke to the country on this issue. In what only be described as “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing,” Trump “disavowed” the alt-right.

Last Tuesday, during an interview with New York Times staffers, the  PEOTUS was asked about the group and he said “I disavow and condemn them”. Sounds good, right? Well, I wouldn’t get too excited because he also said “It’s not a group I want to energize, and if they are energized, I want to look into it and find out why.” It appears our president-elect is the only person in the country who is unaware of how his candidacy and election has breathed new life into what we all hoped was a dying movement. Great, just frickin’ great.

What’s that? You think I shouldn’t criticize Mr. Trump’s remarks out of hand like that? Oh, don’t worry, Sparky, I have given careful consideration to what President-elect BabyHands said. But, the fact that you feel that way makes me think you haven’t. So, let’s take a look at how his statement last week lines up with with what he’s done so far:

  • During his campaign, David Duke, former Imperial Wizard of Ku Klux Klan, was very vocal about his support of Trump. When CNN’s Jake Tapper asked if he would repudiate the support of an avowed racist, the future leader of the free world said, “I don’t know anything about David Duke. Okay? I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists.” (He was lying) But wait, there’s more!
  • After going through campaign operatives like a pothead goes through a bag of tacos, Trump hired Steve Bannon. Yes,beloved, the same Steve Bannon who bragged that Breitbart.com, the website of which he was CEO, was “the platform for the alt-right”. After he won the election and began putting together his cabinet, Trump’s first act was to appoint Bannon as his chief adviser.
  • His pick for Attorney-General, the cabinet official charged with enforcing civil and voting rights is Sen, Jeff Sessions (R) of Alabama. This is significant because in 1986, a Republican Senate committee denied Sessions a federal judgeship after former colleagues testified that he “used the n-word and joked about the Ku Klux Klan, saying he thought they were ‘okay, until he learned that they smoked marijuana.’”

So, on one hand we have Trump’s statement that he is not allied with the racist, anti-Semitic, misogynistic, Neo-Nazi internet trolls who, after his election to the highest office in the land, are now slithering out from under the digital rocks to which they had been relegated. On the other, we have specific actions on his part which indicate that he may have actively courted the support of the alt-right; at the very least, he had no problem with them.Sure, Donald, you “disavow and condemn them” in the same way I “disavow and condemn” my mother’s chocolate cake while shoveling another bite into my mouth.

 

Christians For Tru…, Aw, F**k It

Christians for Trump
Should probably add “misogynistic predator” to the list

This is the first Monday I’ve sat down to write (here on the blog, at least) since school started back in August. I have this opportunity because it’s Fall break this week and I’m on vacation. As we normally do this time of year, Diana and I are spending a week in the semi-tropical paradise of Baillie’s Bluff on the Gulf Coast of Florida. But, getting here wasn’t exactly easy this time.

 If you live in the southeastern United States, you probably have an inkling why things were so tough. If not, I can sum it up in two words: Hurricane Matthew. Between worrying whether we would even be able to get here (we usually come down I-95), to almost getting trapped by flood waters in at Diana’s house Saturday (roads all around us flooding), to a 14 hour trip with traffic that varied from a virtual standstill to almost clear sailing, it has been an interesting four days. But, we’re here and I’m writing this from one of favorite spots on the planet: the fabulous screen porch at D’s family house in Holiday.
What, you might be thinking, could pressing enough to drag me to a computer when I could be soaking up the last bit of sun and fun for the year? First of all, time on my hands. When we’re vacationing, Diana likes to sleep in, while I couldn’t sleep past 8 o’clock unless I was coming off a 3 day coke bender. When I have time on my hands, I think about things. And, this morning, what I’m thinking about is Donald Trump and the repulsive shit that spewed from his face hole in 2005.
 As awful as those words are, there is something worse: people who call themselves Christians making excuses for them or, in some cases, saying they just don’t care. What the fuck? How can you say that shit? Do you really want a man like this running the country where the women you claim to care about live? Because, if you do, I’m not so sure you care about them all that much.
The first time I heard that shit, my response was, “I’m not sure what to say to that.” It’s taken a few days, but I think I’ve finally come up with an appropriate response.
To pastors and Christian “leaders” who make excuses (it happened before he had “spiritual influences” in his life) or dismissing it altogether (Christians don’t really care about this), you should turn in any credentials you might hold and stop calling yourself a pastor, because you aren’t. The one constant in Jesus’ teachings (remember him? The guy you claim to follow?) is love. Love your neighbor, love one another, love your enemy. I’m just spitballing here, but I’m pretty sure He wouldn’t consider treating women as conquests to be gloated over “love”.
To those of you who say you don’t care, I say “Are you fucking kidding me?” Do me a favor, if your mother is still with us, go look her the eye and say “Mama, Donald Trump’s comments don’t bother me in the least. In fact, I firmly believe that a man who brags about assaulting women is the best person available to lead our country.” Then, come back and tell me how it went.
Let me make this perfectly clear: if you overlook, gloss over, ignore or do anything but condemn Donald Trump’s treatment of women, you should either fall to your knees and ask the Almighty for forgiveness or abandon any pretense of being a Christian. It’s just that fucking simple.

The He-Man Woman Haters Club…, On Steroids

misogynyFriday night, a young man named Eliot Rodger killed 7 people and injured 7 more in the Isla Vista community near the University of California, Santa Barbara. Rodger’s motive? To seek revenge on women, who he felt had sexually rejected him. The blogosphere is on  fire with posts about this tragedy and some of them are saying misogyny is to blame.

Misogyny, in case you’re wondering, is the hatred, dislike or mistrust of women and that certainly seems to describe Rodger. He wrote a 137 page manifesto and posted multiple videos online that highlight his feelings toward women. In his final video, he says

I don’t know why you girls aren’t attracted to me but I will punish you all for it.”

In another, he informs us

“All those girls that I’ve desired so much, they would have all rejected me and looked down upon me as an inferior man if I ever made a sexual advance towards them. While they throw themselves at these obnoxious brutes. I’ll take great pleasure in slaughtering all of you”

Obviously, the words of a seriously disturbed young man.

But, at least two articles I’ve read seem to reject the idea that mental illness played a part in this. In a piece for The Guardian, Jessica Valenti shares a Tweet from Molly Crabapple, who said

“White terrorism is always blamed on guns, mental health – never poisonous ideology.”

And, in an article on PolicyMic, Elizabeth Plank opines

“Rather than seeing Elliot Rodger as a product of society, the media has depicted him as a bloodthirsty madman, a mere glitch in the system. And yet the facts show a very different story… We often instead shift the conversation to “mental illness” and describe shooters as madmen, while the characteristics they exhibit are often an extension of toxic masculinity ideals that are institutionally reinforced.”

Are these authors right? Is this just another case of the He-man Woman Haters Club on steroids? Or is it a little more nuanced than that?

Let’s get one thing straight: Eliot Rodger did what he did because he was a deranged young man who actively resisted any help for his condition and, instead, sought aid on certain websites dedicated to “men’s rights” (look for more on this in a later article). Did society make him kill those people? No, he did it on his own with malice aforethought. Frankly, the idea that Rodger’s actions are solely the fault of a misogynistic society is troubling because it negates his responsibility for those actions and gives the next disturbed individual a free pass when they decide that their best option for dealing with their personal demons is violence.

However, while Rodger bears the ultimate responsibility for his actions, he is not alone. The immature little boys who run these “men’s rights” (what a sick joke that phrase is) websites, the NRA and the politicians in their pocket and churches/pastors/organizations who promote the view of women as domestic servants and breeding stock are also accountable for what happened Friday night. Make no mistake, until we deal with these issues, this will happen again.

Complimentary? Not Hardly

Outside of a few references to specific people, I haven’t said much about women here and that’s not good. I tend to wear blinders when I start in on certain issues and don’t always see other important ones. Sometimes, it takes a slap upside the head to get my attention and this time was no exception. It took me a while, but I finally got the message.

Some folks (mostly men) have, in my opinion, an almost neanderthal view on the role of women in society. Okay, maybe that’s pushing it a bit. But, I have no doubt men these fellows would fit right in with women in 1st century Palestine. You see, back in those days, women weren’t much more than chattel. Their basic role was keeping the household up and birthing and raising children. They weren’t allowed to speak in public, received no education and if they let down their hair (literally), they were consider a slut. According to the Mishnah, they were to be considered as a gentile slave which could be obtained by money, intercourse or writ. Women walked 6 paces behind their husband and, when it came to worship they were only allowed into the Court of the Women in the temple, which was just inside the Court of the Gentiles and well away from the inner courts were the actual business of the Temple went on. In those days, you couldn’t even call women second-class citizens…, they weren’t citizens at all.

Why do I say that modern fundamentalists would love the patriarchy of 1st century Jews? Several reasons, not least of which is the idea of complentarianism. This concept is just another way to dress up their misogyny. In it, they claim men and women are “equal”, but have different roles. Sounds good until you what those roles are. Men are the head of household, leaders in the church and the secular world and they understand what’s best for their family. Women are to stay home, keep house, birth and raise babies and submit to their husbands in everything. In other words, men are out the world making stuff happen and women are at home, barefoot and pregnant. I will say this works for some families and if you’re one of them, more power to ya. But, everyone doesn’t feel that way and they do not care to live that lifestyle, no matter how biblical you claim it to be.

A great many Christians, like me, are what’s called egalitarian when it comes to gender roles. What that means is we considered all people equal and capable. I will caution you, to a fundamentalist, the word egalitarian is about the same as communist or socialist; for them it’s like a curse word. Don’t believe me? Google some of the more outspoken fundie pastors like Mark Driscoll or Doug Giles on egalitarianism and see what you get. It’s what you call enlightening.

The thing is, Jesus broke that mold with his ministry. He spoke out for women, telling the husbands not to divorce them and leave them destitute. He treated women as equals, speaking to them and using them in his work. He saved them from capricious punishments, like stoning and let them walk away unharmed. In fact, Jesus’ treatment of women was one the ways he turned the world upside down. I can’t help but think he’s not all that happy with some of the things being said and done in his name.