You Are Dumb, which is not a blog, posts new columns every weekday, except for a couple of days each month when it doesn't. It is also a Twitter feed, @youaredumb, with content in a similar vein but much shorter. My spinoff food site, Forkbastard, can be found easily enough by the clever.
Archive - Apr 16, 2012
Memo to the War On Women: YOU ARE DUMB.
Let's just start fight off the bat by saying I am not a fan of the phrase "war on women". It's got a certain short-term political pithiness to it, but it might peak a bit early in this election cycle. Plus, it's not really a war on women. I mean, it's definitely a campaign against women, it's just that "war" doesn't really give you the right picture, or let you place that picture in the proper context.
I mean, I called it back in March, this year it's just women's turn to be put back in their place. See, back in the mid-1700s, America was run by RSWCMs. Rich, Straight, White, Christian Males. And from one perspective, vast chunks of American history can be seen as attempts by RSWCM's to hold onto power, while the other ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, economic classes, and religions tried to pry some of it out of their hands. Since the pie of power is only so big, RSWCM's generally keep their slices large by doing what they can to keep the other slices small.
This is how you get "welfare reform", anti-abortion laws, three strikes laws, school prayer, amendments "protecting marriage", and John Derbyshire. And while this theory is obviously an oversimplification, there's very little in American politics that doesn't have a chunk of this motivating it in one way or another. Sure, we've made progress. People who aren't one of those five things make up a larger percentage than ever of people in power. There are even a few with only three out of five. I'm not aware of any two-out-of-fivers holding serious political office, but there might be a couple. But the vast majority are still RSWCMs.
And, of course, the Republican Party embodies this worldview more than the Democrats do. I mean, the Democrats aren't great, but they do have a solid history of backing 80%ers in high office. Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Barney Frank, Al Franken... they still have a tough time with the Rich part, admittedly. But the Republicans? They had a pair of 80%ers in their primary, but they were both jobbers. Lunatic laughinstocks. Meant to go out there and get squashed for the good of the party. And it pretty much worked out that way, even if Herman Cain got in a little more offense than he was supposed to.
So really, the Republican "war on women" is just a series of policy proposals designed to keep women from getting too much power. One of the things that helps women get and keep power is, of course, the ability to use science to control their reproductive cycle, so that's why abortion and contraception are in the crosshairs.
And, of course, women can't become 80%ers without getting rich, and they can't get rich as easily if they're not getting paid as much as men, and so that's why you see Pete Hoekstra calling the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act a "nuisance", and Wisconsin politicians explaining that equal pay isn't a big deal because, well, ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!
"You could argue that money is more important for men. I think a guy in their first job, maybe because they expect to be a breadwinner someday, may be a little more money-conscious. To attribute everything to a so-called bias in the workplace is just not true.” - Wisconsin State Senator Glenn Grothman, who, I can't help but point out, has MAN in his name.
I mean, you could even argue that the Republicans' fervent defense of stay-at-home moms stems from the exact same reasoning that prompts the "war on women". Of course Republicans respect a woman's right to voluntarily exclude themselves from the workplace to raise a brood! Well, mostly. They kind of have to be white women married to rich men for that choice to be respected, because, well, that keeps the women safely at the 60% mark, doesn't it?
But Mitt Romney, whose utter awfulness we'll be exploring in detail over the next seven months, just got caught proposing, back in February, before stay at home moms like his wife were temporarily the best thing ever in order to score a point against Democrats, that mothers on welfare should be forced to get jobs, and have the government pay instead to put the kids in child care, so that these stay-at-home moms could learn "the dignity of work".
Ann Romney never had to learn the dignity of work. I wonder why that is? For the record, I don't actually wonder why that is. We all know why that is, because it's fucking obvious. Ann Romney inherited the knowledge of the dignity of work from her rich, white parents, and so never had to actually apply that knowledge. If welfare moms had been born knowing how dignified work was, they'd clearly have jobs and not be on welfare, wouldn't they?
The Republicans can claim there's no "war on women" if they want. They can even try to claim that there is one, but Obama is waging it because of a statistical fluke that only works if you pick an arbitrary date to start counting job losses that makes it work. But the funny thing about oppressed classes is that, as a general rule, more than half of them know when they're fucking well being oppressed, and by whom. And, with the exception of notable outliers like GOProud and Michael Steele, most of them don't let other factors (mainly the R in RSWCM) keep them from voting accordingly.