Friday, February 22, 2008

Secular female self-definitions and religious male prescriptions

from Jonathan VanAntwerpen to date 22 Feb 2008 02:39 subject
Rethinking Secularism: A headscarf affair, a women’s affair?

"Women who are proponents of the headscarf distance themselves from secular models of feminist emancipation," writes Turkish scholar Nilüfer Göle today at The Immanent Frame(, "but also seek autonomy from male interpretations of Islamic precepts. They represent a rupture of the frame both of secular female self-definitions and religious male prescriptions. They want to have access to secular education, follow new life trajectories that are not in conformity with traditional gender roles, and yet fashion and assert a new pious self. They are searching for ways to become Muslim and modern at the same time, transforming both."

Read Göle's entire post, along with earlier contributions from Jenny White and Joan Wallach Scott, here: Jonathan VanAntwerpen Program Officer & Research Fellow Social Science Research Council 810 Seventh Avenue, 31st floor New York, NY 10019 phone: 212.377.2700 x612 email: blog:

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Words are analogous to the collapse of the wave arrest thought at a more primitive -- maternal, or "pre-oedipal" -- level

Obama Mama vs. Big Daddy 'Cain from One Cosmos by Gagdad Bob
It should come as no surprise that Democrat voters prefer a feminine man to a masculine woman, although both are infinitely preferable to a manly man. It is odd that one of our two major parties has no room for one of the three modes of humanness, manliness (as opposed to mannishness), but it's true. It looks like the coming campaign, underneath it all, will be a contest between male and female energy (as well as child vs. adult)...

Now, language itself has a male and female aspect. On the one hand, words say what they mean and mean what they say. On the other hand, part of the magic of language derives from never fully saying what it means, in order to leave a space for unconscious engagement. Because it draws from unconscious (and supraconscious) sources, words have an infinite plasticity which can be used or abused, depending upon the case.

Creativity is not usually a result of logic, but of the unconscious mind's spontaneous ability to form all kinds of unpredictable connections, just as in a dream. It is a merger of Male and Female in their most abstract essences. Especially in Jungian psychology, the unconscious has always been conceptualized as feminine, the conscious as masculine. Neither alone has unfettered access to truth, but psychological health and happiness depend upon a harmonious dialectic between them -- a marriage of opposites, as it were.

Likewise, we all know that in a highly charged emotional situation, it is possible to argue falsely by recourse to common-sense logic. Just as emotion can be used to distort logical truth, logic can be used to distort emotional (not to mention spiritual) truth. You see this all the time in male-female relations, in which, say, a woman will make an emotionally charged comment, to which the man responds with mere logic, and they're off to the races. The astute man will discern the deeper content of the emotional communication -- the emotional truth that the woman is trying to convey, usually about their relationship -- and not respond to it in a literal manner. It's like two very different forms of communication, and each must learn the other's language.

Freud famously asked, "what does woman want?" I suppose we could ask, "what do Obama's followers really want?"

With the Obama phenomena, we are obviously witnessing "the power of language," but not at all in its semantic or denotative -- let us say, male -- aspect. Obama does not use language to draw sharp distinctions or to foster thought (which amounts to the same thing), but in order to arrest thought at a more primitive -- I would say, maternal, or "pre-oedipal" -- level. If you actually stop to analyze the (explicit) meaning of his words, you interfere with their real (implicit) meaning, which is to prevent the emergence of explicit meaning. The point is to be shielded from unwanted meaning under a warm maternal blanket of undifferentiated change.

Now normally, change is associated with anxiety and apprehension, so how does Obama encircle that square and remove its sharp corners? By promising that this change will not be in the direction of growth, maturity, or independence, but in the opposite direction: a regression toward the maternal realm of entitlement vs. merit, rights vs. expectations, pleasure principle vs. reality principle, Mother vs. Father, Yes vs. No.

Words are analogous to the collapse of the wave function in quantum physics, in that they reduce the infinite potential of consciousness to particularized meaning. If you are something, you can no longer be anything and everything. So the mantra "Yes we can" is an exercise in pure infantile omnipotence.

In this regard, the campaign is a closed circle of unconscious-to-unconscious communication, a mother-infant dyad from which father is excluded. The campaign is not about anything but itself. Yes we can. But how? No, you can't ask that. The whole point is to remain in the realm of the oceanic can, not to come ashore to the dry land of do. So we could also say that the campaign will come down to a lot of cant about Can vs. Can-do.

Because behind all the can, someone still has to actually do. Government doesn't actually produce anything. Free healthcare is not free. Someone else just pays for it... 8:14 AM

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Where women are hidden and oppressed

I have written about women and Islam multiple times (see here, here, here or here for example), but it is worth going over the psychodynamics of the sort of vicious misogyny that Tariq Ramadan can't bring himself to condemn, one more time...

Family dynamics obviously play an extremely important role in the development of personality, especially in providing values and role-models. The dysfunctional family of Middle Eastern Muslims, where women are hidden and oppressed; prevented from ever being able to grow up normally, while the sexually repressed and enraged men must avoid the shame of the feminine and must aggressively defend his honor and manhood by controlling and debasing anyone who threatens it...

Sexuality is an essential part of each individual. The double standards of modesty and behavior encouraged by the current practice of Islam are destructive to the normal development of personality in both males and females. Psychopathic traits in males are societally encouraged, while females are conditioned to be their willing victims. (When women seek to "equal" men by blowing themselves up, you know there is some sort of psychopathy at work--as opposed to "gender liberation"). Also, how will a child grow up normally knowing their mother thinks of them in this way?

A culture that is so viciously misogynistic gives rise to both men and women who are severely dysfunctional in almost every sphere of human activity. -- ISLAM'S VICIOUS MISOGYNY from Dr. Sanity

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

For the indignity and degradation inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry

Australia Apologizes to Aborigines
By ROHAN SULLIVAN – 39 minutes ago
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Aborigines organized breakfast barbecues in the Outback, schools held assemblies and giant TV screens went up in state capitals as Australians watched a live broadcast of their government Wednesday apologizing for policies that degraded its indigenous people.
In a historic parliamentary vote that supporters said would open a new chapter in race relations, lawmakers unanimously adopted Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's motion on behalf of all Australians.
"We apologize for the laws and policies of successive parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians," Rudd said in Parliament, reading from the motion.
The apology is directed at tens of thousands of Aborigines who were forcibly taken from their families as children under now abandoned assimilation policies.
"For the pain, suffering and hurt of these Stolen Generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry," the motion said. "And for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry."
Aborigines remain the country's poorest and most disadvantaged group, and Rudd has made improving their lives one of his government's top priorities.
"This is a historic day," said Tom Calma, who gave the Stolen Generations formal response. "Today our leaders across the political spectrum have chosen dignity, hope and respect as the guiding principles for the relationship with our nation's first people."
In Parliament's public galleries and at gatherings large and small around the country, victims of the assimilation policies and their supporters listened intently as Rudd spoke. Many wept quietly.
Traditional cleansing ceremonies were held in Sydney's predominantly Aboriginal suburb of Redfern before a crowd watched events on a big screen. Parents clutched children on their knees. Many waved Australian and Aboriginal flags...

The apology places Australia among a handful of nations that have offered official apologies to oppressed minorities, including Canada's 1998 apology to its native peoples, South Africa's 1992 expression of regret for apartheid and the U.S. Congress' 1988 law apologizing to Japanese-Americans for their internment during World War II.
Aborigines lived mostly as hunter-gatherers for tens of thousands of years before British colonial settlers landed at what is now Sydney in 1788.
Today, there are about 450,000 Aborigines in Australia's population of 21 million. They are the country's poorest group, with the highest rates of jailing, unemployment and illiteracy. Their life expectancy is 17 years shorter than other Australians.
The debate about an apology was spurred by a government inquiry into policies that from 1910 until the 1970s resulted in 100,000 mostly mixed-blood Aboriginal children being taken from their parents under state and federal laws based on a premise that Aborigines were dying out.
Most were deeply traumatized by the loss of their families and culture, the inquiry concluded, naming them the "Stolen Generations." Its 1997 report recommended a formal apology and reparations for the victims.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Catalyze a new partnership between women and men

The Divine Feminine, Unveiled
Will embracing woman-centered spirituality take us beyond patriarchy? by Elizabeth Debold
Jung was a Victorian...The Victorian era, like no time before or since, asserted that one’s gender and sexuality were the core of who we are. Thus when he was developing his theory, Jung, like Freud and other pioneers of psychoanalysis, would not have had the awareness that what he understood about women and men was located in his particular cultural context. While human civilization has always been patriarchal to one degree or another, you could easily say that in the Victorian era, modern patriarchy reached its height, bolstered by newly developing sciences that aimed to prove extreme differences between women and men. Victorians perfected the idea that men and women are opposites. As Jung himself said, “What can a man say about woman, his own opposite?” ...
The current feminine ideal is to be good, beautiful, sexy, all-compassionate, giving, and loving. The pallid Victorian ideal casts a shadow across our psyches, so we often see our liberation in terms of reclaiming and celebrating our sexuality, our emotions, and our biologically based roles that keep us in sync with nature. It’s uncanny how this latest incarnation of the Divine Feminine brings together the aspects of woman that are most valued within patriarchy—sexuality and mothering—and upholds this image as our evolutionary goal. Again, woman is body—now the pure, “natural,” and sexual body, as if we can ever step outside culture to find an unmediated self.
Even more important, there is an assumption in all of this that we women have been untouched by patriarchy and are innocent of the culture that we are steeped in. This only shows how wedded we still are to an image of ourselves as “good women” who are morally superior to the mess and conflict of the world. That very division—between men in the public sphere and women innocently at home in the private sphere—is Victorian patriarchy. And it corresponds to a division within ourselves that few women speak about with much depth or seriousness. It is here that the Jungian archetypes are particularly instructive, because they represent the sedimented layers of instinctive roles and responses women have had in patriarchy. “Patriarchy is . . . the marriage of the dark feminine and the negative masculine,” says Carolyn Baker, Jungian analyst and author of Reclaiming the Dark Feminine. “If we’re going to understand and dismantle patriarchy, we need to be talking about the dark side of the feminine, as well as the negative masculine.”
From what I see, most of the popular approaches to the Divine Feminine engage only superficially with the dark side—the unconscious, repressed, or denied aspects of self—if at all. While there is a recognition that patriarchy (particularly the Victorian version of it, I would add) created a context in which women repressed their sexuality, the response seems to be simply to urge women, as does, to “embody your ecstasy.” Sexy has become part of the image, and as such it doesn’t disrupt patriarchy at all. If anything, it only focuses our attention on being attractive, desirable, and obliging. But the dark feminine is anything but attractive, which is why, as the eminent Jungian analyst Irene Claremont de Castillejo suggests in her classic 1973 book Knowing Woman, few women want to get near these aspects of our psyches. Aphrodite, after all, is not just the goddess of love but is capable of ruthless vengeance and jealous destructiveness, particularly toward other women. But until we do recognize the whole of what we are made of, we will continue to project darkness onto men and thereby keep intact the polarizing divisions that hold patriarchy in place.

The Task of Modern Woman
We women can move culture forward and create a future beyond patriarchy. But it will neither be easy nor necessarily feel “natural” if we see our nature primarily in terms of the roles we have played in culture over most of historical time. Jung himself saw the potential in women for evolving consciousness, and as Castillejo explains, Jung came to believe “that man can go no further in the pursuit of consciousness until woman catches up with him.” This may be a bone in the throat for us postmodern women. But Jung is speaking of the enormity of the task that we women face to step beyond our biologically driven and culturally sanctioned roles.
In a talk that he gave between the two world wars entitled “Woman in Europe,” Jung said woman “is faced with a tremendous cultural task [that] perhaps . . . will be the dawn of a new era,” because women long “for greater consciousness . . . [to] escape the blind dynamism of nature” in which he saw her caught. In other words, Jung, too, saw how women’s existence within patriarchy was focused on our capacity to reproduce (or not)—virgin, wife, mother, crone—which has left us lagging far behind in our capacity for the kind of creative thought that the privileged males in our species have developed through trial and error over the past several millennia. “So long as a woman lives the life of the past she can never come in conflict with history,” he says. “But no sooner does she begin to deviate, however slightly, from a cultural trend that has dominated the past then she encounters the full weight of historical inertia.”
Taking on this inertia in order to free our souls and spirits from that which we have been embedded in through the ages would be heroic. It’s a new kind of heroism that demands the creation of the new within us. The goal would be to develop a consciousness that both includes our biological and cultural inheritance and also transcends it, so that a new, free space of relationship is created in culture in which to catalyze a new partnership between women and men. This would be a new expression of the feminine, and given how essential it is for transforming our world, such an endeavor is nothing less than sacred. [ back to table of contents ] 1 2

Down with brahmins, up with brahmanical values seemed to be the undeclared motto of the reformers

Title : A long ethnocentric barrier Author : Meenakshi Jain Publication : The Hindustan Times Date : February 24, 1997
The political scene in India seems stalemated with no party able to make the great leap forward. The ubiquitous caste factor appears to be once again at work, its long arm preventing cross-varna alliances. Uttar Pradesh may be an obvious victim, but the malaise affects the entire union.
In this deadlocked situation it may seem perverse to claim that a homogenised Hindu society is very much in the offing - a social order, sanskritised and brahmanised to a degree never before in the country's history. The widespread anti-brahmin sentiments notwithstanding, we seem forward bound.
The roots of this development can be traced to the reform movement two hundred years ago when a concerted effort began to remake Hindu society. Down with brahmins, up with brahmanical values seemed to be the undeclared motto of the reformers. It was this apparent paradox that led scholars to describe socio-religious reform in Hindu India as "double-edged sword" that tended to reinforce superior values even as it sought to undermine superiority itself.
Till about a hundred years ago, village goddesses as localised forms of Devi - the Goddess - constituted the single most important category of deities worshipped in the Indian countryside. In contrast to the great gods who were linked to the universe as celestial space, goddesses were tied to the world and the earth. Bhudevi, for instance, was earth divinized.
The divinity rubbed off on the village goddesses as well. They were the presiding deities of their little kingdoms, their sovereignty being coterminous with the boundaries of the settlement. They were responsible for the protection of the populace within the village precincts. Agricultural production and human reproduction were also dependent on their grace. Thus Village India was dotted with countless shrines of mata, amman, and so on. Whatever their local name or form, all village goddesses shared certain common features. The vast majority were represented without male consorts. Though not necessarily unmarried, they stood alone in their temples. The Tamil village goddess Angalamman, for example, was depicted both as an auspicious married woman with sons, and as a virgin without husbands. In both cases the male consort was absent.
Goddesses could stand and act alone because they embodied shakti, the energising power. Such single goddesses, however, were generally perceived as dangerous, quickly angered and bloodthirsty. They demanded animal sacrifices as appeasement, a trait which further set them apart from the great deities of Hinduism who., were, all vegetarian.
But in the modern era, village goddesses underwent a metamorphosis. Dietary reform now became the rage. The brahmanical commitment to vegetarianism was elevated to an all-India ideal. Overnight, Mahatma Gandhi made it the new moral imperative. By making all Hindus pure and superior, he struck a powerful blow at caste inequality.
The emphasis on vegetarianism had a telling effect on the position of the village goddesses. Here, too, Gujarat led the way. The state had witnessed powerful Vaishnava devotionalist movements which vigorously opposed animal sacrifices. This triggered off a reform of village goddesses. They were either made vegetarian, or, if they still demanded animal sacrifices, abandoned. The overall result was a marked decline in the popularity of village goddesses.
This phenomena, though most pronounced in Gujarat, is visible elsewhere as well. Distinctions between the so-called high and low deities are dissolving right across the board. C. J. Fuller writes, "reformist pressure tends to make all gods and goddesses the same; they must all be vegetarians who never get blood sacrifices. Obey must, in other words, all be converted into Superior 'Sanskritic' deities, so that divinity - by a new path - is made uniform and substantial, rather than variable and relational."
Village goddesses are not the only category to be transformed. When the government of independent India granted Harijans entry into temples, the purity of the high castes and their very idea of worship was endangered. In such a situation the only viable solution was the reform of Untouchables so that they would not longer be "abettors of impurity." Since they were traditionally associated with animal sacrifices, reforming Harijans entailed the abolition of sacrifices.
It would be disingenuous to assert that India has abolished all forms of separatism and realised the twentieth century dream of a classless world order. Ale point is that Hindu society is being reconstituted and the political crisis reflects the flux.
As in the case of religion, society, too, is being streamlined. Varna solidarity is replacing jati consciousness, as the local is rising to regional and national stature. The millenia - old hierarchical ranking is no longer legitimate. Caste equality is the in slogan, a situation which has prompted many old timers to complain that "there is no caste left."
This process is vertical decline and horizontal growth has been called the "ethnicisation of caste." The new ethnic caste identity is often expressed as a Hindu identity. 'Re symbols of Hindu identity and the new ethnic caste identity are routinely interchanged. Many castes insist that their distinctive caste culture is a manifestation of Hindutva, or Hinduness. But clearly, the process is not yet advanced enough to pull us out of the present quagmire.

He wore few clothes and urged his disciples, male and female, to do likewise

Title : The Mahatma and his 'girls' Author: Arvind Kala Publication : Free Press Journal Date : January 12, 1997
Bal Thackeray's sarcasm about Mahatma Gandhi being in the company of young girls in the twilight of his life has created a mini political storm, but his comment is based on history. In fact, Gandhi's life-long quest to eliminate all sexual desire from his being prompted him to try experiments which even troubled his followers. For instance, while touring Noakhali to calm Hindu-Muslim communal passions, Gandhi shared his bed every night with his 19-year-old great-niece and constant companion, Manu.
This greatly shocked his followers and one of them, Nirmal Kumar Bose, who worked closely with Gandhi during the months of 1946-47, mentioned this in a letter he wrote to another troubled associate. Bose wrote:
"When I first learnt in detail about Gandhi's prayog or experiment, I felt genuinely surprised. I was informed that he sometimes asked women to share his bed and even the cover which he used, and tried to ascertain if even the least trace of sensual feeling had been evoked in himself or his companion.
"Personally, I would never tempt myself like that; nor would my respect for a woman's personality permit me to treat her as an instrument of an experiment undertaken only for my own sake. But when I learnt about this technique of self-examination employed by Gandhiji, I felt that I had discovered the reason why some regarded Gandhiji as their private possession, this feeling often leading them to a kind of emotional imbalance. The behaviour of A, B, or C, for instance, is no proof of a healthy psychological relationship.
"Whatever may be the value of the prayog on Gandhiji's own case, it does leave a mark of injury on the personality of others who are not of the same moral stature as he himself is, and for whom sharing in Gandhiji's experiment is no spiritual necessity."
These paragraphs come from a book. My days with Gandhi, that Bose wrote in 1953. But before mailing this letter, Bose showed it to Gandhi and Gandhi replied that his self-examination was part of his dharma. It lid not imply any assumption of a woman's authority. Gandhi replied to Bose thus: "I believed in a woman's perfect equality with man. My wife was 'inferior' when she was the instrument of my lust. She ceased to be that when she lay with me naked as my sister. If she and I were not lustfully agitated in our minds and bodies, the contact raised both of us ...
"I do hope you will acquit me of having any lustful designs upon women or girls who have been naked with me. .
A campaign of calumny began against him and news of his sleeping with Manu spread intense shock among Congress leaders in Delhi waiting to begin their critical talks with India's new Viceroy. Gandhi remained untroubled. He calmed his immediate followers in Noakhali, but when he sent his views to his newspaper, Harijan, about why Manu shared his bed, the storm broke out again. Two of Harijan's editors quit in protest. Its trustees, fearful of a scandal, did something they had never dreamed of doing before. They refused to publish the text written by the Mahatma.
Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre record in Freedom at Midnight that a series of emissaries discreetly asked Gandhi to abandon his relationship with Manu. But he refused. He had to leave for Bihar and he said he would take Manu along with him. Finally, Manu herself suggested to Gandhi that they suspend the practice.
In a sense, Bal Thackeray has done a great service to India by re-opening a part of Gandhi's life that Indians never discuss out of misplaced loyalty to the Mahatma. The irony is that if Gandhi had been alive, he would have welcomed Thackeray's criticism to have another look at himself. In fact, Gandhi has already passed into history as one of the greatest men of all times and his greatness cannot be diminished by his sexual experiments.
Gandhi's association with young women in his last years has been documented by several writers. One of them was Margaret Bourke-White, a photographer of Life magazine, who spent several months in India in the tumultuous months before Independence. In her book, Halfway to Freedom, Bourke-White wrote that in 1946, Gandhi used to receive daily two-hour massages from Sushila or one of his other women in his ashram. A few decades later, American writer Ronald Segal wrote in is book, Criss of India, that Gandhi's close association with women was frequently harmful to them. Many of them became neurotic, few of them married or even led normal or apparently contented lives. One of them, according to Bourke-White, was Raj Kumari Amrit Kaur, India's first health minister, who left her home at a young age to spend the next 30 years around the Mahatma. A woman friend of Raj Kumari told Bourke-White that Raj Kumari's first meeting with Gandhi "almost made a slave of her".
About Gandhi and his sexuality, we have to consult history. At 37, he took a vow of sexual abstinence because 21 years earlier, his father passed away in his house while Gandhi was making love to his wife in another room. That memory always tormented Gandhi. The fact that a bout of lust had kept him away from his father in his dying moments. So he spent his life trying to conquer his sexual urge. The perfect Brahmachari in Gandhi's mind was a man who could 'lie by the side even of a Venus in all her naked beauty without being physically or mentally disturbed'.
For years after taking his vow, Gandhi experimented with different diets, looking for one which would have the slightest possible impact on his sexual organs. "While thousands of Indians sought out exotic foods to stimulate their desire, Gandhi spurned in turn, spices, green vegetables, certain fruits, in his efforts to stifle his," wrote Lapierre and Collins in Freedom at Midnight.
But at the age of 67, Gandhi got a shock one night when he woke up sexually aroused. He was so anguished by 'this frightful experience' that he swore a vow of total silence for six weeks. To master his desires, he gradually extended the range of physical contact he allowed himself with women. He nursed them when they were ill and allowed them to nurse him. He took his bath in full view of his fellow ashramites, male and female. He had his daily massage virtually naked, with young girls most frequently serving as his masseuses. He often gave interviews or consulted the leaders of the Congress Party while the girls massaged him. He wore few clothes and urged his disciples, male and female, to do likewise because clothes, he said, only encouraged a false sense of modesty.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The main justification for the existence of the women’s movement these days is to support and expand the cult of victimhood

Siggy writes about the 'culture wars' over gender:

One of the great ‘culture wars’ of the last century has been fought over gender identity. Differences in human biology were minimized or eradicated entirely. There is entire generation that has been taught that what is good for men is good for women and what is good for women is good for men. As a result, the reality that men and women have different needs is ignored. What separates men and women, according to the cultural dogma 0f this western new world order, is gender as defined by sexual organs only.

There are of course, other truths....In defining humankind with a one size fits all parameter, popular culture has unfairly put an onerous burden on women. We understand the qualities that define adulthood and maturity are many, not the least of which are independent and autonomous thinking, logical thinking and responsible actions and behaviors. These are masculine traits. They are measured and played out on a level playing field. Women have become trapped by current culture.

Not only have women become trapped by the new rules, jublantly ushered in by the feminists, but men have also been 'liberated' from their traditional roles:

Many men simply don’t feel the need to grow up because women have quite plainly said they don’t need or value men. “You say you can take care of yourselves? Fantastic! I’m gonna go invent computer games and play them for as long as I want.” So, women indulged in a gigantic fit of self-indulgence and selfishness, which they are still very much involved in, and along comes not just one woman (you), but many of them, calling upon men to engage in the self-sacrifice of yesteryear, while at the same time, retaining all of their newfound privilege, comfort, self-determination, and yes, power, both over themselves (fair) and men (not quite so fair). Don’t like your husband? Divorce him and don’t worry about it. The law will ensure that he still does his 18th century duties; and you’ll still get the kids. Not quite feeling fulfilled enough? Drop your kids at day care without a thought to their welfare and go get it.

I do not mean to suggest that nothing was gained by the feminist movement of the last century. I attribute some of the opportunities I have had in my life to the courageous women who dared to challenge the system in the last century.In the beginning of that century, feminist intellectuals argued that women need NOT be victims or second-class citizens; that they were free to choose and live up to the best within themselves. In a free country, women should have the same opportunities as men and be judged not on their gender, but on their merit and capabilities.And then the bankrupt marxist/leftist ideology infected the women's movement.
The good news is that the early women’s movement was instrumental in mobilizing and encouraging women (such as myself) to reach for the stars. One small measure of the success of that movement is that most medical school classes today are >50% or more composed of women! There is no systematic discrimination any more that keeps women out of medicine. Women are in every medical specialty. They have become presidents of universities and professional societies; deans of medical schools and chairwomen of departments. This is really wonderful. And these gains have been made in almost every profession and area of human endeavor.
The bad news is that the leftist feminists could not accept that the mission had been mostly accomplished because they were too invested in the same old marxist "oppressor/oppressed" template that has obsessed the political left throughout the 20th century. The strategy then shifted from encouraging women to reach for the stars, to injustice collecting; denigrating men; and most importantly maintaining women's special and priveliged victimhood status.
Today women who want to become professionals--or do anything for that matter--can do it--including becoming wives and mothers if they choose. They have achieved equality of opportunity and little stands in their way except their own choices. The war has long been won and women have all the opportunity anyone could desire; but for some reason, the diehard leftist feminists continue to battle on, quivering with outrage that there is still no equality of outcome . They seem to be enraged at the fact that men are really different from women and that, when it comes to biology and physiology, there is no equality of outcome. There is only reality.
The main justification for the existence of the women’s movement these days is to support and expand the cult of victimhood that has been created for women. The justification for bashing men and undermining traditional roles is to maintain the cult and promote their socialist agenda which long ago replaced any agenda driven by the concerns of ordinary women..
Is it any wonder that both women and men have been shortchanged (gang-raped, might be a good term to describe it) by the angry, screeching feminists of today's women's movement, who now answer to their marxist masters and are determined to usher in the Caliphate of the X Chromosome. Submit to leftist feminization or they will will feel horribly, terribly bad. They might even swoon. But even worse than that, they will get pissy and make your life quite miserable.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Men are the emotional ones more likely to get swept away in abstract ideas and symbolism, and women are simply more practical

16 Ways of Looking at a Female Voter By LINDA HIRSHMAN NYT: February 3, 2008
1. The Female Thing
what women needed wasn’t change; it was the whole truth and nothing but the truth: “Women are too smart, informed and astute at reading between the lines to back a presidential candidate who isn’t being straight with them — especially when she is a woman.” ...
“that we’re all voting for Obama because we want to date him, but they were showing a picture of Obama at the time, and I heard birds singing and bells ringing and missed it.” ...
“Do women Obama’s age look at him and see the popular boy who never talked to them in high school? ...
2. Mind the Gender Gap
men supported Reagan by 8 percentage points more than women did. Of course, more women supported the incumbent, President Jimmy Carter, than did men. And ever since, women have been more likely than men to favor Democrats. Both parties have tried a variety of strategies to open or close the gender gap: nominating a woman for vice president (Geraldine Ferraro), pretending there was no difference, collecting women into smaller subgroups (soccer moms, security moms), emphasizing feminist issues (equal opportunity, reproductive rights), emphasizing economics (health, welfare, child care)...
3. Race Matters—and Class, Too
RACE FACTORS into the gender gap in two important ways...
women as a group were less “white” than men were — and nonwhite women are more likely to vote Democratic than white women are. Second, nonwhite women are more likely to vote Democratic than nonwhite men (75 percent to 67 percent in 2004)...
5. Besides, Women Keep an Open Mind
the female moderates, it turned out, were actually more Democratic than Republican, but like most women, they voted only somewhat more for John Kerry than for George Bush in the 2004 presidential election. “They don’t see the political world as legible, especially in the media,” Blakley suggested. “That’s why they misidentify themselves, these words don’t make sense to them, they don’t have a value and a weight that makes sense to them, a narrative for politics.”
6. What About the Middle Ground?
WHEN IT comes to politics, it’s not just that women are ambivalent; it’s that, as a group, they are less interested than men are — not all women, naturally, but on average...
The only area where the gap narrows is in local politics, where women score close to men. Not surprisingly, less interest translates into less knowledge.
7. The Gap That Matters
THE PEW Research Center for the People and the Press has been following the gender divide in news consumption in great detail for years. This is what that gap looks like:
International affairs- 63% - 37%
News about Washington- 59 - 41
Local government- 55 - 45
While men are more likely to follow international, national and local politics, women are more likely to attend to religion, health and entertainment, community, culture and the arts, crime and the weather. Men are significantly more likely than women to be regular consumers of “hard news” (32 percent of men versus 22 percent of women), and to turn to the Internet, radio news, talk radio, newspapers, political comedy shows and political talk shows. Women, by contrast, are more likely to get their news from the morning news broadcasts and network news programs. Although morning shows do offer news, they tend toward true crime, entertainment and lifestyle, and they regularly put a human-interest spin on government and foreign affairs.
Even if you factor in all the ways in which people gather news — women supposedly also get political information from the groups they join and from the people they know — and control for political affiliations, race and class, men still know more about politics than women do...
Of course, a quick glance at the numbers confirms that a lot of people, of both sexes, are hardly following the news at all. Most voters aren’t policy wonks. It may well be that there’s a base line of information that is “good enough” for citizenship, and knowing more makes little practical difference. But there is a strong correlation between knowledge and political participation. In most aspects of political action — candidacy, fund-raising, proselytizing, propagandizing — men predominate.
8. What Makes Women Tune Out
only one-third of news accounts cited any female sources at all.
9. Pride and Prejudice
NOT ONLY do fewer women turn to outlets with predominantly male sources for information, but studies also tie women to what scholars call the negative-media effect. Women will sometimes back a candidate because the media they distrust are backing his or her rival...
10. XX Marks the Spot
HISTORICALLY, THERE is no reason to believe that women, even Democratic women, will automatically support a female candidate... women, like men, have multiple commitments and connections, which pull their electoral loyalties in many directions. And because women’s lives are intimately connected with those of men, women are a little harder to organize...Seeing themselves as part of the political arena encourages women to get involved...
12. More Sense Than Sensibility
voters are more driven by their emotions than by any informed summing-up of their interests...As Popkin has noted, a party is really just shorthand for a series of issue positions — you love your party because it stands for what you stand for. So, if women as a group know less, does that mean they are more or less emotional when it comes to voting? ...
it’s that men are the emotional ones, “more likely to get swept away in abstract ideas and symbolism, ” and that women are simply more practical. “They may not frame their decisions in terms of policy or party positions — not use legislative jargon — but they know what’s in their family’s interest,” she said...
She characterizes the female agenda as focusing mainly on “family, education, things that affect the household budget, health care.” Which today, she adds, also means war and peace. Similarly, Page Gardner told me that for her single-women constituents, it’s “all about economic opportunity — health, education for their children, wages, energy costs.” ...
13. It Does Take a Village
“Women naturally think of working with other women in network form, talking to each other about what’s important.” ... The campaign has also focused on the issues they thought would attract women’s support, starting with events around Equal Pay Day last spring. “The polling confirms what common sense will tell you,” Lewis said. “Economics, health care, education, their own retirement.”
14. Or a Cybervillage
THE OBAMA campaign has also identified a woman-to-woman strategy...Certainly Obama’s oratorical skill is a vivid reminder of the role of rhetoric to inspire political commitment, and he has done extremely well with young women voters, those most likely to be wired...
15. The Political Is Personal
No less a figure than Carol Gilligan, the feminist scholar who first posited that women express themselves in a different voice, reminded me that she never said a woman’s tendency to value relational connections excluded the self. “Coming forward with their own voices is key to citizenship in a democratic republic,” Gilligan told me. “Women are using their emotional intelligence and relational intelligence to read the biographies to figure out if this is a trustworthy person.”
And when women do come forward, they alter the political landscape. Scott Keeter, of the Pew organization, and Michael Delli Carpini, of the University of Pennsylvania, found that as knowledge increases, “both single and married men become slightly more conservative, while married women move slightly in the liberal direction and single women become quite a bit more liberal.” These changes lead to a clear gender and marriage gap on domestic-welfare issues. As Keeter and Carpini concluded in their study: “A fully informed citizenry would have collective consequences, resulting in a public-opinion environment that is more ideologically diverse and slightly more liberal.”...
16. By the Numbers
SINCE 1964, more women have voted than men have, and since 1980, they have voted at higher percentages: 54 percent of voters in the 2004 presidential election were female. If women care less about politics than men do, why do they bother? In one recent study, women said that they vote to protect their interest. Whereas men said they vote because they enjoy politics. To a campaign strategist, the female vote — if you can get it — must look like the Chinese market does to an entrepreneur. Only a modest percentage has to want your product, and you’ll succeed beyond your wildest dreams.
Linda Hirshman is the author of “Get to Work: A Manifesto for Women of the World.” This is her first article for the magazine.