Red State Feminist Blog:

Happy New Year! And How 'Bout Them Irish?

Red State Feminists wish all a very Happy New Year! May 2011 be a wonderful year for our families and for our country. We hope the recession will lift, and we also hope our government will finally get its act together.

Speaking of governments with their acts together, Ireland has suffered tremendously during the recession, and is going to be bailed out by the UK and EU. This is certainly bad news for the Irish. And yet, there is one thing in which the Irish have done something to make their citizens proud--they stood up to their Wall Street.

In a recent article in the New York Times, Ireland's finance minister stepped in after a bank being bailed out by the government, Allied Irish Banks, was going to pay out bonuses of 40 million euros ($53 million) to its senior managers. You see, taxpayers were bailing out the bank to the tune of 3.5 billion euros! What utter gall! The finance minister said, "No way!" The exact quote? “The provision of further state funding to A.I.B. will be conditional, inter alia, on the nonpayment of any bonuses, no matter when they may have been earned."

Contrast this with the situation in the USA. Another recent New York Times articles, entitled, "Wall Street Gets Its Groove Back, and Big Pay, Too," we learn that even though most banks, like Morgan Stanley, are posting losses, bonuses will be up this year. The average raise in compensation will be 5%, and in some companies, the rise will be 15%. That is right; while middle America wonders how it will ever survive, Wall Streeters are facing 15% raises in their pay and bonuses. One chef at a prciey New York restaurant said, "We are seeing a lot of luxury purchases, like vintage Bordeaux, that we haven't seen sell well in a few years." Like $3950 for one bottle of a 1982 wine.

For example: Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs. Yes, that Goldman Sachs:

In 2009, Mr. Blankfein, who runs Wall Street’s most profitable firm, received a $9 million all-stock bonus. In 2008, the year the financial system nearly collapsed, he took no bonus. In 2007, he took $68.5 million in cash and stock, a record payday for a Wall Street chief.

Um . . . sure seems to me it's time for the Irish treatment, Mr. Blankfein! If there isn't a law against what you are doing, there should be.

Indeed, the reckless, self-centered greed of Wall Street that has destroyed the hopes and dreams of so many ordinary Americans is so obscene that Red State Feminists cannot understand why someone is not in jail. They say there aren't any laws against being stupid and greedy, but we have crimes like "reckless endangerment" and "negligent homicide." Time to think about how recklessness and negligence, even if it was on Wall Street where the big boys live and work, is a true crime, eminently deserving of punishment.

That that will never happen shows us all very clearly how rotten to the core are the power structures of big government, big business, and big finance in this country.

President Obama, you've got some Kenyan roots . . . but isn't your mother's maiden name, Dunham, Irish? Could you show a little Irish spirit, for all of our sakes?

December 29, 2010 by Red State Gal


Merry Christmas! And a Commentary on the Repeal of DADT

Red State Feminists wish one and all a wonderful Christmas! How wonderful it is that God did not send us down to this planet to bleed and suffer and grieve alone. No, our Savior, a God himself, offered to come to earth with us, and to take upon him every single human being's experiences of suffering. The scriptures say that the pain was so great that even he, who was divine, bled at every pore, and wished that the bitter cup could pass from him. Indeed, how could any being take upon them the honorific of "God" if they were not prepared to undergo all that their children would suffer? On Christmas, we celebrate that Jesus Christ kept his promise to come into the world and bear our sorrows, sins, and afflictions with us, that we might be partakers of forgiveness and healing from heaven. It is, indeed, the season most joyous next to Easter itself, which commemorates Christ's victory over suffering, sin, and death. Merry Christmas, indeed!

A little content in addition . . . as you know, the lame duck Congress, many of which are no longer accountable to their electorates because they were defeated in the November elections, voted to summarily do away with Don't Ask, Don't Tell, even though some segments of the military asked for the repeal to wait until major combat operations in the near east were over.

Red State Feminists see no reason why homosexuals cannot serve openly in the military. What we were appalled at was that the military has decided that no reorganization of sleeping arrangements will be made. Now, of course in the heat of battle, male and female soldiers have to bed down in close quarters. But outside of the battle zone, soldiers have been given the right to a space free of "the sexual gaze." You don't have to undress in front of anyone who would view your naked body in a sexual way. As women, we know that "sexual gaze" carries with it a lot of threatening and unwanted baggage. Women have the right to a space free of "the sexaul gaze."

Now no one will make or female. Males and females will all have to confront "the sexaul gaze" even in their own quarters. It might be protested that there have been gays and lesbians in the military for a long time, so that "sexual gaze" was always there. But because of DADT, that gaze had to be oblique. Now it will not have to be oblique at all; it can be quite open. That is wrong, and it is wrong of the military not to see a space free of "the sexual gaze" as an inherent right to be respected outside of exigent circumstances, such as in battle.

Of course, Red State Feminists do see some irony here. After all, the military is still an inhospitable place for women, and women are much more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than to be killed by the enemy. A female soldier's biggest threat is not the enemy--it is her own fellow male soldiers. And the military has an awful track record of bringing the perpetrators of these crimes to justice. "The sexual gaze" has brought misery to thousands of brave women soldiers in the US Army.

So the irony is that having done very little to create conditions safe from "the sexual gaze" for women, the military will now in equal opportunity fashion ensure that men, too, have no place safe from "the sexual gaze." Now men will know what their sisters know--that the unwanted sexual gaze is a deep invasion of personal dignity. That the military just doesn't get it is appalling, and we lament it. But there is part of our hearts that say, "Welcome to the club, boys! Maybe you will find out what you have forced us women to recognize; that everyone needs a place safe from "the sexual gaze."

December 22, 2010 by Red State Gal


Power Corrupts Absolutely: Industrial Motherhood and Reproductive Prostitutes

Red State Feminists have decried the purchase of babies by male homosexuals, erasing all vestige of the mother that gave that child life, and the mother that gave that child birth. But, truth be told, such power to artificially reproduce has corrupted women as well. A recent article by the liberal news outlet Alternet is called, "Is Motherhood As We Know It Over? Wealthy Women Farming Out Birth and Childrearing to the Poor," and addresses this very issue.

Highlighting a recent book by two academics on the globalization of reproduction, the article asks how we got to the point where privileged Western women now exploit the eggs, wombs, and laps of poor brown-skinned women in less developed countries. "Privileged" women often have to delay childbearing because in their societies men eschew commitment, and women must build their careers in order to have an income to fall back on when the man they have chosen decides to walk. By the time these women have what they need in place to be a mother, they often cannot--and some choose not--to do the messy reproductive labor themselves. Pregnancy, childbirth, recuperation therefrom, lactation, 24/7 with babies and toddlers . . . it may all seem like a nightmare that a privileged woman could avoid.

The obverse of this coin is the poor women, some in the West, who feel the only way they can financially survive is to be a reproductive prostitute--to be paid for the use of their body parts by those who want no commitment to them and no relationship with them. What is horrifying, however, is that the "johns" and "janes" in this type of prostitution also do not want the child produced to have any commitment to or relationship with the woman who is arguably their mother.

This erasure of the mother, whether done by male homosexuals or by privileged women, is simply inhumane. We know it is inhumane because if the child produced is born with a defect, the purchasers can refuse it. It is but trash to them. It is only because we are used to thinking of children as people and not women as people that we do not see how inhumane it is to ask a women to be erased from her child's life, or worse, to be told she is not the child's mother at all. As with prostitutes, we say, "well, she was paid." But the johns have stolen much more from a prostitute than money can buy. And the same can be said of reproductive johns and janes.

Some of the completely amoral logic involved is apparently on display in this book. Here's an excerpt highlighted by Alternet:

Some of the most memorable stories emerge in a chapter about couples who travel to and through Dubai as “reproductive tourists.” In one example, a Syrian woman who had come from Lebanon for fertility treatment worries about having a Hindu, as opposed to a Muslim, doctor, even as she has a child in the care of a Filipina (non-Muslim) nanny. In another, a Sunni Muslim couple goes to Beirut (where there is a Shia majority) for egg donation, since that practice – along with sperm donation, embryo donation and gestational surrogacy, has been banned by a fatwa in Sunni-dominated Muslim countries. The couple then seeks the eggs of a mid-Western, white American because, as the father-to-be explains it, “I want a white baby to look like me.”

One day, we will create a world where there are no human mothers at all. Childbearing will be farmed out to animals. Eggs and sperm will be harvested asexually. Men and women will not need each other for reproduction, and the words "father" and "mother" will have only symbolic value, divorced from what was once a genuine biological reality. Women have already "progressed" to the stage where they are insensate for birth; they have substituted cow's milk formula for their own human breastmilk; they have nannies to do the real caretaking. It is but a small step more for women to be completely alienated from the power of their own bodies.

Red State Feminists cannot help but think that there is laughter in Hell over the choices women are starting to make. Used to be, most of the laughter there in that "hot spot" was because of the choices of men. Guess gender equity has now hit Hades itself. When motherhood ceases to be, Hell has won the final battle for the soul of humankind. What is tragic is that there are women who choose to hasten that future--power does corrupt absolutely, doesn't it?

December 15, 2010 by Red State Gal


A Shared Commitment to Preserve Marriage

Red State Feminists are pleased that on December 6, 2010, representatives from many religions signed a document pledging their shared commitment to preserve and protect the idea of marriage.  Marriage in this document is defined as “the permanent and faithful union of one man and one woman.”  The document further expresses the idea that marriage is “fundamental to the well-being of all of society, not just religious communities.”  That is, marriage “serves the good of all.”

This document was signed by Anglican, Baptist, Catholic, Evangelical, Jewish, Lutheran, Mormon, Orthodox, Pentecostal and Sikh communities in the United States.  (And kudos to the Mormons for not waffling on the issue of one man and one woman.)

Only a few years ago, such a declaration concerning marriage would have been unremarkable.  Its truth would have been taken for granted.  Now, of course, attitudes have changed, and marriage is viewed as either a quaint legacy from days gone by, an institution oppressive of women, or as an empty form that can be adapted to put a stamp of sanction on all relationships without regard to gender and number of participants.

While some feel that a change in attitude should be the primary element in determining what is justified and what is not, Red State Feminists beg to differ.  As Anatole France remarked, “If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.”  And, we would remark, even if fifty million people were to say that marriage is not the permanent and faithful union of one man and one woman, they would still be wrong.

Even though free individuals may live as they choose, as long as they do not break laws in doing so, it is also true that how individuals live shape the context of the society into which children are born.  The law is not simply an arbiter; the law is also a teacher.  The definition of terms shapes our perspectives: is a soldier who has killed many of the enemy to be regarded as a murderer or as a hero?  In all of these things, we are making choices that will color how our children view the world, and thus will affect the trajectory of our societies.  The consequences are real, not imaginary and abstract.

We have argued elsewhere that marriage was meant to be the official peace between men and women, the two halves of humanity.  Children were meant to be raised in homes where they could observe how men and women treated each other as intimate equals, so that they could emulate the same when they themselves became adults.  Insofar as we lose the definition of marriage as “the permanent and faithful union of one man and one woman,” it is primarily women who will suffer.  Preserving marriage is a feminist issue.

At the same time, Red State Feminists deplore the fact that the signers of this document are all men.  Gentlemen, think: marriage is about men and women.  Why do the signatories to this document not represent that fact?  Do you not understand that marriage is to be an equal partnership between men and women, and when you deem that fact unimportant, you degrade the cause?  For shame.

Red State Feminists also deplore the fact that most mainstream feminist groups support same-sex marriage.  Mark our words; it is women who will suffer the most from a redefinition of marriage to exclude them as a necessary element.  It is women who are exploited and harmed when a child is purposefully produced to be motherless.  For shame.

Red State Feminists find themselves in the frustrating position of being upset at both the men of the pro-marriage movement and the women of the feminist movement.  It is the fact that both sides do not see what marriage really is—the peace between men and women—that causes missteps that will probably doom the cause of marriage and thereby doom the future of women.

If both the pro-marriage and pro-women forces are that confused over what marriage is, Red State Feminists hold out little hope for the future of marriage in the United States.

December 7, 2010 by Red State Gal


Religious Law, the Constitution, and Women

Red State Feminists have blogged about the sharia law brouhaha in Oklahoma; how even though 70% of the voters in that state agreed that Oklahamoa courts should not rely on international or secular law in their judgments, a federal judge has blocked the implementation of that referendum because of constitutionality issues. The lbock is temporary, pending further hearings, but there is no date set for such.

Red State Feminists believe the law could be rewritten so that it does ot single out sharia law, as it currently does, and that would help resolve most of the constitutional issues. What is more troubling is this paragraph in the article on the block:

At a hearing last week, Scott Boughton, an assistant attorney general for the state, said the measure was not intended to infringe on anyone’s religion; it was intended to keep Oklahoma judges from looking at the legal principles of other nations and cultures in applying state and federal law. When the judge asked whether that had ever happened in Oklahoma, however, Mr. Boughton acknowledged that he did not know of an instance in which Shariah law had been invoked by the courts.

Now, of course, it was invoked in New Jersey. But sharia law is not the only religious law that is problematic. Consider this case from New York:

Anyone who believes religious traditions only oppress women in faraway places should hear my story. I've just won an eight-year legal battle in Brooklyn, N.Y., to keep the house my parents left me. My brother--the first-born son of an Orthodox rabbi--claimed the religious right to evict me. Last month Brooklyn Surrogate's Court Judge Diana A. Johnson not only ruled the house was legally mine, but awarded me over a half a million dollars in damages from my brother for having padlocked me, just days after my father's death, out of the family home my parents had deeded to me. For over seven years, while I racked up crushing legal fees, my brother barricaded my childhood home. My case is not exceptional. Many Orthodox Jewish women have called me since the news of my victory was reported in the New York Post and reprinted in the Brooklyn Eagle and on various blogs. Many said they wish they had fought back as I did. These calls made me livid at those handful of U.S. rabbis and others who share my faith who routinely turn their backs on women.

When my brother locked the doors against me less than a week after my father died, he boasted that as the first-born son, he could take my old home, even though a deed my parents wrote in 2001 made me the sole owner after their deaths. Although I ultimately won justice, I have been saddened at how much I've had to fight alone. The expensive law firm I hired assigned an Orthodox Jewish lawyer to my case, who (after I had paid some $75,000 in legal fees) urged me to settle with my brother. My lawyer claimed my "strong personality" would "turn off" a jury. (When the case finally came to trial, there was in fact no jury at all.) Apparently the idea of a woman demanding her legal rights from an older, celebrated brother really does turn off many Orthodox. Several posters on an Orthodox-run blog, Vos Iz Neias, vilified me for trying to defend my inheritance rights. "Torah [Jewish law] is clear," wrote one, "daughters get nothing." Another insisted that because I had gone to court to assert my rights I had "turned my back" on my father's religion and was "somebody who publicly defames the Tora[h]." My victory goes to Orthodox Jewish women everywhere who share my view that first-born sons have no right to treat their sisters with blatant disregard. I've organized something called Sisters of B'khors (SOB, if you don't mind the pun) to help other Jewish women stand up to eldest brothers who would rob them of their modern legal rights.

It's clear--when religious law is invoked, it is usually to discriminate against women. What Oklahoma tried to do was give women who might otherwise fall under religious law the choice to claim the rights they have as American citizens who happen to be women. This is a very important concept. If religious law deprives women of rights they have as Americans, then the judge should be honor-bound to set aside the religious law so that oppression of women does not occur.

So, is the Oklahoma situation some "nutty" issue? No, sirree. The Oklahoma situation is a real feminist issue, and it is one that Americans must tackle now. Not all judges show the good common sense of judge Diana A. Johnson in Brooklyn. In the New Jersey case, the judge (a man!) upheld that a man had not committed marital rape because there was no such concept under sharia law!

This is a real Red State Feminist issue . . . so where are the Blue State Feminists? Why aren't they up in arms about this also? Guess it just wouldn't be politically correct.

Oklahoma, rewrite your law so that it does not single out sharia law, and vote it in again. Women need this type of law--they need to know they cannot be deprived of their rights under American law just because a man tries to subject them to religious law. Wouldn't that be . . . unconstitutional?

November 30, 2010 by Red State Gal


Thanksgiving Thoughts on America's "Elegant Decline"

Red State Feminists recently read a pundit’s essay describing how America was entering a stage of “elegant decline.”  It calls to mind a picture of an aging gentleman (shall we call him Uncle Sam?) still wearing his war medals on an increasingly sunken chest, dressed in a fashion that had been a la mode thirty years ago, but now with frayed cuffs.  His voice still shows the habit of command and authority, but as he looks around the room, he notices that many simply ignore him and there is nothing he can do to change that.  His once-noble face is now lined with discouragement, and what pains him most is contemplating how little he has to pass on to his children.

It is indeed tempting to give in to this vision of America’s future.  As we look about us, we see much that is to be lamented, much that makes us weep for what could have been.  The 41% of American children who are born illegitimate; the bodies of the soldiers that died so Iraq could be as royally messed up as it ever was; the mounting and colossal debt hanging over all of our futures; the hopelessness of persistent unemployment; the callous and reckless greed of our financial class; the spinelessness of our politicians; the seduction of many of our young people by a all-consuming virtual unreality; the plague of pornography among young and not-so-young alike.  No wonder so many drug themselves with both illegal and prescription substances!

But on this Thanksgiving Day, Red State Feminists say let our thanks and gratitude kindle a fire within us: a fire to cleanse our hearts, steel our minds, and clear our vision.

Sometimes it is easy to forget how blessed we are.  We have food on our table, and a roof over our heads.  If we need clean water, all we need do is turn on the faucet.  We have indoor plumbing, and our towns and cities have sewage systems.  We have roads, schools, and hospitals.  We have cars, subways systems, airports.  We have the internet, which puts the knowledge of the ages at our fingertips.  In other words, our forefathers and foremothers provided a sturdy foundation for our lives, that they would not be cut short needlessly by hunger or disease, and they made it possible for us to live without squalor.  Our forefathers and foremothers made it possible for us to become educated and know much more about the world around us than previous generations of Americans.  They had great hope that we would inherit a future that was much better than the conditions in which they themselves lived.

And our forefathers and foremothers gave us freedom: freedom to worship as we wished, freedom to speak our minds without fear, freedom from arbitrary arrest, freedom to hold property and do with it as we wish, freedom to gather with others who feel the same way about things, freedom to elect our representatives.  What a remarkable legacy that is!  We have held these rights longer than most, and our children grow up thinking these freedoms are as natural as the air they breathe.  Where there were injustices, such as slavery or lack of rights for women, these have been redressed over time.  We have taken a great gift and burnished it over time.
We owe our forefathers and foremothers a great debt of gratitude.  And we owe God, who so delights in life and liberty, the greatest gratitude of all.  It was God that inspired and opened the way for our prosperity and our freedom, against all odds and against the grain of the whole of human history.

What do we owe for these great legacies?  We owe a gratitude that carries with it a sacred promise to preserve for our children and their children all that was bequeathed to us.  It would be a most heinous crime to destroy what was given us, and deprive our children of their just inheritance.

Is it at all possible for a free people to say, just because we have the freedom to do a thing, that does not mean we should do it?  Can we step back from unfettered individualism, and suggest that civic virtue, rooted in moral virtue, is an important element of gratitude for all that we have been given by our forefathers, foremothers, and God?

Red State Feminists contend that civic virtue begins at home, with men marrying women before they have children with them, and staying in the family to raise those children.  Civic virtue demands the rejection of pornography, degrading as it is to all involved, both male and female.  Civic virtue begins with a refusal to engage in any type of domestic violence.  Civic virtue would entail the pooling of resources within the family so that these were distributed equitably, so that the needs and the dreams of all within the family might be nurtured.

If we just started there, with virtue in the home, many of the ills of our society would disappear.  There would be a real partnership between the two halves of humanity.  The needs of children would be met, whether those needs were physical or emotional.  Women would not live in fear, nor in poverty.  The effects of this turn towards gratitude would cascade outward, bringing the virtues of the home into the public square.  For example, if these virtues were practiced at home, would we as Americans tolerate the extreme economic inequality of our land, where the top 1 percent of Americans own 34 percent of all private net worth in the US, and where the bottom 90 percent own only 29 percent of such worth?  I argue we would not.  Because we would be practicing civic virtue in our homes, we would work against such a festering degree of inequality in the broader society.

So this Thanksgiving, do something grateful.  Be good to your family; care for their needs and don’t abuse them.  And if you don’t have a family, then don’t get people pregnant or become pregnant yourself.  Let’s just start there, and see what happens .   Let our gratitude this Thanksgiving be more than a rote prayer—let it become a principle of action.   For when we change the future of a family, we change the future of America itself.

America does not need to go gentle into that good night; America need not endure an “elegant decline.” There can be a renaissance for America, but for that renaissance to occur, we need to start at home, with a sincere gratitude that calls us to a better way of living!

Happy Thanksgiving to all, from all of us at Red State Feminists!

November 24, 2010 by Red State Gal


The OWLs and the Catfood Commission

Red State Feminists were fighting mad to hear the chairmen of Obama’s Deficit Commission state their policy preferences with regard to trimming the federal deficit.  Not for nought is this commission nicknamed the “Catfood Commission,” for the elderly in America, especially elderly women, will all be eating catfood if the chairmen’s preferences are implemented.  This commission is the real Death Panel of which we should all be very wary.

So who are these guys, what are they advocating, and what’s Obama’s take on this?

The guys in question are the co-chairmen Alan Simpson and Erksine Bowles.  They are speaking in advance of their 18 member commission voting on what proposals they will endorse.  So first off, it’s important to note that the policies recommended in the recent press conference are merely those of Simpson and Bowles, and not the product of the commission itself.  Second, it’s also important to note that only 3 of the 18 members of the commission are women.  Given that women will arguably be hardest hit by the Simpson-Bowles recommendations, this underrepresentation is unconscionable.  That’s worse representation than women have in Congress, at a measly 16%.  And third, it’s important to note who Simpson and Bowles are.  As one online commentator (“allan”) from Rochester, New York wryly noted, Simpson is a former senator, the son of a senator, born with a silver spoon in his mouth and currently enjoying a Congressional pension with mandated health care.  Erksine Bowles is a member of Morgan Stanley’s and GM’s board of directors, paid the better part of a half million dollars a year.  You may remember that Morgan Stanley was one of the big actors in the financial debacles of our current recession.

What are Simpson and Bowles advocating?  Many things, not all of which are bad.    But let’s look specifically at the social safety net, the provision of which is the mark of a civilized society that values life.  The proposals include, Capping catastrophic and long-term care amounts under Medicare.  Raising the retirement age to 69.  Reducing cost-of-living increases for retirees.  Cutting benefits for anyone with average wage earnings over their lifetime of more than $36,000.

The irony is just so rich.  First the financial wizards such as Bowles wipe out our retirement savings with their shenanigans, and then they tell us we aren’t saving enough for retirement and therefore we deserve to have our safety net benefits cut in order to trim the deficit!  And this even though the funds that pay for Social Security are separate from the federal budget and its deficits.  And Simpson—we can only guess that as long as his Congressional pension and health care are safe, he’s won’t be affected by what he’s advocating, and thus feels free to shred others’ safety nets.

Red State Feminists insist that an OWL be made a co-chair of this commission, and that fully 50% of its members be women, preferably mothers.  What is an OWL? A member of the Older Women’s League, known as OWL.  Leaders of OWL, such as Ellen Bruce, a past president, have pointed out that when you mess with Social Security, you mess with women, because 46% of elderly American women (widows primarily) rely on Social Security for 90% of their income.  In fact, the greatest risk factor for being poor in old age is to have been a mother.  The financial hit that women take when they become mothers translates into far lower Social Security payments when older, and women have longer life expectancies than men.  Furthermore, most part-time jobs, which women tend to take while their children are young and in school, do not provide for any pensions at all.  If you hit Social Security, you hit women the hardest.  And so we ask again, how come a woman was not a co-chair of this commission?  How come women were not 50% of this commission’s membership?

Despite what some politicians and pundits would have you believe, Social Security is no entitlement—Social Security was bought and paid for by the Social Security taxes that get taken out of each one of our paychecks, no matter how small.  For many women, it is all they will have to live on, all that will keep them from living in the street.  But apparently to Mr. Simpson and Mr. Bowles, such women are simply invisible and are of no importance at all.  These men have no conception of what it must be like to be an elderly woman on a tiny fixed income.  They have no conception of what it must be to eat cat food.  Wealthy, privileged men have no right to pontificate over the fate of Social Security.

Simpson once derided Social Security as a milk-cow with 310 million tits.  Perhaps we should cut off the tit he’s drinking from—his Congressional pension, his Congressional health care.  Perhaps if he lived life like the rest of us, he would have a clearer view of what seems obvious to Red State Feminists: Social Security should be a debt of honor payable first and foremost to those who provide the unpaid caregiving labor that keeps our families and our economy afloat through thick and thin—the mothers of our country.

And President Obama?  He’s been unaccountably mute over the Simpson-Bowles proposals. He hasn’t even acknowledged the effect these recommendations would have on women. This is ironic, since Obama painted himself as a champion of women, even establishing the State Department Office of Global Women’s Issues.  Well, there’s a women’s issue much closer to home, Mr. President, and it’s time the women of America heard you stand up and tell Messrs. Simpson and Bowles that you will not countenance sentencing the mothers of America to even greater penury in their old age. Michelle, it’s time to take him out to the woodshed and knock some sense into him!

November 15, 2010 by Red State Gal


Oklahoma Redux, or Why Can't a Free People Talk About Islam?

Red State Feminists have openly championed the ballot initiative in Oklahoma, that passed by a 7-to-3 overwhelming majority on November 2nd.  That initiative would require judges in Oklahoma not to use sharia law while issuing their judgments.  As we noted in a previous blogpost, a state judge in New Jersey did just that recently, refusing a woman a restraining order against her husband because he raped her, arguing that under sharia law, a husband is entitled to sexual relations with his wife, even if she does not want to have sex, and so the man could not be considered a rapist.  (Good grief!)

On Monday, a federal judge blocked the implementation of this new Oklahoma constitutional amendment pursuant to a lawsuit by the Council on American-Islamic Relations.  CAIR claims that the amendment “violates both the establishment and free-exercise clauses of the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious freedom.”  Further arguments in the case will be held later this month.

Red State Feminists are happy this issue is being debated here in the USA, even while we hope the amendment will ultimately be vindicated and upheld.  Indeed, we hope it goes all the way up to the US Supreme Court—now.  Why the urgency?  Because if we wait too long, we will be rendered as mute as the Europeans, who now feel they cannot say anything negative about Islam at all for fear of violence.  We have also recently blogged about the case of Molly Norris here in the USA, as the first sign that creeping fear is infiltrating our own land, as well.

In an excellent article by the Hudson Institute’s Nina Shea and Paul Marshall, the authors note that individual rights to free speech in Europe are being undercut by a new “right of citizens not to be insulted in their religious feelings.”  Apparently, this is excused by saying that while all have the right to speak, none have “the right to offend.”  Apparently, a person who wishes to suggest something negative about Islam must not insult Muslims, though the person may insult Islam.  Any perceived “blasphemy”—even by non-believers, thus becomes hate speech!

So, for example, one can insult Islam’s ideas, but not any practices of actual living Muslims.  If one wanted to criticize the prophet Mohammed for marrying a nine year old girl, that is fine, but if one points out that nine year old girls are being married today in some Muslim areas, that is forbidden speech.

Shea and Marshall conclude,

“Speech now deemed suspect includes subjects that are commonly and openly aired when not involving Islam: women's subordination, violence, child marriages, criminalization of homosexuality and animal cruelty. While not all such cases resulted in convictions, all contribute to a broad and chilling effect on speech. Because there is little predictability in the prosecution and adjudication of such cases, hinging as they do on subjective feelings, nobody knows what can be said with impunity. The flawed premise that religious views can easily be compartmentalized into personal or social realms itself violates the teaching of most religions.

“One result of this legal confusion is that many Europeans, including many Muslims, will think it wisest to keep silent on all matters Islamic. . . There will be terrible consequences for us all if Europe continues to head down this slippery slope.”

There will also be terrible consequences for America if we follow the path that Europe has trod in this regard.  Seen in this light, the Oklahoma amendment is not some fringe issue in a marginal state.  No, indeed, this is a major drama that concerns the future of America.  Should American judges be allowed to privilege religious law, especially religious law that oppresses women, over American law?  Is a man who rapes his wife to be considered merely a devout believer, and not a rapist?

Red State Feminists actually have faith that Americans have more common sense than the Europeans.  Americans are not afraid to say that man is a rapist no matter what religion he subscribes to, and should be held accountable as such under American law.  And so we welcome a full and fair hearing of these issues, preferably even before the US Supreme Court!  May there never come a day when American law is trampled by those who use religion as a cover for their misdeeds!  May there never come a day when Americans are too afraid to say that certain religious practices are wrong and illegal in the USA!

Free Oklahoma!  Free Molly Norris!

November 10, 2010 by Red State Gal


Red State Feminists' Favorites from the 2010 Election

Red State Feminists are very happy with the overall results of the 2010 election. The House has shifted firmly into Republican hands. Many states flipped to Republican governors--so much so that a map of US governorships looks almost completely red. Sure, Harry Reid hung on to his Senate seat, and the Democrats hung on by their fingernails to the Senate, but there is a case to be made that this situation might produce some real bipartisanship (hope springs eternal!). Some Tea Party-affiliated candidates made it (Rubio in Florida; Lee in Utah), but others went down to defeat, costing Republicans a few victories they might otherwise have had (Colorado, Alaska, Delaware).

But by far, the most interesting results for Red State Feminists came from the ballot measures. Let's look at some RSF faves:

We must admit, RSFs are so pleased with the 2010 election, we can't help but feel that the 2012 election will also be a time of . . . .dare we say it? . . . hope and change for America!

November 3, 2010 by Red State Gal


Molly Norris and Enrique Chagoya

Red State Feminists are both sad and outraged over what has happened to Molly Norris. This is a story that needs to be on the front page of every newspaper, never to be forgotten. And yet the story has faded. Here's our attempt to stir collective memory. Molly Norris was a cartoonist in Seattle. No one knows if she is still in Seattle, and no one has seen (or probably will see again) her cartoons in some time. Her website is down. She has no phone number, and no email address. She was "disappeared." By whom, and for what end? She was told by the FBI to disappear because a death sentence had been pronounced upon her by an Islamic imam (who, fortunately, is on the USA's to-be-assassinated list).

What did a Seattle cartoonist do to incur a death sentence? She suggested an "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day," in which American cartoonists would show their solidarity with Danish cartoonists who had been persecuted and threatened by Islamicists who viewed drawing cartoons of Mohammed as a great insult to their religion. Now Molly is basically in the equivalent of a witness protection program, though she (and not our government) is responsible for the cost of her new anonymity.

Why isn't President Obama talking about Molly Norris? Why aren't those who wish to build a mosque two blocks from Ground Zero talking about Molly Norris? Why aren't we ALL talking about Molly Norris? What does it mean for our country that a person must disappear within our society, even though they have committed no crime whatsoever, for fear they will be killed by a Muslim?

Contrast this with the case of Enrique Chagoya, a San Francisco artist with an installation in Loveland, Colorado at the Loveland Museum Gallery. One of his lithographs was of Jesus having homosexual sex. After a lot of peaceful protesting, a female Montana truck driver came in and smashed the plexiglass pane over the lithograph and tore it up. The truck driver faces charges of criminal mischief. The gallery and the artist feel "very, very sad" that the work cannot be displayed without protest.

So does this just all go to show that the two cases are equivalent? Hardly. Mr. Enrique Chagoya is free to go about his business, minus one offensive lithograph. Miss Norris is now a figurative ghost, and we must all pray that she not become a literal ghost. Moral equivalence? Absolutely not.

It is time for all Americans of good will--including American Muslims--to stand up in behalf of Molly Norris. Our country will have lost a piece of its soul if it countenances the "disappearance" of Molly Norris. May her name be on the lips of all those who count themselves as patriots!

Free Molly Norris!

October 25, 2010 by Red State Gal


Oklahoma is Right About Sharia Law

Red State Feminists have many issues to consider as we approach election day on November 2nd. But one that has especially caught our interest is one playing out in Oklahoma. Republican lawmakers there have proposed an amendment to the constitution of the state of Oklahoma forbidding state and local justices from considering sharia law (or international law) when making their rulings. The liberal media have seized upon this as a yuk-yuk issue, demonstrating the ignorance and hysteria of the Sooner State.

But are Oklahomans really ignorant hicks? There is a good argument to be made for just such an amendment. Let's look at how to make that argument.

1) Sharia law arbitration in the area of family law is becoming routine in Western countries, such as Great Britain and Canada. Furthermore, sharia law practices, even when expressly forbidden by law in these nations, are now tolerated. If you marry polygamously under sharia law, you can live polygamously in Great Britain and Canada and other nations without any fear of criminal prosecution. Think it can't happen here? Then how did it happen there?

2) We have had one case in which a judge in New Jersey did use sharia law in determining that a Muslim woman in the midst of a divorce could not take out a restraining order against her Muslim husband. The article is worth quoting at length:

A New Jersey family court judge's decision not to grant a restraining order to a woman who was sexually abused by her Moroccan husband and forced repeatedly to have sex with him is sounding the alarm for advocates of laws designed to ban Shariah in America.

Judge Joseph Charles, in denying the restraining order to the woman after her divorce, ruled that her ex-husband felt he had behaved according to his Muslim beliefs -- and that he did not have "criminal desire to or intent to sexually assault" his wife.

According to the court record, the man's wife -- a Moroccan woman who had recently immigrated to the U.S. at the time of the attacks -- alleged:

"Defendant forced plaintiff to have sex with him while she cried. Plaintiff testified that defendant always told her "this is according to our religion. You are my wife, I c[an] do anything to you. The woman, she should submit and do anything I ask her to do."

In considering the woman's plea for a restraining order after the couple divorced, Charles ruled in June 2009 that a preponderance of the evidence showed the defendant had harassed and assaulted her, but "The court believes that [defendant] was operating under his belief that it is, as the husband, his desire to have sex when and whether he wanted to, was something that was consistent with his practices and it was something that was not prohibited."

Now, this ruling was overturned, but OMG. The judge even had the guy's imam testify in court, and "The imam confirmed that a wife must comply with her husband's sexual demands, because the husband is prohibited from obtaining sexual satisfaction elsewhere." OMG. The wife's lawyer commented, "But I think it's indicative that, in trying to be respectful of religion, judges venture into a very slippery slope." Indeed they do. Maybe it's time to tell them it is their legal obligation NOT to be so respectful of religion, which is exactly what the Oklahoma amendment attempts to do.

3) From a feminist perspective, there is hardly any other religious law that is so contemptuous of women's rights. Men have an unfettered right to divorce; women must go through insane hoops to get one. Men have primacy in custody cases. Sons inherit twice as much as daughters. Men may take up to four "official" wives and an unlimited number of "temporary" wives. Men may force their wives to have sex with them, and can beat them if they refuse sex or are otherwise disobedient. In some interpretations, a woman need not consent to marriage if her father consents to her marriage. Again, in some interpretations, a woman must have her husband's (or father's) permission to travel, to obtain higher education, to get a job, etc. In America, we refuse the notion that a religious law has the right to trump the human rights of women. The possibility of state courts bowing to sharia law is justifiably alarming to all those who care about women.

Reaction by the Muslim community? The Council for American Islamic Relations says, ""That is absolute fantasy, and hateful. Islamic beliefs don't permit rape of any kind." Uh, disingenuous--you can rape your wife. You just can't rape someone who is not your wife. The Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City states: "Sharia law is not a threat to anyone, I don't care where you live." Uh, disingenuous--this woman was not allowed a restraining order after being raped by her husband. That's a definite threat to her personal safety! And can we talk about the women of Afghanistan? The women and girls who have been victims of honor killings in the US and across the Islamic world? Would they agree with the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City? We think not.

The proposed amendment in Oklahoma is eminently justifiable. If male judges in America are unaware that sharia law imperils women, and that that is against the US Constitution, it is time the law told them that. This is low-hanging fruit, and it's time for Americans to pluck it before it becomes too politically incorrect to do so.

Oklahoma, as Red State Feminists, we salute you!

October 20, 2010 by Red State Gal


What the Right Needs Now Above All: Sexually Continent Male Leaders

Red State Feminists probably reacted as most conservatives to Carl Paladino’s assertion that he didn’t want children “being brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid or successful option.”   Our reaction was, “Thank you for the message, but there’s got to be a better messenger!”

That our media elite has strived mightily to portray the sexual attractions of between 3% to 7% of the population as entirely normal is unquestionable.  Viewing the media elite and its products, one would believe that homosexuality was much more prevalent than it really is.  By definition, it is impossible to regard the proclivities of about 5% of the population as normal—indeed, in the sciences, such a figure would represent a finding of significant abnormality.  And the stories we are spun about a gay gene may not, in fact, be true: scientists have not been able to find a gay gene.  Brain patterns apparently do differ between homosexuals and heterosexuals when shown arousing photos, but scientists disagree over whether theses patterns are a cause of or a reaction to longstanding habits of sexual attraction. We are told that neither gays nor heterosexuals can change, but then we are told Ann Heche was “just experimenting” with lesbianism (for years).  Gavin Rossdale, husband of Gwen Stefani, now admits spending five years in a "try-sexual" relationship with another man. In short, the media elite have failed to convince most Americans of the story of prevalent and unalterable homosexuality.  The jury is still out.

So yes, most Americans are justifiably skeptical of the media’s brainwashing attempt, and therefore justifiably protective of our children in this regard—Paladino hit that nail on the head.

But do we want to hear this message from Carl Paladino himself?  Ugh, no!  An adulterer with a love child who revels in bestial pornography??  What a disgusting man!  How can he possibly talk about protecting children when he himself has destroyed the hearts of his wife and children by his sexual antics?  What a slimy excuse for a man.

But you know what?  The Right has got a huge “slimy excuse for a man” problem!  We’ve already talked about two-timing New Gingrich, but we’ve got preachers using male prostitutes, clergy pedophiles, politicians tapping in the stall next door or abusing male pages or giving payoffs to their mistresses . . . OMG.  Can conservative men keep their blasted pants zipped?  Do you know what a mockery you make of conservative values with every sexual misstep you make?  Do you know that you are the ones who are responsible for the fall-off among our youth of conservative values?  For when they saw your “fruits,” they assumed the “tree” was rotten.  Yes, brainwashing youth is wrong, but so is completely disillusioning youth.  As far as Red State Feminists are concerned, every single one of you should be drawn and quartered for what you have done to our youth.

What do we need now?  We need male conservative leaders—both political, social, and religious—who actually live by the values they espouse.  I suggest a litmus test for leadership on the right. 

Can your politician or religious leader pass this test?  If they can’t, stop supporting them!  Tell them they do more harm to the movement than good.  Tell them you will speak up about their hypocrisy, no matter how popular they are.  Tell them to move over and make way for male leaders who can answer these questions the right way.

Conservative movements, it is time to choose—do you want popular, charismatic , powerful, and/or wealthy leaders who cannot pass this simple test?  You’ve chosen this kind of slimy hypocrite in the past, but do you realize these men ultimately destroy everything you have tried to accomplish?  Look instead for less charismatic men, but real men who can pass this simple test.  Let our youth have real hope that the ideals they have heard in Sunday School are not a fairy tale and not some sick joke. And conservative women, you should be front and center in this effort to clean house! These are your children whose ideals these men are destroying!

Conservatives, time to awake, arise, and clean house!  Carl Paladino, you are a disgrace to the conservative movement.  The very message you sent about homosexuality—a message with which we agree!—was completely nullified and undermined by your own atrocious sexual behavior!  Get out of the way, Carl.  There’s got to be someone among New York conservatives who could pass this test.  And if not, then conservatives don’t deserve to win—we deserve to win only when our deeds match our words. And that is the only condition under which we can expect help from above.

October 13, 2010 by Red State Gal


Miss Me Yet? In Ohio, the Answer is YES!

Well, Red State Feminists have been waiting to write a post like this since election night 2008 . . . and the wait has been less than two years. Some of you trivia buffs might remember that on that night in 2008, Ohio went for Obama 51-47. The voters of Ohio voted for Hope and Change, which is quite understandable. Unfortunately, we are now seeing bumper stickers like this:

Though this is a quote from Sarah Palin, and not George W. Bush, it sure hits the nail on the head, doesn't it? Well, it apparently does for the voters in Ohio. A poll of likely voters in the upcoming election were asked in September who they would rather have as president right now: George W. Bush or Barack Obama . . . .

50-42, Bush over Obama!

Stunning. This is an absolutely stunning turn of affairs for Obama and his team. Something has gone drastically wrong for the Boy Wonder. Though there will be many pre-mortems written (after all, we have two more years to go before the next presidential election, so you will be seeing plenty of them!), what gives? How could such a glittering star of the political firmament crash so hard so fast?

Nothing has gotten better for us little guys down on Main Street. Our money bailed out the "big money boys," and all we got is our unemployment cut off. Banks are lending to corporations again, but corporations are cutting jobs, not creating them. All that foreclosure help promised? Turned out it only helped a paltry few. Many out-of-work folks in their 50s may never find another job in their lifetime--but they're too young to collect Social Security, so they're just out of luck. Trying to sell a house? Good luck. Trying to get a mortgage? Good luck. And then there's Obama's Catfood Commission, tasked to find ways to cut Social Security, headed by the man who hopes that seniors will eat cat food instead of be able to afford human food with the Social Security payments our society supposedly can no longer afford (even while all our tax money went to bail out people whose salaries are in the tens of millions of dollars each year).

And Obama wonders why people are mad? Mr. Hope and Change presided over the utter decimation of the American Dream. Not only have the middle-aged middle class fallen through the floor into the basement, but we have no hope that our children will ever be able to afford college, own a home, or even support a family. And without jobs, how will we possibly afford the health insurance that we are now promised we can't be turned down for?

President Obama, you've helped Wall Street on the theory that it will all trickle down to Main Street, but what it feels like from down here is billionaires peeing on us. Not only can't you eat that, but it sure stinks up the place. Yes, the Democrats like to say, well, TARP started under Bush, and they're right, but didn't Americans elect Obama because they felt he saw the need to do more than help Wall Street? That is what Ohioans saw when they looked at Obama in 2008.

Now they figure that it would have been Bush who would have had the guts, the compassion, and the political power to help more than the fat cats after the initial emergency TARP bailouts. Maybe that's dreaming, but we all need HOPE, don't we? Watch the US Congress CHANGE hands in November . . .

October 5, 2010 by Red State Gal


The Rotten Raters: A Discourse on the Need for Moral Capitalists

Red State Feminists, like most Americans, have been riveted by the behind-the-scenes stories coming out of our society's dissection of what caused the Great Recession. Congress has set up a Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, and to say that testimony given before this Commission is enough to make your hair curl is an understatement. Last week's testimony by officers of the firm Clayton Holdings is an excellent case in point.

Clayton Holdings was involved in analyzing mortgage pools for the Wall Street firms that sold them to their clients. According to the New York Times article on their testimony before the Commission, "almost half the mortgages Clayton sampled from the beginning of 2006 through June 2007 failed to meet crucial quality benchmakrs that banks had promosed investors. Yet, Clayton found, Wall Street was placing many of the troubled loans into bundles known as mortgage securities." That is, in these mortgages could be found obvious signs of trouble, such as low credit scores for borrowers, low income of borrowers, high loan-to-value ratios between the value of the loan and the value of the home, etc. In other words, they found clear evidence that almost half of the mortgages were very troubled, and would probably be very bad investments because of the high risk of default they posed.

What did Clayton do with this information? They did something quite interesting: they went to the ratings agencies with it. Ratings agencies are companies that are supposed to objectively assess the risk of investments, so that buyers can make informed decisions. Three of the largest are Standard and Poor's, Fitch Ratings, and Moody's Investors Services. And it was to these three that Clayton went to discuss their findings about mortgage securities currently on the marker. They disclosed that an average of 40% of the troubled mortgages they had identified through sampling were winding up in mortgage pools that were being sold to investors by investment banks like Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, and others.

Now, if your business was rating risk, would you be interested in these findings? Would you downgrade your rating of these securities after being told of the high percentage of troubled mortgages that went into the mix? One would think so. But no, the ratings agencies did not alter any ratings after receiving this information.

Now, remember--who was it that commissioned Clayton Holdings to investigate the loans in the first place? It was the very investment banks that were pooling these loans into mortgage securities to sell to their customers. So, did these banks then go back to the companies who had originally sold them the loans and ask them to buy back the toxic loans and replace them with better quality loans?

No. The information was used by the big investment banks to lower the price they paid for the loans.

Were these cost savings then passed on by the investment banks to their clients who were buying these mortgage securties? No.

Was the evidence that the mortgage securities were actually much riskier investments than the investment banks had led their clients to believe passed on to the clients so that they could divest themselves of these toxic assets? No.

And the ratings agencies, who are the investor's line of defense against such shenanigans? "[I]t was against their business interests to be too critical of Wall Street." In other words, if they told the truth about what the investment banks were doing, investment banks would make sure the ratings agencies suffered for it through greatly reduced business and even boycotting.

Red State Feminists have railed against such "Calvin Capitalists" before, where, like the self-centered and destructive 6 year old of fame from the "Calvin and Hobbes" comic strip, anything goes as long as your bread is buttered. Capitalism without honesty and integrity is but a cancer that will destroy instead of build.

De Tocqueville, writing back in the 1830s, had it right--America had to be good in order to be great. Our corollary would be that American capitalism had to be honest in order to be great. The failure is not with the capitalist system, which has brought more goods and services to more people than any other economic system. No, the failure is with the Calvin Capitalists for whom lying, cheating, and stealing just seems like fair play.

Some in Congress are suggesting that ratings agencies now be placed under special regulations. Businesses would pay into a pool for ratings, and the assignment to rate assets would be randomly assigned to a ratings agency, which would then be paid from the pool of money, rather than paid directly from an investment firm. You would think ratings agencies would be all over this, happy to know that they could finally do their job honestly without fear of retribution from irritated investment firms that do not want to hear the truth. But no, investment firms are howling that their profits will go down, and that this is a huge government intrusion into their business.

Well, sure it is--and it should never have had to even be proposed. In a capitalist society run by honest men, shouldn't we be able to trust ratings agencies to tell the truth without having to have the government involved? We should, but the case of Clayton Holdings makes it plain that we cannot justifiably have that trust. When history is written, let it be recorded that it was in the first place the Calvin Capitalists who destroyed our vibrant capitalist economic system.

Addressing this issue was something Red State Feminists looked for--in vain--in the GOP's new Pledge to America. As Main Street conservatives, Red State Feminists ask again: "Republicans, do you have the guts to stand up to Wall Street for the sake of saving capitalism?" We are still waiting for our answer . . .

September 28, 2010 by Red State Gal


So I Told My Sons the Story of Hugh Thompson, Glenn Andreotta, and Lawrence Colburn

Red State Feminists know how important it is to tell our young people the truth about their country.  You don’t want to whitewash what cannot and should not be whitewashed, but it is also important to tell the truth about the good in America.

The other night around the dinner table, we were talking about the latest accusations of misdeeds by American troops in Afghanistan, with accusations that a platoon leader led troops into committing murders of innocent civilians for sport.  I reminded my sons that for every story like this, there is a story like that of Hugh Thompson, Glenn Andreotta, and Lawrence Colburn, and to see only the one was to get a distorted view of their country.

Of course, they didn’t know who Hugh Thompson, Glenn Andreotta, and Lawrence Colburn were, so I told them.  I told them about a village called My Lai in central Vietnam in 1968, and how American soldiers bent on revenge either ordered or bullied their troops into rounding up every man, woman, child, baby, and even livestock, and shooting them at point blank range in an orgy of destruction that left, depending on whose count you accept, somewhere between 347 and 504 human beings dead.  But there would have been more dead if not for Thompson, Andreotta, and Colburn.

Thompson, Andreotta, and Colburn were piloting an Army helicopter for close support of the action in My Lai.  When Thompson, the pilot, saw that American troops were killing the civilians he had marked with green smoke as wounded and in need of medical attention, he knew there was something wrong.  He landed and conversed with 2nd Lt William Calley, a name known to many.  Calley told him he was following orders and Thompson should mind his own business.  Thompson flew off, and saw a group of ten Vietnamese running from American soldiers.  He put his chopper down between the civilians and the soldiers and ordered his men to shoot any American soldier who tried to shoot the civilians.  He got other choppers to take the civilians to safety.  On the way to refuel, they saw some movement in a ditch full of bodies.  Thompson landed, and Andreotta got out and rescued a little 4 year old, and they flew him to an orphanage.  Andreotta was killed in battle three weeks later.

Thompson told what had happened at My Lai to his superiors.  Nothing was done for almost 18 months.  When photos began to leak to the press, Congress held hearings, and Thompson again told what he knew.  He was reviled as a traitor; dead animals were left on his porch; he received death threats.  Thompson wondered why people hated him for telling the truth and trying to do the right thing.  The only soldier punished for what happened at My Lai was Lt. Calley, who served a total of 4 months for what he did.  Calley finally apologized in 2009 for his deeds.

Thirty years after the My Lai Massacre, Thompson, Andreotta, and Colburn were awarded the Soldier’s Medal, the Army’s highest non-combat medal.  They revisited My Lai, and even were able to meet some of the villagers they saved, including the little 4 year old boy who had been left orphaned.  Seven years later, Thompson lectured at West Point on ethics.  Senator Max Cleland of Georgia said the men were “true examples of American patriotism at its finest.”

Red State Feminists couldn’t agree more, and we are proud to be able to tell our children the story of these three brave men, who risked their lives to do the right thing.  Now, that is the American way.  The boys’ reaction?  “That is so awesome!  That would make a great movie!  Why hasn’t anyone made a movie about them yet?”  Let it never be forgotten that America has produced heroes like Hugh Thompson, Glenn Andreotta, and Lawrence Colburn.

September 20, 2010 by Red State Gal


Whither the Soul of the Republican Party?

Many commentators have opined the GOP will clean the Democrats’ clock this November, and Red State Feminists have no doubt that is true.  Many commentators have also commented on the ominous split between Tea Party conservatives and the GOP party establishment, which may lead to trouble for Republicans even after the election; that’s also true.

Red State Feminists are in no position to tell the GOP what to do—that’s “above our pay grade.”  But we can tell you from the ground-level perspective what it is that many conservative families are longing to hear from the GOP, and that is a plan to offer relief to the huge swath of middle-class Americans that fell through the floor during this recession and that may never be middle class again.  Those families are raising the children that would have been the backbone of the skilled labor force in the next twenty years.  In essence, these families worked hard, invested in their children, and may now be bankrupt.  Given what we know about the importance of a strong and stable middle class for the maintenance of democracy, this great middle class plummet may be one of the most significant threats not only to the future of American power, but also to the future of American democracy.

One liberal blogger somehow manages to blame Republicans for survey results showing that because of the recession, more young people are postponing marriage, and also blames the GOP for the sharply increasing rates of vasectomies among American men!  Of course, that is absurd.  However, we would be remiss if we did not notice that the priorities of Wall Street and the priorities of Main Street have arguably never been so out of sync as they are now.  Robert Reich informs us that 1% of the American population owns 23% of America’s wealth; in 1980, the figure was 9%.  Red State Feminists are no socialists, but we are astute enough to realize that this level of economic inequality (which puts America after the Ivory Coast and Cameroon according to the CIA World Factbook,) does not bode well for the stability of our nation.  America could tolerate such a level of inequality when the middle class had living wage jobs and a real stake in the system.  Now that a good part of the middle class has fallen into the basement, Americans are asking, what is an economy for, if not to put a roof over the heads of their children and food on their plates?

When Americans hear that the GOP opposes stronger regulation of the financial sector whose recklessness ruined our economy but went completely unpunished, RSFs don’t feel the GOP is representing the interests of conservatives.  If the GOP cozies up to Wall Street, which took our money through TARP and whose multi-hundred-million dollar jobs are still intact while so many of the middle class lost theirs, then the GOP is just plain sleazy.  RSFs want Elizabeth Warren, a tough ol’ grandma, overseeing “the boys” in the backrooms.  But it’s instructive to note the GOP establishment doesn’t want her doing that.  Whose side are you on, Grand Old Party—Main Street or Wall Street?

We were relieved to hear John Boehner say he (and presumably the rest of the Republicans) would vote to extend the Bush tax cuts, even if that extension only applied to the middle class and not the very wealthy.  The very wealthy would be inconvenienced if their tax rates rose by 4%.  There are many middle class families who are counting their last pennies every month who would be devastated, not just inconvenienced, by a rise of 4% in their taxes.  Do Republicans understand the sheer desperation of many formerly middle class American families?

What RSFs are looking for from the GOP are answers to questions like, “Will it even be possible for my kids to go to college now?  Will I ever have a job that will permit me not to have to work a second job in order to keep my family fed?  How do I pay for the medicine my child needs?  Will my kids ever be able to get a job that will enable them to get married and have children?”

Again, these questions highlight why the voices of conservative women are so badly needed.  While some male conservative ideologues go on and on about their constitutional rights (and that’s fine), can someone give conservative women the answers to these questions?  What the heck is an economy for, ask the hard-working mothers of America, if the children can’t be fed and educated?  Surely it isn’t to give the head of Goldman Sachs $68 million a year in pay . . . is it??

What we’d like to see is the GOP offer a concrete plan of action for the relief of the American family.  Extend the Bush cuts for the middle class.  Provide real encouragement for American companies to hire American workers.  Offer meaningful regulation of those who have the economic power to ruin America through recklessness and greed.  Don’t like the current health care reform?  Fine, but come up with a plan whereby American families can still access health insurance, even if they’re out of work or have a part-time job, or even if they or their children have preexisting conditions.  End the cycle of bankrupting young adults before they even graduate from college, which makes it almost impossible for them to start families of their own.

We need a GOP that thinks the wellbeing of the American family is the most important priority at this point in American history.  And in those cases where the hopes of average Americans and the greed of those on Wall Street clash, the Republicans would side with those living on Main Street.  Now, that’s a Republican agenda RSFs could respect.

September 14, 2010 by Red State Gal


Mr. Beck, On Same-Sex Marriage You Are Wrong

Red State Feminists were thrilled at the recent rally by Glenn Beck and guests such as Sarah Palin to call America to a desire for spiritual renewal.  RSFs enthusiastically endorse that call, and appreciate what Mr. Beck has done to issue that call.

How sad, then, we were to see the clip from the O’Reilly Show on August 11, 2010, with Mr. Beck stating that same-sex marriage is not a threat to America, and even making fun of those who believe that it is a threat by mockingly saying,  “Oooh, will the gays come and get us?  Thomas Jefferson said, “If it neither breaks my leg nor picks my pocket, what difference is it to me?”  He went on to explain that as long as religions retained the right to state that they consider homosexuality a sin, then it really wasn’t a very important issue for him or for the nation.

Ack.  Many Red State Feminists are mothers, and what we “mama grizzlies” would retort to Mr. Beck is, “Mr. Beck, it isn’t about your leg or your pocket, it’s about the kids!”   When male conservative pundits do not understand what female conservative mothers understand about what threatens America, the conservative movement has a real problem.  Underscoring our point, Sarah Palin, mother of five and mama grizzly extraordinaire, strongly opposes same-sex marriage and supports a federal ban on same-sex marriage.  (Interestingly, Ann Coulter, who is not a mother, had no problem being a headline speaker at Homocon, the gathering of homosexual conservatives, who, among other things, support same-sex marriage.)

What is the threat we mama grizzlies see?  It goes back to what you think marriage is about, first of all, and second, it goes back to whether you believe the origin of marriage is divine.  Let’s take the first point first.  Many think that marriage is in the first place about procreation.  Red State Feminists beg to differ.  As we have argued on our website before, the purpose of marriage is to make true, equal, loving partnerships between the two halves of humanity necessary for humanity to continue: men and women.  And in establishing those partnerships and in ensuring equality between men and women in those partnerships, marriage ensures that all new human beings will learn from their earliest days how to live in peace, equality, and love with the other half of humanity and will look forward to forming such loving, equal heterosexual partnerships in the future themselves.

Now it is true that many cultures have perverted marriage, so that in some areas of the world, such as Afghanistan, marriage is more like domestic slavery.  But that is the antithesis of what marriage is supposed to produce in a society, and we can condemn those oppressive marriages as being a real perversion of what marriage was meant to be and to do.

But in some places, like America, people have a real shot at living in real marriages.  The tremendous blessings this has wrought for our country are undeniable, as marriages with equal partnership produce happiness not only for the couple in question, but also a genuine understanding of how to live gender equality in the larger society.

Same-sex marriage undercuts those gains.  Same-sex marriage states by definition that individual and societal happiness is not dependent upon forming loving, equal partnerships with the other half of the human race.  That very statement is a grave threat to every woman in the United States, Mr. Beck.  Furthermore, while gay parents can certainly be great parents, what they are implicitly teaching their children is that either a mother or a father is completely unnecessary, and again by implication, that it is not necessary or even praiseworthy to strive to bring children into the world in a context where they can witness for themselves their own father and their own mother in a loving, equal partnership.

Consider “Doogie” Howser and his same-sex partner, who have bought eggs and rented a womb in order to have twins.  They are saying that they are under no obligation to allow their children to have a mother, that it is all right to purposefully and premeditatedly exclude from their children’s lives the love of a mother.  Mr. Beck, this is the height of inhumanity.  This is erasure of motherhood by men who see no value in women.  That is why French feminists adamantly opposed same-sex marriage, while approving legislation for civil unions.  Same-sex marriage is still not legal in France, and that is because of French feminists—what do they know that American feminists refuse to see?

The Bible says we are not to lead the children of God astray, Mr. Beck.  And this is where we come to the second point: Mr. Beck, you are a Christian and are a member of a Christian religion.  This particular religion, Mr. Beck, preaches that God is not an old bachelor, but rather a married man and woman.  Your religion, Mr. Beck, was on the frontlines of the Proposition 8 battle in California and took the hit from that courageous stance.  Where, Mr. Beck, is your courage and your conviction?  Do you believe that our young people will find happiness by flouting God’s design of equal partnership between the two halves of humanity in marriage?  When their friends ask them in the brave new world that is surely coming to US culture, “do you think you’ll grow up to marry a man or a woman?,” or when Disney creates its first “princess-princess” or “prince-prince” love story, will you say, Mr. Beck, that this is no threat to our children?

Perhaps we should give Mr. Beck the benefit of the doubt, and speculate that when he urges us back to church, he means for us to hear there that same-sex marriage should be opposed.  But surely he must know that once same-sex marriage is made legal, preaching that homosexuality is a sin will inevitably be made a hate crime, punishable under the criminal code.  Wherever same-sex marriage has been legalized, the next legal move has been exactly that.

Maybe conservatives cannot stop same-sex marriage.  In that case, it behooves conservatives to fight hard in every state for the unfettered right to homeschool one’s children, so that parents can teach their children why same-sex marriage is wrong.  But RSFs do not believe the fight is over yet.  Same-sex marriage has been explicitly ruled illegal in over 30 states.  Why, then, is Mr. Beck willing to throw in the towel, and discourage other conservatives from fighting for a heterosexual definition of marriage at this critical moment where hearts and minds are in flux?

This is one issue on which it is very plain why the voice of Red State Feminists and the mama grizzlies is so important to the conservative movement.  Male conservative pundits may simply never get it—which is why a vibrant Red State Feminism is so crucial to the movement.  Thank God for the mama grizzlies like Sarah Palin!  Ladies, don’t let the men of our movement cavalierly dismiss what we know is one of the most profoundly important issues for women and children at this moment in American history.  On this issue, Glenn Beck should be paying attention to Sarah Palin--and this goes to show that no human collective or movement can succeed without an equal voice and equal say for both halves of humanity.  Red State Feminists everywhere, write in to Glenn Beck and tell him that while you love him, he needs to listen to the women of the conservative movement and change his mind on same-sex marriage!  Tell him it isn’t about his leg or his pocket, that it’s about the kids.  Even Thomas Jefferson would understand that, Mr. Beck.

September 5, 2010 by Red State Gal


Newt for President? Ask His Second Wife

Red State Feminists are conservative, no doubt about it. But RSFs are not seduced by every conservative blowhard that thinks he should be president. Case in point? Newt Gingrich.

Yes, when we last met Newt, he was shutting down the government in a stand-off with Bill Clinton, then resigning his seat in disgrace under ethics charges which were upheld. Today he has resurrected himself as an eminence grise of the Republican Party, with bold ideas for a renaissance not only of the Party, but also of his own political career. He even has presidential aspirations.

But, oh, the baggage that man carries! We are all SO DARN TIRED of conservative leaders whose personal lives look like something from the nether regions of Dante's Inferno. Newt has the unpleasant distinction of dumping two wives for young aides he charmed as their boss. UGH. Furthermore, his second wife, Marianne Gingrich, married to him for eighteen years, had just received a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis when she got word he wanted to divorce her. In fact, according to Marianne, "He'd already asked [his now-third wife] to marry him before he asked me for a divorce. Before he even asked." Q: "He told you that?" "Yeah . . . " Not only that, but while Marianne was away visiting relatives, the soon-to-be third wife "was in her apartment, eating off her plates, sleeping in her bed"!

The Esquire interview goes on to relate,

He asked her to just tolerate the affair, an offer she refused.

He'd just returned from Erie, Pennsylvania, where he'd given a speech full of high sentiments about compassion and family values.

The next night, they sat talking out on their back patio in Georgia. She said, "How do you give that speech and do what you're doing?"

"It doesn't matter what I do," he answered. "People need to hear what I have to say. There's no one else who can say what I can say. It doesn't matter what I live."

What a stand-up guy, that Newt! Gosh, he's someone for conservatives to be SO proud of!

And this was no case of temporary insanity. This was actually part of a longstanding pattern. His first wife was in the hospital recovering from uterine cancer when he served her with papers so he could marry Marianne.

When Esquire told her Newt was considering a run for the presidency, Marianne was incredulous. But what she said really hit the nail on the head: "He believes that what he says in public and how he lives don't have to be connected. If you believe that, then yeah, you can run for president."

Well, Newt, true conservatives think that attitude is part of the reason why our nations is going to heck in a handbasket. Red State Feminists are conservatives, but there is no way on earth we would ever vote for an amoral slimeball like Newt Gingrich!

August 26, 2010 by Red State Gal


The Magical 75%

Red State Feminists have been apprised of new scientific research findings that show that the stability of a woman's marriage in the USA is dependent upon what percentage of her husband's salary she brings home. And I bet you can predict the results . . .

Bring in more than your husband? Expect cheating and divorce.

Bring in very little compared to your husband? Expect cheating and divorce.

Bring in almost as much as your husband, but not quite as much? Bingo; marital stability.

Indeed, the paper pointed to the magic 75% as a goal for women to shoot for. Aim to make about 75% of what your husband makes. Then you'll be valuable to him, but you won't threaten his manhood.

Ready to gag yet? Oh, and add that to previous findings that if you bear him only daughters, he's more likely to divorce you, and I think you could get seriously nauseous.

Yes, folks, we really do need a new paradigm of manhood here in the good ol' US of A. A paradigm where a woman is a human being, not a means to her husband's ends.A paradigm that says that men and women were meant to be best friends and lovers in the marriage relationship, not tools for each other to exploit. Here at Red State Feminists, we long for that day, we pray for that day, and we raise our sons for that day!

August 20, 2010 by Red State Gal


War Porn? Gimme a Break

Red State Feminists are sure that you have become aware of the brouhaha concerning the cover of Time magazine this week, which features a beautiful young Afghan woman whose nose was cut off by the husband to which she was sold (with her sister) at age 12 against her will to repay a debt of her father's.

Notice that the caption to the picture is "What Happens If We Leave Afghanistan:" a statement, not a question. Liberal bloggers are calling it "war porn," and an "epic distortion," accusing Time of "manipulating [quotes] to portary a false dilemma." Here's an extended quote from one such blogger:

". . . the issue is far more complex than the farcical "stay or leave" choice framed up on TIME’s shameful propaganda cover art. The U.S.’s massive troop presence and the escalating instability is strengthening the hand of the political forces that want to roll back women’s political equality, so the longer we stay, the worse off women will be as they attempt to navigate the eventual political settlement of the conflict."

Please pardon us while we gag. Neither the Taliban, who are in waiting to take over when the Americans are gone, nor the current corrupt Kabul government, which couldn't care less about what happens to Afghan women, are in any way inclined to prevent the worst abuses against Afghan women and to do things like build schools for girls and make it possible for women in Afghanistan to access health care. The ONLY ones with power who give a fig about the women are the Americans. But if the Americans stay, things will be worse for women? We'd argue the women of Afghanistan would find that laughable. Consider this anecdote from a more centrist publication:

"One day in November 2009, in Helmand province's capital of Lashkar Gah, a group of Afghan widows and divorcees met with Patricia, who had been commissioned to write a series of success stories for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). All the women were in their 20s, 30s, and 40s but looked to be in their 60s. Until very recently, none of them could work because they possessed no marketable skills, could neither read nor write, and were at risk of being killed if they left their homes. A number of women said that, before the program -- which focused on tailoring and basic literacy -- their children used to weep at night from hunger.

"As Patricia prepared to leave, the women fluttered around her like moths, touching her sleeves and speaking all at once. "What are they saying?" Pat asked the young Pashto-speaking interpreter. "They are telling you to go back to your country and to ask your people not to abandon them. The women of Afghanistan don't want you to leave. They will quite literally die if the Taliban return," she said."

Time was absolutely right to put that caption with that photo. If we are going to retreat from Afghanistan, we ought to at least have the ovaries to look Aisha in the eye, and realize that the situation of the women of Afghanistan will, overall, significantly worsen once we leave. To call such a reckoning "war porn" is simply obscene. We ought to face up to what we are really doing. And if we can't face it, then we truly are miserable cowards.

ADDENDUM: And just today it was reported by the wire services that a 35 year old pregnant widow was flogged with 200 lashes and shot in the head for adultery in an area run by the Taliban. The man accused of having sexual relations with her has gone unpunished, of course. Yes, how Islamic to kill a pregnant woman, ensuring her fetus will also be killed. But perhaps these reports are just "war porn," too?

August 10, 2010 by Red State Gal


Federal Failure on Immigration

Red State Feminists, along with most Americans, feel that the issue of immigration has become a very important one. One reason for its importance is that it has become quite contentious, mobilizing many groups with disparate opinions, and offering scenes of duelling placards and demonstrations.

But as with the abortion debate, the voices we hear on these issues resemble the strangled debate over abortion. In the abortion debate, the loudest voices are the most intransigient--abortion should be unrestricted, or abortion should be completely banned. What we don't hear are the voices of most Americans: the vast majority of Americans believe that, in general, abortion should be illegal, but that there are clear exceptions in which a woman must have the right to abort: rape, incest, life of the mother, serious health consequences to the mother, a non-viable fetus, etc. But because of the radicals on both sides, our political system simply cannot see or act on the fact that the American people have in fact reached a consensus. And so we have no political will manifested in Congress.

Red State Feminists see the same dynamic playing out in the issue of immigration. Radical voices on either side--amnesty for all, deport them all--obscure the fact that Americans are moving towards a consensus. And that consensus is that neither blanket amnesty nor tolerance of illegality is sustainable. A number of good plans have been put forth, for example by former President Bush when he was president, to navigate a path through the tangle. There should be a way for more to enter the road to citizenship. At the same time, if you're here illegally, there must be negative consequences, or our law is rightly the subject of contempt and derision. And if you are here illegally, how can a baby born to you be automatically declared a US citizen?

At the core of our paralysis is the wink-and-a-nod system between our government and businesses who prefer to use illegal immigrants as workers for the cost savings created. A hallmark of the old Bush Plan was cracking down on employers, and finally holding those employers accountable for disregarding the law just as much as those who are here illegally. The e-Verify system is by no means perfect, but it can be improved, and it provides the basis for employer compliance with the law.

If Congress could move against employers who are purposefully creating incentives for individuals to be here illegally, all other pieces would fall into place. Employers would demand a way for foreign labor to legally enter the country, and Congress would certainly respond. Border enforcement would face a dwindling of numbers of those trying to cross the border illegally, and could focus on dangerous individuals. Foreign workers, now legal, would pay taxes on their income, helping to support the ability to pay for an increased number of naturalizations. In some, a virtuous cycle could be created if the federal government had the courage to pinch the spiral at its root: the employers.

Americans again have reached a consensus . . . will Congress listen? Unfortunately, given the uncanny parallel to the abortion debate, it is hard to have hope. But the risls are great. The greatest risk we see, and one that we do not hear spoken of very frequently, is that if our federal government allows immigration law to be openly flouted, then most Americans will come to see that our law is not to be respected, and that the government will "wink" at its transgression. That is a recipe for corruption and anarchy. Feeling gloomy today, Red State Feminists believe that our government will one day end up looking much like the corrupt, crime-ridden Mexican government unless it stands up and creates law that can be both respected and enforced.

July 31, 2010 by Red State Gal


A New Birth Control Pill for Men: Two Scenarios

Red State Feminists were intrigued to hear that an Israeli scientist is well on his way to creating the first birth control pill for men. Haim Breitbart, the inventor, says it works perfectly in mice. They administer the "Bright Pill" every other day, and the mouse is sterile, though does not lose its sex drive. If the Bright Pill is discontinued, fertility returns. The pill apparenlty works by blocking the synthesis of new proteins in the sperm, which is required for the sperm to remain viable. According to Breitbart, the pill would have to be taken about a week in advance of intercourse. As to whether the pill would have to be taken weekly, or more frequently or les frequently, is not addressed in the article.

Well, this certainly heralds a whole new world! Or does it? Red State Feminists envision two scenarios. Scenario One (70% probability): Men just couldn't be bothered to take responsibility for obtaining and using the pill when needed and/or men suspect that the pill will in fact somehow derange their reproductive system and imperil their manhood. Either way, men just don't use it. Indeed, given that an Israeli scientist came up with it, you can bet that no Muslim man would touch it, for fear it's an Israeli plot to render them permanently sterile. In this scenario, nothing really changes, except for those men who will view it as a way to get what they have wanted all along: a way to ensure that a woman is not lying when she says she is on birth control.

But Scenario Two is much more ominous. In Scenario Two, men see that they can now control whether women can have babies. You might say, well, don't they already? It takes two persons to make a baby, so in a sense men control whether there are babies. Well, yes and no. Men's sex drive, coupled with their general lack of interest in bearing any responsibility for their fertility, has meant that sexually active men usually end up with children, planned or not. And the world goes on.

But one could invent an interesting sci-fi scenario where men decide they still want sex, but want to be sterile. Now, this is what women have had to put up with, but women's contraceptive-imposed sterility had to do with the incontinence of the male sex drive. You couldn't keep a man if he wanted sex unless you were prepared to give in on providing sex, and if you were a woman that meant you might wind up getting pregnant.

But men don't get pregnant. Contraceptive-imposed sterility for men means something else than what it means for women. It means having the ability to have completely irresponsible, uncommitted sex, and it also means something else to hold over a woman's head. As if a woman wasn't already in a comparatively powerless position in her sexual relationship with a man, now a man--even a married man--can say, "Do as I want, or I will never give you a baby." And he can make it stick.

And that might be multiplied outward within a society, to the point where sexually active men typically don't end up having any children. And that society just might not go on. Of course, sub-replacement birth rates are now the rule in Europe and Japan. But women had a say in that. The new Bright Pill can make it possible for men to have the only say.

These worrisome new technologies at least have one thing going for them: they certainly reveal very clearly what one's values and priorities are.

July 27, 2010 by Red State Gal


The Equal Visibility Everywhere Project

Red State Feminists applaud the new Equal Visibility Everywhere Project! It is a brand-new non-profit organization dedicated to equal visibility between women and men in what we see around us--street names, images on currency and coins, statuary in government buildings and monuments, and so forth. Is there such a visibility gap? Equal Visibility Everywhere says yes, documenting how many male-images-per-female-image we see around us. Started by Dr. Lynnette Long, a licensed psychologist, in March 2010, Equal Visibility Everywhere is dedicated to changing what our children see in their lives. She says,

"I would like the men in the room to imagine living in my world. Imagine how you would feel if all the statues inside and outside this building were of women, and all the paintings on the walls of this building were of women leaders, and when you opened your wallet to pay for your lunch only images of women were on the money, and every president and every vice president in our history was a woman. Would you stand where you stand today if that were our nation’s legacy?"

That's a very good question, isn't it? Long continues,

We live in a culture dominated by male icons, images, memorials, and statues. This subtle but continuous flood of male images both inflates male entitlement and diminishes the confidence of women. When girls and women don’t see themselves on our currency or our stamps, or memorialized in our statuary, the message is clear: You are invisible. You don’t matter.

Eighty percent of communication is non-verbal, and the lack of visual images of women leaders has a significant negative impact on girls and women. Parents may tell their daughters they can be anything they want, but our nation’s symbols tell a different story. The visual overrides the verbal. Girls don’t hear yes you can when all they see is no you can’t. Most things children learn are not learned in school. Children absorb intellectual and emotional lessons from their parents, their environment, and the symbols and icons that surround them. Unfortunately, our country’s culture and icons do not foster the self-esteem of both genders equally.

Although women make up 51% of the population, and have contributed significantly to the development of this country, our contributions are all but ignored. Consider these facts:
* There isn’t a single national holiday named after a woman.

* Not a single woman graces our paper currency.

* Only nine of the 100 statues in National Statuary Hall are of women.

* Less than 25% of the postage stamps issued by our government to commemorate individuals are of women.

* The overwhelming majority of streets are named after men.

* In New York City there are 150 statues of people: 145 are men and 5 are of women.

* The overwhelming majority of schools are named after men.

We have previously written of the new Mothers' Monument Movement, to commemorate all the women who have died incident to pregnancy and childbirth in our country (which number dwarfs the number of men who have died in battle for our country.) The Equal Visibility Everywhere organization is a wonderful idea . . . and Red State Feminists are 100% behind it! Contact the organization for information on how to lead the effort in your state to make women more visible!

July 17, 2010 by Red State Gal


A Quote Well Worth Pondering, Even Today

Red State Feminists stumbled upon a quote from an early feminist in 1902. The author is Carrie Chapman Catt, and here is what she said:

The world taught woman nothing skillful and then said her work was valueless. It permitted her no opinions and then said she did not know how to think. It forbade her to speak in public, and said the sex had no orators. It denied her the schools, and said the sex had no genius. It robbed her of every vestige of responsibility, and then called her weak. It taught her that every pleasure must come as a favor from men, and when to gain it she decked herself in paint and fine feathers, as she had been taught to do, it called her vain.

It brought tears to our eyes to read this. Tears for all the women who faced this in days of old, and tears for all the women who still face this today. Tears for all the daughters taught to paint themselves and become ornaments. Tears for every time I have heard a man say that women have contributed nothing of value to this world, except the production of a new generation of men. Y'know, men--the half of humanity who, in the eyes of such men, are the only humans who actually accomplish anything of note or worth in this world.

I cry tears for the daughter of a good man, who asked her father recently why there were no women who had done anything great. And I cry tears of joy for that good man, who ever since that conversation has put his little daughter to bed each night with a story of a woman who has done something wonderful, even if society has not chosen to reward her or even acknowledge what she has done. That he would spend a portion of his day rescuing these amazing women from obscurity so that his daughter could live in a world that was not "womanless," well, my eyes fill with tears.

I remember when my own little daughter long ago, laughed when I told her that women in the US had not been given the right to vote until 1920. She said to the effect, "Mom, stop pulling my leg. This is America! Women have always had the right to vote." I rejoiced that she could not imagine that there had ever been a time or place in her country where women had not been considered equals.

But too many of our daughters feel their only worth is as ornaments. They are scared to death to have children, for that might ruin their body shape, and then the men in our pornographic culture would not be interested in them. They are scared to death to breastfeed, lest their breasts lose their porno-style perkiness, and the men in their pornographic cultures--yes, even their husbands--would not be interested in them. They are scared to have vaginal births, lest those stretch out their porno-style "tight" vaginas, and then the men in their pornographic culture--yes, even their husbands--would not be interested in them, and so they have elective C-sections (endangering both themselves and their babies). Our daughters submit to sexual practices that they themselves find disgusting and degrading, lest their men become less interested in them.

Why do we allow men to determine our horizons? Even women who can support themselves financially do this, so it is not simply an economic/financial reasoning underlying this. What is it about a woman that makes her want to contort herself into something small and even something warped in order to keep the attention of men? When that riddle is solved, maybe the day will come that Chapman Catt's quote will no longer ring true. Red State Feminists pray for that day to come.

June 24, 2010 by Red State Gal


Poor Ross Douthat: He Said Conservatives Could Be Feminists

Red State Feminists was bemused by the fate of poor Ross Douthat, the token conservative voice on the Op-Ed page of the New York Times. In an editorial on 14 June 2010, he argued that the successes of Republican women in the recent primaries meant that it was no longer possible to assert that conservatives could not be feminists.

That poor guy. Not only did he suggests conservatives could be feminist, he stated that the primary victories of Meg Whitman, Carly Fiorina, Nikki Haley, and others was a "testament to the overall triumph of the women's movement." And then he had the audacity to say that the fact that women disagreed on political matters, even that of abortion and health care, was good for feminism!

262 comments followed, the vast majority of which (I counted) suggested that Douthat was an ignoramus if he did not understand that only women who were Democrats and who supported abortion rights, health care, same-sex marriage, etc etc etc could possibly be called feminists. So these conservative women could not possibly be feminists. They were tools of the male establishment, tools of Wall Street, and betrayers of their sex.

No wonder "feminism" is beginning to be seen as a passe term. Feminism no longer means the truly equal partnership between men and women in society . . . Feminism in the US means Blue State Feminism with a narrow and rigid ideological agenda that many women simply do not support. (Seen the polls on abortion rights lately?)

Well, we here at Red State Feminists know better, don't we? Red State Feminism is a true feminism. Our tent is much, much bigger, and much more representative of the attitudes and thinking of the majority of American women. Take our quiz and see. Red State Feminism is the future . . . and Ross Douthat put his finger right on that fact.

I guess that's why those 262 comments were, for the most part, filled with hate and contempt. The future of feminism isn't going to look like the past. A new day of Red State Feminism has dawned . . . thank goodness!

June 17, 2010 by Red State Gal

Did You Know Our Government Thinks Big Pharma is Also Too Big to Fail?

Red State Feminists laud CNN for a sweet little piece of investigative reporting. Back in April, CNN reported that the Department of Justice had concluded that Pfizer, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, was too big to fail--or, actually, too big to prosecute because if they prosecuted it, it would fail, and the government could not bring itself to have that happen.

According to CNN's reporters, in the fall of 2009, the Justice Department announced that it was launching a criminal case against Pfizer for illegally marketing a pain reliever called Bextra for indications the FDA had not approved and at double the dose the FDA has deemed safe. Pfizer spent a large chunk of change "educating" doctors to serve as "public relations spokespersons" for Bextra. Clear-cut case of fraud? Not so fast . . . According to CNN, this is what happened next:

But when it came to prosecuting Pfizer for its fraudulent marketing, the pharmaceutical giant had a trump card: Just as the giant banks on Wall Street were deemed too big to fail, Pfizer was considered too big to nail.
Why? Because any company convicted of a major health care fraud is automatically excluded from Medicare and Medicaid. Convicting Pfizer on Bextra would prevent the company from billing federal health programs for any of its products. It would be a corporate death sentence.

Prosecutors said that excluding Pfizer would most likely lead to Pfizer's collapse, with collateral consequences: disrupting the flow of Pfizer products to Medicare and Medicaid recipients, causing the loss of jobs including those of Pfizer employees who were not involved in the fraud, and causing significant losses for Pfizer shareholders.

"We have to ask whether by excluding the company [from Medicare and Medicaid], are we harming our patients," said Lewis Morris of the Department of Health and Human Services.

So Pfizer and the feds cut a deal. Instead of charging Pfizer with a crime, prosecutors would charge a Pfizer subsidiary, Pharmacia & Upjohn Co. Inc. The CNN Special Investigation found that the subsidiary is nothing more than a shell company whose only function is to plead guilty. According to court documents, Pfizer Inc. owns (a) Pharmacia Corp., which owns (b) Pharmacia & Upjohn LLC, which owns (c) Pharmacia & Upjohn Co. LLC, which in turn owns (d) Pharmacia & Upjohn Co. Inc. It is the great-great-grandson of the parent company.

Public records show that the subsidiary was incorporated in Delaware on March 27, 2007, the same day Pfizer lawyers and federal prosecutors agreed that the company would plead guilty in a kickback case against a company Pfizer had acquired a few years earlier. As a result, Pharmacia & Upjohn Co. Inc., the subsidiary, was excluded from Medicare without ever having sold so much as a single pill. And Pfizer was free to sell its products to federally funded health programs.

CNN goes on to comment that Big Pharma now knows it cannot ever really be held accountable under the law. Pfizer lost the equivalent of three months' profit in fines paid to the government, but "dealing with the Department of Justice may just be a cost of doing business."

When Government cannot enforce the law on parties that are Too Big to Hurt, then our whole society is in a world of hurt. Big Finance, Big Pharma . . . is this even a society with the rule of law any longer? And if it isn't, can we really claim we live in a democracy anymore?

June 12, 2010 by Red State Gal

Memorial Day and the Mothers' Monument Movement

Red State Feminists celebrate Memorial Day today, when the country pauses to thank those soldiers who have given their lives to safeguard its future. We now have over 1000 dead in Afghanistan, and for every dead soldier we have many more that are wounded and who may carry those disabilities for the rest of their lives. This is a sacrifice of the highest and most noble order.

But it is also not the only sacrifice of the highest and most noble order. Of course, our police and firefighters also safeguard our country's future, and they are no less heroes than our soldiers.

Are there others that belong to this noble order of sacrifice? How about mothers? Do you know that the United States has one of the highest maternal mortality rates among wealthy nations? And that if you look over the course of US history since 1776, that more American women have died incident to childbirth than all of the American soldiers that have ever died in war?

Now think: where would our nation be without mothers bringing forth the next generation of citizens? Without mothers, it would not matter if we had the finest army in the world--it would all be for naught, because the nation would die in a generation. Mothers play as important a role--maybe even more important a role--than our soldiers do. And yet . . . how many monuments and memorials have you seen to soldiers who have died in war? Plenty, I'd guess. How many monuments and memorials have your seen to mothers who died in childbirth? I bet you haven't seen even one. There aren't any in the United States. Did you know that?

Well, maybe that is now going to change. There is a non-profit organization that is seeking support and donations in order to build a national monument to all of the mothers who have died in bringing forth the next generation of Americans. It's called the National Mother's Monument Movement, and we'd like you to take a minute and check out their website. Then forward the link to as many of your friends as you can. (They also have a Facebook group.) Let's start a nationwide movement to truly honor a noble sacrifice for America that has been completely overlooked to date! And why have these women been overlooked? Because it was women, not men, making this sacrifice. Women sacrificing their all is seen as "normal" and "routine." Men sacrificing their all is seen as "remarkable" and "extraordinary."

Red State Feminists are here to say it is time for the double standard to be set aside. A woman's supreme sacrifice is worth as much to the United States of America as a man's supreme sacrifice . . . and it is time to recognize that with the National Mothers' Monument.

May 31, 2010 by Red State Gal

A New Understanding of the Importance of Mothering, Brought to You By the Science of Epigenetics

As you know if you read this blog, Red State Feminists have long been intrigued by the new insights brought to us by the study of epigenetics. In the debate between Lamarck and Darwin, Darwin had the last word--until now. Turns out genes are not everything, after all. Your genes do not completely determine what your body and mind will be like. Attached to our DNA are markers, called epigenetic markers, that turn on and turn off genes. So even if some characteristic is present in our DNA, it may or may not be expressed depending on our epigenetics.

What determines our epigenetics? Well, it is our lived experiences. Yes, Lamarck may have the last word, and the last laugh, after all. There is an epigenome as important as our genome. When our cells divide, the epigenome is passed down as well as the DNA.

The first formation of the epigenome is in the mother's womb, according to a recent article in Discover magazine (June 2010). In experiments with rats, if the mother rat was fed alcohol, the epigenetic marks change drastically. If a mother rat licks her baby, the baby develops a very different set of epigenetic markers than baby rats who were not licked. Even a foster rat who licked a baby rat would imprint epigenetic markers. Rats who were not licked had "methyl caps" over the stretch of their DNA that would encode for receptors in the hippocampus that would help the rat tamp down a cascade of stress response hormones. In other words, because they had not been licked, these baby rats would grow up to be adult rats who would be more adversely affected by stress. These scientists found that the brains taken from suicide victims who had been abused as children had these methyl caps over the same stretch of DNA; but that suicide victims who were not abused as children did not.

Even adult experiences can change the epigenome. When researchers caused adult rats to be depressed, the epigenome changed. They wonder whether depression is, in fact, actually a disease of the epigenome.

Fascinating. But also, in a way, another reminder that the work that mothers do, which is viewed as unskilled and of little importance, is actually crucial. When you support mothers, you support the epigenetic work that they do with their children. The physical health consequences alone have a major impact on our nation; the emotional and psychological health consequences may also be vast. But in nations where mothers are not supported and protected from physical and financial harm, it is their children who will be, in effect, the revenge visited upon that society. If you impoverish and harm mothers, you will wind up with an unhealthy and dysfunctional future--a society's future is, in large measure, in the hands of mothers. It's time for society to wake up to that fact . . .

May 16, 2010 by Red State Gal

The Kagan Nomination's Troubling Message for Women

Red State Feminists have no doubts that Elena Kagan is qualified to be a Supreme Court justice.  However, there is another message sent by this nomination, and it is a troubling one.  By age 45, 86% of all American women and 84% of American will have become parents.  The parental status of the male Supreme Court justices matches that figure.  However, if Kagan is confirmed as she should be, then only 1 out of 3 female Supreme Court justices will be mothers.  Unintended as it might be, this nomination confirms in the minds of young women that to achieve at the highest levels, a woman must forfeit motherhood.  That is a truly lamentable message to be sending in the 21st century.

May 11, 2010 by Red State Gal

Sarkozy and the Belgians are Right

Red State Feminists strongly approve of the direction that Sarkozy and the Belgians are taking. No, that's not some new rock group; we're talking about Nicholas Sarkozy, president of France, and the state of Belgium, each of which are attempting to legally ban the public wearing of the niqab and the burqa. The two forms of dress, common among about only 10% of the world's Muslim population, either completely obscure the face (the burqa) or leave only the eyes uncovered (the niqab).

Astoundingly, Amnesty International descries these moves, seeing them as unwarranted state intrusions in the practice of religion. Amnesty International is wrong on this score, and here's why:

The face of a human being is an exquisite representation of their health and wellbeing. The face of a human being is their presence among us, which is why videoconferencing and webcams so popular. When we look upon the face of another human being, we can see if they are afraid or happy; pained or joyous; beaten or unharmed; grief-stricken or content. In other words, in a very real way, the members of a society need to "check each other's faces" for signs that something is amiss--something that the society might need to act upon.

If we see a woman with black eyes and bruises on her face, we know to call the police. If we see a woman with fear written all over her face, we offer to protect her from whatever threatens her. If we see a woman who is disgusted, we inquire what it is in society that is disgusting her, and maybe we can remove that. Conversely, if we see a happy woman, we as a society are more secure.

Furthermore, to be in public with women, but have them be invisible, represents a false reality to the members of society. The faces of women are as much a part of human society as the faces of men. Further erasing the female from the public square is a blow against each and every woman in that society, and has the potential to warp our perceptions and our policymaking.

And yes, in this day of terrorism, there is the obvious security angle as well.

Women can wear any type of dress they wish--head scarves, chadors, nuns' habits, bikinis--you name it. But any dress that covers the face of a woman leaves her unprotected and invisible to that society which has a sacred obligation to protect her and ensure her wellbeing and "see" her.

Nicholas Sarkozy, you have our thanks. Lower house of parliament in Belgium, you have our thanks. Amnesty International, you who have so bravely commented on atrocities concerning women, please rethink your position.

April 30, 2010 by Red State Gal

The Nanny State and the Calvin Capitalists

Red State Feminists, like most Americans, have been treated to the appalling spectacle of our Wall Street billionaires parading before Congress, their self-righteousness on display for all to see, to explain why they are not to blame for anything at all in the onset of this recession. Indeed, in the latest hearings over the revelation that Goldman Sachs bundled worthless debt and sold it to their clients as worthwhile investments, and then bet against their clients when they did buy, Senator John Ensign from Nevada protested when an analogy to Las Vegas casinos was invoked. Goldman Sachs was making the argument that they are just there to facilitate a market for "bets," just like the casinos, and that if you walk into a casino, you know what you are getting into.

Ensign stopped them right there: In Las Vegas, "people know the odds are against them . . . On Wall Street, they manipulate the odds while you're playing the game." Senator Carl Levin continued, "They're buying something from you, and you are betting against it. And you want people to trust you? I wouldn't trust you."

Our Wall Street geniuses (for they are geniuses--they walked away with billions of dollars in bonuses) are just dirty hustlers with an ace securely up their sleeve: they can manipulate the "unbiased" assessment of the value of the products they sell. You don't know that--but they do. They can make horse manure look like gold; and that's exactly what they did.

What happened to the millions of families now struggling with layoffs . . . well, that's just collateral damage incident to The Game, isn't it? After all, it's just a Game. It's the thrill of the bet that's the thing.

Most of us regular people know different. What is a Game to the wealthy financiers who run our economy is bread in our children's stomachs to us. What these Wall Streeters have done to the families of America is obscene. They may be paid in billions now, but there is another life after this one--and I hope they are shown exactly what they did to each and every average American family, and have to suffer what they suffered.

Sometimes conservatives (and Red State Feminists are conservatives, to be sure) rail against the "nanny state" taking over everything, not allowing any freedom. There's some truth to that. But there is another truth that conservatives (except feminist conservatives, that is!) refuse to talk about--how our rich capitalist often act like Calvin, from Calvin and Hobbes. You remember Calvin--the 6 year old boy from hell, who thought only of himself, and thrills, and hurting the little neighbor girls 'cos it was fun, and putting everyone in danger 'cos it was fun . . . remember that sweet little fellow? What we have in this country are Calvin Capitalists, who don't give a hoot about anyone but themselves and their wallets. They could burn up the whole house for the thrills and fun of it . . . after all, they don't have to pick up the pieces, do they? They'll be bailed out by mom and dad.

What we'd like to see is the FULL discussion--how the increasig nanny-ness of the state is a reaction to the increasing Calvin-ing of our top capitalists. Unless those who lead our economy understand that THE PURPOSE OF AN ECONOMY IS TO FEED AND CLOTHE AND EDUCATE THE KIDS, and that any undermining of the ability to take care of the kids is A CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY, then don't talk to me about our liberties being eroded and the nanny state creeping in. It's the creeps with all the money who have caused this whole debacle. They have no self-control, they have no sense of honor, they have no clue what an economy is actually for.

See, many Red State Feminists are mothers. We see that what the Calvin Capitalists call freedom is actually the freedom to behave like an out-of-control 6 year old boy who doesn't care if anyone gets hurt, as long as he gets his thrills and his money. And we moms know what to do with boys like that!

April 28, 2010 by Red State Gal

Health Care Reform's Breastfeeding Victory

Red State Feminists were thrilled to discover that the health care reform bill has a secret gift for breastfeeding moms who work. Usually when a provision is buried deep within a legislative bill, that's bad news. In this case, it's great news. Finally, America will join the ranks of every civilized country in offering unpaid breastfeeding breaks to women employees for a year from the birth of their child.

If a company has 50 or more employees, they are mandated to allow mothers to take reasonable breaks, and also to provide a private location which is not a restroom for the mothers to express their milk. If a state has even more favorable legislation for the nursing employee, then the state provisions override the federal provisions.

This is sensible, and this is right. We have commented in recent blogposts on the irrationality, insensistivity, and short-sightedness of both Ohio and Utah, where legislators and judges have not protected a woman's right to breastfeed her child or a child's right to be breastfed. Well, Ohio and Utah, time to shape up!

April 22, 2010 by Red State Gal



Red State Feminists were struck by the cover of the most recent issue of The Economist. Their lead article is on the missing women of Asia, primarily in China and India. The normal birth sex ratio is about 106 boy babies born for every 100 girl babies. However, in China that ratio is 121 boy babies born for every 100 girl babies, and in India, it is about 114.

That means, as their cover indicates, that over 100 million women who should be in the population of Asia just aren't there. Sex-selective abortion and female infanticide and neglect are the primary culprits. In these societies, girls are worthless to families. They do not carry on the family name, they are not expected to provide for the parents in old age, and there are costs associated with raising them that will never be repaid. And so girls are culled from the population in these countries.

Of course, when you sow the wind, you reap the East Wind. China will have over 30 million young adult men who will never marry and form households, because the girls who would have grown up to be their wives were done away with. India will have a similar figure. These societies will reap instability and heightened violence as a result.

It is astounding to think that India and China together hold 40% of world population. What effect on the global system will this contempt for women have? We suspect the effect will be strongly negative. Societies cannot sanction such violence against women without also being destroyed in the process.

March 31, 2010 by Red State Gal

Say It Ain't So! Insurance Companies Could Not Be That Evil--Could They?

Red State Feminists are aghast at a recent New York Times article that discusses how the health insurance companies of America intend to respond to the health care reform legislation that has just passed. You may recall that one of the provisions that is supposed to take effect by September 2010, six months from now, is that insurance cannot exclude coverage for your children's pre-existing conditions. Every family we know is thankful for that provision.

But wait a moment--that is not how the health insurance companies interpret this provision:

Insurers agree that if they provide insurance for a child, they must cover pre-existing conditions. But, they say, the law does not require them to write insurance for the child and it does not guarantee the “availability of coverage” for all until 2014.

William G. Schiffbauer, a lawyer whose clients include employers and insurance companies, said: “The fine print differs from the larger political message. If a company sells insurance, it will have to cover pre-existing conditions for children covered by the policy. But it does not have to sell to somebody with a pre-existing condition. And the insurer could increase premiums to cover the additional cost.”

Yes, you heard right. Does your child have a pre-existing condition? The company will drop your whole family, rather than have to cover the child by covering the rest of the family. Honestly, how do these "Americans" who work in the insurance industry sleep at night?

Red State Feminists would like to see President Obama and Congress issue an immediate interpretation of the law to forestall these immoral shenanigans. There's some movement in this direction, but the Times characterizes it as iffy. Families wanting protection for their children with pre-existing conditions might have to wait for 2014:

A White House spokesman said the administration planned to issue regulations setting forth its view that “the term ‘pre-existing’ applies to both a child’s access to a plan and his or her benefits once he or she is in a plan.” But lawyers said the rules could be challenged in court if they went beyond the law or were inconsistent with it. Starting in January 2014, health plans will be required to accept everyone who applies for coverage.

Say it ain't so!

March 29, 2010 by Red State Gal

220, and the Heroism of Bart Stupak

Red State Feminists were riveted to CNN Live today and tonight, as the health care reform bill was debated and passed, by a vote of 220 to 211. As you can tell by the numbers, it went down to the wire. There were impassioned speakers on both sides of the aisle, and a raucous gallery of onlookers who didn't help anything.

While Red State Feminists are not 100% happy with this bill, many families we know have prayed for this day--prayed for the day when their children with pre-existing conditions could be covered by health insurance. And many women will now breathe a sigh of relief, for women paid more in health insurance than men, and often just being a mother was considered a preexisting condition. Now families who gazed at their yearly or lifetime limits on insurance coverage with dread due to a serious illness can also breathe easier.

People stuck in dead-end jobs because they knew they couldn't otherwise get health insurance can now move to better jobs without fear of leaving their families defenseless in the face of serious illness or accident.

Could it have been a better bill? Yes. Are we glad it is passed? Yes. There is so much relief tonight among American families, it is palpable in the air.

And why was this bill even necessary? Because of the greed of the insurance companies. It wasn't until their greed and heartlessness reached unprecedented levels that there was enough political will to change things for the better. You cannot trust "naked capitalist" to have a heart--they only have a pocketbook, and the only worth you have is if you add to that pocketbook.

It was really hard, as a Red State Feminist who did not vote for Obama to hear the same Republicans who voted to bail out the Wall Street fatcats refuse to bail out American families. Really, really hard. Wall Street Republicans--ugh! What we need now are Main Street Republicans.

But we did find one hero in all of this--Congressman Bart Stupak, a pro-life Democrat. He could have been an obstructionist to health care reform, but he stuck to his principles and worked out a compromise with the president. In return for his vote on health care reform, the president will sign an executive order reaffirming that no feeral funds will be used to finance abortion.

Stupak's shining moment came after the first vote on passage. The Republicans, under the guise of the pro-life flag, called for a vote to send the bill back to committee so it could be amended to tighten restrictions on the use of federal money for abortion, claiming Obama's executive order wasn't worth the paper it was written on.

Stupak stood up, and told the Republicans that health care reform would supply free prenatal and postnatal care to all pregnant women in the USA, and that if their baby was born with a problem, that baby could not be denied coverage. He asked pro-life Republicans whether this was not, in fact, a truer symbol of commitment to pregnant women, the unborn, and the newly born. Our hearts leapt to hear him cut through the politics and do something real on behalf of women and their children everywhere in the USA. Bart Stupak, hats off to you! You had a magnificent evening, and are worthy of all applause.

My family and I stand a little taller tonight because of health care reform--truly a Red State Feminist issue if there every was one . . . .

March 21, 2010 by Red State Gal

More Important Things in Utah Than Women

Red State Feminists have taken the state of Ohio to task for their abomonable treatment of a nursing mom. Now we turn our eyes west of the Mississippi and find the state of Utah also feels that nursing moms are not very important in the larger scheme of things.

The Utah State Legislature is in session now, and a bill was introduced that would require businesses that employ 50 workers or more to allow a worker who is a mother with a child under one year of age to use paid or unpaid break time to express milk for her child. Businesses are also encouraged, though not required, to provide a clean and private location for such mothers to express their milk.

Must be too radical for the folks in Utah! Even though Intermountain Health Care (the largest provider of health care in the state) and the University of Utah, and the Employers Council of Utah all testified in favor of the bill, the bill was defeated in committee because it was an "employer mandate." Did we need to mention that the committee was overwhelmingly male in composition? We hope the mothers of every one of those male committee members tells their little boy how ashamed they are of them!

As the president of the Employers Council of Utah put it, "I have an aversion to mandates, but this is simply a question of human decency." Furthermore, this council polled their members and found a majority of businesses supported the measure and considered it entirely reasonable!

Oh, and did we mention that the Utah State Legislature passed a bill requiring employers to provide gun lockers for their employees who want to bring loaded weapons to work? But that's an employer mandate that the MEN might like.

Guess we know who the state legislators of Utah view as their most important constituents . . . it sure ain't the half that gave them birth!

February 28, 2010 by Red State Gal

Iraq: Women Inching Forward/Iran: Women Pushed Back

Red State Feminists are interested in the differing trajectories of women in Iraq and Iran. The women in Iraq appear to be inching forward; the women of Iran are being pushed back by a regime trying to curry favor with a disenchanted public.

Iraqi women have certainly suffered as a result of the invasion. Day-to-day security was shattered. Religious sects used control over women to assert their identity. But things appear to be turning around somewhat.

The women of Iraq are guaranteed at least 25% of the seats in the legislature. To date, men have still dominated both the party and the government, with only token positions given to women, and with women having little say in party affairs. But a new women's political party has just been formed to tackle the problems Iraq women face: lower employment, higher poverty rates, lower educational rates. The situation of widows is especially dire.

This new development follows on the heels of a great victory--hopefully not temporary--for the women of Iraq: the suspension of that article of the Constitution that would give religous leaders authority over family law. Family law, as we have noted before, is THE battleground for women in oppressive societies. Iraqi women managed to beat that threat back, though religious parties have not given up the struggle yet. Nevertheless, it looks like the women of Iraq are finding their voice, and inching their way forward--and we wish them well!

We also wish Iranian women well, but the situation for women in Iran does not look hopeful. Scholars have noted that as regimes in traditional societies lose legitimacy, they will try to prop up their legitimacy by pushing women down into an even more subordinate position. Why would that help? It's an attempt to buy off the men of the nation, to build male solidarity against women as a diversionary tactice to dampen male political discontent.

The Iranian regime is playing that old, evil card right now. A new bill is before the legislature, and is backed by the regime: this bill would, among other things, allow Iranian men to take additional wives without the consent of their existing wife(ives), and would restrict the possibility of alimony for women in divorce cases.

Are Iranian women being actively punished for their role in the recent post-election unrest? Perhaps so. But it is also a blatant attempt by the regime to divide the men and women of society. Shame on them!

One commentator on the Iraqi situation said, "Many women who wore the hijab for security reasons are now able to take it off, and many who were not able to drive cars are now starting to drive." We see in these things the first stirrings of spring for women in Iraq. But unfortunately for Iranian women, it's still the dead of winter.

February 25, 2010 by Red State Gal

Selling Afghan Women Down the River Again?

Red State Feminists have noted with interest the new US/Afghan/Pakistani initiative to domesticate the Taliban. Those who are not top commanders will be given amnesty if they lay down their arms. In addition to the amnesty, there is every expectation that Taliban members will rule areas of south and southwest Afghanistan. $100 million has been allocated to pay these men off, so that the Americans can leave "with honor" (i.e., without people actively shooting at them as they retreat, which would be embarrassing) and the Pakistanis can then run the show from behind the scenes.

It's all so predictable. And given the Recession, it is so politically attractive to Americans as to be irresistible. We are basically paying the Taliban to let us leave--and paying them to take the place back. Afghanistan will revert to status quo ante circa September 10, 2001.

It would be easy to just snicker and snark and turn our heads. But then there's the issue of the WOMEN.

Remember them? Remember the women of Afghanistan? Remember how the atrocities visited on them by the Taliban so enraged the world's women that many women supported the invasion of Afghanistan just to allow those women to see a doctor or go to school? Remember how we felt when the girls lined up for school after the invasion, and a few brave sould even took off their burqas?

Do you know that in interviews with Afghanis, basically all the men want the Americans to leave, and basically all the women want the Americans to stay?

Are we really going to betray them one more time? After using them as an excuse for invading, are we going to leave them to the Taliban once more? It makes one sick to the stomach. So while snickering and snarking is understandable, there is a more appropriate feeling to feel: outrage.

Well, at least someone has said, "Wait just a minute!" The CEDAW Committee of the United Nations has issued this statement:

The Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women said Friday that “any agreement reached with the Taliban in Afghanistan should include a clear commitment to respect and protect women’s human rights.” The Committee urged the Afghan government and its international allies “to ensure that women representatives are included in the upcoming peace and development dialogues and negotiations with the Taliban.”

The UN body, which consists of 23 experts on women’s rights, also expressed its deep concern at the exclusion of Afghan women from the high decision-making level of the 28 January London Conference, as well as at “the absence of clear strategies to protect women’s rights in the process of the discussions leading to negotiations with representatives of the Taliban.” The Committee pointed out that there are two Security Council Resolutions which underscore the importance of women’s active participation in all peace-building efforts and recovery.*

“Afghan women, who constitute the majority of the Afghan population, must be full and equal participants in decision-making, at all levels, in the process of peace-building, reconciliation, reconstruction and development of their country,” the Committee said. “Their voices and views, as well as capacities, are fundamental and necessary for the sustainable establishment of a prosperous and peaceful Afghanistan, based on the rule of law, democracy, justice, human rights and gender equality.”


February 13, 2010 by Red State Gal

Fractional Parents?

Red State Feminists are very concerned about artificial reproductive technologies. No, we don't mean those techniques that allow husband and wife to conceive their own child. That has been a true blessing and boon to otherwise infertile couples. And we certainly don't mean adoption, which can bring priceless happiness where otherwise sorrow would reign.

No, what we mean is the brave new world eloquently painted for us in a recent New York Times editorial on "fractional parents."

Researchers at the Oregon National Primate Research Center were looking for ways to eliminate diseases that can be inherited through maternal DNA. They developed, as the magazine Nature reported last summer, a kind of swap in which defective DNA from the egg is removed and replaced with genetic material from another female’s egg. The researchers say the procedure is also likely to work on humans.

The result would be a baby with three biological parents — or “fractional parents,” as Adam Kolber, a professor at the University of San Diego School of Law, calls them.

He mentioned the idea over lunch at The Times, and it provided plenty of grist for debate among law junkies: Could a baby one day have 100 parents? Could anyone who contributes DNA claim visitation rights? How much DNA is enough? Can a child born outside the United States to foreigners who have DNA from an American citizen claim U.S. citizenship?

We have joked for years about "sperm donors," those men who view the contribution of their DNA to a new human being as nothing more than a moment's ejaculation. Those jokes have been derisive jokes, and well deserved. But now we will turn women into those contemtible creatures as well. We'll have the "egg mother," the "DNA mother," and the "womb mother," none of which might have any human relationship with her "child." Great, we women not get to be the men we despise.

And what of the child? No mother gets pregnant in order to abort her baby or give the baby up for adoption. Those things happen, to be sure, but tears are shed because that is not what any woman wants.

But now we will have women who get pregnant or give their DNA kin away just so they can walk away from the human being who they have helped create or nurture.

We are tempted to say women would never do that. But we would be crazy to do so. As one writer put it, "we used to have Mexican divorces, now we'll have Mexican gestations." In a world deeply infected by male bias, we will now have a world run in the image of men. And even motherhood will be in the image of uncommitted ejaculation.

A fractional parent is not a parent--that's the point, isn't it? We now will have children for whom the term "mother" means nothing. Just like we have had several generations of children for whom the term "father" meant nothing.

January 30, 2010 by Red State Gal

The Boys in the Backroom Versus the Women in the Bathroom

Red State Feminists have noted in an earlier blogpost that the issue of health care reform has revealed a split in the Republican Party along gender lines. While we had our issues with particulars of health care reform, the overall goal is certainly feminist. The health care industry systematically discriminates against women, and it is women who are the caregivers for the young, the elderly, and the infirm. When you don't care about the health of the caregivers and the lifegivers, you just don't care about the health of Americans.

So imagine our delight when we came across this little video, less than a minute long:

So true, so true . . . The Boys in the Backroom Versus the Women in the Bathroom. You just can't help but root for the women in the bathroom! Women's experiences as caregivers and lifegivers gives them a common sense and a common purpose that the men just don't have. Time to make the Ladies' Room the real headquarters of health care reform in Congress!

January 27, 2010 by Red State Gal

A New Year, A New Blog Page: The Awful Dockers' Ad

Red State Feminists wish you a Happy New Year, and welcome to a fresh blog page! Our posts from 2008 and 2009 are still available here, but the file size was getting too big and not loading very quickly, so we thought a fresh page for the new year might be welcome.

It would be lovely to start the year out with good news, but alas, the first thing on our agenda this year is a really off-base ad by Dockers, a brand of pants for men and boys. Here's the ad:

dockers ad

Isn't that a delightful ad? The mixed messages practically slap you in the face. If we want little old ladies to be escorted across the street, we need men to be dominant over women. After all, if they are not dominant over women, they will feel no responsibility to little old women or to anyone else, for that matter. Cities crumble and children misbehave because men are no longer dominant over women. Women no longer get doors opened for them.

Gag. While Red State Feminists certainly do believe that the involvement of men is necessary to the overcoming of the world's problems, it has been the exclusion of women by men in the solving of these problems that has made them persistent.  It is men listening to women, being motivated to include women as full and equal partners, that is the cure for the world's ills.  This ad suggests otherwise--it suggests the desirability of male leadership OVER women--a recipe for continuing societal dysfunction.

We need men to wear their own pants and women to wear their own pants or skirts. In other words, we need partnership between the two halves of society--not domination of one by the other. In fact, this Dockers' ad is just a recipe for more of the same that we have had throughout human history, no matter how they dress it up by talking about "heroes."

Red State Feminists complained. if you want to complain, too, here's the link to do it.

January 20, 2010 by Red State Gal