There’s probably a reason for the GOP “Women’s Problem.” When Google gives a seeker at least ten+ pages containing lists of quotations* from prominent Republican and conservative sources, which grate like a rasp on bare skin, then perhaps some people have been providing a fairly accurate assessment of the mentality of party leadership on women’s issues.
Collections of commentary about women’s anatomy, and the functioning thereof, range from A to B, from Republican sources including the infamous “body shutting down,” to the more recent suggestion by former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee that “If Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing them for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of government, then so be it.”
It’s difficult to corral this herd of cats because so many of them are convinced of the rectitude of their pronouncements because they are supposedly referenced to Scripture. This exercise does require some illogical legerdemain, including but not limited to equating the acquisition of the knowledge of good and evil in Eden to sexual intimacy, and ignoring the story of Deborah altogether — or turning her into some form of early Israeli aggressive housewife. However, before dismissing the politics of “The Little Woman” out of hand, perhaps it’s time to muse about the underlying political message. Thou Shalt Not Be Made Uncomfortable.
It’s also a mistake to put all the controversy on the “In this day and age” platter and serve it up as though it were something that just happened yesterday, or at least since the ratification of the 19th Amendment. There are and have been matriarchal societies long before the modern ‘western civilization,’ and there continue to be such institutions. However, for some men, raised in households in which male domination was the norm it’s easy to see the origin of their political discomfort with female candidates. Issues concerning child raising, domestic arrangements, etc. are raised with female candidates which would be dismissed summarily when discussing a male office seeker.
If we want to make someone truly uncomfortable, make that individual actually responsible for his or her actions. Real intimacy requires mutual understanding and consent. It is a gift one partner can share with the other. Force does not create consent, and obviously cannot be rationalized by saying “As long as it’s inevitable, you might as well lie back and enjoy it.” Former Texas Republican gubernatorial contender Clayton Williams on rape.”
One of the more egregious comments from the last election cycle summarized the discomfort of a man struggling with his own sense of entitlement:
“These Planned Parenthood women, the Code Pink women, and all of these women have been neutering American men and bringing us to the point of this incredible weakness…We are not going to have our men become subservient.” Rep. Allen West (R-Fl.), who lost his 2012 bid for re-election
And, here we have the fear of the uncomfortable notion that sexual intimacy is best achieved when both partners are prepared, consenting, and willing — not merely when the guy wants “it.” There’s always something just a little sad about a man who takes “no” as rejection, or personalizes it as an assault on his masculinity.
The hyper-masculinity associated with the “she wants it,” “she turned me on,” and “I have to fight’em off with a stick,” isn’t masculinity at all — it’s all too often a mask, a camouflage covering some serious personality issues. Real men don’t rape, real men don’t count their conquests, real men don’t demand sexual intimacy.
Real men having an understanding of female reproductive systems. Real men create partnerships, and real men don’t feel uncomfortable when the time just isn’t right. Disappointed perhaps — but subservient, no.
Real men also understand that women are not commodities to be “consumed” as we would collect cars, coffee mugs, and other appurtenances of domestic living. Translating the I Want What I Want When I Want It of consumerism into domestic relationships is neither productive nor healthy.
Real men know that, and it’s probably passed the time that some real men in the GOP read the 2012 after action report with more diligence.