Women have become sadly accustomed to being treated as something less than their male counterparts in today’s society. We are a subset of people so baffling that the GOP has to hold sessions on how to talk to us. We earn so much less than a man that it takes us months to catch up. We find ourselves constantly told that we bear the responsibility for any unwanted outcomes that come from sexual intercourse, while our partners in “crime” can just walk free. We watch bill after bill coming through legislatures that put our own rights second to that of any embryo or fetus we may be carrying, for as long as we are carrying it.
Need further proof that women are still seen as “others” rather than real people? Here are just three examples from this week:
1) It takes a woman to speak to a woman: The GOP has known for a few election cycles now that they have a serious woman problem, especially when it comes to women of color. But in the surest sign that they are running out of ways to reach these potential voters, they are now forming a special initiative to recruit women just to speak to women. According to Talking Points Memo, a new “14 in 14″ program is being launched by the Republican Party to have women tell other women why the party is so wonderful to them, in an attempt to woo back the single women voters that they’ve lost out on the last few elections.
So why do they specifically need women to find women? Maybe it’s because the Republican men aren’t so good at it. Between the constant assurances that equal pay doesn’t matter, that no one needs paid sick leave, that affordable accessible healthcare is a threat to freedom and schools don’t need nearly the funding that the prison system requires, somehow women still seem unmoved by the idea that the GOP is the party of women and families.
Good thing they’ve made such strides in preventing women from voting.
2) Lower wages are good! Otherwise, why would you get a husband? Ah, Phyllis Schlafly. Has any other woman made such a career out of telling women they shouldn’t have careers? Now, the octogenarian anti-woman’s rights activist is busy explaining that women earning less is a good thing, since it encourages them to get married to men who can take care of them financially.
According to ThinkProgress, Schafly writes: “Suppose the pay gap between men and women were magically eliminated. If that happened, simple arithmetic suggests that half of women would be unable to find what they regard as a suitable mate…The best way to improve economic prospects for women is to improve job prospects for the men in their lives, even if that means increasing the so-called pay gap.”
Keeping women economically insecure in order to force them to find a man, and then propping up his own economic security with more pay so he can afford her and their family is nothing short of brilliant. Next, once these marriages of convenience are arranged, we can get rid of that pesky divorce problem again, too, since women would then starve without their mate to support them.
3) Women make great human shields. We already know we aren’t worth as much as a man, pay-wise, or as much as a fetus rights-wise. Still, we kind of thought we ranked slightly higher than cannon fodder. Apparently not, though, or at least not in rightwing militia world, where one advocate in a gathering of armed anti-government types advocated using the group’s women as a human shield if gunfire broke out.
Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy is in a standoff with a federal agency he claims is trying to steal his cattle (that he has had grazing on public land without paying fees for over two decades, despite warnings, because he says he doesn’t believe in the authority of the federal government). The stand-off got particularly tense as armed federal agents met with armed militia members who rallied to Bundy’s side. But one sheriff, who leads a project that declares sheriffs get to decide what is the “real” constitutional laws and only enforce those, strategized that if gunfire broke out, the women present should take the bullets. You know, because that would make the government look bad.
“We were actually strategizing to put all the women up at the front,” said Richard Mack. ”If they are going to start shooting, it’s going to be women that are going to be televised all across the world getting shot by these rogue federal officers.” Mack then followed up on another interview, restating “It was a tactical plot that I was trying to get them to use. If they’re going to start killing people, I’m sorry, but to show the world how ruthless these people are, women needed to be the first ones shot.”
Recruiters, wives or human shields? No wonder the right is having such a hard time appealing to women.
Photo credit: Thinkstock
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