Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Feminine Perspective on the Culture War on Women

Apparently we have returned to those glorious days of yesteryear, as old-timey radio used to say.

And we have George Carlin's riff on the War on Women, that right wing attempt to keep us barefoot, and pregnant, and in our place, the one that wants to weaken the description of rape, the one that wants to repeal equal pay for equal work laws, the one that wants to make it more difficult and costly to control our reproductive rights.

There is a great deal to be said for the push-back against right wing reactionary politics using humor.

We have the Virginia state senator, Janet Howell who tried to amend legislation that would force costly, non-medical procedures on a woman by linking a similar measure that would force men who wanted erectile dysfunction medication to get a rectal exam.  Actually, that makes sense, because of the typical age of men who actually need, rather than simply want for recreational purposes, that kind of medication and prostate cancer and other diseases.  Lets call out the hypocrisy of the pro-freedom from government intrusion crowd for what they are, liars and hypocrites for interfering with medical care and legal procedures to force their religious beliefs on the rest of us.

Now we have another female state senator who has beautifully used humor again in a similar way.  Constance Johnson, a state senator in the Oklahoma legislature, addressed the insanity of trying to give equal personhood to zygotes at the instant of conception.  As a point against the legislative attempt by the right to wrongly redefine personhood, I would point out that we don't and cannot ever determine the moment of conception.  I could write here at some length about the process known as spermatozoon activation or the acrosomal reaction, because I actually read about things like this extensively in pursuing my interest in theriogenology.  But this blog is about politics and current events (and anything else we feel like writing about) so I will save my other hobbies for a different niche.  The point is -we don't know, and with the exception of some very specific kinds of artificial insemination, NEVER know in the natural course of things, when the moment of conception occurs.  It takes us a while to be able to tell THAT it occurs, and that requires separate processes, including uterine implantation.  So on the face of it, the very premise of this legislation is poor.  But Howell does tie in to the obvious attempt to force on the rest of us, in a violation of church and state, one of the premises of the catholic church, that masturbation is a mortal sin.
I agree with my high school biology teacher, who gave us the most comprehensive sex ed classes imaginable; 95% of men admit to masturbation, and the other 5% are liars.  I would posit that the numbers for women are similar.

Good for Senators Howell and Johnson, we need more humor, we need more reason, and we certainly seem to need more women in our legislative government at all levels.


  1. Hello I enjoyed visiting your blog and having another look at the Python and Carlin stuff.George was a brilliant guy.As far as the issue of the Fetus as Person goes we need only invert the Descartes statement "I think therefore I am" to "I don't think therefore I'm not".

  2. Thanks Blue, welcome to Penigma! (assuming this is your first comment)

    I concur with you more than you may understand, but for a bit different reason. Outside the legal ramifications of going too far one direction (or another), the fact is, there is a point in the gestational process at which we as a thinking, rational people see the potential for life as crossing over to be - a life.

    For most of us, that point is essentially when we'd be repulsed by that life being ended, and I for one feel for most of that crowd, it's the point at which we think conciousness/awareness springs to life. That isn't conception certainly, but as well it isn't the day of birth either. If a being thinks, it exists.

  3. Familiar with the expression : The enemy of my enemy is a friend of mine ?

    Well, when Iowa was voting for State Supreme Court justices in 2010, there was a major push to defeat the justices that ruled in favor of same-sex marriage. Coming to the aid of the Family Leader were various corporate interests … they could care less about the same-sex marriage issue but they did care that these justices were not business-friendly … so they dumped money into the race bashing the justices for their rulings on same-sex marriage … all three justices were defeated … without the same-sex marriage ruling there would have been no campaign against them and the business interests would have to contend with these judges.

    What we see happening now with the Contraceptive Quandary is that this becomes another attack line against Government Healthcare (see this interesting post comparing Koch Industries and the Church having the same goal - to create rights/powers for their organizations that trump individual rights).
    Sad, but IMO this is just the start of the unraveling ObamaCare … contraceptives are getting the headlines, but what concerns me is the repeal of the Medical Device Tax which so many Democrats have embraced … this will put a big hole in the dollars needed to fund the program and they are using scare tactics of potential job losses (but like so many issues, people don’t read the report and evaluate it to see the holes in the report … Paulsen cites job losses could exceed 40,000 but if you read the report it says if this happens, and this happens, and this happens, job losses could be 2,350 BUT if this happens, and this happens, and this happens, and this happens, job losses could be in excess of 40,000 BUT if this happens, and this happens, and this happens, and this happens, and this happens, job losses could be even more … Paulsen is smart to pick a number that no one will question).

    Isn’t amusing that for years nobody noticed that abortion procedures and birth control was a standard benefit included in virtually all employer packages … including those offered by the GOP.

  4. FYI - The War is on in Georgia.

    House Democrats have scheduled a Wednesday hearing at the state Capitol, to propose a bill that would ban Georgia males from seeking vasectomies.

    Take it away, press release:
    “Thousands of children are deprived of birth in this state every year because of the lack of state regulation over vasectomies,” said Rep. Yasmin Neal, author of the bill. “It is patently unfair that men can avoid unwanted fatherhood by presuming that their judgment over such matters is more valid than the judgment of the General Assembly, while women’s ability to decide is constantly up for debate throughout the United States.”

    Doug McKillip, R-Athens, has authored legislation HB 954 – which seeks to make 20 weeks the cutoff time for an abortion down from the current 24 weeks.

    House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams stated, “The Republican attack on women’s reproductive rights is unconscionable. What is more deplorable is the hypocrisy of HB 954’s author. If we follow his logic, we believe it is the obligation of this General Assembly to assert an equally invasive state interest in the reproductive habits of men and substitute the will of the government over the will of adult men.”

    Gosh, what the heck is wrong with Minnesota ... all we seem to care about is Voter ID, installing the Right to Bear Arms in the Minnesota Constitution and giving a tax break for buying ammo ...