Mystified

Among all of the mystifying things that baffle me, one has the pride of place. If there is a person who can answer this question for me, I will be eternally grateful.

After the “keep an aspirin between your knees” joke, after rape-by-government legislation, after a collective refusal by the Republicans to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, after all-male hearings on birth control, after sincere discussions of “what women are for“, I really have to ask:

What motivates women who still vote Republican? 

What is it that they hold so much more important than not being treated like a herd of cattle? What is it that Republican politicians offer them that trumps being an object of such dehumanizing and degrading attitudes?

One can have a gazillion of ideological disagreements with the Liberals (like I do), but there has to be a pyramid of priorities, right? Being treated like you are subhuman on the basis of your physiology has got to matter more than pretty much anything else.

These are not rhetorical questions. I’m honestly baffled by this. Women form more than 50% of the population of this country. This means that in order to make this climate of daily degradation of women by politicians (and during a Presidential elections campaign, at that!) possible, there needs to be a significant consensus among women that this is all completely acceptable. This, in turn, must mean that women who vote Republican are getting something quite major out of the bargain where they accept to be treated this way in return for their political support.

And as hard as I try, I can’t see what that something is.

Everybody is welcome to answer, but it would be especially great to hear from such women.

P.S. I know that people will immediately start telling me about the preference for the Republican economic policies. This, of course, must mean that all these Republican-voting women are hardcore Marxists because only a Marxist believes that economic interests trump all other concerns. Are you sure you are ready to maintain that all Republican-voting women are crypto-Marxists?

About these ads

46 comments on “Mystified

  1. I’m family and friends with quite a few right-wing women and in their case it seems to come down to the connection made between right-wing ideology and being a good Christian, a good mother, and a good American. Smoke like Santorum’s blowing gets written off either as “he’s wrong about that but not all the other things” or “damn liberals misinterpreting his message.” Not that they all love Santorum [god, what a gross phrase], but anti-woman gaffes in general can be dismissed, it seems, because that’s not the real Republican platform, which can only be pro-woman because it’s pro-mother and pro-America and pro-God [from a theoretical perspective, anyway].

  2. It’s primarily theological I think. Women on the right will support ANY anti-abortion measure as being pro-woman. Far Right women will actually argue that anti-abortion is a feminist position……….Maternity/paternity leave is less important to them because many of them believe that women shouldn’t work and should stay home and tend to children and home.

  3. I guess the real question should be directed to the democrats: “How fucked up and insane are our policies and priorities if the republicans do this shit and their STILL the preferred choice?”

  4. Being treated like you are subhuman on the basis of your physiology has got to matter more than pretty much anything else.

    Two things play a role I think:

    1) Religion

    2) Checks and balances – a lot of women may agree with the Republican policies on certain issues, but disagree on say the abortion issue and others, however are confident that the system of checks and balances in our government would prevent any major anti-women legislation from being passed.

    P.S. I know that people will immediately start telling me about the preference for the Republican economic policies. This, of course, must mean that all these Republican-voting women are hardcore Marxists because only a Marxist believes that economic interests trump all other concerns. Are you sure you are ready to maintain that all Republican-voting women are crypto-Marxists?

    Well it depends on what you mean by “economic interests.” If you mean economic freedom, I’d say Marxists aren’t the only ones for whom economic issues trump other issues. Economic freedom trumps a lot of other issues for people simply because economic freedom is so crucial to maintaining a free society. So many people see it that if economic freedom is infringed upon, so can the other liberties.

    Many people view Obama as a socialist. I don’t agree with this (I see him as a European-style social democrat), but a lot on the Right see him as a socialist, and when dealing with a socialist, they will vote for the candidate who is for economic freedom. For example, pro-choice Republican women consider economic freedom more important abortion because economic freedom will preserve the other freedoms (and also they believe the checks and balances will stop any anti-abortion legislation).

    One major issue Republicans see as a real intrusion over economic freedom is Obama’s healthcare plan, because it indirectly places one-sixth of the economy (healthcare) under the control of the government (it places the health insurance companies under the govenrnment’s control, and whoever controls health insurance ultimately directs healthcare). They also don’t like the mandate to purchase health insurance.

    Many on the Right see this healthcare plan as fundamentally changing the relationship between the individual and the State in a negative way (nanny state). For quite a few people who do support various women’s issues that Republicans don’t support, these economic freedom issues take a higher priority as they are scene as crucial to preserving everything else.

  5. I know two “Republicans” (They’re not Americans but the idealize America and long to be citizens) who say that they value the “fiscal” economic policy above all else, even their human rights (They’re also trans lesbians. Go figure) I’m totally stealing that line about crypto-Marxism, thanks!

  6. I almost caused a car accident when I heard the aspirin `joke` this morning on the radio. Seriously, like you I am desperately looking for answers.

    • No one thinks ‘big business’ is virtuous. Nor do conservatives think ‘big business’ is villainous. Big Business is simply business. Nothing more.

      • Why then, if government is evil for being large and controlling, is the private sector, which is larger, more controlling, and utterly self serving, considered benign?

        Why do you think private insurance is moral and public,
        immoral? Why do you think private schools are good and public ones evil, because public?

        Why do you think taxes are a good thing as long as they are a way to sweep peoples’ cash into private pockets (i.e. military contractors)?

  7. My theory:

    Republican women simply don’t believe that when Republican politicians are talking about women that they are talking about THEM in any sense. See, the GOP is just talking about those poor sluts that need birth control and abortions and financial assistance aka “bad women who don’t follow the rules”. There’s a firewall between THOSE women and them and there’s no seepage between the two ever. Besides, Republican women have money and will always have money forever and always so they can do medical tourism or induce doctors to bend the rules for them or something. If a Republican woman is post menopausal or is done having children she will have no empathy for her past self, so why worry about it?
    If a Republican woman should need birth control or an abortion or financial assistance, they should/will get it from their husband/church/the government because they are deserving and have excellent reasons. Unlike THOSE women.

    • Republican women do not always have money. Don’t fall into the mistaken notion of thinking Republicans are all rich or well-off. Although among the rich ones, it certainly is easy to be against abortion. Of course, that’s like a wealthy Democrat saying they are for government-run healthcare, but then will buy expensive private healthcare for themselves.

    • After reading posts by health care workers on women protesting in front of abortion clinics, getting an abortion themselves and returning to protest the very next day, it seems mainly be “My abortion is different since I am not one of those sluts”.

  8. Republicans do not consider big business as virtuous, that’s a common misconception. Republicans admire the free-market and business as a pursuit, but as for individual businesses themselves, the free market is something that businesses, in particular big business, loves to constrain. Big business is to the free-enterprise system what politicians are to the democratic political system. Just the same, liking democratic political systems doesn’t mean one thinks politicians are virtuous.

    Z :
    Why then, if government is evil for being large and controlling, is the private sector, which is larger, more controlling, and utterly self serving, considered benign?

    The private-sector is not more controlling than the government. Only the government has a monopoly on power. The government can jail you, forcibly take away your money, according to the current administration, force you to buy something, and so forth. Companies have no such power, and with a free-market, you have choices. The government is also a literal entity. The “private-sector” is not really any one thing, it just is a term used to refer to the individuals all engaging in voluntary cooperation and free trade.

    As for being utterly self-serving, so is the government. That’s why government must always be constrianed, because it seeks to grow and grow in power. That is just human nature. Humans make up the government, humans make up the private-sector, just they offer different incentives. Humans are self-serving, which is why we have a free-enterprise system and a representative government with checks and balances.

    Why do you think private insurance is moral and public,
    immoral? Why do you think private schools are good and public ones evil, because public?

    It isn’t so much that one is moral or immoral as that the way many on the Left desire it, the government would run the insurance industry and education and thus have a complete monopoly, thus restraining choice. Also, government has a very lousy reputation with regards to being able to run ithings.

    Why do you think taxes are a good thing as long as they are a way to sweep peoples’ cash into private pockets (i.e. military contractors)?

    I know of no one on the Right who sees taxes as good for anything, just a necessary evil. The idea of using taxes to take away one person’s money and give it to another is more a Leftwing ideal (wealth redistribution).

  9. I think Americans are hostage to a set of ideological creeds that channel them towards certain wrong conclusions. I’ve noticed in my interactions of late — something I should have noticed many years ago — that Americans nearly always essentialise gender identities. Even when they’re on your side, pro-feminist, or possibly even atheist, it takes a remarkable American not to fall for the bizarre notion that women are essentially emotional and “intuitive”. It’s kind of crazy.

    It’s not surprising that they fall for all sense of nonsense when their thinking is profoundly metaphysical, rather than rational and reasonable.

    • “hat Americans nearly always essentialise gender identities. Even when they’re on your side, pro-feminist, or possibly even atheist, it takes a remarkable American not to fall for the bizarre notion that women are essentially emotional and “intuitive”. It’s kind of crazy.”

      – And you know what’s the scariest thing of all? This is how gender is taught at the university level. In FEMINIST courses. I sat through so many lectures by supposedly super duper progressive scholars who argued that women have a greater connection with nature and disliked logic and reason because that is what being female is about. The feminism of these scholars consisted in always adding “But who says we should value reason over intuition?”

      Nobody says it but what’s the point of assigning these gender categories to concepts like reason, nature, logic, etc.? This is what shocks me so much.

      • “progressive scholars who argued that women have a greater connection with nature and disliked logic and reason because that is what being female is about”

        Your imagination is breathtaking. I want names. This never happened.

    • “I’ve noticed in my interactions of late —”

      this makes you an expert on a country of 300 million you have never even visited?

      “…Americans nearly always….it takes a remarkable American…It’s not surprising that they fall for all sense of nonsense…their thinking is….”

      Your arrogance is breathtaking. Who are these people you interact with, who you feel are representative of “Americans”?

  10. bloggerclarissa :
    The feminism of these scholars consisted in always adding “But who says we should value reason over intuition?”
    Nobody says it but what’s the point of assigning these gender categories to concepts like reason, nature, logic, etc.? This is what shocks me so much.

    I had a truly horrible experience where I was using the term, “intuition”, in the Jungian sense, to mean the ability to recognise similar patterns in different situations, and some prof. decided to take me down for that. I realised, at that point, that he was viewing much of what I said through a lens that made me into a feminine stereotype. Disappointing, to say the least, but one has to recognise the very primitive level of American consciousness and maybe side-step it as best you can.

    On the other issue of identification with Nature — of course, Kristeva makes it, almost explicitly, and of course it is identified as a masculine, transgressive trait when associated with Western notions of shamanism. It’s very complicated.

    I would have not trouble with a feminist identification with nature if they were only to take that project seriously — go and live out in the Amazonian rain forest for a few weeks; make like Bear Grylls. Actually, there is a lot that can be learned from various kinds of association with nature.

    I’m not for the lazy attitude of adopting patriarchal binaries and fluffy thinking, though.

    • “I would have not trouble with a feminist identification with nature if they were only to take that project seriously — go and live out in the Amazonian rain forest for a few weeks; make like Bear Grylls. Actually, there is a lot that can be learned from various kinds of association with nature.”

      – One of the scholars I’m talking about (a woman) arrived at a conclusion that it is easier for female political prisoners to withstand torture because they are closer to the animal world and don’t experience torture as acutely as men do. And she didn’t notice how this line of reasoning could be used for political terror. This is a person from Argentina, where there is a history of this kind of terror. If that’s where essentialist gender thinking takes one, who needs it?

    • “but one has to recognise the very primitive level of American consciousness ”

      Seriously, have you ever even visited the US?

  11. bloggerclarissa :
    “I would have not trouble with a feminist identification with nature if they were only to take that project seriously — go and live out in the Amazonian rain forest for a few weeks; make like Bear Grylls. Actually, there is a lot that can be learned from various kinds of association with nature.”
    – One of the scholars I’m talking about (a woman) arrived at a conclusion that it is easier for female political prisoners to withstand torture because they are closer to the animal world and don’t experience torture as acutely as men do. And she didn’t notice how this line of reasoning could be used for political terror. This is a person from Argentina, where there is a history of this kind of terror. If that’s where essentialist gender thinking takes one, who needs it?

    Indeed — but obviously I was also being at least partially ironic. What I’m getting at is there is no harm in individuals, like your Argentinian, going back to Argentina and offering herself up to the prisons there for experimentation. This is one way to test the veracity of one’s ideology and find out how useful it is.

    This is what I am suggesting about nature being a very useful learning tool. It’s not going to teach you anything like you imagine, but that’s not the fault of nature.

    I’m sorry. Everything I say is ironic. You will find nothing on my blog that isn’t at least partially ironic. This is the Nietzschean and Bataille school of philosophy, where nothing is really what it seems and you always have to watch out where you step.

  12. Isabel :
    “progressive scholars who argued that women have a greater connection with nature and disliked logic and reason because that is what being female is about”
    Your imagination is breathtaking. I want names. This never happened.

    It has. I have also experienced it. Another person has also experienced it separate from me. And chances are that countless other people have also experienced it as well. You can’t simply say something isn’t true because you don’t like it or don’t want it to be true. A rubber duck is still a rubber duck if you call it a fish; it won’t swim in the lake just because you want it to be otherwise.

    • Can you provide a name, or preferably a quote, saying that “women have a greater connection with nature and disliked logic and reason because that is what being female is about” ? Since we are talking about “progressive scholars” and not personal acquaintances that should be acceptable. I have taken many feminist courses and they were nothing like this. One voice (an artist or writer) discussed *during* a course may have touched on the female’s often closer connection to nature due to circumstances and said something similarly hyperbolic; but I am quite sure that no progressive scholar ever preached that “this is what being a female is all about” or anything else so simplistic. But I will await your references.

  13. One of the problems with the Violence Against Women Act is that it was over encompassing. It could be viewed as criminalizing any behavior that makes a woman feel bad.l

    Also the aspirin comment wasn’t made by Santorum. It was made by a guy several steps down the food chain.

    As for the comment about the degradation of women, I’d be more worried about what passes for feminism. If what I read on the internet and magazines is correct, there are an awful lot of women who after they turned 30 or so, have found that the attitude of entitlement that feminism has created, has caused them all sorts of problems.

    • I’m over 30 and I have an attitude of entitlement. I’m entitled to work, entitled to be paid based on merit not gender, I’m entitled to own property, entitled to drive, entitled to vote. I’m entitled to decide what happens to my own body, entitled to decide whether to have children or not. Entitled to wear whatever clothes I feel like without fear. Many of these are freedoms my grandmother didn’t have and many of them are freedoms women in other parts of the world still don’t have. This is what feminism has created for me. I cannot think of any problems feminism has created for me. Feminism has also created for men a world in which they do not have to be the sole financial support of the family, where they are entitled to paternity leave, where they are given equal consideration in matters of child custody. (Unfortunately, the United States is not yet part of this world.)

      • “I’m over 30 and I have an attitude of entitlement. I’m entitled to work, entitled to be paid based on merit not gender, I’m entitled to own property, entitled to drive, entitled to vote. I’m entitled to decide what happens to my own body, entitled to decide whether to have children or not. Entitled to wear whatever clothes I feel like without fear. Many of these are freedoms my grandmother didn’t have and many of them are freedoms women in other parts of the world still don’t have. This is what feminism has created for me. I cannot think of any problems feminism has created for me. Feminism has also created for men a world in which they do not have to be the sole financial support of the family, where they are entitled to paternity leave, where they are given equal consideration in matters of child custody. (Unfortunately, the United States is not yet part of this world.)”

        – WHAT A BEAUTIFUL COMMENT! I absolutely love it.

      • In that case you should be outraged by the left. If the fact that a comment is made shows what is acceptable in an environment then the snide and snarky comments leftists made about Margaret Thatcher, Sarah Palin, Condi Rice, and Janice Rogers Brown (the conservative federal judge who was mocked in the Washington Post), and any woman who doesn’t fit their mold, show that hostility to women is very acceptablle in the leftist world.

  14. Sure, some attitudes and behaviours are typically Western, rather than American per se.

    A core one is the typical response when someone expresses: “I have such-and-such a point of view.”

    The Western response is: “How dare you have that point of view! You must be an idiot to have it! Otherwise, justify to me in detail why you have a right to that point of view!”

    Sorry — but points of views cannot be justified in that way. They’re based on experience, not scientific experimentation. Furthermore, even what passes for science, is often cherry-picked for whether it seems to prove or disprove certain ideological postures, for example those of the extreme right.

    Philistinism posturing as a desire to establish the truth “objectively”, once and for all, is Western. Meanwhile, what occurs is simply trying to shut down another point of view.

    • I am still curious to know who the people are you have been having these conversations with, who you often mention as confirming your beliefs about Westerners.

  15. 1) Ignore Isabel. She’s derailing with her “names! I want names or it didn’t happen!”

    2) That aspirin joke is so old I think it preceded the invention of aspirin. I remember my male chauvinist pig boss telling that joke back in the early 80s. And it was old then. I can’t believe it’s still floating around, but you’d think someone would counter with “jeez, someone open a window, it reeks of mothballs in here” and that would be it.

    3) So there’s a male-only committee on birth control somewhere in the bowels of government? They’re talking about the need to promote condom use, right? Right? Oh well, a girl can dream.

    4) I don’t know why other women vote Republican, but I can tell you why I did: I voted for Clinton twice. I had to get back at him somehow. But seeing as they’ve reverted to type, I guess I’ll be sitting this election out, since I have no plans to vote for any of the idiots on the Democrat side either. Unless Hillary finds her spine and decided to run again. But she has to do three things for me: she has to wear the Doctor Evil suit (bonus points if she switches the skirt to pants and makes it a dreaded pants suit); she has to get a dueling scar (you can get anything from plastic surgeons in California these days, or so I’ve heard), and she has to do campaign videos where she’s sitting and petting a white cat and wearing a monocle.

    • “1) Ignore Isabel. She’s derailing with her “names! I want names or it didn’t happen!””

      Giving orders on someone elses’ blog, eh? Classy! You don’t even understand what derailing is. Anyway, I was quoting someone here who always makes the same demand on this blog – never mind who – just mind your own business please. There is no one lower than blog commenters who waste their time critiquing other blog commenters.

      • “You don’t understand!” More derailing. “Classy!” Ah — tone argument. “You’re giving orders on someone else’s blog!” That’s right. My typed words are fearsome. All shall love me and despair! I am Queen of the Universe, obey or die… Yawn.

  16. Because of all these discussions of procreating husbands, I have had a horrible nightmare where I discovered that N. had 5 children with some woman in California. This is very traumatizing. :-) :-)

  17. AYY :
    In that case you should be outraged by the left. If the fact that a comment is made shows what is acceptable in an environment then the snide and snarky comments leftists made about Margaret Thatcher, Sarah Palin, Condi Rice, and Janice Rogers Brown (the conservative federal judge who was mocked in the Washington Post), and any woman who doesn’t fit their mold, show that hostility to women is very acceptablle in the leftist world.

    This would be a more effective comment if people on the left didn’t frequently get annoyed at other people on the left for precisely what you’re talking about. See, for instance, Elevator-gate for one recent example. Difference is, although the left is very far from perfect, it is at least trying, whereas the right is not trying at all.

    • “In that case you should be outraged by the left. If the fact that a comment is made shows what is acceptable in an environment then the snide and snarky comments leftists made about Margaret Thatcher, Sarah Palin, Condi Rice, and Janice Rogers Brown (the conservative federal judge who was mocked in the Washington Post),”

      – First of all, Washington Post is a rabidly conservative rag. I have no idea how anybody can use anything that was said there as a reflection of Liberal values. As for sexist comments about Sarah Palin, there were many, they were a complete disgrace and I, for one, kept denouncing them long after most other people stopped. Search the blog for very recent examples. However, even very nasty comments about specific individuals do not equal aggressively promoting legislation that gives all women the official status of stupid, brainless cows.

  18. Speaking for myself: I vote Republican because I trust Republicans to protect my Second Amendment rights a hell of a lot more than I trust Democrats to combat rape culture. In a society where men can pretty much rape women and get away with it, my right to self-defense is absolutely non-negotiable.

    • So you choose to fight the consequences instead of addressing the root of the problem? Sounds very productive. I only hope you remain young and strong enough to hold a gun and take aim as long as possible.

  19. Pingback: Returning to nature: It’s not what you think. « MUSTER YOU

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s