Women's bodies and misogyny on the rise

Posted: 1/4/2022 6:00:47 PM Modified: 1/4/2022 18:00:07 Misogyny, part two. Last month, I wrote about this system which seeks ...

Posted: 1/4/2022 6:00:47 PM

Modified: 1/4/2022 18:00:07

Misogyny, part two. Last month, I wrote about this system which seeks to prevent women from reaching their full potential or making unfettered choices throughout their lives.

Women who serve in one form or another of leadership have experienced resistance, opponents and those who actively work to hinder their path to success. Either that or they have capitulated to the demands of the patriarchal building they serve in order to be considered acceptable administrators. While these components are not always in play, they are more common than not.

In today’s unstable political climate, the political right spends more time attacking progressives than creating or proposing solutions to societal problems. They have no real platform other than to dip dangerously into the victim consciousness of their supporters. Along with racist ideology, rhetoric and misogynistic belief systems are on the rise with organized and occasional far-right groups. In the anti-choice movement, misogyny has always been central. One of his architects is now remorseful and has walked around to apologize.

Frank Shaeffer was an evangelical leader who participated in the distortion of abortion rights decades ago. He recently told Joy Reid on MSNBC that over 50% of evangelicals are pro-choice, including Billy Graham. He said, “We come from a place where we’ve acted like it’s Christian theology. It’s not. It was a misogynist movement. I was one of them, but you can’t be pro-family unless you are pro-choice because if women are treated as nothing more than incubators, we cannot have an egalitarian society. Women cannot have a career. Women cannot have a life. I am very sorry for the role I played. We were not pro-life. We were a team of misogyny.

In the Catholic Church, abortion was permitted before canon law declared life to begin at conception in 1869. Around the same time, in 1871, the church declared that popes were infallible and that the birth of Mary was an immaculate conception to free her from original sin as had been declared for her son Jesus. Religious policies are as flexible as the people in power who build them. I don’t think the heavens opened and God issued anti-abortion pamphlets after hundreds of years of Catholic Church approval of abortion.

Imagine a world where women own their bodies. Where rape and the threat of rape were non-existent. The culture of rape is as essential to patriarchy as the control of women’s reproductive choices. Gloria Steinem said that as diverse as wars are, they all have in common the subjugation of women. Why do soldiers rape women and girls while beating their enemies? It seems designed to strip defeated men of their dignity, and in this, women are mere objects rather than full human beings.

Another military phenomenon is the frequency of military sexual trauma. While too many men suffer from it as well, it is worrying for women who serve in the United States military. Stories abound about women who are raped or gang raped because they dare to succeed and get promotions or because they refuse advances from a senior officer or peer. I can’t imagine what it would be like to serve alongside your rapist and expect him to trust or obey her orders.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, introduced the Better Military Justice Act in 2013, and she has continued to fight for it ever since. Gillibrand revealed the gloomy statistics. The low conviction rates of 9% and over 60% of victims reporting retaliation for coming forward demonstrate serious failure and often cover-up in the chain of command, like the Boy Scouts of America and the Catholic Church.

When Gillibrand first introduced this law, it had little support from Democrats and none from Republicans. She sought to have the cases of violent sex crimes removed from the military and tried in civilian court, as has been done in Canada, the UK, Israel, Germany, Norway and Australia during over a decade.

In 2021, Gillibrand introduced the Improving Military Justice and Increasing Prevention Act, now with bipartisan support. Leading Republicans, Senator Joni Ernst and former Senator Martha McSally, have offered strong testimony about their own sexual assaults while serving in the military, and several prominent veterans organizations are on board. And yet, we are still waiting.

Given the pervasive misogyny, each of us strives to change paradigm and path. We need to be conscious advocates who don’t accept partner’s misogyny and sexism as inevitable. There are examples that teach us otherwise, and there are glimmers of hope to be found and discussed. Expect me to write more in the coming months.

JM Sorrell is a social justice activist / trainer and a feminist at heart.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Women's bodies and misogyny on the rise
Women's bodies and misogyny on the rise
Newsrust - US Top News
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