The Misogyny of Alabama

The policing arm of patriarchy is in full swing

Image: Pixabay
The last thing I said before I got into bed last night was, “I want to kill them. I want them to die!”

I was talking about the law makers in Alabama and Arkansas and the other places that are hellbent on taking us back into the Dark Ages. OK, I was pretty drunk when I said it, and I didn’t mean it literally, but I have never said anything remotely like that in my life before. Even though I’ve been blindsided by people I thought were my friends, betrayed by people who claimed to care about me, and sucker-punched by life more than once, I’ve never been quite this horrified before!

I’m horrified at the cruelty and blatant misogyny of men who have no problem with disposing of fertilized eggs in a lab, once the strongest one has been used for an in vitro procedure, but would send a teen-ager who has been raped by her father to jail for the rest of her life for not wanting to carry the product of that trauma to term. They don’t care about life; they care about making sure that women fulfill their purpose; their only real purpose, to be a host. The word host has been openly used! They’re not even ashamed to say it.

Misogyny is the policing arm of patriarchy. When women aren’t doing what they are supposed to by patriarchal standards, its proponents feel the need to punish and reel back in the women who have flouted them. Their failure to comply feels like an affront and a bit like a holy crusade to rectify it.

To its agents, misogyny need not have any distinctive “feel” or phenomenology from the inside. If it feels like anything at all, it will tend to be righteous: like standing up for oneself or for morality, or — often combining the two — for the “little guy.” It often feels to those in its grip like a moral crusade, not a witch hunt. And it may pursue its targets not in the spirit of hating women but, rather, of loving justice.
Manne, Kate. Down Girl (p. 20). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

By patriarchal standards, a woman is a human giver, even more than a human being. Her function is to give life, give comfort, give sustenance, as well as to give pleasure and love.

This helps to explain why she is often understood perfectly well to have a mind of her own, yet punished in brutal and inhumane ways when that mind appears to be oriented to the wrong things, in the wrong ways, to the wrong people — including herself and other women.
Manne, Kate. Down Girl (pp. 22–23). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

Women who refuse to bear a child, even for a very good reason, like incest or to save their own lives, are callously rejecting their duty to provide nurture and safe haven to the natural inhabitant of their wombs. This is what the real objection is. Such a woman is perceived to have broken the social contract. This is the true crime — one that should be punished with life imprisonment or death.

Women’s role as givers, and privileged men’s as takers, is internalized by women as well as men; so women who are fully paid-up members in the club of femininity are no less prone to enforce such norms, at least in certain contexts. Indeed, when it comes to third-personal moralism, as opposed to second-personal reactive attitudes, they may be more prone to do so, because women who appear to be shirking their duties, in being, for example, careless, selfish, or negligent, make more work for others who are “good” or conscientious. Moreover, such women threaten to undermine the system on which many women have staked their futures, identities, sense of self-worth, etc.
Manne, Kate. Down Girl (p. 147). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

If you believe that disposing of fertilized eggs in a lab is fine, you don’t care about life in the way that you pretend. If you think that a woman should sacrifice her own life, potentially depriving her other children of their mother, you don’t care about life in the way that you pretend.

Every year since 2008, a whopping 72 percent of NAF clients looking to terminate a pregnancy were already mothers, up at least 10 percent from the years before the economy crashed.

People who don’t even understand how women’s bodies work feel entitled to make laws about their reproductive lives because from a patriarchal perspective, that’s what women are primarily for. Human givers must obey their natural calling and if they refuse to do so, they must be vilified and punished. This is what misogyny is — the moral objection to women selfishly shirking their god-given role! Its alive and well in this country, not only in places like Alabama and Arkansas, and the sentiment seems to be rising, steamrolling on its own sense of holy crusade.

If you thought we had a culture war before, we sure as hell are in for one now. The first time that a woman gets charged with murder for having a miscarriage, the first time a young girl whose been raped gets sentenced to 99 years in prison for not wanting to bear that child, all hell is going to break loose. In the meantime, a lot of women are going to needlessly die. I don’t own a kitana — yet, but I’ve got a keyboard and a voice, and as horrified as I am, I will not let that fact stop me or silence me. We are not going to have the fucking Handmaid’s Tale in this country!

“You wanna get nuts, let’s get nuts!”