Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Who Threatens The Family?

I couldn't fall asleep right away last night and started thinking about the peripheral things that lurk in my snakebrain, one being the repeated echo of the term "patriarchal family" and the dangers it finds itself in. In the wingnut world the dangers the patriarchal family faces are much more serious than global warming, even more serious than the Islamofascistterrorists, because as Dinesh D'Sousa told us, if only we kept the patriarchal family safe we wouldn't get attacked. Get thee into your burqa, woman!

So. As I began to say, I did a squirrel wheel thought exercise with the dangers that supposedly threaten the patriarchal family: abortion, homosexuals wanting to get married, single mothers having children, lesbians having children without a father, mothers having jobs. Notice something very interesting? Nothing a heterosexual man might do is construed as a threat to the patriarchal family. Even extramarital sex and such is just fun and games for the men, but a real problem when women join in without the proper feelings of guilt and the needed societal shaming.

It's only the women and the gays and the lesbians which threaten the family. Taken at face value, the wingnuts are perfectly fine with divorced men not paying child maintenance or not seeing their children ever again. They are also perfectly fine with heads of patriarchal households who abuse or beat their spouses or children. I am not saying that this would be what heterosexual men do as a rule or even very often. But these things do happen, especially in a patriarchal family, and the religious and conservative right seldom gets its panties into a wad about them.

It is not really a defense of the family or the marriage these people are interested in, because if they truly were we would see much more writing about the nasty underbelly of the patriarchal family and its bad effects on the children, say. It is purely a defense of patriarchy, the costs be damned, and the attack is framed as one against "the family" because most everybody likes the idea of protecting something they think of as the family.