Monday, March 12, 2007

God Is An Anti-Feminist

The fundamentalist Christianist God, anyway. And the radical Islamist God. In fact, most monotheistic religions happen to have guy gods who don't think much of women's independence. So what's a preacher or an imam to do? Can't go against God's will.

Of course, the same texts that are so carefully being nitpicked for anything, anything at all, that could be used against women's rights are also rife with statements which appear to regard slavery perfectly acceptable. But we threw those bits out. And practically nobody follows large chunks of the rules in the Old Testament, for example.

But the rules about gender relationships are still quite popular. - Imagine trying to argue with someone on women's rights issues, when that person believes that he or she is on God's side. Imagine Don Quixote and the windmills. Or imagine me banging my head against the garage door. Or carrying water with a sieve. It is pointless.

What provoked this wallowing in bitterness? A post by Ruth Rosen where she tells a tale about politics:

"Say professor," he said, "could I ask you a question?" I looked at his serious face. His eyes were deep brown, his skin even darker. His smile was warm and appealing. "Sure," I answered, knowing that I was early for a two-hour library class to teach my students how to do electronic research.

"Do you think this country is ready for a black or a woman?" He asked as if he really cared, so I took his question seriously. "I don't really know," I answered honestly, "because Americans tend to lie to pollsters in public and vote differently in private."

"Wouldn't it be wonderful if a black man could overcome all the terrible stereotypes about men in prison, violence men, and urban gangs? "

"It sure would," I said. "And I have been very impressed by Obama so far. It's remarkable to see a white woman and a black man compete—thirty or more years after we struggled for basic civic rights.

"Yea," he said. "But you know what?" I don't think a woman should ever be president." Looking down at the book he was reading, he told me how the bible insisted that a man should head his household. "So a man should rule the country."

Memories of working in the civil rights movement flooded me. "So I believe in racial equality," I said, "but you don't believe in gender equality?"

He hesitated and said, "Look I think it's okay for women to do important things but men must rule the home and the country. They each have important but different things to do in this world. That's what I learned from the bible."

Ouch. Ouch and ouch. So many ouches here. Note how the setup is to have black men against women in general? There are only so many slots for upwards mobility, after all, and if the competition could be stifled, well, that would be good. Who is the most deserving?

That was the first "ouch", because the question is quite wrong and the whole setup is quite wrong. But I suspect we are going to hear a lot more about this idea of a few slots and too many applicants. And about "women" vs. "black men", which somehow manages to redirect the attention away from the groups where the power actually resides.

The second "ouch" was with this man's solution to the problem. Just decide that men must be the rulers of the country and the home. Now that will cut back the competition by a very large number of people, and in a way which cannot really be argued, given that guy god thing. A good solution, if you are a man.

My third "ouch" came from reading the comments to Rosen's post. It seems that she punched a lot of buttons.
For a less upset discussion of some of these issues, USAToday has a story about "diversity" among the candidates, including age diversity.