Saturday, September 01, 2012

Things To Read

Shulamith Firestone has died.  You can read the first chapter of The Dialectic of Sex here.

This essay on children of rape (CONTENT WARNING FOR RAPE) sets Akin's stupid statement about the impossibility of conceiving from rape into its proper (and painful) perspective.  Despite its title, the essay is mostly not about the children  but about women who gave birth after rape.

This BBC piece about women accused of witchcraft in Ghana reminded me of a book I read about the likely characteristics of women who were caught in the European and late American witch hunts.  They tended to be elderly or without husbands, and in many cases they owned land someone else desired or had an argument with someone in the village:

"The camps are a dramatic manifestation of the status of women in Ghana," says Professor Dzodzi Tsikata of the University of Ghana. "Older women become a target because they are no longer useful to society."
Women who do not conform to society's expectations also fall victim to the accusations of witchcraft, according to Lamnatu Adam of the women's rights group Songtaba.

"Women are expected to be submissive so once you start to be outspoken in your views or even successful in your trade, people assume you must be possessed."

Note that these witch searches have the secondary outcome of controlling women, especially at an age when they might not otherwise be so easy to control.

Finally, Matthew Yglesias has written a piece on the  question: If Ann Romney's work at home is harder and more important (as Mitt has argued), why isn't it Ann who is running for president?

The answer is obvious, of course.  But a more interesting question would have been:  If Ann Romney's work at home is harder and more important (as Mitt has argued), why didn't he want to do it?

Duh.  The Anglo-Saxon cult of motherhood is rife with empty praise for those who parent but very few material rewards, barring a wealthy husband.  And the answer to both those questions can be found in the belief that gender roles are innate and god-given.