Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Patriarchy Strikes Back: The Trump Era

Picture from here.  The women are dressed as Margaret Atwood's handmaids, to protest the loss of women's reproductive rights.

1.  What Might Have Been.  Thomas Geoghegan's lament on the liberal Supreme Court he will never now see made my eyes misty.  It condenses all our future losses into one long jeremiad by telling us how a liberal Supreme Court would have overturned Citizens United, how money could no longer have determined who it is who will rule the politics of this country, how the death penalty might have disappeared and so on.

But Geoghegan says nothing about the future of reproductive choice.  Hmm.

2.  That may be part and parcel of this new era we live in:  Patriarchy Has Struck Back.  Jeet Heer suggests that the Trump era is the patriarchal counterrevolution:

Trump defeated the first woman who had a realistic chance of becoming the president of the United States, and he defeated her while using sexist tropes of the most obnoxious kinds. His administration has more white men in it than any administration has had since Ronald Reagan, and the four women he appointed hold lowly positions, suitable for their sex.

Heer points out that the gender imbalance in Trump's administration is the worst for thirty years.

Jill Filipovic also suggests that this is not some weird coincidence:

That’s why Mr. Trump’s infamous lewd comments about his conduct with women weren’t actually a liability. The people those comments offended weren’t going to vote for him in the first place, and the people most drawn to Mr. Trump liked him because he’s an unrepentant chauvinist, not in spite of it.
The Trump team is well aware of this dynamic, which is why it doesn’t spend much time worrying about even putting forward a facade of diversity. The great America it promised has white men at the top, and that’s the image they’re projecting, figuratively and literally. It’s not an error, it’s the game plan.
If it is a game plan, then the pair of Trump and Pence have both types of sexism covered:  Trump is the pussygrabber-in-chief while Pence tries to turn the Handmaid's Tale into reality through religious misogyny.*

But American women (and men) are not taking this lying down.  First there were the Women's Marches, three million strong.  Then:

Many women have kept up the pressure since then. The Huffington Post’s Ariel Edwards-Levy recently reported that the wave of popular opposition to Trump— as measured by citizen phone calls to their representatives, organized by activist group Daily Action—skews female. “The activists flooding congressional offices with those calls are overwhelmingly female, according to a survey conducted by Democratic pollsters Lake Research Partners and shared with HuffPost,” Edwards-Levy wrote. “Of the more than 28,000 of the group’s members who responded to a poll sent out by text message, 86 percent were women.”
3.  So did sexism and/or racism have nothing to do with the votes of those who picked the pussygrabber-in-chief to run this country?  Bernie Sanders doesn't believe so, but studies suggest that those who expressed racist or sexist views were more likely to  prefer Trump.

And then there is this odd opinion column, which seems to demand that Hillary Clinton never set foot outside her house again, lest people interpret that as the continuing reign of Clintonism.  The writer suffers from the Clinton derangement syndrome**. I cannot imagine similar stories written about male politicians, however hated they might be.

Neither am I quite sure if a male politician would get a long piece written about his bad polling numbers headlined like this:

Why Is Elizabeth Warren So Hard to Love?
That headline takes it for granted that she is not loved and only wonders about why that might be the case***.

Could this have anything to do with the dislike a sufficient number of voters feels towards ambitious and uppity and smart women?


Today's news are probably thanks to the fundamentalist Trumpians in the United States and their boy, Pence:

The Trump administration informed Congress on Monday that it had terminated United States funding for the United Nations Population Fund, the world’s leading provider of family planning services, including contraception, to women in at least 155 countries.
The United States is one of the top donor nations to the United Nations, and the denial of funding was one of President Trump’s biggest moves yet to reduce financing for family planning.
While the administration had signaled back in January that was adopting a tougher stance toward family planning services that provide abortion counseling, the move was nonetheless a stunning piece of news to advocates for women’s and children’s health, particularly in the developing world.
This is very dangerous, because unintended pregnancies make all of Africa's poverty problems worse.

**  The author, Timothy Stanley, writes

Of course, Hillary Clinton is back. I am convinced she will run for the presidency as many times as it takes to win -- even if she is still being wheeled through the streets of Iowa at 108, kept alive by robotics and a refusal to surrender.

Well, Bernie Sanders is still in politics.   Donald Trump ran for president three times.  Newt Gingrich is still mouthing on television.    And so on.  But there is something very different about presumed female ambition.   As an aside, there is no evidence at all that Hillary Clinton would consider running again.  She has simply given a few speeches, but that is too ghastly for words. 

The Clinton derangement syndrome is not a solely right-wing one, though it was initially created by the complete demonization of Hillary Clinton.  For another example, from the left, read this.

 *** Some time ago I read the opinion poll that the above article refers to.  Warren is approved by Democrats and by those who have college degrees  She is disapproved by Republicans and by those whose highest education level is high school.  Surely some of the disapproval is sexism or its rationalizations?

But Warren should attend more Patriot's games and advertise what she has achieved at home.  Smiling  more wouldn't hurt, either.  That last sentence was snark.