Sady Doyle discusses why giving girls easy answers to the boyfriend question doesn’t work. Also, the Elena Kagan hearings begin, and what do you do when anti-feminist women start pretending they’re feminists?
Links in this episode:
On this episode of Reality Cast, I’ll be talking blogger Sady Doyle about teenage girls, the hook-up culture, and the dangers of having boyfriends like Caitlin Flanagan insists you must. Also, the Elena Kagan hearings kick off, and I grapple with the question of so-called conservative feminism.
This is only marginally relevant, but I figured it would be fun to link anyway for a little light-heartedness. NPR posted an interview with a psychologist who collects YouTube videos of marriage proposals. Here’s one that he likes a lot.
- proposal *
It’s a cool article. He observes that women, when getting proposed to, tend to cover their mouths with their hands. This is true of straight women and lesbians. But gay men getting proposed to don’t as much. There doesn’t seem to be much in the way of women proposing to men.
And now it’s finally time for the Elena Kagan confirmation dog and pony show, er, hearings. I’ve actually been surprised at how little conservatives raised a fuss about Kagan prior to the hearings. But when the name Thurgood Marshall came up every two seconds during the hearings, I realized perhaps why—now that we have a black President, they’re doubling down on the race-baiting and maybe laying off some on the gender baiting. That, and they’re trying to pretend they’re all pro-woman now, which I’ll get to in the next segment. Seriously, you would have thought that Marshall was the one being confirmed, not Kagan. She just worked for him a long time ago as a clerk. But once things got under way, the bellyaching really began. Let’s start with one of the main reasons the Supreme Court justices have become such a big, honking deal—abortion. Megyn Kelly on Fox News went into full blown lying mode.
- kagan 1*
I counted three major lies in 30 seconds, which is far from a Fox News record, but still pretty impressive. The first is that Kagan told Clinton to veto a ban on late term abortions. On the contrary, she suggested he sign one proposed by Democrats that had a way too narrow health exception, on the grounds that it would be better than the more serious one that did pass. Lie #2 is that he took her advice. He didn’t. Third is that women get 3rd trimester abortions because they suddenly decide they don’t want kids, and they exploit the health exception for this. Again, a complete lie. Even if that was legal, and it’s not, there’s no doctors who will do it. It just doesn’t happen. Bans on late term abortions are aimed strictly at forcing women with serious health situations to simply not get the care they need.
Many Republicans have either decided that a fight against Kagan isn’t worth it, or that they like her and so they want her to be confirmed. One major exception, for some reason, is Senator Jeff Sessions. His anger and hostility towards Kagan is completely over the top, and I must admit I don’t get it.
- kagan 2 *
He also refused to call her by her title, General Kagan, and insisted on calling her Dean Kagan. On that front, I think he was trying to draw attention to her history at Harvard Law. That was just plain old anti-intellectualism as a weapon, I think. Sometimes it’s hard to pin exactly what the right wing dog whistles are, but I think that’s what’s going on there.
With Supreme Court confirmation hearings, the usual strategy is for the nominees to attempt to not say as much as possible about her own views. The idea is the less you say, the less that your opposition has against you. But Dianne Feinstein did ask about the long standing precedent that says that abortion cannot be banned post-viability when a woman’s health and life are in danger, and how Carhart v. Gonzalez broke that precedent. And this is what Kagan answered:
- kagan 3 *
At first, I thought it was a little dodgy, but upon listening to it again, I get what she’s saying. She’s basically claiming that Carhart only holds for one procedure, and that the relevant precedent going forward is everything before that. Which means, in essence, that she would vote against further attempts to deprive women who need health-saving late term abortions from gaining access to those abortions.
Sometimes I think that social conservatives plan to achieve victory by injecting so many asinine ideas into the mainstream that everyone just gives up trying to think or understand anything. That’s got to be Palin’s plan with her running around claiming she’s a feminist despite actively opposing a woman’s right to have an abortion. The idea appears to be that they can kill feminism by making it such a watered-down term that it’s meaningless. It’s actually a long-standing and clever strategy of conservatives, which is why they give bills that increase pollution names involving clean air or water, or they pass bills that openly flout our nation’s founding principles and put the word “patriot” in the name. Call something what it’s not, sow confusion, and then just grab what you want while everyone is trying to figure out what’s happening.
In a sense, this is good, because conservatives used to try to kill feminism by trying to turn it into a dirty word, even going so far as to coin the term “feminazi”. Of course, it’s worth noting that the actual Nazis opposed feminism as a matter of course, and banned abortion. By trying to embrace the term, they’re basically admitting that it has validity and they intend to take that away. Luckily, Gloria Steinem has gone on the warpath against Palin’s attempts to destroy feminism by pretending to be a feminist. She went on Katie Couric’s show and explained why there’s no such thing as an anti-choice feminist.
- feminist 1 *
This gets right to the heart of it. The so-called “pro-life feminists” aren’t simply feminists who object to abortion on moral grounds. If that was so, they would be able to achieve their ends by simply not getting abortions. But every so-called “pro-life feminist” out there is basically demanding a ban on abortion, even for those of us who don’t have moral qualms about abortion. Depriving individual women of the basic religious freedom to decide for yourself how you feel about what’s basically a religious question? Setting women aside as a class that isn’t considered smart enough to make these choices for ourselves? Not feminist.
Jehmu Greene poo-poohed the idea that feminism is simply about women being chauvinists that simply support other women because they’re women.
- feminist 2 *
I think this is where a lot of conservatives get confused. They see a long history of male dominance, of men passing laws and restrictions to keep women away from holding the reins of power. So they assume feminists just want to flip the equation, and that therefore we think any woman is better than a man. In reality, it’s about equality, and what policies support female equality. And sometimes female politicians aren’t supporting policies that help achieve this goal. Or whatever Palin is. I suppose at this point she’s more an opportunist and a pundit than a politician.
Steinem went on the Colbert Report, and she and Stephen Colbert made fun of this whole misconception of feminism.
- feminist 3 *
What I really love about Colbert is that he is really in tune with these feminist issues, which is in great contrast to The Daily Show. And he’s really got this ridiculous claim that there’s such thing as a conservative feminist down cold, and really knows how to parody it.
- feminist 4 *
And they’re right, of course. Conservative women get a lot of press mostly because it’s a man bites dog story—women out there fighting against women’s rights! It’s also what a still-sexist establishment wants to hear. Contrary to the hype, Democratic women far outnumber Republican women in office, to the tune of 3 to 1. There are 13 female Democratic Senators vs. 4 Republicans, and 56 Democratic congresswomen compared to 17 Republicans. The sad thing is that women are way outnumbered by men in both parties.
Plus, some of these conservative women think that God wants you to have a rapist’s baby. Sharron Angle went straight for the god-wants-you-to-be-raped-and-pregnant thing.
- feminist 5 *
That or she’s saying that if you get pregnant from rape, God will abort for you with a miscarriage, which is a pretty cruel thing to tell a rape victim. I can’t tell, but either way, it’s not feminist.
And now for the Wisdom of Wingnuts, denying rights because of the ick factor edition. Ariel Levy interviewed Mike Huckabee about why he’s against gay rights, and swear to god, this is what he said.
- huckabee *
His defense of these statements is nonsensical, though you can click the link and listen to it yourself. Personally, I couldn’t take his condescending chuckling one second longer, so I’m not going to subject you to it against your will. All I’m saying is this: Nothing makes me want to puke on my shoes more than thinking of Mike Huckabee getting it on, so I suppose by his own standards that he shouldn’t be allowed to be married.