Every time you eat a Girl Scout cookie, a fetus dies. Or so Indiana lawmaker Bob Morris would like you to believe.
According to the Associated Press, Morris labeled the Girl Scouts “a radical group that promotes abortions and homosexuality” and that “people should not accept the 100-year-old scouting organization as a benevolent group.” Morris wrote a letter to House Republicans recently claiming he’d found evidence on the Internet that Girl Scouts are a “tactical arm” of Planned Parenthood.
Yes, folks, I read it on the Internet, so it must be true!
Hey, Morris, did you know there’s a cat on YouTube that plays a mean keyboard? I swear! I saw it on the Internets!
Planned Parenthood brushed Morris’ claims off as “woefully inaccurate,” and the story notes that other Indiana legislators ridiculed him. Republican Speaker Brian Bosma bought 278 cases of Girl Scout cookies and jokingly distributed them to other lawmakers. Wonder if he told the female lawmakers to set some cookies aside to put between their knees next time they’re “in the mood.”
And no, I’m not just ratcheting up my snark. I’m bouncing off remarks made by billionaire Foster Friess, who the Washington Times credits for yanking Rick Santorum’s presidential campaign from the edge of has-been oblivion by bankrolling Santorum’s Super PAC. Following his generous gift, and purchased clout, in an interview with veteran reporter Andrea Mitchell, Friess said, “Back in my days, they used Bayer aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees, and it wasn’t that costly.”
And back in your days, Mr. Friess, women were preferred barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen, spending their days slaving over your lovely dinner while you were out there in the working man’s trenches. Ah, things were so much simpler and pleasant in the “Leave It To Beaver” era.
If you were a man, that is.
It’d be tempting to brush both Morris and Friess off as misogynist buffoons, much like Pat Robertson, when he stated, “Feminism is a socialist, anti-family, political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.” This while he lobbied against the Equal Rights Amendment. (Funny side note: the Equal Rights Amendment still has not passed.) Except it’s not simply comical anymore. I’m not laughing. The collective idiocy reached a tipping point for me. It was that one last Thin Mint that did it.
Women, particularly Republican women, need to recognize the direction we’re all slowly being herded into. Or back into. Consider that Friess was not simply enjoying 15 minutes in the spotlight with Mitchell. He was representing the Santorum campaign. In response to his lunkheaded comment, Santorum held up the “gotcha politics” shield. The Times fired right back: “And you’re right, Rick. Gotcha.” The story notes, complete with video evidence, that Santorum doesn’t believe in birth control and if elected President, he’d make it a public policy issue because “I think it’s harmful to women; I think it’s harmful to society.”
My interpretation of Santorum’s (and Morris’ and Friess’ and Robertson’s) position is this: “When women are empowered with making choices about their own lives and bodies, it’s threatening to society; an empowered woman is a dangerous woman.” And that includes women of all sizes, whether a 7-year-old learning about the value of community service or a full-grown, scary adult woman who uses birth control so she can enjoy sex on the same terms that men always have.
You’re seeing misogyny in action, my friends. And it’s not a new phenomenon, even in its watered down state of an assault on Girls Scouts. If you dial the fear of empowered women back about 1,700 years, you’ll discover that once upon a time, many of our pre-Christian ancestors worshipped a Goddess, and embraced the divine feminine. In the 4th Century, the Roman Empire discovered that Christianity could be a powerful tool for domination and hijacked the blossoming new spirituality, reshaping it — honing and polishing it like a bronze sword – and wielding it to crush all pre-Christian spirituality and practices.
Temples were demolished and churches built over them, and pre-Christian holidays were squeezed into “Christian” templates. (Don’t believe me? Find a Christmas tree in the Bible. Go ahead. I’ll wait. For a really long time.) The pre-Christian, goddess worshippers were a direct threat to the Roman Empire, and therefore needed to be conquered. Centuries later, the Roman Church persecuted “witches” (read: property owners, herbalists, wise women and widows) to strip women of power and property, because these expressions of female empowerment were heresy.
Try to see the continuum; try to recognize the modern expression of an attempt to squelch feminine power; of misogyny. The real curiosity, however, is not that misogyny endures, but that in this place and time in the United States, where women (currently) have equal footing, that any self-respecting woman would participate in a crusade to erode women’s rights. I’m talking to you, Republican sisters. You were women before you were Republicans. Don’t forget that.
Consider Republican women like Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina. I may not agree with them on a wide range of topics, but there’s no denying that they’re powerful, successful women. No shrinking violets here. And we all know amazing, intelligent, strong Republican women personally. I want to see each and every one of them denounce thinly veiled attempts to shove women back in front of the stove. Tell your party that if this is the direction it’s headed, you’re out.
Republican sisters, you can vote or go to college or have equal pay for equal work or (for now) make decisions about your own body because another woman before you pushed back against patriarchy. Honor their efforts by pushing back now. Re-register as “Decline to State.” You can be a Decliner and still be as conservative as ever. But it’ll be on your own terms, and without a man’s approval. Or permission.
— Email Debra at email@example.com; read more of her work at www.wintersexpress.com, www.edebra.com and www.ipinion.com