Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Hobby Lobby Decision Points to the Importance of Women's Rights

Hockey moms love the Hobby Lobby decision!
Without question, women's rights is the central challenge of Earth in the 21st century. All of the other centuries are over. There's nothing we can do about the pain and misery that we've inflicted on women across the globe through the ages. Yes, we're marginally better in the U.S., but with the new Hobby Lobby kerfuffle, we see yet again the reactionary strains that push and pull our citizenry. We, America, aren't Nigeria, Somalia, or Iran, but we are not leading the world in women's rights. And because of the Religious Right, we are seriously backsliding.

I've joked in the past few days about hot women and sex and the Five Dicks on the Supreme Court, but I've done it with serious purpose. Conservatives, let's face it, are hellbent on maintaining women as second-class citizens. There are all kinds of irony at work here, and it's well worth a look at the absurdity on display.

A key absurdity is that the Supreme Court's conservative 5 -- as in 5-4 -- are all Catholics. These Catholics have ruled against birth control, all forms of birth control, which, under Catholic canon law, is forbidden. But what we shouldn't forget is that 98 percent of Catholic women, during their reproductive years, use birth control anyway.

So, what's the point?

The steps of the Supreme Court on the morning the Hobby Lobby decision was scheduled to be released were festooned with fresh, well-dressed, exuberant evangelical women celebrating the notion that ruling against birth control was the highest form of religious liberty. And yet the reality is that evangelical Christian women use birth control at virtually the same rate as Catholic women, 98%. All reproductive-age women use birth control at a 99% rate.

So, what's the point?

It's that what's going on with the Supremes and the religious right amounts to a reflexive spasm. Women are not supposed to be free to make sexual choices. Men want to have sex, and men don't want the women they're having sex with to have babies (unless of course they do), but what's really going on here is a hypothetical woman with a purse full of birth control having sex with whomever she wants to! Whenever she wants to! Anybody she wants to! And she's free to not have that sex with you! She's free, entirely free.

To the Religious Right, to conservatives in general, this is wildly unacceptable.

To be fair, a good number of liberals are uneasy about unbridled sex, as well. Sure, liberals are much more likely to support birth control, women's and gay rights, etc. across the board. But even among liberals, there's a longstanding heritage, firmly entrenched, that women are more responsible for the "home." Old habits die hard. After all, I'm old enough to have watched "Leave it to Beaver" and "Ozzie and Harriet." Regularly, for years!

Erick Erickson, a hard-right ideologue -- one emblematic enough to have been chosen by CNN as its resident hard-right ideologue -- let the cat out of the bag when he referred to "employer subsidized consequence free sex."

You're taking away my WHAT?
To conservatives, sex is supposed to have consequences. Why? And remember, this particular view is being expressed in light of a decision that takes government-approved, government-mandated birth control away from the smorgasbord of preventive-health services provided by the ACA. This is being taken away from women, by men.

What's the problem with consequence-free sex? The answer is simple. Women are supposed to pay a price for doing the nasty, or just don't do it at all.

It's all about maintaining the double standard. Men get to have unbridled sex. It's what we do. It's our God-given mandate: Be fruitful and multiply. Women are supposed to live by a different standard, something like have sex when the men say you can. Then, suffer consequences, bear children, run the home.

It's just so obsolete. Men, the dream is over. Maybe not today, but eventually. Let the women be equal, in all areas. Why not start with sex? Maybe they'll have some of it with us! Birth control for the win!

What we've been going through since Barack Obama has been president is one spasm after another, mostly about power, sometimes about policy, and certainly about sweeping social changes, like gay rights, voter rights, women's rights and such. The conservatives have been leading, causing, these spasms. Hobby Lobby is just another one.

Unfortunately, there are consequences that follow. It'll will be over someday, but until then it'll be a bumpy ride.

Consequence-free sex? What's that?

1 comment:

  1. Maybe this unspoken double standard is the reason why some of the obvious points are going unsaid in the debate. Mainly, that birth control also has multiple health benefits for women that are not related to preventing pregnancy, and while conservatives are crying foul that women do not have a constitutional right to birth control, somehow men have a right to pills like Viagra, which only have the one obvious purpose. The hypocrisy is astounding, but I guess it goes back to that blatant double standard - that while birth control has other uses, since it's most common use is pregnancy prevention, it's deemed too "dangerous" for women to have.