Conservatives are not opposed to contraception.  They’re fine with me using contraceptives, as much as I want to.  They just don’t want to have to pay for them, either with their tax money or increased insurance premiums or whatnot.  But as long as I’m paying for them myself, it’s all good.  Or so they tell me.  Because they’re all about freedom for everybody.

So then why does every conservative rant about insurance coverage of contraception inevitably end with the suggestion that I shouldn’t be having sex?  There was Foster Friess joking that I should stick an aspirin bottle between my knees, the way the good girls used to in his day.  I’ve listened to endless talk radio hosts discussing this issue and somehow, it always comes down to “What about just being abstinent?”  Sure, I guess that’s an option–it’s not as if I need to enjoy my life.  While I’m at it, I could also spend my free time flogging myself for my many sins, but I think that custom is as passe as celibacy.  It also doesn’t help that the guys promoting virtuous behavior get caught trying to pick up men in airport bathroom stalls.

There’s an answer to all of our problems, an answer which can bridge our partisan divide, and that answer is oral sex.  Both liberals and conservatives love it.  It will not cause an abortion, it will not have to be paid by anyone else’s insurance premium, and it doesn’t give me the horrible side effects of the pill.  It can be gay or straight.  If one so wishes, it can take place within the bounds of a traditional religious marriage.  It might keep Catholic couples from trying to use that silly calendar method.  It’s an experience of pure beauty and ecstasy, and it unites all of us, no matter who we are, in that one happy moment of orgasm.

So if conservative talking heads wanted to prove to us that they are not, in fact, prudish killjoys, they would promote oral sex.  Instead of advising women “Maybe you should stop having a love life,” how about “Find a boyfriend who will give you head.”  But they will never say that, because contrary to what they claim, they are uncomfortable with women enjoying their sexuality.  Deep inside, they’re still stuck on the idea that sex for women is only okay if the goal is baby-making.

But I’m always open to the idea that I could be wrong.  It’s possible–Tea Party Patriots For Head can happen!  It could be the most powerful pro-life movement of our new century.  And it’s one Tea Party organization that I would be glad to join.

So just as I decided to be whiny about it, I’ve been given a good reminder of why I should be grateful to live in Portland.  The entire Internet has been mocking the Idaho gubernatorial debate today, with its wacky Bible-quotin’ conspiracy-theory-spoutin’ candidates.  This brings back lovely memories, as I used to live in Idaho.  Only for a short time, but still, wow.

The Idaho of today seems at least slightly less homophobic, as one of the debaters opined that gay people love each other more than he does his motorcycle.  I can still remember the guy at my Boise school who told me that if he found out a person was gay, he would have no problem whatsoever with killing them (shudder).  Then there were the male students in my college class (a college class!) responding to a female professor’s lecture by saying that yes, in fact, women should be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen.  While the boys were a bit more rude about it, the girls explained to me in a nice and polite way that they were going to submit to their husbands when they got married.  I think my jaw dropped to the ground and stayed there for the entire five years I lived in that state. 

In the end, it was too much for us.  We couldn’t handle Idaho.  Having just come from a stint in Holland and New York, the culture shock was too extreme to overcome.  We were singing on the day we packed up our U-Haul to leave.  And then it was time for our romance with Portland to begin.

I would like to add that there were a few wonderful and open-minded people I met in Idaho as well.  I feel for them–it’s not an easy life for those brave individuals.

I should give fair warning that I wrote this at the confluence of a full moon and my PMS.  But hey, if I can’t vent about this on my blog, where else, right?

This post is simply here to say that after all this time, after having been raised with feminist ideals of equality, I have learned that the people who say that men and women are different from each other are right.  I know that there is indeed a feminine part of me which is naturally wired to be gentle, nurturing and caring to others.  And I absolutely despise that part of myself.

I have spent years trying to train myself to be selfish, to pursue my own dreams and my own happiness, but the female part of me always trips me up.  This is the part of me which worries about everybody else and wants to make sure that everybody around me is happy.  The part of me which is too nice and says yes to too many things.  And when I get angry later about agreeing too much, the part which prevents me from speaking harsh words.  Because, unfortunately, I have the ability to empathize with how the other person would feel.

I was hoping that it was possible to use willpower to change myself.  To become just a little more indifferent, a little more ruthless, better at taking what I want.  But I am beginning to think that we are trapped by our biological programming, to a far greater degree than we believe we are. 

So in spite of myself, I am a woman.  I lose myself in relationships with other people until my identity blurs and I’m no longer sure of who I am.  I suppose this should be a comfort to conservatives everywhere–I have been broken down and forced to submit to the qualities of my own gender.

 

 

So something horrible has happened on Zanzibar.  Two British women have been splashed with acid in another acid attack on women in an Islamic country.  The two were volunteer teachers (proving yet again that no good deed goes unpunished) and were walking to dinner when two men on a motorcycle performed their drive-by attack.

While what has happened to the two teachers is tragic, this statement from Zanzibar’s Minister of Tourism is hilarious, although not in a good way:

“And I beg our nationals, this is not something they should be doing. Tourism is the strongest pillar of our economy, so if we do such acts we are killing our economy, and our livelihoods in general.”

“So it is not an honourable thing to do, it’s a bad thing and it should be condemned by all citizens of Zanzibar.”

So what has happened isn’t dishonorable because it’s wrong to splash women with acid, it’s dishonorable because it might ruin the tourism industry.  Perhaps this proves that the profit motive really is the best way to bring us all together as one.  Zanzibar, like other regions in crisis, is torn between people who want to turn it into a paradise island for tourists, and people who want to turn it into a fundamentalist religious state.  We’ll see which one wins.

Conservatives here in America and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt are two very different groups.  But there is a lesson to be learned from the revolution which happened in Egypt this week.

Mohammed Morsi’s government failed because it wasn’t inclusive enough.  When running for office, Morsi promised to include women and Christians in his administration, to be respectful of minority rights.  The Muslim Brotherhood claimed that they were realistic and did not have any delusions about being able to set up a fundamentalist religious state in Egypt.  With these promises, they convinced even some moderate Egyptians to vote for them.

Once they got into office, it was a different story, and they wasted no time trying to build a society based on sharia law.  But a new generation of Egyptians doesn’t want a traditional Islamic state forced on them, and we saw the results of that yesterday.

Republicans in this country face a similar dilemma.  They have to at least pretend to be inclusive and accepting of women, immigrants, minorities and non-Christians.  They know that if they don’t, they may never win a national election again.  But when they’re in office, they seemingly can’t help themselves.  They instantly focus on limiting women’s rights, making voting difficult for their fellow Americans–and trying to build a society based on religious law.

The new world we live in is a small and shrinking one.  We are part of a global economy and a global communication system.  We interact with people of different cultures and faiths on a regular basis.

Any political party or group which only appeals to one race, one religion, one tradition is already turning itself into a dinosaur, and if it’s not careful, it may go extinct.  Republicans–take note.

Whether the protesters in Egypt are opposing Morsi or Mubarak, whether they are marching for or against an Islamist or secular state, one constant remains–women are sexually assaulted.  This last Sunday, 46 sexual assaults were reported during a large gathering in Tahrir Square.  These assaults usually consist of a mob of men which surrounds, strips and gropes the women.

And yet another female journalist was attacked:

But–naturally–it is all the fault of the assault victims themselves:  “…some conservative religious clerics and government officials blame women, saying they invite harassment and sexual abuse by mixing with men.”

No matter what the cause, no matter what the revolution, no matter which religion is involved, we are always a convenient scapegoat and punching bag.  Though it is not the same thing, I cannot help but think of the conservatives in this country, which are rallying their base by passing as many laws which are restrictive and punitive to women as they possibly can.

In the meantime, let’s give a shout-out to the heroes in this situation, Egypt’s Operation Anti-Sexual Harassment.  These very brave people patrol the protests and try to rescue the women who are assaulted.  They also frequently have to pay out of their own pocket to have the injured women admitted to private hospitals, as the public hospitals will often not accept them (arrghh).  Yay for this courageous group, working in what must be a very dangerous setting for them.

Lou Dobbs loves good old American individualism.  He loves it so much that he recently spent time on his show singing the praises of the 3D printed gun, which can pass unnoticed through metal detectors.  What a wonderful way to stand up against those pro-gun restriction folks who want to control our lives, right?  The guy who produced the gun is a self-proclaimed anarchist, and Lou hurried to note that “In that view, which is to assert really individual freedom … it’s not entirely, well, dissident with American exaltation of self-reliance and independence.”

So, yay libertarian anarchy!  Except for that one…very *special* group of people.  You know the one I’m talking about.

Yep, now Lou Dobbs is discussing the Pew Research study which shows that the number of women in the United States who are the sole or primary breadwinner of their household is increasing, and he is singing a very different song.  After all, women’s traditional role is to stay at home and take care of the kids, so…these results are “troubling” and “concerning”.  Lou even thinks that “we’re watching society dissolve around us”.

But Lou, I thought society dissolving was kinda cool as far as you’re concerned?  Or is it only cool for the guys to exercise all that individual freedom, while women have to stay in their prescribed roles?  Wouldn’t it be exciting to see the ladies shrug off those aprons and step out of the kitchen, maybe while toting some of those 3D printed guns?  No…?  Okay, I guess the fear of teh vagina!! continues.

So, one argument I’ve been hearing a lot this week from those who oppose same sex marriage has been that traditional marriage has “worked” for thousands of years.  I have to wonder what “working” means in this case.  If by “working” we mean just “continuing the human species”, then yes, we have done that.  I suppose that continuing to exist can be a success in itself.  But has traditional marriage truly been an effective way of living life?  Women, in particular, have held a shitty and repressed role in marriage for all those glorious thousands of years.  Has traditional marriage worked for them?  Many married human beings have spent their lives being miserable and unfulfilled in those marriages.  It almost makes me wonder if gays and lesbians really want to be a part of the marriage train.

But the basic truth about marriage is that it’s an economic contract.  That is what it has been about for straight people for centuries, with romantic love only being a recent addition to the mix.  That’s why most of the arguments in favor of same sex marriage have been about money, and rightly so.  And about the simple desire of people wanting to be treated like everyone else, which is completely understandable.

I see no good reason not to expand the definition of marriage to same sex partners.  I also can’t help but question the “sacred institution” of marriage itself.  Hopefully we can continue to re-invent our institutions and traditions in ways that make our lives happier and more fulfilling.

After the Republicans got their butts kicked in the election, they were supposed to search their souls and re-examine their message, or so we were told.  After all, a lot of voters had clearly found that message unattractive.  But while the GOP leadership has made some noises about changing course, that’s not the reaction I’ve seen so far from the conservative rank and file.  Rather than ask “Why don’t the voters like us?” they’ve been busy discussing the many reasons why they don’t like the voters.  Or voting, for that matter–at least, not too much of it.

Women were understandably repulsed by the bizarro Republican stances on issues like rape and contraceptives.  So now I’m hearing the familiar chorus of voices suggesting that perhaps, just perhaps, it had been better if we had never given women the right to vote.  And this chorus includes some Tea Party women, who think their fellow females are simply not smart enough to vote correctly.  As far as I know, nobody’s been so dumb as to make the same type of comment about African-Americans and their voting rights, but Paul Ryan did mention those pesky “urban districts” and their high turnout this year.  You can bet that there are Republicans in local governments right now working on figuring out how to make voting even more difficult in those districts by 2016.  And speaking of urban areas, there are lawmakers in places like Ohio trying to change the way electoral votes are apportioned, so that they are divvied up one per congressional district, as opposed to winner take all for the state.  This would benefit more conservative rural areas and strip the cities of their population advantage.  As one angry Glenn Beck fan declared on The Blaze, “We gotta stop letting the blind masses in the cities control our fate!”

Well, it’s easy to see the direction this is going, and it’s not one of deep reflection.  Other lovely right-wing responses to the election results have been “Young people are too stupid to vote!  Let’s raise the voting age back to 21” and “Stop letting all the immigrants in!”  And, of course:  “They’re Takers who want gifts!”  Not a single “Hmmmm, why is it that Americans are not excited about voting for us?”  I suppose that only benefits my side, but it would be nice to have a decent opposition party–it would give me more options.  However, that kind of change would take some soul-searching.

Don’t mean to harp on this subject, but it feels like I’m having a new WTF moment every day:

 

*Republicans still divided on the Violence Against Women Act.  It looks like the re-authorization will just barely squeak by in the Senate, but with a lot of opposition from the Rs…because it’s going to extend protections to Indian tribes and same sex couples.  Really??  Mitt is now trying to send an anxious message out to his party:  “Please support this bill.  I want to have a chance in the general election…”

*Women’s wages are still about 77% of men’s wages, and this gap has not budged at all since 2001. 

*The Vatican is reprimanding American nuns for making statements which “disagree with or challenge the bishops”.  Oh noes!  The nuns in question are members of the Leadership Conference, an organization which supported the President’s health care law.  The Vatican has also criticized this group for focusing too much on poverty and economic injustice, and not enough on abortion and gay marriage. (The issues we all really care about…) 

*We now get to read lovely opinion columns like the one from SE Cupp in the New York Daily News (and she’s a Glenn Beck minion, so I should know better, but still) lecturing us about how the best choice Ann Romney ever made was marrying well.  According to SE, if we’re smart enough to find a good, rich husband, we’ll be able to afford health care and won’t have to go on welfare!  Now I know for sure that I’ve been teleported into the 1950’s.  (Or is it the 1850’s?)

*And to finish on a depressing note, a quote from one of the women in Colombia who allegedly had a good time with our Secret Service agents, arguing that she is an escort and not a prostitute:  “It’s the same, but it’s different…It’s like when you buy a fine rum or a BlackBerry or an iPhone.  They have a different price.”  Please, ladies, don’t think of yourselves as a phone or a bottle of alcohol.  We already get objectified.  Let’s not objectify ourselves.

But hey, I’m hallucinating this imaginary “war on women”, right?  Just another hysterical feminist.  Silver lining time:  I know there are other women out there getting as pissed off about this onslaught as I am.  Let’s see how far the misogynists can get without our votes…