War On Women?
By Linda Kracht
We are all familiar enough with real war — take the Gulf War for instance. We know that war is hell for those fighting in it and for the people who witness the fighting in their own regions. We also realize that there are two sides to war. Wars start when one side provokes the other to take up arms in an attempt to defend, protect, or resist further provocations. Wars have a start and end date which are recorded along with the outcomes, number of casualties, territories gained or lost; naming of the aggressors, and other consequences.
We hear often enough that a war is being waged against women in the United States. Yet, war (the noun) is defined as the state of armed conflict between different nations or states or different groups within a nation or state. That definition makes it hard to continue arguing that a war is being waged against US women. For who is the provocateur; when did it start and why; and who have been the casualties?
Words matter. In this instance, the charges of wars being waged against women appear to be flagrantly false and misleading and largely exaggerated. But, is it?
I have been leading a discussion group using my latest book, Mothers Forever, Fathers Forever, for the Nativity of Our Lord Mom’s Club.[St. Paul, MN].Recently we discussed whether or not there is a war on women. Before opening up the discussion, I defined the war using Wikipedia’s definition:
The War on women is an expression in the US politics used to describe certain Republican Party policies and legislation as a wide scale effort to restrict women’s rights, especially reproductive rights. It is the forcing of Republican social views on women thought legislation. It is often used to describe opposition to the contraceptive mandate in Obama Care and policies to defund women’s health organizations that perform abortions. It has also been used to describe Republican policies in areas such as the prosecution of criminal violence against women, the definition of rape for the purpose of public funding of abortion and workplace discrimination against women.
As the definition was read, I heard occasional snorts of disdain especially when the blame was assigned to the Republican Party. Immediately, an attendee immediately asked for the source and then the real discussion started.
The women in the discussion group were very aware of a theoretical war on women but mostly disagreed with the premise that they were personally under attack. They agreed that all women deserve equal pay for equal work and should have equal access to higher education and employment opportunities. They felt equal to [yet different from] men in their lives. Not one felt oppressed by men with regard to sexuality and sexual reproduction. However, the most consensus came from the statement that the war is a war of words and politics and is primarily concocted by ‘liberal’ women against conservative leaning women — regardless of age.
Interestingly, these young, well-educated women (a mix of stay at home moms & part time employees and former full time moms) have been stung by judgmental words from women making different choices than themselves. For instance, while weighing employment vs. staying home after pregnancy, one woman was told by a female co-worker this: You can’t quit after your baby is born because I [the older co-worker] have worked too long and too hard for your right to work! Other negative experiences were also shared. So, while male domination continues to be the complaint of feminists, these women do not have this same concern. They agreed that all too often, others link personal worth to one’s position in a company and paid employment. Americans tend to believe that doing is superior to being [a mother who stays home, for example]. They noted that feminists definitely try to drive home the adage that women can do it all and can have it all because of that work ethic. The women didn’t seem to believe that this adage is realistic or possible given their own personal situations and experiences. They believe that Motherhood is too demanding to have enough left over after giving it all to one’s employer; it is also too rewarding to want to give it all to an employer regardless of financial rewards. These young mothers know that they just couldn’t have it both ways — satisfying both family and employer equally. The mothers mostly thought that their children understand the difference between having to work and wanting to work with the last being the least altruistic. [That is the subject of another discussion.] They also agreed with [Sue Ellen Browder, award-winning journalist and author and former writer for Cosmopolitan magazine] statement that the “women’s movement and the sexual revolution were falsely joined together even though they were radically different movements.”
So who are winners and losers of these false narratives? My group unanimously stated: Men! They say this because they see widespread, tacit approval given to men to have/desire unrestricted sexual lifestyles while also encouraging women to behave like men. Yet, they agree, most women do not want things to be like this. Even Michael Kimmel, author of the Gender of Desire seems to agree with my group of mothers as he writes:“Women’s increase in sexual agency, revolutionary as it has been, has not been accompanied by a decrease in male sexual entitlement nor by a sharp increase in men’s capacity for intimacy and emotional connectedness.”
What do women really want? If you listen to the feminists it’s access to abortion and contraception and sexual agency. Yet, in reality what women yearn for is old-fashioned intimacy and emotional connectedness with their sexual lovers, permanently. Young women may be going along to get along but not getting what they want in the long run. They want love, they want marriage, they want babies. The go along to get along approach isn’t working out very well for women who are wounded by the rapid advancement of male entitlement to sex. Unfortunately, too many women realize the problem far too late in the game.
What are the consequences of flirting with falsehoods? Consider the explosive growth of the pornography, birth control, sex trafficking and abortion industries. It’s true, men are the most advantaged by the arguments that women need to behave like men in areas of sexuality. Consider how men [and woman] are able to troll for sexual partners without limit or responsibility. Charlie Sheen is their poster boy. Yet, who stands to lose the most from this trolling? Certainly not men! Consider how Sheen could have been spared the HIV disease had his ‘reputation’ preceded him with women who knew what they really wanted and needed.
Consider the problem of sex trafficking and sexual enslavement. Why isn’t this problem front and center of every feminists’ radar? Why are they not speaking out with one voice against any and all forms of sexual enslavement? Why are they not demanding good legislation and policy making? Why are women not solidly speaking out against pornography when we know that the majority of all of today’s divorces (56%) today involves at least one of the parties having an obsessive interest in pornographic websites? [American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers] Saint Pope John Paul ll said it best: “The problem with pornography is that it fails to reveal enough of the whole person” And yet, feminists don’t seem to care. Mark Kastelmann, author of The Drug of the New Millennium, raises some red flags appropriately. He states: “internet pornography is at a level none of us have ever encountered or even imagined. It will create an epidemic of obsession, compulsion and addiction that will sweep across America like a tidal wave, destroying marriages, families and individual lives with a devastation never before witnessed…”
This group of young mothers seem to recognize the core issues; that’s what really at stake for all of us but especially them as they look to the future for the sake of their young sons and daughters. they seem to get it that the real war is one that is being waged between two principalities: good vs. evil. The bad side is fighting both men and women while pretending to fight only one: Women. It divides and separates love from life. It disaffects the spiritual, psychological, social and physical wellness of men and women. It is a war that is worth waging against — justly and righteously.