Is there a “war on women”?
Democratic Congressman Jim McDermott accuses
Republicans of waging a war on women, 8 April 2011
Hardly, if one considers that women exceed men in most if not all quality-of-life indicators — and the gap continues to widen.
Truth is Western civilization tends to indulge women rather than oppress them.
So the “war on women” might better be understood as simply a re-thinking of the indulgences.
Western culture has been unique in granting women generous amounts of deference in recognition of their relative disadvantages vis-à-vis men in matters of childbearing and rearing.
The history and logic are fairly simple. The suffering of women as women conferred moral authority upon women as a class. That moral authority made a claim on the conscience of society as a whole. That claim on the collective conscience translated into a privileged status for women heretofore unseen in human history.
But all of that is in danger of unraveling. Women are less and less perceived as willing to put up with (suffer) their gender. And with that renunciation, the moral authority of “women qua women” has eroded, their claims on the collective conscience becoming less and less plausible, and the accustomed indulgences becoming more and more unsupportable.
The perception of a “war on women” can therefore easily be understood as simply the mood of the country during a transition period in which women are accustomed to being indulged — but no longer are.
This of course is not to justify incivility toward women nor any other mistreatment. Natural affections demand respect. But natural affections cut both ways and the cultural ethos and pathos really are “at war” with “women as women” on those counts.
In the meantime, “disaffections” also exist and each of the sexes has its own burdens to bear. (Remember all the jokes about the Lorena Bobbit episode.)
But Western society has largely lifted the burden on women vis-à-vis men in the explicitly sexual arena, most notably by making contraception widely available, even for the unmarried. Next came no-fault divorce, and if “the pill” failed, abortion on demand as well, including the chilling practice of partial-birth abortion — no questions asked.
Even conservatives feel the need to couch their arguments against abortion in terms of women’s health; i.e., women should be against abortion, not because it’s wrong, but because it’s bad for them, thereby implying women as a class are somehow exempted from the self-sacrifice moral demands normally entail.
Space doesn’t permit the iteration of all the special programs, laws, regulations, and policies that have operated to make women into the “stronger sex” while making males into something like penguins in a desert.
And now, in the spring of 2012, in the context of ObamaCare, all Americans are being asked to give up First Amendment rights so a small number of women won’t be inconvenienced.
That the dubious interests of women could trump the First Amendment is an incredible development.
That it comes at a time when cultural sensibilities are still highly conditioned toward deference to women but where the underlying rationale for that deference has largely disappeared makes the outcome unpredictable.
— Bill Brewer