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Intro: "Are women suddenly running rampant in the streets by the millions, threatening society in unexpected ways? You would surely think so by looking at the pattern that is visible across the nation: state by state, a well-funded legislative war on women is being unleashed."

Portrait, author and activist Naomi Wolf, 10/19/11. (photo: Guardian UK)
Portrait, author and activist Naomi Wolf, 10/19/11. (photo: Guardian UK)



What Really Lies Behind the 'War on Women'

By Naomi Wolf, Guardian UK

25 May 12

 

re women suddenly running rampant in the streets by the millions, threatening society in unexpected ways?

You would surely think so by looking at the pattern that is visible across the nation: state by state, a well-funded legislative war on women is being unleashed. Many of these new proposed bills, or recently passed state laws, attack in novel ways women's rights to ownership of their bodies and their basic life choices, which second-wave feminists thought long won.

Planned Parenthood appears to be target No 1: Maine, Texas, Arizona, Ohio, Tennessee, Indiana, North Carolina and Kansas have all either had bills to defund Planned Parenthood successfully passed or else bills introduced to begin the process of defunding.

Target No 2 is abortion rights. Since 2011, 92 new laws against abortion took effect, in 11 states: some states, such as Tennessee, are passing creative new restrictions on abortion rights. On 12 April, Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona signed a new law banning abortions later than 18 weeks after fertilization, and imposing new regulations making abortion more difficult to obtain.

Other bills impose waiting periods for women after they have sought medical help – so that they are forced to "think it over" in a manner, and for a period, mandated by the state. A law in Utah requires women to wait 72 hours after receiving medical counselling, for instance, before having an abortion. A similar law is passed in South Dakota.

Finally, some bills – in a way that defies the US constitution – limit or criminalize certain kinds of speech to pregnant women: a law in Kansas would allow medical professionals to refuse giving abortion-seeking women information about clinics and doctors.

But women who want abortions aren't just facing a closing window of time to get the procedure done, or a mandated wait to extend an already agonizing decision period, or a longer journey to find an abortion provider. They and their medical teams are also increasingly likely to risk facing criminal charges – or even violence. A bill that was under consideration in South Dakota last year would have recast killing an abortion provider as "justifiable homicide". It was later shelved.

What is this flurry of legislation about? Is it about the sanctity of life?

I would love to believe that – and some grassroots opposition to abortion rights does, indeed, I have argued elsewhere, arise from a genuinely feminist perspective on social conditions that treat women as disposable sexual objects, and women's fertility as without value, or as an inconvenience to a consumer sexual culture; and these give desperate pregnant women no options at all except termination. Feminists for Life is an organization that I respect a great deal – though I don't agree with their policy goals – for creating a seamless pro-life feminist analysis of this kind.

But the groups and representatives that are wallpapering state legislatures with identikit legislation to penalize women's sexual and reproductive rights are the same bloc that gleefully kill food stamp programs used by the same desperate women if they choose to bear the child. This is the same constituency that happily supports sending moms of small children who are in the military into harm's way in corporate wars of choice. So what is this push deriving from?

I had an "Aha" moment recently in Oxford. I was speaking about the British Contagious Diseases Acts – legislation passed in the 1860s that caused thousands of women be arrested and locked up for up to eight months at a time for looking as if they might have had sex. A graduate student asked me, perceptively, if I had looked at this issue in relation to issues of empire at that time, and another student noted in response that imperial British forces had, at around the same time, set up a complex and expansive equivalent of "lock hospitals" to incarcerate and manage prostitutes in colonised regions.

It was a moment of realisation for me because, indeed, that is what empire does; and that is what empire is doing now: systems of control are practiced and, in a sense, perfected "elsewhere" on "the other"; and then, they are too temptingly effective to gatekeepers not to bring them home to use, at length, on their own populations.

Some have argued that this present "war on women" is a war against progressivism – or a war against feminism, in particular. I would say, looking at the big picture, that it is more serious than that – not that those options are not plenty serious enough. I would say that the call for transvaginal probes, for gagging medical providers, for sending the state to shake a finger for an extra 72 hours at a distressed woman and stand between her and the discussion she is having with her inner-most and private conscience, is all part of the larger crackdown we see on privacy, private space, freedom and personal choice.

It is on the same spectrum of control: the will to gag Bradley Manning or Julian Assange also seek to gag a medical provider in South Dakota. The same impulse to peer into personal emails and listen to private phone calls that has led the NSA to pour billions into surveillance stations in Utah, is the same impulse of panopticon state control that wants to get between the sheets of men and women in consensual sexual decision-making, and monitor or restrict their access to condoms and contraception. And it is the same Big Brother impulse for control that maintains that what a woman does with her own care-provider is a function of state management.

In other words, women have always had their sexuality managed, surveilled, and controlled by governments; this has been called "gender". I have said here before that getting granular with people's sexual privacy is one of the standard forms of traumatizing state control which closing societies reach for.

But in fact, the bigger crackdown shows us that it is merely the genderized manifestation of state control. This impulse to mediate and regulate personal choices has been inflamed, I would argue, not by women being particularly uppity – but by people being uppity. The awakening of protesting and demanding behavior of Occupy communities and of Ron Paul supporters, of the unions in Wisconsin, and the students in Montreal, and the rebellious Greeks in Athens, has made the gatekeepers seek every kind of method of control available to them.

So, identical bills have been proposed in Albany, New York to criminalize anonymous postings online – to "protect business people and government officials" from criticism. And the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act has language legalizing the directing of propaganda at United States citizens. And so on.

Dusting off the same old panoply of woman- and sex-controlling initiatives – with updated and technological twists – is simply a useful extension of the general arsenal of control whose purpose is to manage and subdue what is generally an increasingly insubordinate population. We can see this backlash through a feminist lens. But we miss an important insight if we restrict our vision to the feminist lens alone.

 

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+96 # bluepilgrim 2012-05-25 08:33
Yeah, sure -- more Big Brother despotism. Take each segment down one at a time. "First they came for..."


"to criminalize anonymous postings online "

Does that mean no more news articles citing 'anonymous government sources"?
 
 
+19 # brux 2012-05-25 21:26
We're kind of assuming there is such a thing as an anonymous online posting … I don't think there is, or at least many, and nothing with anything the leadership class cares about.

The Third Reich was as much brought about by the technological revoution of punch cards and look what it did, the tools of today's institutional political forces are maybe millions of times more powerful.
 
 
+5 # feloneouscat 2012-05-30 06:43
Quoting brux:
We're kind of assuming there is such a thing as an anonymous online posting … I don't think there is, or at least many, and nothing with any


If you are talking about the United States, you are correct.

If you are talking about other countries, you are dead wrong. The United States has some of the poorest laws regarding privacy. We like to think we are the country leading by example, but that was lost some time ago.

I was talking to a German friend and got a phone call from a solicitor. My German friend said that was illegal in Germany. I get from 1-3 calls PER DAY (we are rural and don't have caller ID).

Who benefits from lack of privacy? Corporations who make their money selling your information (whether it is correct or incorrect). 1984 has been here for a while, Orwell just got the perp wrong.

It isn't Government doing the spying.

It's corporations.
 
 
+64 # Innocent Victim 2012-05-25 08:45
The irony of the war on women, on gays, on blacks is that they induce many of us to support "the lesser of two evils", Barack Obama, for president. We are unable to put into the priority they deserve the war on war, the war on the 99%, the war on white collar criminality. Thus, we avoid voting for an independent candidate who deserves our vote - as was the case with Ralph Nader's candidacies in 2000-2008. We allow the imperialists to use the "culture"-wars against us in order to continue their aggression around the world.
 
 
+105 # tedrey 2012-05-25 08:48
Bingo. Thank you, Naomi, for another very persuasive "aha" moment.
 
 
-401 # jimattrell 2012-05-25 08:49
I'm sorry but the so called war on women is actually a war to preserve family values. That's the way I see it.
 
 
+238 # MJnevetS 2012-05-25 09:15
Quoting jimattrell:
I'm sorry but the so called war on women is actually a war to preserve family values. That's the way I see it.
Of course; forcing a woman to carry a pregnancy to term when she was a victim of incest and/or rape furthers that "family values" goal. Maybe the "Manson family values". By the way, there are no 'universal family values'. Their are individual values which one group wants to impose upon another. If you believe that a child needs to be raised in a 'christian home', why would it be wrong for me to ignore that 'family value' I don't go into your home and claim the right to force you to follow my faith (or lack there of). This is an intrusion by government into the personal lives of citizens. Sure, Republicans are the party of small government and no taxes...small government and no taxes when it comes to regulating corporations and the rich, but heaven forbid you should fall outside that demographic. Then...
 
 
+77 # Allison 2012-05-25 09:31
Bingo, MJnevetS.
 
 
+185 # Glen 2012-05-25 09:52
Oh, boy, jimattrell, you are going to receive some scathing responses, including mine, not to mention the thumbs down.

What is your motive in insisting that family values is up to women only? What about all those straying husbands, and husbands who abandon families? Why is it they may continue to obtain condoms and walk free as they always have?

Restricting the rights of women is not going to ensure family values. In fact it will go a long way to encourage women to rebel even further. Restricting health care will not ensure family values either. A strong, healthy woman makes a fine wife and mother, rather than one who is required to have baby after baby and loses extremely necessary health care.

What values are preventing the many divorces in this country? Is it only the fault of women that there are divorces?

What about you use a coat hanger to maintain an erection, rather than having drugs or surgery available. How about having prostate surgery with that same coat hanger. How about if you'd like to have a vasectomy for the many reasons men have them and the only way was to do your own cutting?

Would eliminating your rights and health care ensure family values?
 
 
+85 # bingers 2012-05-25 13:18
That's kind of funny because I had a vasectomy performed by Planned Parenthood which tried to talk me out of it because they thought I might want more kids later.

But the reason I got it was because I was deeply in love with my fiancee who had leukemia and couldn't take birth control under those circumstances and pregnancy would have killed her.

Sadly, the marriage didn't last, but 40 years later she's still alive and we're not lovers, but wn never stopped being friends. I'm happy with my choice.
 
 
+33 # Glen 2012-05-26 03:29
Most doctors and clinicians will encourage thought prior to any such procedure. Yours is the perfect example of why there must be choice and good care.

I know a woman, who, in her thirties and with two children had increasing issues with uterus and ovaries. In fact they were rather much "rotting". Everyone involved knew the hysterectomy should be performed, but there was that same cautionary statement concerning "are you sure you want to do this". That cautionary statement gives the patient a choice even when serious health issues are involved.

Glad you are still happy with the choice and have such honor.
 
 
+100 # spanky 2012-05-25 11:57
Quoting jimattrell:
I'm sorry but the so called war on women is actually a war to preserve family values. That's the way I see it.


Just what are these "family values"? That the State can rightly walk into the home and personal lives of its citizens without process, warrant or reason just to advance the agenda of some? The land of the free and home of the brave, indeed! We are approaching a dictatorship that justifies itself with cheap "morality" and plays on the naivety of otherwise good people. There were supposedly good people who supported the Nazis and thought that Jews were a danger to a "Christian" nation. Their cynical, manipulative leaders used them to promote an awful agenda.
 
 
-70 # MidwestTom 2012-05-25 12:52
You are forgetting about all of the research to create artificial sperm, women will soon be able to order the exact baby they want; thus eliminating the need for men all together. Men are fighting this, but ub another 50 years men will be eliminated.
 
 
+14 # KittatinyHawk 2012-05-25 18:00
GOP is already cloning...so do not put that on us.

I am not surprised to see your backing this person or these 'False Values' I imagine many of you as abusers.
 
 
+7 # Phlippinout 2012-05-25 20:36
And the down side is ?
 
 
+13 # Glen 2012-05-26 03:22
No, Midwest, men will not be unnecessary. Somebody has to build stuff and put out fires.
 
 
+1 # Anarchist 23 2012-06-03 16:36
Sorry to disappoint, Glen, but we have plenty of women firefighters in our Volunteer Fire Department here.
 
 
+14 # Cassandra2012 2012-05-26 10:27
Quoting MidwestTom:
You are forgetting about all of the research to create artificial sperm, women will soon be able to order the exact baby they want; thus eliminating the need for men all together. Men are fighting this, but ub another 50 years men will be eliminated.

You sound worried ...
 
 
+4 # X Dane 2012-05-28 15:21
Cassandra, HE SHOULD BE.
 
 
+8 # X Dane 2012-05-28 15:19
Well Thom you ASKED FOR IT....There sure are SOME men that are totally SUPERFlUOUS:
The MORONS THE DINOSAURS and the CHRISTIAN TALIBAN. I am afraid you are in more than one of those categories. Your comments are ALWAYS absurd, and totally outside what reasonable people think.
 
 
+10 # bingers 2012-05-25 13:13
Well then, you must be blind.
 
 
+62 # KittatinyHawk 2012-05-25 17:57
Where are the family values when we teach our sons to disrespect women? Where are our family values when we beat our wives in front of our children making them not only Victims but Abusers in the future.
Where is our family values when we expect our wives, sisters, children to carry a child that is from rape? Reminder daily of the dispiccable Act done to us? Where is the respect for your wife, mother, sister, your child who cannot carry long term, who would die...it is okay for her to die because she is replacable?
Where is the respect when we work hard and yet our employer thinks because we are females, we do not deserve the same pay or perks as male counter part or a male less qualified? How do you explain that to your mother, wife, child, sister?
Where is the respect that you would allow women to be used as a Voting Tool ?
Where is the respect to allow us to be enslaved again.
If but the shoe was on your foot, perhaps then you would look out and see a way in this world that we could all be as Creator meant Equal. As the founders of the USA meant...Equal. Open your eyes, work in Communities see for yourself how black the USA has become in their thoughts and perhaps future treatment of Women. Without a Woman you would have no Voice. I am glad I cannot see like you as I would be blind.
 
 
-12 # 2lilluc 2012-05-25 18:24
Ha ha ha ha......you are being flippant, satirical, cheeky, salty, witty, jibing, jesting, you are joking, right?
 
 
+28 # karlad 2012-05-25 20:02
As I look at the ideology behind the "War on Women," It is a complete control issue and has nothing to do with morality. However, I have also thought that some people can not fathom having less white babies born than has been in the United States in the past. I think that this control may be forcing white women to have more children whether or not they can afford them. Yes, all women in these states will have more children, but I wonder about the theories of social planning these control freaks really have. Why would "gatekeepers" promote populating the Earth more than it already is... The way we are living now is unsustainable.
 
 
+12 # brux 2012-05-25 21:29
You think that you can preserve moral values by what is a virtual war?

If you look at what has happened to the American family in the last 50 years I wonder how you can ignore the fact that stresses are so huge that marriages break down. Most families are broken and dysfunctional because people do not have the time to learn how to be people they are so busy working for lower wages to make an elite that hates them rich.

What a really astoundingly peculiar thing to say … I suppose it is reasonable that you apologize in the first part of the comment.
 
 
+8 # the warrior goddess 2012-05-28 15:11
Quoting jimattrell:
I'm sorry but the so called war on women is actually a war to preserve family values. That's the way I see it.

By whose definition? Yours? Someone else that you deem fitting? That is part of the problem in this country. If you are not a white couple with the 2.5 kids and the collie, you are not family. You don't have family values because you look different. You must not have ethics or morals. How sad is that? There are many people that are family- it is not their skin, their sexuality or their belief systems that make them so, it is their hearts..
 
 
-42 # charsjcca 2012-05-25 09:41
It is all a facade. So says Marcia Cohen in "The Sisterhood."
 
 
+117 # Peach14 2012-05-25 09:44
Family Values? What are we teaching our children? It is right and proper to take away individual rights? Women are really second class citizens? The gatekeepers (or at least the Republicans) are better able to decide what is good for people because when elected they automatically are given special powers to know what is right for the rest of us?
NOT IN MY FAMILY!! We raise our kids that when they are adults they will be able to think for themselves and make decisions which are best for them and THEIR families.
Naomi is right, as usual. The powers that be are so afraid of loosing their place at the top of the heap, they are willing to undermine and negate the very underpinnings of our democracy.
We also should remember the
"Christian" right is taught to believe that women are 2nd class citizens, so these draconian laws against women fit perfectly with their agenda.
 
 
+100 # Lisa Moskow 2012-05-25 09:46
Good article.

Oppression to one is oppression to all....
 
 
+36 # CandH 2012-05-25 10:02
"Some have argued that this present "war on women" is a war against progressivism – or a war against feminism, in particular. I would say, looking at the big picture, that it is more serious than that – not that those options are not plenty serious enough. I would say that the call for transvaginal probes, for gagging medical providers, for sending the state to shake a finger for an extra 72 hours at a distressed woman and stand between her and the discussion she is having with her inner-most and private conscience, is all part of the larger crackdown we see on privacy, private space, freedom and personal choice."

This is an interesting analysis as I was just coming to a similar conclusion recently. A male friend, 60, just got married, first time, to a 30+ female-yes, to have children. He was always progressive, but once "a child/wife" came into the picture, his viewpoints drastically changed.

My conclusion--peo ple with children (and to lesser extent w/female spouses) are FAR MORE CONTROLLABLE a population than those without.
 
 
+15 # JJS 2012-05-26 04:16
Quoting CandH:
A male friend, 60, just got married, first time, to a 30+ female-yes, to have children. He was always progressive, but once "a child/wife" came into the picture, his viewpoints drastically changed.

My conclusion--people with children (and to lesser extent w/female spouses) are FAR MORE CONTROLLABLE a population than those without.


Just because you are progressive does not mean you are against reproduction or family values (whatever that is). I can see an older man, who did not want children or a wife while younger turning to a young woman for the final leg of his life. I can also see a younger woman who wants children and a stable home life to choose an older, settled man to father and support a home life. At 60 he has maybe 20-30 years until death. The wife/mother will be 50-60 when the children are grown (and on their own if all goes well) and the husband gone. She will then be able to choose how to live out the rest of her life without the restrictions of a marriage. There are advantages to growing old together but not always.
In the end marriage, family, childbearing should be the choice of the individual or participants, not forced upon people by the gov't or community pressure.
 
 
+63 # Utopia Bold 2012-05-25 10:02
Naomi Wolf wrote, "This impulse to mediate and regulate personal choices has been inflamed, I would argue, not by women being particularly uppity – but by *people* being uppity. "

No. The oppression is strictly aimed at women and to cast it as a gender-neutral oppression blurs the issue.

Mary Daly called this "universalism" such as rape being cast as a human issue rather than a specific male hate crime against women

This is because men also rape men. However, male contempt for women is the underlying issue. The male rapist treats the raped man as a raped woman-an object of contempt.

The REAL reason for the male controlled anti abortion and anti contraception movement is that THESE MEN IDENTIFY WITH THE MALE fetus. In the movie (out in DVD) "Rain Without Thunder" a woman said that:

"MEN DREAD THIER ANNIHILATION AT THE HANDS OF WOMEN."

So, if ALL women had access to abortion and contraception, they could vastly reduce the population of men to a fraction of the current male surplus by either 1. aborting male fetuses or 2. refusing to conceive.

Men in China and India have no "pro life" concerns about mass abortion of FEMALE FETUSES in nations where sons are preferred.

Demographic have proven that whenever the number of surplus males reaches 30% of the general population, there WILL be war and social chaos.
 
 
+47 # BobboMax 2012-05-25 10:10
For a different (or complementary) take on this phenomenon, read the other Naomi, Ms. Klein, particularly "Shock Doctrine." As Ms. Wolf suggests, The Empire practices in "small" ways perfecting its techniques and these days, technology. Then as Klein suggests, when there's a shock to society- think The Great Recession or 9/11, everything is in place, just waiting for the approval of a herd of frightened sheep- think the US Congress and the American public. And consider the so-called "USA Patriot Act"- adopted on 10/24/01. To go through Congress that quickly, it must have been in at least rough draft form, if not completely written, much like many of the state laws that have been put in place by ALEC. Who wrote the USA Patriot Act and why? FWIW, my nominee would be David Addington. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Addington
 
 
+30 # fishmother 2012-05-25 10:12
I believe the phrase we chanted in an ealier attack on women's right to choose was; KEEP YOUR LAWS IFF OUR BODIES ~ what could be more appropriate today?
KEEP YOUR LAWS IFF MY BODY!
 
 
+65 # giraffee2012 2012-05-25 10:14
Empire is key. Look at Wisconsin (OH, etc) where the GOP/TP are buying the political system to make the state TOTALLY RED. Union busting = so Democrats will dry up and then the Dems have no money to compete politically for dog-catcher to governor and, of course, to Congress.

The laws against women (war against women) is another take down of Democrats because more women are more likely to register as Democrats. (And the corollary is more WHITE men are registered GOP/TP) -- so maybe we can see the money buying up our government to serve the moneyed people's interests?

Any female who thinks these laws against women's rights overshadow what their religious leaders proffer - ARE MISTAKEN. I'll bet most of those religious leaders ARE WHITE MALES (registered GOP/TP)

Look at voter suppression laws as another way for the GOP/TP to take over our government.

Education is another issue - make no mistake: Taking money out of education will make education affordable ONLY to the top % of monied people.

Don't vote against your own interests unless you belong to the population who can AFFORD to pay for your child's education.

This agenda appears to be "multi-national " - because austerity in EU is killing the middle/lower class people = unemployment 20-50% already.

VOTE DEM (better than any GOP - even if not entirely "clean")- VOTE OBAMA (same).
 
 
+8 # giraffee2012 2012-05-25 20:00
BTW -- my male / female analogy is not meant to offend the MANY MEN who are and vote Democratic.
 
 
+60 # LegendBert 2012-05-25 10:25
These legislative attacks seek to strip women of their fundamental rights and liberties. As such, they are un-American and should be found unconstitutiona l. These attacks target primarily poor women since the majority of proponents are either not directly affected (i.e. men) or can afford to evade these laws in another state or country.
 
 
+73 # Mainiac 2012-05-25 10:47
What Naomi Wolfe writes fails to correctly identify the motivation for these latest attacks on women. It is a world-wide system called patriarchy. This system seeks to disadvantage women by giving men the power to control and oppress them. It advantages men, giving preference to the male in legal codes, in social mores, in religions, and political constructs.

The conservatives want women to be married which from the earliest times was THE method for enslaving women. This is why they oppose any social programs that allow women to have some autonomy. This is why women who have been raped are often not allowed an abortion. It is why female infanticide is practiced in the Far East. And female genital mutilation in parts of Africa. It is why thousands of rape kits across this country have never had a DNA test done on their contents. ETC. ETC.
 
 
+24 # hobbesian 2012-05-25 11:01
Don't forget chastity belts.
 
 
+14 # Regina 2012-05-26 15:46
The latest gimmick is the hue and cry that allowing women basic human rights violates the religious freedom of the men who practice misogyny as a religious rite. It's now the basis of a lawsuit.
 
 
+50 # zoomfactor 2012-05-25 10:52
About protecting "business people and government officials" from online criticism: that certainly seems to be the case here in Knoxville, TN. The local paper allows vile comments about women, poor people, gays, and people of color (including the President) to pile up in the anonymous comments section of online stories, yet when a male county commissioner was arrested yesterday for indecent exposure, the comments were mysteriously disabled. Thomas Sowell is similarly "protected."
 
 
+70 # jcostello 2012-05-25 11:03
Many interesting points being made here. As a man, I believe that many men are, at some deep level, afraid of women, especially women who have power. In the final analysis, many women don't need men, but many men DO need women. A strong women is a threat to some men's masculinity at a deep level. Why do some men constantly make fun of gay men or attack them, or kill them? Because these gay men are a repudiation of those men's sense of manhood. Why are sensitive men called "sissy?' The name caller is afraid of losing his manhood, of being powerless. It is not an accident that "sissy" is a feminine epithet, expressing both a fear of the feminine in man and woman.
 
 
+10 # KittatinyHawk 2012-05-25 18:12
Sad thing is we have always had Power. We are the ones who have the ability to have and carry the Child. There is no higher Power, we are the closest thing to the Creator there is.

We never asked for the right, we were chosen to. Irony is that only two groups I have known have ever had that envy...those who were sterile and some gay men. I wished those sterile could have children but I found many to be abusive or excessive so I thought perhaps the Creator knows what they are doing. Gay Men now can have children and openly thru surrogates.

So I guess the HATRED is because the Creator chose women to carry on. An honor those who condemn us have proven they do not deserve. If they have a problem, perhaps they should take it up with the Person Above.
 
 
+46 # cordleycoit 2012-05-25 11:18
Women as chattel,that is the Republican goal. Simple ownership seems to be the latest Republican-rept ilian view of women. These are not smart men.As the Tea Party wishes to turn the clock back two hundred fifty years for taxesst of the party wants the same for women. Coming next an old deal for people of color.
 
 
+20 # bingers 2012-05-25 13:26
That's funny, because marriage was originally a chattel relationship, not a religious oe.
 
 
+64 # Vodnar 2012-05-25 11:25
Many men stand with Ms. Wolfe in resisting the patriarchal, oligarchic, fundamentalist control freaks who run government today.
 
 
+15 # Phlippinout 2012-05-25 20:38
Yes, and we love and respect them!
 
 
+20 # JetpackAngel 2012-05-25 11:37
And here I thought they were just mad because they're not allowed to kill in the name of faith supremacy anymore. Interesting insight, thank you for sharing. It does make sense. Now I feel the urge to go watch "V for Vendetta" again.
 
 
+1 # Anarchist 23 2012-06-03 16:45
Quoting JetpackAngel:
Now I feel the urge to go watch "V for Vendetta" again.

'The Handmaid's Tale' is also worth re-watching in this sorry situation! suppression of women's independence was one of the Nazi techniques for reducing German society to a totalitarian state. It is certainly being done here as well. busting unions, repressing minorities, corporation and state merged, nationalism, militarism, yep all the sings of a fully fledged Fascist state.
 
 
+34 # Lulie 2012-05-25 12:29
The biggest problem is that people aren't uppity ENOUGH!
 
 
+5 # brux 2012-05-25 21:32
that is very true … people's expectations of the world have been engineered by the media for so long we Americans live in a false world.
 
 
+19 # Susan1989 2012-05-25 13:06
Our world is out of balance, with far too much male energy. This began during the Inquistion when about five million women were burned at the stake as witches. Read "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle--as it fully explains this phenomenon. This imbalance has created a world filled with an increasing level of violence and agression. This does not mean there are too many men--but rather too much male energy which attempts to control our world and universe through domination and views every moment we live as only valuable to the extent that it is preparing to control the next moment. This has lead to the insanity that we all find ourselves in.
 
 
+21 # colvictoria 2012-05-25 13:31
I believe the real reason they want to limit women's control is so that there are more children for capitalist pigs to exploit. Think about it: more poor kids hooked on Ritalin and psychotropic meds, more kids to shoot up with vaccines, more youth ending up in the very lucrative market of private prisons, more uneducated kids available to ship out to US Empire wars, uncared for kids filling up places like Boys Town and other institutions where kids are drugged and abused sometimes sexually.
In general more kids = more consumption of goods. This is good for all companies who market to children and youth. It is also good for the churches who need more members.
This is what is so wrong with our capitalist system. Humans are just chattel to be exploited and discarded when humans become useless.
 
 
+23 # Eliza D 2012-05-25 14:25
Spot on, Ms. Wolf! By the way, new mothers, grandmas and grandpas-I hope you are not duped into buying identity kits for your children or grandkids. This provides a new way for a whole group of strangers to get their hands on private information about YOUR child or grandchild, including address and picture. Giving away information about your family is not the way to protect them.
 
 
+10 # KittatinyHawk 2012-05-25 18:14
Very good point
 
 
+33 # moby doug 2012-05-25 14:46
A narrower way to look at what is happening in these Mid-American state legislatures is that GOP legislators are appealing to a far-right, Christian Fundamentalist, patriarchal, base. These Fundamentalists are terrified by the prospect of independent, educated, women who want to control their own bodies. They're the mirror-image of Muslim Fundamentalists who need women to be docile, ignorant, burqa'd, breeders subject to the economic, social, and sexual whims of their husbands. Of course, the Big Capitalists (Koch Bros., Wall Street bankers, Karl Rove, etc) running the National GOP are trying to exploit the yokel base voters to advance an economic agenda which ends up ripping off the yokels! They've used same sleight of hand to rip off red neck Southern racists for 40 plus years.
 
 
-14 # gravytop 2012-05-25 15:34
The constituency that opposes abortion rights is "the same constituency that happily supports sending moms of small children who are in the military into harm's way"?

In all fairness--we like that, right?--I would suggest that conservatives who oppose abortion tend to oppose putting women in combat roles in the military, and that progressives are the ones who support this.

Ms. Wolf's larger point can only be damaged by including a claim like this, which is, to say the least, questionable...
 
 
+10 # Bodiotoo 2012-05-25 16:18
The war has been happening as long as I can recall. Sure in the 60's women went "Free"...the pill and all that.
The Born Again movement and 'following your husband's lead', obeying...all that...seems in tune with Middle East concepts...woma n have only voted for 100 years, male dominance...mus t be a lot of "Lack of Penis" ENVY running through the right.
"...and the women came and went, bare foot servants too..."
 
 
+11 # wilma 2012-05-25 16:42
As far back as the "Sexual Revolution" and ''Free Love" there was "The Good 'Ole Collage Try", Etc.Etc. Nauseum Infinitum" (so what my Latin has slipped). Give us a break, from what I have been able to determine, sadly at beast, is that the women have always had to be vigilent so as not to become "in a family way''. Men for the most part have not taken responsibility in sexual matters. There is a lot of statistics to prove it. Society just never seems to catch up. How can women ever hope to achieve real worth without someone spouting "family values". When abortion clinics and staff are injured or killed or destroyed or when scientists endeavor to benefit the afflicted by performing stem-cell research (great strides have been made to circumvent the use of fetal stem cells so that this research can continue). How sad. Never once have I heard of Right to Lifers lined up to adopt the poor defenceless stem-cells or embryos or final term aborted babies or for that matter older children of mixed race. How sad, indeed.
I say "accentuate (sp) the positive", go out there and save those family additions and really mean it when you say "family Values", otherwise leave the real work for the 'grownups'.

Wilma
 
 
+22 # Robyn 2012-05-25 18:01
A very good article and it made several good points. The war against women is a war against all people. It starts off slow, only targeting a certain demographic then speeds up to encompass everyone. Hitler did not start exterminating the Jews. He started off with people who were disabled, physically and mentally. Then went on to people who were mentally ill. It was called, Life Without Life. Then in spread over to those who he saw as being undesirable. Jews, homosexuals, gypsies, trade unionists etc. See how it spreads.
Today it starts with women, then more people will get swallowed up until there are no more freedoms for anyone.
Alan Moore's excellent V For Vendetta is a must read for anyone who is concerned about this.
BTW, oppression is not a family value, don't ever be tricked into believing it is.
 
 
+13 # Rick Levy 2012-05-25 18:09
"And the sad thing is that women themselves have often played a role in this backwards march...", from my blog post "Christian and Islamic Misogyny: Two Sides of the Same Coin".
http://4enlightenment.blogspot.com/
 
 
+8 # jsheats 2012-05-25 18:58
As much as I respect Naomi Wolf and her analyses, I do not believe the "War on Women" is a rational political power play at all; it is pure and simply mental pathology (in other words, sick men).
 
 
+11 # Glen 2012-05-26 03:13
But they are sick men with enough political power to pass restrictive laws. Media and legislative debates have absolutely put the issue into a political power play. There are women involved also, such as Arizona's governor.
 
 
+13 # Peace Anonymous 2012-05-25 20:09
Thank You Naomi. It is all about control. Stop and think about it. The less money spent on public initiatives and infrastructure the more money left in the pot for those who court our legislators. Divide and conquer. Curb women's rights. Invoke a racially motivated perspective. Leave the citizen's feeling more and more frustrated and we can blame women, Hispanics, Afro-Americans, Muslims, etc. for all of our problems when the truth is it is our corporately led legislators.
 
 
+13 # bluepilgrim 2012-05-26 05:39
I don't think it's either one or the other -- part of general oppression or against women as part of age-old mysogyny. Women have long been oppressed in many cultures because of deeper strange attitudes in human psychology (which is not easily understood), but because of that they are also easy targets: 'low hanging fruit' for general authoritarianis m.

Thee is something similar in the oppression of children, whose human rights are often violated because they can be more easily violated since they have so little power. Both children and women have been treated as people who are owned, and enslaved, with fewer or no rights.
 
 
+16 # tabonsell 2012-05-26 11:53
The states mentioned by Naomi also happen to be the states in which the majority of the people love our Constitution (but hate everything it says, or doesn't say).

Nowhere in the Constitution is there anything suggesting that government has oversight over matter such as love lives and marriages, family planning, pregnancy or abortions and absolutely nothing about government legislating "family values."

That absence of authority makes such matters "immunities", and the 14th Amendment says no states can make or enforce any law abridging "privileges and immunities "of United States citizens.

Of course the "privileges" reference would refer to the right to vote, but the GOP is abridging that nationwide also; another fine example of loving the Constitution but hating everything it says.
 
 
+1 # JJS 2012-05-28 07:17
[quote name="tabonsell "]...the majority of the people love our Constitution (but hate everything it says, or doesn't say).quote]

Very important point, tabonsell.
"Amendment IX (1791)
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X (1791)
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

Many of the WOW laws are introduced at the state, not the national level. It should be established that along with the 14th, the 4th amendment applies to pregnant women. A fetus should NEVER be considered an independent citizen/person by law. IMO, a fetus is a part of the woman until birth. It should be her right, responsibility and choice to bring the pregnancy to term or not.

Roe V Wade invokes viability, which technology will make an obsolete concept, eventually. Then where do women turn?
 
 
+4 # JJS 2012-05-28 07:17
continued:
"Amendment IV (1791)
The right of the people to be secure in their PERSONS, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

What? Are we going to seize the fetus? The uterus and all the woman's reproductive apparatus? Or just seize the whole woman herself?
 
 
+15 # Kathymoi 2012-05-26 16:11
A war on feminism would be sufficient cause for great alarm. Educated women and women with rights are the most significant signs of a properous (as opposed to poverty-laden) culture. But Naomi Wolf kept digging and she has found an even deeper, broader target of the war on women's rights. It is freedom itself.
 
 
+7 # bluepilgrim 2012-05-27 13:38
Interesting piece at
http://consortiumnews.com/2012/05/27/the-bibles-vile-standards-of-marriage/
The Bible’s Vile Standards of Marriage
May 27, 2012
Religious fundamentalists object to same-sex marriage as a violation of Biblical standards. But the actual Biblical marriage standards treat women as chattel and let men have multiple wives, along with concubines and sex-slaves, an inconvenient truth that Rev. Howard Bess notes.


By the Rev. Howard Bess

We all have in our mind’s eye the classic image of a preacher raising the Bible in hand and declaring that something is true because it is written in the Bible, the unchallengeable word of God. And, it is not just preachers. Lay people often spout the same attitude.

When commenting on some public issue, devout believers frequently write letters to the editor expressing their confidence in the Bible and its prescription for how that issue must be understood. If it is in the Bible, it must be true.


A sculpture of Mary Magdalene by an unknown Portuguese artists. (Photo credit: Alvesgaspar)
Yet, over the centuries, this attitude has led to advocacy of slavery, segregation of the races, subordination of women and corporal punishment for children. It was only when these Biblical teachings were set aside that justice prevailed.

[...]
 
 
+2 # ardvaark 2012-05-28 05:19
"Finally, some bills – in a way that defies the US constitution – limit or criminalize certain kinds of speech to pregnant women: a law in Kansas would allow medical professionals to refuse giving abortion-seekin g women information about clinics and doctors."
How in the world is the right to refuse giving information limiting or criminalizing speech? This is twisted logic. What happened to freedom of speech? Why do we need a law "allowing" a person to refuse to speak in the first place? That's the crazy part. That one does not have the right in any case is oppressive.
 

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