Conservatives, women and the ideological division of respect

The conservative dichotomy on women: Sarah Palin (left); Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley (right)

Conservatives have an … interesting relationship with women, which depends entirely on the ideology of the woman in question.

If a woman is conservative, she is essentially placed on a pedestal. Near-adoration by the right is reward for her upholding conservative values like deferring to her “first dude” even if she is the governor of a state and the family’s breadwinner, bearing many children (or adopting lots of them); holding strict anti-abortion views, or even preaching abstinence, even if she hasn’t personally practiced it. They should be rewarded for prioritizing their appearance at every age, and aren’t subject to the mockery reserved for “less attractive” liberal women, while having a strong intellect is not a priority. Anyway, they will be deemed “intelligent” and even “brilliant” by their conservative brethren, whether they show their candle wattage or not, with any difficulties in articulation brushed off as “plain spokenness” that’s refreshing to “real Americans.” Such a woman must not be disrespected by the “left.” Far from it: these women are often coddled. If they make factual mistakes – even lots of them – they get a pass, even if it means bending history to fit their “facts.” If they come across as extreme, no member of the media, even one of their own, is allowed to point it out. If they do, they’d better hurry up and apologize.

Non-conservative women, on the other hand, merit no such rewards. For their failure to accept the notion of men holding mystical power over them and an elevated place in society, they are subject to endless scorn. They are harpys, and “unshaven beasts” and man-hating lesbians who are determined to destroy the traditional family (and “real women’s” happiness along with it.) In a truly just society, the conservative meme goes, women should not be allowed to control their reproduction, and must be “protected” from abortion, even if they are raped (assuming they can prove it was “forcible”) or victimized by incest (in which case they should see the pregnancy as God’s divine plan for their lives.) They should be forced, by law, to conform to the reproductive control that superior, conservative women have already ceded to the state. And organizations like Planned Parenthood, which dole out “potential-human” stopping birth control pills, should be gotten rid of. If they have the misfortune to be poor, they are to be punished — and their undeserved benefits (which cause minority women to “rut like rabbits“) should be taken away from them and their children. In the “best case scenario,” they will turn for charitable aid to the church, where they will receive corrective spiritual guidance along with a hot meal. They should be drug-tested, because they are assumed to be lying, drug addicted “welfare queens” who are greedily abusing the system after having driven their men away. Any assistance they receive from the government — even in their old age — represents theft via forcible charity from the productive men whom government should prefer. If they don’t know their place, they can be physically handled, even choked, and if they complain, they will be called liars who are just trying to smear innocent men for political reasons. Or they’ll be labeled the aggressor.

Of course, conservatives would say liberals unfairly characterize conservative women as bubble-headed zealots who don’t think for themselves, and who are seized with foolish religiosity and third-grade reading skills. They would say they’re sick of traditional women being disrespected by the media and the popular culture, which has sold girls sexual promiscuity, man-less careerism and material greed in the name of women’s liberation, and which disparages the homemaker and Christian wife as relics of the 1950s. They would say they are the ones who respect women, because they still believe women should be on a pedestal, rather than grinding out a career-focused life with no husband and no kids (or Big Government as substitute father) which is baseline Phyllis Schlafly. And they believe the left’s “promotion” of promiscuity is the real root cause of rape, rather than the traditional psychological view, which is that rape is about power and dominance.

It’s an argument that’s sure to continue, and represents the question of modernity versus tradition, which in my opinion, is what liberalism versus conservatism often boils down to (including the right’s constant inveighing against what they see as the left’s war on traditional America and Christianity.)

But it’s certainly a strange concept that the right has, when viewed through the lens of their reactions to situations like Wisconsin’s justice choking scandal versus how the right reacts to any story they see as disparaging Sarah Palin.

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6 Responses to Conservatives, women and the ideological division of respect

  1. Flo says:

    Right; the Palin family is a fine example of unplanned parenthood at work.

    If I love my gun and can say “dittos, Rush” I’m in the club.
    The more they push the Bible into guv’ment and schools– creationism, Adam and secondly Eve, the less lilberated the FemiNazis will be.

  2. Precious says:

    To be or not to be. That is the question. Whether it is nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of no individuation, the enmeshment of deferring to a man’s supremacy ..; or to take a stand against a sea of troubles and by opposing them be reborn into your own individuating self! O:-)

  3. Rupert says:

    Not only a fine rant, but checking some of the links reminds me that we could easily have Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell in the Senate right now, and Sarah Palin as Vice President. I need a drink!

  4. hilda banks says:

    Republican men are just like most men. They only see the physical so if a woman is attractive no matter how bubbleheaded she will be deemed “queen”. Please I hope people don’t vote disillusionment and disappointment with President Obama. Let’s make this a choice which would be a choice between heaven and hell.

  5. majii says:

    One of the most prevalent lies that many right-wingers push about liberals, especially female liberals, is that when we criticize Palin, Blackburn, Bachmann, Blackburn, and other bobble-headed conservative women, we are “jealous.” This is simply not the case. We have well-developed critical thinking skills that allow us to accurately process their comments and rightly conclude that they simply don’t make sense. I think the fundamental problem is in some conservatives tendency to place party and ideology over facts. Pointing out when a female conservative bobble-head is not telling the truth is not jealousy. It indicates a desire for facts, truth, and pragmatism. This is a post that comes at the right time, Joy. I was on Steve Benen’s blog when I came across his post on Bachmann’s interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News on Sunday. Wallace asked her whether she is a flake or not. Bachmann didn’t like THAT question and made her annoyance known. Well, evidently, conservatives didn’t like Wallace asking that very legitimate question either because he’s now saying that he “made a mistake.” It’s this kind of BS that gets on my last nerve. We women are more than qualified to stand up under heavy scrutiny and defend ourselves. If Bachmann were a serious candidate she wouldn’t be whining about such a simple question. I’ve seen your debates, so I know what I say is true, Joy. Anyone, male/female who needs an entire political party to make sure that he/she is not asked any very pertinent questions doesn’t need to hold a public office. There are some conservative females I respect, among those are Senators Snowe, Hutchison, Collins, and Murkowski. I may not agree with their positions, but at least they make sense when they speak, and they don’t appear to be attention hogs who jump in front of the first camera they see and begin talking nonsense by trying to “appear” to be smart. These women are much better educated than Bachmann and Palin. Bachmann has a law degree, but it seems to me that law school was a waste of her money.

  6. Precious says:

    My question about Bailey-Hutchinson, Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, and Lisa Murkowski is, do they stand on right or wrong moral principle or do they bend like wind sockets with the whims of their party? It doesn’t matter how educated they are if knowing right from wrong they stand with the whims of their party which most of the time is wrong!

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