Amanda Marcotte takes on the much-recycled nonsense about “radical feminism” – which as used by people who hate feminism means everything beyond the right to vote, and certainly any wild talk about stereotypes or the image of women in popular culture.
For anyone who wants proof that the conservative Republican tendency to accuse liberals and feminists of being “radical” or “militant” is pure projection, Wednesday’s confirmation hearings for Nina Pillard, Obama’s pick to sit on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, served nicely. Pillard is a Georgetown law professor and yes, openly feminist (though not as aggressively feminist as, say, Justice Samuel Alito is anti-feminist), which was enough to put the Republican Senators who showed up at the hearing into a full-blown paranoid lather. Sen. Ted Cruz, for instance, accused Pillard of arguing that abstinence-only programs were inherently unconstitutional.
You know what she was really arguing?
[N]ot that it’s unconstitutional to scold kids to keep it in their pants to your heart’s content, but that the specific gender roles taught in many abstinence-only courses violate the students’ right to equal protection. Her actual argument:
Double standards about sex drive and chastity in abstinence-only curricula are embedded in a larger picture of women and men playing traditional roles in the family and the public sphere. A decision to practice abstinence until marriage assumes early, heterosexual marriage and early childbearing. The expectation is not that marriage will be delayed until a person’s late twenties or early thirties so that both parents can complete higher education and establish themselves at work, but that couples will marry young and the woman will become a family caretaker, principally supported by her husband, who remains relatively free of care-giving duties to pursue his career. Women, one abstinence-only curriculum teaches, need “financial support,” whereas men need “domestic support” and “admiration. Another maintains that “[ w ]omen gauge their happiness and judge their success on their relationships. Men’s happiness and success hinge on their accomplishments. Young women, according to a leading abstinence-only curriculum, “care less about achievement and their futures” than do their male peers. These curricula suggest that there are two tracks in sex and two tracks in life, one male, and one female.
Terrifyingly radical, isn’t it.