What is Glorification Anyway? Shannon Watkins Seems Unclear on a few Concepts

Wonkette brought my attention to an essay published by the James G Martin Center for Academic Renewal. It was written by Shannon Watkins and has a whole bunch of things to say about how awful, awful, awful campus feminism is. Then it adds a few things about how hopeful it is that the situation is changing and that anti-feminist groups are on the rise. Yippee! The article itself can be found here. It is intriguingly titled “Campus Feminism: The Real War On Women.”

Stunningly, it fails to grasp the basic idea behind the labeling of “The War on Women”, which was that when certain policies are adopted – policies like instituting (or maintaining) abstinence-only sex “education” – more women die. If someone is advocating for policies that cause increased deaths (or that correlate with increased deaths and have at least a plausible mechanism for causation), labeling that advocacy part of a War on Women is metaphorical but has a reasonable underlying comparison between advocating the policy and promulgating a war: deaths result. However Watkins seems impervious to such points and presents no evidence that more women die when campus women’s and/or feminist centers are permitted to flourish or that more women die in a given jurisdiction when policies favored by those centers are enacted.

But the particular claim that caused me to want to write this is Watkins’s assertions that such centers are glorifying abortion. I’ve heard this rhetoric before, of course. It’s nothing new to Watkins. Nonetheless, it reminded me of a long exchange on Pharyngula, sparked by enlightenmentliberal, on the nature of government and the definition of violence. What reasonably accurate definition of glorification could Watkins possibly use that would make such an assertion accurate? Here is the claim in its context:

…a closer look at campus culture reveals that, in order to be considered “pro-woman,” one must accept a narrowly defined set of values—values that many women find unrelatable, if not repulsive. This includes the glorification of abortion, the rejection of masculinity, and the exaltation of sexual liberation.

So I decided to simply ask, in a comment on the JGMCFAR website, for a definition of glorification and a bit of evidence that might reasonably lead a person – at least initially – to conclude actual glorification was taking place. Here’s the comment:

Okay, I’m trying hard to be respectful of your assertions, but “glorification of abortion”?

Do you know what “glorification” means? If actual glorification were occurring, wouldn’t there be before and/or after parties for women having abortions? How many women have live streamed their abortions?

I guess my question is this: what is your actual evidence of “glorification”? Because if having an abortion doesn’t get you “glory”, then it seems as if you have chosen a word that makes your sentence, well, false.

I have other disagreements with your article, but I’m interested in seeing if you can address this one first. Is there evidence of “glory” being attached to having an abortion performed on oneself? How many feminist heroes became heroes merely through having an abortion? Who, specifically, were/are they?

Glorification is a bold claim to make, and I really think you should include some evidence if you’re going to make it.

It is at this moment in moderation, but that’s no surprise: I automatically send first time commenters to moderation on Pervert Justice, and I’m sure many, many other websites do as well. This space, I hope, will be a place where I can post any response to my question verbatim so that those interested can read the exchange without visiting JGMCFAR (if they do not desire to do so) … and also so that I can expand on my comments here if it seems useful to make a point I fear might be unwelcome over there. So watch this space for updates! I hope soon to have an answer to the longstanding question: What the hell do conservatives mean when they say abortion is being “glorified”?


  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    What is “glory”, for that matter?

    The apparent core enterprise of evangelicism apparently involves adding “glory” to The Lord (or maybe just to His Name). How one does such a thing for (or to) an omnimax deity confused me even as a small child: the closest analogy I’ve come up with involves the ants in my yard building a little arch or somesuch in my honor (ahem, in My honor).

    I used to know a guy who ran a Christian motorcycle club which liked to cruise around in groups for His Glory; the only difference with secular bikers apparently entailed making it more difficult for their wives to complain about the wasted time and money.

    Perhaps the word “glory” has no clear definition in hyperchristian circles. I surmise it functions more as a Pavlovian chime to stimulate spasms of obeisance, thereby handily distinguishing the in-group from Those People Out There.

  2. emergence says

    Also, those anti-feminist groups aren’t made up of “traditional” women who oppose feminist ideals. They’re almost entirely made up of deeply misogynist men who want to control women and constantly harrass and threaten feminists. It’s telling that Watkins is praising these groups given their tactics and the fact that barely any women support them.

  3. emergence says

    Also also, that thing about feminism promoting a “narrowly defined set of values” is pure projection on Watkins’ part. She and other women like her are content with the restrictive gender role they’ve been pigeonholed into, and they’re dead set on dragging all other women into it too. Conservative women who promote rape myths, anti-abortion rhetoric, and slut-shaming are harming other women.

  4. Raucous Indignation says

    I don’t have much to add here. I’ll check back for the response from JGMCFAR if you get one. Please keep blogging.

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