Toadying to Feminists – The Schlafly Scream
By Nicole Nichols
“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” (Shakespeare)
Well, they’re all doing it, and it was just a matter of time before the Queen of Conservative Hypocrisy entered stage right with her monologue on the perils of women in combat and those wanton feminists. According to Phyllis Schalfly when the sexual attacks in the military occur, “Only men will be deemed at fault because it is feminist ideology that men are innately batterers and women are victims.” That’s right, Phyllis – these women are just “asking for it.”
In a diatribe posted yesterday, the soon to be ninety-year-old self-appointed guardian of morality penned a column on her Eagle Forum website blasting Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta for his decision allowing women into front line combat.
Like so many of the other self-aggrandized right-wing “experts,” her main thrust was that it would increase the number of sexual assaults and compromise the safety of our troops. Most of the arguments which have been proffered by the right are the same, lame, hackneyed claims that they used to dissuade the inclusion of gays in the military. However, Schalfly waded into a much deeper cesspool than most.
She accused Panetta, who is leaving the office, of “…toadying to the feminist officers who yearn to be 3- and 4-star generals based on the feminist dogma of gender interchangeability and on their desire to force men into situations to be commanded by feminists.”
Oh…those ungrateful feminists! Don’t you know that this is all part of a huge feminist agenda being shoved down the throats of those poor oppressed men? Now men might actually find themselves in positions of subservience to (gasp) a woman in comfortable shoes!
Schalfly goes on to raise a series of questions for Panetta about the implementation of his ruling – questions that I am certain Panetta would answer if he ever read the Eagle Forum.
In an effort to persuade the reader that this ruling is detrimental to our forces, Schalfly makes the following statement:
“Retired Army Major General Robert H. Scales explained in the Washington Post that we know from experience with war that the intimate, deliberate, brutal killing of our country’s enemies is best done by small units or teams of men. Four solid buddy pairings of men led by a sergeant compose a nine-man battle-ready combat squad.
“These squads are bound together by the “band of brothers” effect. It is a phrase borrowed from Shakespeare’s Henry V. Centuries of battlefield experience that have taught us that this brotherhood is what causes a young man to risk and even sacrifice his life willingly so his buddies can survive, and that cohesion is a male-only relationship that would be irreparably compromised by including women in the squad.”
Gee, I hate to burst the Schalfly bubble, but I wouldn’t sell our soldiers short. I, for one, believe that the same “bond” of which she speaks can be formed regardless of gender. When faced with a combat situation where the dangers are imminent, I don’t much think that any soldier cares about skin color, sexual orientation, or gender as long as they can trust their fellow soldier to have their backs. Obviously, Phyllis has been deprived of that kind of “bonding” herself – but then, she’s the “expert” – right?
After reading page after page of right-wing hysteria over Panetta’s ruling, a couple of themes stand out the most.
1) The fear of anything different sends right-wing conservatives into fits of outrageous proportions. This is nothing less than a throwback to the old White Citizens Council and the days of segregation when the scapegoat was African-Americans. Today, the target is women and gays.
2) For people like Schalfly, their disdain for women is palpable. Bryan Fischer recently wrote an article in which he warned of “predatory women” in the military. Schalfly insinuates that women in the military are asking to be sexually assaulted. Of course, when your brain has been eroded by continuous theological assault, your ability to process reality is bound to be distorted.
3) The outrage being expressed is not really about women in combat – it’s about women in the military and any other outfit that people of this mindset deem fit for men only. It’s about their biblical belief that women are the keepers of the home and the bearers of future generations. It’s about male superiority.
Schalfly takes it one step further. Perhaps without realizing it, she also demeans the male gender. According to her statements and claims, men lack self-control when it comes to women. By her evaluation, they cannot help themselves or fight their sexual desires. In the same vein, she belittles them and makes them appear shallow and superficial – unable to form bonds with females that are lasting, platonic in nature, and based upon mutual respect.
Phyllis Schalfly has long been a proponent of all things that represent the extreme religious right. Her stance on homeschooling and stay-at-home mothers, however, applies only to others as she has been anything but. Her views on same-sex-marriage and gay rights apply only to others as she has a son who is gay. And, her views on men and women absolutely suggest that she lacks the real-life experiences of lasting friendships with the opposite sex and the ability to recognize the realities of 21st Century life.
Fearing a loss of power, male domination, and superiority has always been an issue for the extreme right. However, given the fact that the world is changing rapidly combined with an African-American running this country, and an increasing push-back from secular America, the religious right is currently living out a nightmare. They are flailing around and trying desperately to wake up, but until they do, we can expect more of their screams of outrage as each day passes and take their onslaught for what it truly is – sheer desperation.