Tag Archives: Ross Douthat

The NYT adds another misogynist pundit

So the New York Times has announced anti-Trump right-winger David French will become a new columnist this year because of his “factual and intellectual clarity, moral seriousness, and a spirit of generosity toward others and humility toward oneself.” While French has been consistently anti-Trump, Roy Edroso points out that he also equates Trump to Clinton (both equally scandalous! Both equally impeached!) because French wouldn’t want to suggest Republicans are worse than Democrats).

I’ve never been a fan of the “intellectual diversity” argument for hiring right-wingers but French is also a thoroughgoing misogynist/gender essentialist. According to French, “Today’s young males don’t have common touchstones for what it’s like to grow up to be a man” because they can’t rough-house in schools any more, they don’t work tough, manual labor jobs and they play video games (as lazy a target for lazy pundits as excess TV watching was when I was young) — my god, grip-strength in men is declining! He’s strongly forced-birth, equating the pro-choice movement to Satanism, and supporting various religious organizations that complained if they refused in writing to cover birth control for employees, ACA regulations would provide employees with coverage anyway so that was just like the organization was doing it directly!

He’s also up for playing the Conservatives Are Being Thought Policed card by declaring “even expressing the idea that marriage is properly defined as the union of a man and woman was seen as too outrageous to utter.” And yet, somehow, conservatives haven’t stopped uttering it, not for one second. Saying the anti-gay minority’s view of same-sex marriage is outrageous or bigoted or whatever is a perfectly reasonable stance, certainly as reasonable as the view that gay marriage isn’t real marriage.

And then there’s consent. French is one of the many right-wingers who assume if consent matters, there are no other sexual standards: why not just ask a woman for a blow-job in the middle of a business meeting? If she consents, no problem, right? Samantha Field says this is typical purity-culture thinking: we’re all insatiably decadent, fallen sluts so if we don’t set absolute standards — no sex until marriage, say — we’ll be consenting to orgies at the drop of a hat.

Of course saving sex for marriage didn’t stop rape, harassment, or assault. If anything, “did they consent?” is a stronger, clearer standard than “did she resist hard enough?” which is monstrously subjective. The Southern Baptist Church is adamant about saving sex for marriage but it didn’t save women churchgoers from assault and harassment by members of the hierarchy.

As for French’s argument that consent makes it okay to hit on a woman anywhere, any time, no it does not (nor a woman on a man, nor man on man, etc.). Women are not means to an end, they are ends (nobody of any gender is just a means to an end). Treating a coworker or someone you meet at a business conference as if they’re only there as a potential means to an orgasm is not acceptable.

It’s not like the NYT doesn’t already have a conservative religious misogynist in Ross Douthat, who like French explains sexual predators such as Harvey Weinstein result from the sexual revolution. Because rape and the Hollywood casting couch were never a thing before the 1960s (yes, they were). And Douthat cheerfully lies about how the Dobbs victory will usher in a brave new world of more generous welfare for expectant mothers. Douthat also thinks shotgun marriages were better for women than legal abortion.

Then there’s Brett “bedbug” Stephens, who claimed in 2018 “falsely accusing a person of sexual assault is nearly as despicable as sexual assault itself” (no I’m not linking to his rape apologist op-ed)so it’s good that Trump backed Brett Kavanaugh despite Christine Blasey Ford reporting his attempted assault. If you’re accused of murder people may find reasons you’re not a bad person; there are no excuses that can save your reputation or your career if you’re accused of rape. Unless of course, you claim she was dressed too sexy. She was drunk. She’s a slut. Consent is irrelevant. Rape’s just natural. Boys will be boys. He only raped one woman. A whole bunch more that I cover in Undead Sexist Cliches (available as a Amazon paperback, an ebook and from several other retailers.)

From my perspective, it’s hard to see what French can do for misogyny or religion that these guys can’t.

Cover by Kemp Ward, all rights remain with current holder.

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“You can imagine a future in which anti-abortion laws are permanently linked to a punitive and stingy politics.”

That’s a quote from Ross Douthat’s latest column, in which he portrays the Dobbs decision killing the right to abortion as a miracle: the majority of Americans support the right of abortion, the Democrats support abortion and yet those plucky underdog forced-birthers won a victory in their crusade against the right not to be pregnant.

This is the future Republicans want (so is this) but it looks like it might hurt them at the polls. With the midterms so close, Douthat blithely assures us that “punitive and stingy politics” needn’t be the  future. He mentions anti-abortion legal scholar Erika Bachiochi who argues abortion is really anti-woman, an excuse for corporations and governments not to support women or children. But now that red states can ban abortion, they only way they can help the poor is by actually helping them with more generous maternity welfare benefits.

Yeah, right. If they were going to do that, why aren’t they doing it already? Lots of anti-abortion red state governments have enough Republicans in office to pass bills; hell, if they proposed it most Democrats would sign on because it’s a good idea. Contrary to Bachiochi, there’s no reason to think Republicans are using abortion as an excuse not to provide welfare: they hate government benefits unless they’re going to rich people.. Easing the pressure on women who get abortions for financial reasons could cut the abortion rate and help the fetuses and babies Republicans claim to care about. Why wait? Or (as someone suggested online elsewhere) why not set up generous welfare laws that activate as soon as abortion bans become law?

Simple. They. Don’t. Want. To. They might make small, grudging concessions but nothing compared to the need. Washington could have passed some kind of family support bill under Trump but it didn’t, any more than it passed the wonderful better-than-ACA health plan they’ve always pretended they’re working on.

If you don’t like misogyny, vote Democratic on Tuesday (assuming you haven’t voted already). Not that Democrats are free of it, but they don’t embrace it as a policy plank. It’s a choice between an America slowly inching towards equal rights for women and Gilead.

As Mollie O’Reilly says, Republicans have learned they don’t have to be decent or compassionate to win elections and it might cost them votes from their own people if they were. Though some of them are backing off their absolutist right-to-life stance. Pro-lifers are insisting they don’t want to prosecute moms but they’ve been lying about that for a while (“don’t want” will never translate into “we’ll fight it”).

NC Republican congressional candidate Bo Hines has gone from No Exceptions to letting rape and incest victims get abortions if a local review panel signs off. That’s kind of brilliant — a Shirley exception pretense they’re going to be compassionate in special cases combined with an option to slut shame the women (why was she dressed like that? Was she a virgin? Sluts can’t get raped, everyone knows that!), then force them to give birth anyway. And I’ll bet money that if elected, Hines will sign off on the first absolute ban he gets a chance to vote for.

Oppose them in every way possible. Predictions of a red wave are quite possibly wrong — let’s make the red wave not happen!

In other abortion-related news:

Yet another right-winger thinks if you got pregnant after rape, it’s god’s plan. Not just no, but hell no!

“The mother was 21 weeks pregnant with identical twins, which shared one placenta. One of the twins was almost certainly going to die, which would most likely have killed the other twin without intervention.” — from an article about red-state abortion doctors who are either changing careers or relocating.

“To sue on behalf of the embryo, the would-be father, Ryan Magers, went to probate court where he asked a judge to appoint him as the personal representative of the estate.”

“Medicine can answer the question ‘When does a biological organism cease to exist?’ But they can’t answer the question ‘When does a person begin or end?’ because those are metaphysical issues.”

If you want to hide the fact of your pregnancy from apps and databases it’s not easy.

I write a lot more about right-wing anti-abortion bullshit in Undead Sexist Cliches.

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