Freedom Writer - May 1995
Feminazis versus machonazis
Feminism looms as a formidable threat to the power structure of our
male-dominated society. That is why loudmouths like Rush Limbaugh
employ the not-so-endearing term "feminazi" to describe the movement.
Some feminists are rankled, and for good reason. Women simply do not
have equal rights in America. Theoretically, a woman is allowed to
do just about anything allowed a man. The first exception that comes
to mind is that women are not allowed to fight on the front lines.
I don't really understand the rationale behind this. The Biblical
Deborah did all right, as did Joan of Arc.
With at least 51 percent of the population female, women certainly
are not getting a fair shake. Why is this? Perhaps there is some truth
behind the claim that America was founded on Biblical principles.
It is those very Biblical principles that kept Native Americans, African-Americans,
and women out of the democratic process for so many generations.
In 1992, the state of Iowa placed an Equal Rights Amendment on its
ballot. In an effort to pass the ERA in Iowa, I travelled across that
state holding press conferences and appearing on talk shows.
ERA supporters were unprepared for the opposition we encountered.
Women -- who should know better -- bitterly fought the Equal Rights
Amendment. Beverly LaHaye of Concerned Women for America activated
her hysterical troops to fight the feminists. Then Phyllis Schlafly,
also betraying her gender, entered the fray. Both of them proved the
theory that women are their own worst enemy.
Next Pat Robertson cranked up his printing presses, flooding Iowa
with direct mail. In one of his most amazing pronouncements in recent
memory, Robertson wrote: "The feminist agenda is not about equal rights
for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement
that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children,
practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians."
This, from a man whose wife once said of his religious fanaticism,
"I'm a nurse and recognize schizoid tendencies when I see them, and
I think you're sick." He sure straightened her out.
As a former Christian fundamentalist minister, I've observed numerous
men attracted to fundamentalism because it gave them power over women.
When you have an already violent man, this power translates into personal
injury, and even death, for women. I've seen women who were beaten,
stripped naked, and thrown out into the street by their Bible-believing
husbands because of insubordination.
Fearful of completely losing power over women, the radical Religious
Right is fighting hard to create a Bible-based society. And naturally,
this movement is led by men. The few Religious Right leaders who are
female are in total submission to their husbands.
While the Bible is indeed sexist and anti-feminist, I've often heard
fundamentalist ministers say Jesus did more to advance women's rights
than anyone in history. They say this because the man Jesus was often
surrounded by women, one of whom washed his feet and dried them with
her flowing hair. Today, these women might be called groupies.
In Genesis, women are considered a "help meet" for a man, meaning
a suitable helper. Proverbs calls a wife a "crown to her husband."
In the New Testament, Peter tells wives to be submissive to their
husbands. He tells the husband to honor the wife as "the weaker vessel."
Timothy and Titus, respectively, tell the women to stay at home and
be obedient to their husbands. Paul, in a much-debated statement,
said that women are to be silent in the churches.
With all this background, it's no wonder that the Rev. Pat Robertson
said on his "700 Club" program: "I know this is painful for the ladies
to hear, but if you get married you have accepted the headship of
a man, your husband. Christ is the head of the household and the husband's
the head of the wife and that's just the way it is. This is the way
the Bible sets it up."
Pregnancy, and the fear of pregnancy, can enslave women. Reproductive
rights liberate women because it offers them a choice. Men cannot
possibly understand the gravity of that choice. The anti-abortion
movement, naturally, is led by men -- or "macho-Nazis," as I see it.
The number of abortions could be greatly reduced if birth control
was more widely available and widely utilized. Unfortunately, the
men leading the radical Religious Right, oppose that, too. Randall
Terry, founder of Operation Rescue, glorifies women who give birth
to five, ten, or even twelve children. He warns about having sympathy
for women who have sought abortions. He orders women who have been
sterilized to seek a medical reversal.
Feminism represents freedom for women. And anyone desiring freedom
for women is a feminist. Full rights for women is one of the last
great battles in the human rights effort. We must all join in.
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Copyright 1995 IFAS
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