Some Friendly Advice for the Human Species…

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The War on Women… The Movement to To Deny Women of Their Reproductive Rights

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Alright, if you’ve been watching the news at all, you know about the recent attacks from the conservative right against women. These range from the Catholic Church’s refusal to have women’s controseptives paid for by insurance they provide, to the scare tactic of forcing women to get transvaginal untrasounds before getting an abortion, and a paticulary nasty piece of legislation that proposed to make it illegal to remove a dead fetus from a woman’s womb regardless of the cause of death for the fetus.

In my personal opinion, this current wave of misogyny from the right wing makes me embarrassed to be both an american and a human to a lesser extent. Now despite the fact that these proposed laws would have a religious base to them, which violates the constitution, the GOP is rallying around this cause to deny women their reproductive rights. What I want to explore in this article is the possible reasoning behind these attacks and the possible ways that this problem can be dealt with.

I’d like to start by putting together a general idea of what the far right is trying to do.  I will also expand upon the conclusions that I come to in order to get a hypothetical “big picture” of this trend.

All right, let’s start with the basics.  The GOP has two clear objectives in their recent campaign involving reproduction.  The first is to make abortion illegal.  The other objective is to limit the sale of birth control by preventing government health care from covering it.  Now why are these two things so important to the GOP?  Well, in my opinion, these objectives lead to the ultimate goal of controlling the reproductive rights of women in the United States.  I base this opinion on the fact that men’s reproductive healthcare is defended by these people when it is brought up in the debates.  Members of the GOP say that the use of drugs like Viagra and Cialis serve greater purposes than erectile dysfunction, while birth control pills for women only serve to prevent pregnancy.

As a little aside, I would like to say that the statement about the lack of benefits from the use of women’s birth control is completely false.  It has been proven time and time again that the use of hormonal birth control helps regulate hormone levels, prevents cervical cancer, and regulates the menstrual cycle among many other things.

This is the great evil that will bring down our society?

So, back to my original point.  It seems pretty obvious that the GOP is trying to deny women their reproductive rights while supporting the reproductive rights of men.  This is extremely sexist, attempting to take away rights that women have fought so hard to earn.  But, what is driving them to do this?

In this study, scientists have found that our closest genetic relatives, chimps and bonobos, share social behaviors of humans.  The article says that chimps are hardwired to settle disputes and disagreements with acts of aggression.  Bonobos on the other hand settle these disputes with play or sex.  What’s interesting about this discovery is that we humans show both of these behavior traits.  The common theory is that humans, chimps, and bonobos have taken the social traits of our common ancestor.  Chimps and bonobos went to the extremes of the social traits while we humans kept the mix of the two.  This is being used as an explanation for conservative and liberal values.

But how does this explain the recent behavior of the GOP?  Well to explain this, we should look at a paper published by Craig Stanford.  This paper talks about the differences in the social behavior of chimps and bonobos.  What I’m interested in is a paticular passage about the role of females in chimp societies.  The paper states that both of these definitions of chimp society are correct,

“A. Chimpanzee society is characterized by male control and dominance over females and by male aggression and sexual coercion directed at females. Male territoriality and patrolling exclude extracommunity males and acquire new females for male reproductive benefits.  Females are essentially reproductive commodities over which males compete. 

B. Chimpanzee society is characterized by actively mate-soliciting females that incite male competition during their periovulatory period and that with their infants form the nuclear units of the social system.  Females forage solitarily to optimize food intake in fruit patches and become more social when it suits their reproductive tactics. Males may appear to dictate mating efforts, but the promiscuous, mate-soliciting female is the driving force in the mating system of the species.”

When I read this, the first thing that came to mind were “the good old days.”  What I mean by that is the times just before the women’s rights movement.  In those days there was an interesting trend when it came to the rights of women.  In those days, men controlled the lives of women with one loophole.  Men could not marry women or have sex with them unless they “courted” women to “win their favor.”  This seems to match the passage I quoted, men controlled the reproductive rights of women, but women chose their mates. This seems to be the world that the GOP want to restore.  They seem to want a world where men are in control of the reproductive rights of women.

So we’ve determined that the far-right of the U.S. seems to be showing their connection to chimps by trying to control the reproductive rights of women in this country.  This is known as the Authoritarian personality.  So the question remains, how can this attack be stopped?

Well, the problem is that these tendencies are usually hardwired to some extent.  It doesn’t help that modern religions tent to reinforce the authoritarian  mindset.  But there is still some hope.  Authoritarian personality has been shown to diminish in the population during times of economic stability.  This shows us that the mindset that focuses on out-group discrimination and sexism is lessened when the environment is stable.  So it isn’t that much of a stretch to say that the recent attack on women is, in part, due to the current instability of the country’s economy.  It should also be noted that all people have authoritarian tendencies, no one can say that they never had a raciest or sexist though at some point in their lives.  What we need to do is oppose these attempts at the re-subjugation of women, and educate the public in regards to the authoritarian personality.

When the economy stabilizes, the far-right will hopefully mellow out.  At this point, the general population needs to learn about the authoritarian personality.  If the damage that these ideas can cause is shown to the next generation, then hopefully more people will learn to recognize these tendencies within themselves and be able to know what they are so they can not act on them.  But I want to know what you think.  Have I over simplified this issue, or am I reading too much into it?  Did I leave something important out?  Do you have any other ideas that could help reduce sexism in our culture?  And if you are not American, then do you have a perspective as an outsider to this particular issue?  Let me know what you think.

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