I stand with the women who march: Anatomy of a backlash

January 18, 2017

Politics would make a great spectator sport. How many years did Donald Trump question President Obama’s legitimacy, spreading the cockamamie lie that he wasn’t born in America? One soft-spoken Congress member from Georgia questions Trump’s legitimacy and Baby Hands has a full scale meltdown. It’s entertaining! But it’s not funny. It’s real. And people know this and they’re getting involved. And I don’t mean on Twitter.

womensmarch

Instead of focusing on the circus of Inauguration Day (No wonder Ringling Brothers is calling it quits. Who can compete!), my focus is on the day after and the Women’s March on Washington. Trump may have secured Pat Boone to sing at his event (Glad to know Pat’s still alive!), but the real star power will be in the streets with an estimated 200,000 marchers in DC. Julianne Moore, Jessica Chastain, and Chelsea Handler will be there and a lot of other women who Baby Hands will surely tweet about. (“She’s totally overrated. A real dog.”) And an estimated million people will join sister marches around the country, including here in Portland. You should see my wife and daughter there.

Unlike a lot of “pop culture feminism,” the march promises to be truly intersectional. I’ve written about intersectionality in this blog. Let’s just say, for now, that feminism doesn’t just belong to middle-class white females with degrees in Women’s Studies. The organizers of the march have made a point of making it open to all identities who see the new oppression of sexually harassing politicians as a growing problem and the liberationist positions of feminism as the solution. Their four-page statement says upfront, “Our liberation is bound in each other’s.” So expect to see bell hooks marching alongside Katy Perry and Malala Yousafzai next to Scarlett Johansson. Trump may have 3 Doors Down, but they’ve got Solange. You can read the full statement here:

Guiding Vision and Definition of Principles

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I wanted to locate this march historically and sociologically, because this isn’t just about a president who brags about sexually assaulting women. The election of Donald Trump represents a significant backlash against the empowerment and true equality of women and girls. Susan Faludi popularized the concept in her award-winning 1991 book, Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women. The text was a crucial theoretical component of my doctoral dissertation on the rise of racist skinheads and I just pray she is working on a 2017 edition.

So here’s the mini-version of her thesis. Faludi argues, with convincing evidence, that each time women make collective gains of empowerment there is a corresponding backlash that tries to push them back into their second class role. She lays out three historical periods in the twentieth century.

suffraget

First was the women’s suffrage movement and what has become known as first wave feminism. Among the gains made were things like access to birth control and, in 1920, the right to vote. This political empowerment was met in the 1920s with the double backlash of the flapper and the housewife. One was cute and ditzy, like cartoon Betty Boop, the other was obsessed with care for the home, the children, and a new invention, fashion magazines.  The message was clear, women don’t politically organize, they have fun or wash their hair before hubby gets home.

ww2dame

The second wave was about women’s economic empowerment during World War II. As men were off at war, many women were in factories and shipyards, building the weapons of war. Their symbol was Rosie the Riveter. The federal government funded daycare. Theaters were showing films starring Betty Davis, Lauren Bacall on other dames who didn’t take any guff from men. And women had their own money with no men telling them how to spend it. When the war ended in 1945 and the men came home, it was time for women to leave the tank factory and go back to the kitchen. Betty Davis was replaced with Marilyn Monroe and the 1950s became the glamor era when women were meant to be seen and not heard. Backlash #2.

Women's Liberation Parade

The second wave feminist movement socially empowered women in the 1960s and 1970s. Betty Friedan’s book 1963 book, The Feminine Mystique, and her National Organization of Women brought women into the streets on a range of issues, including workplace harassment, pornography, and abortion rights. “Women’s Lib” became a part of the counterculture of the baby boom generation and every aspect of culture was inspected through  feminist lens (although it was typically a white feminist lens). The great attack on patriarchy was met with the third backlash in the 1980s, Ronald Reagan and the ultimate weapon – THE SUPERMODEL. More than ever women were bombarded with the message that they were their looks and would only lose power as they aged instead of gaining it.

It has been argued that Faludi helped launch third wave feminism in the 1990s. Third wave is more intersectional and not afraid to take on micro-aggressions along with macro power structures. But Faludi’s model would predict that the turn of century wave of personal empowerment for women (including transwomen, lipstick lesbians, Muslim feminists, and a bunch of other cool categories) would be met with yet another backlash. Who would have guessed that this backlash would have come in the form of a TV gameshow host with a fake tan, fake hair, and a wall of fake news stories.

grab

The new War on Women began before the Trump candidacy. But the fact that the first female major party candidate for president was defeated by a guy who runs beauty pageants and brags about never having heard his latest wife fart was the tipping point. More disturbing than Trump’s “grab ‘em by the pussy” comments were his flock, chanting “Trump the bitch” at his rallies. It was like an army of anti-feminists had suddenly been released from the gates of hell. And now their fake “Good ol boy” (Lordy) and his porn-model wife are moving into the people’s house. Don’t expect much support for women’s issues for the next four years. They’re already going after Planned Parenthood.

My cousin, Chamisa Kellogg, is in DC for the march. She’s an incredible artist who has created the piece below to commemorate this moment in history. She just sent me this message – “The ‘Pussy Grabs Back’ drawing was based on a photo I took at a protest in Portland, Oregon two days after the 2016 Presidential Election. As the Million Women’s March 2017 draws near, I find myself reiterating my goals and beliefs in gender equality, and the importance of affordable healthcare for all, including women (who may sometimes need abortions). I’m selling high-quality archival prints of this drawing on my etsy shop, and all profits from sales will go to Planned Parenthood.”

You can purchase a print at THIS LINK.

pussy-riot

So women will be marching in 2017 just like they marched in 1917. But the beautiful thing about Faludi’s model is the backlash never pushes women all the way back to where they were. Once women have tasted political, economic, social, and personal empowerment, that genie doesn’t go back into the bottle. It may be one step backwards, but there were two steps forward first. Donald Trump may want to make America great “again,” back to a time when women were more like Melania, seen and not “being a bitch,” counting calories and not wage gap data, but he’s looking at more than one march coming his way. The future is female.

See you in the streets.

future

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7 thoughts on “I stand with the women who march: Anatomy of a backlash

  1. Yes, hmmm… how did I miss that yearning to dismantle the Iranian deal amidst all the howls of “LOCK HER UP” and “TRUMP THAT BITCH” GUILTY GUILTY GUILTY.

    Meanwhile, just last week in Connecticut a republican politician grabbed a colleague by the pussy and handwaved it away, saying it was just playful. Playful. So presumably that’s what they teach to their sons. This is not acceptable in polite society.

    And then people wonder how we end up with other notable pussy grabbers like Josh Duggar … You remember the Duggars, right? The parents who promoted their religion by hawking their daughters’ intact hymens in print and on television (until we found out that big brother got there first), remember? His family handwaved his predilections for putting his hands in his sisters’ vaginas by actually getting on national tv and gives the game away with this statement.

    “Right. I was so thankful, though, that Josh came and told us. And our girls, even though this was a very bad situation, as we’ve talked to other families who have had, you know, other things happen, a lot of their stories were even worse.”

    The other families had worse stories. You know they only talk to other people in their Christian sex and fertility cult. Before encountering Illegitimate President Elect Pussy Grabber’s apologists who don’t care that he puts his hands all over his own daughter, that the only words he seems to know is beautiful, tremendous, loser, hater, pussy and Ivanka, this is the only time I have heard anyone admit out loud that they have what is clearly a systemic problem and no one, no one even blinks. Girls are written off over and over as playthings, what happens to them is “no big deal” and somehow simultaneously it’s also all their fault. And the cop that Jim Boob reported the molestation too, plus the Duggar’s favorite religious leaders, have all been embroiled in various types of infidelities, molestation, and child porn while preaching thunderous sermons and lessons about purity. These men’s hands are all over the place.

    And soon Trump will be putting his pussy grabbing hand on the bible and raising his snatch grabbing hand when he assumes power.

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    1. Well, just wait until all the folks jump on spewing a lot of whataboutery here, screaming about Hillary Clinton and how she laughed at a 12 year old rape victim.

      Yes, that would be terrible, if that’s what happened. But, as usual, the facts don’t matter to some people Hillary was appointed by a judge to take a case she didn’t want to do because it made her uncomfortable and in a phone conversation she recounted the case and chucked slightly at how badly the evidence was handled. It wasn’t even a jovial, uproarious laugh. It was an in between sentences tiny little “can you believe that professionals do this?” laugh that has been blown way out of proportion by the right, but what else is new. She wasn’t even talking about the girl in any way.

      In this country, everyone has a right to an attorney, no matter how reprehensible they are, and the attorney is compelled to act in the best interest of their client.

      http://www.factcheck.org/2016/06/clintons-1975-rape-case/

      Gibson corroborated Clinton’s story in a 2014 interview with CNN.

      “CNN, June 25, 2014: Gibson said Clinton called him shortly after the judge assigned her to the case and said, “I don’t want to represent this guy. I just can’t stand this. I don’t want to get involved. Can you get me off?”

      “I told her, ‘Well contact the judge and see what he says about it,’ but I also said don’t jump on him and make him mad,” Gibson said. “She contacted the judge and the judge didn’t remove her and she stayed on the case.”

      In every instance the only time the right cares about rape and assaults on girls is when they can throw it in Democrats’ faces. Every other minute of every day they are doing everything they can to ensure that rapists walk, because according to them, women ask for it, they are looking for attention, and so forth. Their goalposts for what constitutes rape changes every second, it is a goalpost on wheels powered by Trump’s hot air and farts, and ensures that no woman can ever clear it.

      And yeah, they’ll bring up Bill Clinton and absolutely, what he did was awful, reprehensible and he paid for it, and so did she. But meanwhile Anthony Weiner is out, John Edwards – out. We are tossing these guys. The right is embracing them. We then twice elected a family man who has stayed lovingly faithful to his wife, and the right will never ever stop seething about that.

      And holding Hillary responsible for Bill’s actions is a Christian teaching, while they praise Trump for his multiple wives and being an (eewww) “alpha male” (eeewwww). The women are responsible for men’s behaviors and (white) men get the “oh, he’s just a boy, boys will be boys” treatment.

      That is the other side of this coin.

      Hillary stuck by Bill, stayed married to him, which Christians should have been supportive of because that is a very fundamental teaching of their religion. Instead they accused her of being a lesbian, of staying with him for political gain and every single uncharitable thing they could possibly think of. Because that’s what Christian’s do and proves they really don’t believe anything that their religion teaches.

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  2. I find it interesting because lately, I’ve felt that as a woman, my voice is being taken away from me because so many women says how I’m supposed to feel, say, who I’m supposed to be for and against, etc. I’m sorry, but I am my own voice and nobody is going to take that away from me. As a woman, I can’t help but not laugh at the women who are wanting to protest against Trump. When is America going to wake up and realize that Trump is going to be president come tomorrow? I voted against Hillary because she claimed to speak on behalf of all women. Well, she doesn’t speak for me.

    I hear so many people talking against Christians and how bad they are. People can talk bad about who I worship and who I pray to. Nothing will change. When I hear people saying how judgmental and hypocritical are, I welcome that person into my church. Not all Christians are like that. Yes, there are some who do take it to the extreme. Saying all Christians are like that is equivalent to me saying all Muslims are terrorists. Now, please understand that I’m not saying that because they aren’t. There are radicals of Islam and those are the one’s people fear. The KKK claims to be Christians, but they don’t follow the Law of God. John 13:34 says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” Matthew 5:43-48 talks about love you enemies, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” When people criticize me for being a Christian, I’ll welcome them into my home and cook them a meal.

    Women today act like Trump is the only person in America who has said wrong things against women. I’m not saying I appreciate what he said and I don’t think it’s right. Lord knows there have been so many politicians who’s said and things that were inappropriate, but why won’t anybody speak up against Hollywood? There’s been MANY men and women who’s said the exact same things. Do they have a get out of jail free card because they are in Hollywood and not a politician? The same standard feminists have against Trump needs to be the same standard across the board.

    My husband battled many years with sexual addiction. He was not only addicted to porn, but also had many affairs. It wasn’t until he hit rock bottom and realized he needed the help. As a psychologist, individual and family counselor, the more you point the finger, yell/shout, and the more you point out their flaws, the more they aren’t going to listen. You have to let the individual realize for themselves the wrong they are doing. I’m very thankful he was able to see the wrong he was doing to me, him, and us. He’s getting the help he’s needing and he’s being very successful.

    I say that last part because the more people dwell on something, the harder it’s going to be for us as a country to come together, work together, and unite together. To be honest, I wasn’t a supporter of Obama, but as a Christian, the Bible talks about submitting to authority many times. 1 Peter 2:13-14 “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.” I’ve stood by and supported Obama, not because I wanted to, but because God says I have to.

    My prayer moving forward to us as a country is this: we were once a mighty and great nation. A nation that was strong and powerful. A nation that was feared. When we were attacked on 9/11, we were a country that instantly locked arms and called each other our brother and sister. After that, we went our own way. I pray that moving forward into this presidency, we can be a country that does that again. I pray that we can be a country can learn to stop criticizing and putting down, but rather extend the olive branch to someone we normally wouldn’t pay any mind to (that goes for me as well).

    As Obama leaves the White House, I do wish him and his family the very best and pray that Trump can represent us as a just, rightful, and upright leader that he’s supposed to be. Randy, thank you for taking the time to share your heart and mind with the world.

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    1. “The same standard feminists have against Trump needs to be the same standard across the board.”

      Got it. Feminists aren’t behaving well enough for you and meeting your standards, you feel they are being hypocrites and need your correction. And then you wonder why people find you judgmental and hypocritical and basically do not hold you in the esteem you hold yourself.

      Leading the country and the free world is not entertainment, at least it wasn’t until now. Feminists don’t play that false equivalency game you seem to be retreating into while you defend the terrible choice you’ve made. If you’ve ever actually bothered to speak to a feminist instead of sneering at them, you’d find out.

      Because it sounds like what you’re saying is you’re OK with fetishizing the Office of the Presidency that you are holding sacrosanct and say you “submit” to because your deity tells you you have to, while simultaneously holding it the same low standards that you see Hollywood entertainers to be.

      Matthew 23:29-36

      ‘Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous, and you say, “If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.” Thus you testify against yourselves that you are descendants of those who murdered the prophets. “

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    2. “t. Lord knows there have been so many politicians who’s said and things that were inappropriate, but why won’t anybody speak up against Hollywood? There’s been MANY men and women who’s said the exact same things.”

      It is not that he’s “saying” these things. Please, it’s not about using proper language, and your disingenuous attempts at pretending it’s about words and tone instead of action and assault is duly noted.

      Trump assaults women. Then he calls them liars. “Liars. Lies. Look at them. Look at those women. I don’t think so” Then instead of standing up for these women, you blame feminists. For years women have reported being raped and sexually assaulted by Bill Cosby and Woody Allen. Do you know what happened? The women were called liars. Do you not see a pattern? No, because you just bathed in the hatred of feminists. And you laugh at the protesters. And then you “pray that we can be a country can learn to stop criticizing and putting down, ”

      Which is literally all you did here. You are such an unbelievable, sanctimonious hypocrite.

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