What Do Conservatives Really Think of Women?

Over the past five years as I’ve gotten more observant of politics than I ever was before  and with the current controversy surrounding Planned Parenthood, one of the questions that keeps bugging me is: Why doesn’t anyone make the Republicans say outright what they think of women?  It would be hard, they are politicians after all, well-schooled in evasion and diversion, but it shouldn’t be that hard, either. They tell us subliminally all the time.

Based on their “concern” about women’s health, it’s pretty clear that they think women are either morons or psychopaths.  

This is never clearer than when the subject of abortion arises. Religious conservatives accuse liberals of trivializing abortion, but they make it almost comical.

Every time I hear the term “abortion on demand” I’m struck by the casualness that this implies, as if women who end pregnancies do so with all the consideration the use when buying a milkshake at a McDonald’s drive-thru. Worse, it brings to my mind pictures of rabid women forcing doctors to do the deed at gunpoint. “Abortion on demand” is another one of the pithy phrases conservatives are so good at coining up with and which liberals have almost no talent for despite their “elitist” educations. It’s catchy, incendiary and almost completely untrue.

Cartoon Woman at Drive-ThruSure, if you searched hard enough, you could find a woman or two who would be happy to get rid of a baby on the way to a manicure. You can find one or two examples of any extreme behavior no matter what it is. I’ll bet you could find a middle-aged white guy who washes his hair with macaroni and cheese and wears plastic trash bags as underwear, but I doubt Jeb Bush or Ted Cruz would want you to consider him the poster child for white men everywhere. Conservative arguments always depend on one concept. If they can find or manufacture one exception to your stance, it shoots you down completely; if they can find or manufacture one example of theirs, they’ve proven their case beyond question.

140806_EM_McDResponse_2Then let’s address the “helping women get the information they need because we care about them” canard. This one assumes that the women who aren’t so heartless they’ll schedule their weekly trip to the abortion clinic on the way to a manicure are too mentally challenged to understand what abortion is and what the implications of having one will be. We see bills being introduced at various levels of government to require transvaginal probes, to force pregnant women to watch ultrasounds of the fetuses they want to abort and to require or allow doctors to give women misinformation in order to prevent them from having abortions.

This is “caring about women.”  This is caring about women because they are infantile and can’t be trusted to make a sound decision about any pregnancies they may have. (“Sound decision” would, by definition, be to carry the pregnancy to term, by the way.)

I have news. Women get it. They know it’s a big and onerous decision. You don’t need statistics or studies to figure this out. This is basic. Not believing this is part of what the “war on women” is about – men (and some women) deciding that most women (and all poor women) aren’t up to the task of understanding what they’re doing or are so jaded that they don’t care. I don’t need a study to know that that’s wrong. No one should. And no one should make the assumption that women don’t understand or don’t care what a momentous decision this is.

Women at Drive-ThruThis morning I watched the Donald Trump interview with Chuck Todd in which he swore he was pro-life and I wondered for whom. Clearly if his daughter Ivanka or anyone in her set got pregnant and didn’t want to keep the baby, it would be a breeze for her to fly off somewhere abortion was legal and safe and come back baby free. So The Donald and the rest of the well-to-do GOP are only interested in preventing poor women from having abortions or getting assistance with birth control. Yet they complain about the “welfare moms” who keep having babies.

Once again, we’re faced with a conservative argument that’s both insulting and inconsistent.

And since big money and the evangelical right are running the GOP, I have to ask one more time: Why does anyone vote for these people?

2 thoughts on “What Do Conservatives Really Think of Women?

  1. What do conservatives really think of women? As a conservative woman I think I should know. I used to swing to the left, but since converting, I’ve been better respected by my party than by any other. I also have more respect for myself, as a more traditional woman. Men hold open doors for me and say, “yes ma’am.”
    These cowboys are real men who know how to treat a lady.
    Based on the content of this article, I can safely say that respect for all women and their opinions on the liberal side of the fence has once again flown out the window.
    Also, we don’t kill our babies. (Or “fetus” as others may call it, either way I don’t care, it’s eliminating some sort of potential for life).

    • I’m happy that you feel respected within conservative circles, but I think you’ve missed my point entirely. I’m not advocating for abortion specifically; I’m advocating for women to be treated like intelligent, caring people in a difficult situation. Moreover, unless conservatives who insert themselves into uteruses that are not their own are willing to take responsibility for the children they require to be born, they have no right to be in the conversation at all.

      As to your final point, I can only say, “Really?” No conservative woman has ever had an abortion? Even after advocating hard against Roe v. Wade, no conservative woman has found herself pregnant at a terrible time or under awful circumstances and chose to have an abortion? I’ll bet if you looked hard enough, you would find quite a number of women on your side of the aisle have had them.

      We don’t live in theory, we live in the real world. Perhaps we should act like it.

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