Opinion: The lack of reporting on American women’s plight during Women’s History Month is abominable
Although there were plenty of platitudes during International Women’s Day “festivities” for the progress women have made in an inherently patriarchal world, there was precious little attention afforded to the ongoing radical religious assault on women’s basic human rights in an allegedly free and equal society.
It is likely the case that many Americans are unaware that March is Women’s History Month in the United States; it is not simply a one day acknowledgement of the contributions of well over half the world’s population. It is celebrated in many nations to specifically “highlight the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society.” That is all well and good, but in many patriarchal nations dominated by religious extremists women are marginalized as second class citizens simply because they are not male. In America, a nation governed by a small primitive religious cult, women’s second class status is in jeopardy of being downgraded to that of a slave subservient to men – particularly radical religious men in power desperate to maintain control over half the population.
Obviously, American women have made progress over the course of the nation’s history, but for a nation touting itself as steeped in equality for all, women have had to fight tooth and nail for every bit of progress. For dog’s sake, despite a constitutional amendment proclaiming equal rights for all citizens, there is still an ongoing struggle to get the so-called “Equal Rights Amendment” to the U.S. Constitution passed and ratified.
In a free and equal society the concept and necessity of an equal rights amendment is an absurd exercise. However, America has never considered women as equal to a man and now that extremist evangelical Christians running the government have fully embraced a 1968 papal encyclical, women are on the verge of losing their basic human right to self-determination regarding their own bodies. It is a basic human right that dyed-in-the-wool religious extremists made barely a month ago because it involved the prospect of men losing their right to control their bodies.
In an attempt to make a point about women’s rights last month, an Alabama state legislator proposed legislation mandating that all men over the age of 50, or those with three children, subject themselves to being neutered via vasectomy. As expected, there was immediate outrage from the religious right males, led by extremist evangelical Senator Ted Cruz, claiming that their reproductive rights could not be infringed upon – especially by legislation proposed by a woman.
The point of the legislation was lost on the so-called pro-life opposition who claimed that, “We are grown up. We can do what we want to. After we got out of our parents house. We do what we want to.” It is precisely the same sentiment that women, and too few men, have stated for a few decades.
In “Life News,” a pro-fetus website, they cited men and women who claimed that the Alabama legislator’s bill “is a violation of [men’s] basic human rights” even as they defended the religious fanatics’ decades-long war to violate women’s basic human rights.
Some Americans may be cognizant of the religious Republican assault on women’s rights, but they may not know that it is being perpetrated at the highest level of government and is not solely the purview of fanatics in Republican-led states. Trump won the unwavering support of the religious right by pledging to do their bidding against women’s rights if they helped put him in the White House; a pledge he followed though on. In fact, besides appointing a pair of anti-women’s rights activists to the Supreme Court, one of Trump’s supporters on the High Court has openly advocated for an opportunity for the new, more religious, Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Clarence Thomas also took the time to lodge a threat that after banning abortion, birth control is next on his hit list. Thomas, like radical Christian extremists, embrace the Vatican’s ban on contraceptives which confirms why he voted in favor of Hobby Lobby’s religious owner’s “religious freedom” to ban their employees’ access to contraceptives.
Whether it is misogyny targeting women running for the nation’s highest office, or fervent opposition to women earning the same pay as a man in the same job, or sexual abuse victims being portrayed in a decidedly negative light, there is a distinctly misogynistic bent driving the religious Republican assault on women’s rights. It is noteworthy to mention that one of the primary goals of the Affordable Care Act was to better provide women with the same quality of healthcare, and life, as men enjoy; likely one of the reasons Republicans have spent the past ten years attempting to eradicate “Obamacare” out of existence.
It is a travesty that while much of the world was acknowledging women’s progress and contributions to society, the media failed to even mention that American women are facing the very real threat of being relegated to third class citizen status, behind men and fetuses. That this vile anti-women crusade is being perpetrated by Republicans controlled by a minority religious cult is an abomination. Particularly because a majority of Americans, including rank-and-file Catholics, believe abortion is a woman’s choice.
It is dereliction of duty that the media is not reporting that the drive to wipe out women’s progress is on the verge of success, or that American women face the real and present danger of being relegated to third class citizen status. That is not progress, but it is part and parcel of women’s history in America.