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Member since: Tue Jul 29, 2003, 03:30 PM
Number of posts: 105,509

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Be brave! Go by yourself! I do! And dare anyone to comment.

I only know one grandma whose grands are here for me to rent.

The Patriarchs' War on Women

(lengthy, urgent read)

The Patriarchs’ War on Women
5/15/2023 by Zoe Marks and Erica Chenoweth
The backlash against feminist progress that’s overtaking the U.S. is part of a global trend. Free and empowered women are a threat to authoritarianism worldwide—and the autocrats know it.

The United States was officially designated a backsliding democracy in late 2021—a full six months before the fall of Roe v. Wade. At the time, journalists warned that such a descent is precisely when “curbs on women’s rights tend to accelerate.” But can a country that has never truly addressed women’s equality ever be a thriving democracy? And are democracies that have abysmal records on gender equity destined to falter? Explore “Women’s Rights and Backsliding Democracies“—a multimedia project comprised of essays, video and podcast programming, presented by Ms., NYU Law’s Birnbaum Women’s Leadership Network and Rewire News Group.

Inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, as Congress was meeting to confirm the election of Joe Biden; autocrats try to maintain control by attacking the rule of law, separation of powers and fair elections. (Roberto Schmidt / Getty Images)

U.S. feminists have been raising alarms about persistent assaults on gender equality. Across the country, GOP-led legislatures are rolling back reproductive rights, legislating against trans youth and their families, and censoring school curricula about racism, sexism, LGBTQ+ issues and even what to expect at the gynecologist’s office. These developments in the U.S. reflect a troubling pattern: Around the world, patriarchal authoritarianism is on the rise, and democracy is on the decline. The connection between sexism and authoritarianism is not coincidental, or a mere character flaw of individual misogynists-in-chief. Women’s political power is essential to a properly functioning multiracial democracy, and fully free, empowered women are a threat to autocracy. Assaults on women’s and LGBTQ+ rights—and attempts to put women “in their place”—constitute a backlash against feminist progress expanding women’s full inclusion in public life. As women’s participation becomes more prominent in domestic and international politics, our research sheds light on why political sexism and gender policing are also becoming more virulent—and what to do about it.

Patriarchal Authoritarianism

Authoritarianism rejects political competition and promotes a strong central power that upholds the political and social status quo. Autocrats try to maintain control by attacking the rule of law, separation of powers, political expression and fair elections. But strongmen and their enablers also tend to usurp power in part by promoting a conservative and binary gender hierarchy. Patriarchy is, in the words of political scientist Valerie Hudson and her colleagues, the “first political order.” And it is closely related to authoritarianism. Authoritarian backsliding occurs when women are stripped of equal access, opportunity and rights in the workplace, in the public sphere and at home. By strengthening men’s control over the women and girls in their lives, authoritarian leaders strike a patriarchal bargain, doling out private authority in exchange for public loyalty to the strongman. Incidentally, many women buy into the bargain, too. Women from dominant groups and classes are often willing to promote conservative gender norms and policies that retrench the status quo. The policing of gender expression and relations becomes a powerful tool for promoting a hegemonic racial, religious or ethnic national identity.

. . . .

Lawmakers in Texas signing the six-week abortion ban into law. (Bryan Hughes @SenBryanHughes/ Twitter)

Abortion rights activists rally at the Texas State Capitol on Sept. 11, 2021, in Austin, against S.B. 8, which prohibits abortions in Texas between the fifth and sixth weeks of pregnancy. (Jordan Vonderhaar / Getty Images)

. . . .

Toward a Feminist Democracy

There is much we can do to protect and expand the hard-won rights that are already enshrined in policy and which, in turn, protect democracy. First, it is crucial to fully understand that assaults on women’s and LGBTQ+ autonomy, well-being and rights are assaults on constitutional democracy. A country in which more than half the population is subordinated politically, socially, economically and culturally is not a democracy. Corresponding assaults on democracy—including restrictions on ballot access, protest and public expression, and weakening the rule of law—can unravel women’s equality, particularly for marginalized and subjugated groups. The fate of women’s rights is tied to the fate of democracy, and women’s mobilization can help to secure both.

More than 100 years ago, women worldwide mobilized for their inclusion in democracy. And they have since used their political power to demand fundamental rights in healthcare, employment and domestic life. As a result, women have become key constituents with whom authoritarian leaders and parties have to contend—and often seek to control. This finding is instructive: Women and their allies mobilize when their rights are under assault, but they are even more powerful when they mobilize on broad-based issues. Women from all walks of life must continue to be vocal champions of inclusive democracy. Feminist candidates, women elected officials and feminist policies are fundamental to the health and well-being of democracy. Feminists must find their political homes and invest in them. Women, gender minorities and feminists of all genders who are already engaged need to stay engaged. For those who have taken these hard-won rights for granted, the time has come to take a stand.


Sadly, right here in Colorado. I have actually seen this car being driven around

here. Have given it the appropriate salute.

Belated congratulations on your posting milestone!
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