Meet the Anti-Sex Guru Firing Up the Right Wing
Sarah Posner's profile of the most important right wing anti-feminist you've never heard of is must read. I think Phyllis Schlaffly may have found her successor:
When I first saw her speak at a panel discussion on the HHS mandate and religious freedom at Georgetown University in March, Alvaré crammed 50 years of legal, medical, Catholic, sexual and sociological history into a breathless dissertation about how the availability of contraception has led to the “immiseration” of women. She accused the Obama administration, through its reliance on the Institute of Medicine’s recommendations on contraception coverage, of being motivated by possible anti-Catholic “animus,” and dismissed out of hand the relevance of the scientific and medical evidence the IOM report presented. For Alvaré, the medical evidence is purely ideological and untrustworthy, precisely because it is premised on the usefulness of contraceptives and compiled by people who favor the availability of contraception and abortion.
At the heart of Alvaré’s persistent arguments are what she presents as two essential truths: Birth control is bad for women’s health and well-being, and the government’s effort to legislate insurance coverage for it by religious institutions represents a violation of both religious freedom and the separation of church and state.
Some people have been making the case that the abortion wars were never about "life" from the beginning. It was a very specific marketing decision to pit adorable innocent babies against selfish, immoral bitches who spawned them. But it was always about the sex. And now they are emboldened to make their real argument.
Alvaré and her cohorts might seem absurd — after all, having sex isn’t like jumping out of an airplane — but in conservative circles, both academic and political, her views are given currency. She contends that what she calls “sexuality-ism” — essentially, sexual freedom — is “the most pronounced opponent of religious freedom right now.” But, she adds, with both honesty and portent: “Who is the biggest opponent of sexuality-ism? It’s us.”
Read the whole thing. It's actually quite bracing. The years of fighting against being portrayed as heartless baby killers has demoralized many feminists and made them forget what these people really care about. It's a testament to the power of the propaganda --- and women's primal understanding of and sensitivity toward their role in human reproduction --- that this has worked so well in spite of the obvious hypocrisy. After all, these are the same people who believe that there should be no food, shelter, health or education guarantee for actual children, which should give the game away.
It's long past time we put away the sanctimony about "life" and got down to the real argument. Are women fully human or aren't they? Do they have the right to physical pleasure, personal freedom, bodily autonomy or don't they? Historically the answer has usually been no, or at best, a very qualified yes. We have begun to think differently these last few decades and some people don't like it, which is what this is really all about. I'm happy to see it out in the open. Now we can have a fair fight.