Watch Out, Women Are Powerful
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Is it just my imagination or are women wreaking more evil than usual these days? We all know the reason boys don't read is that female teachers assign books about girls, and girls have cooties; and the reason half of all marriages end in divorce is that women have outrageous expectations, like that their husbands should talk to them; and the reason the Democrats lose elections is that they pander to female voters instead of being manly and tough. Oh, wait a minute, the Democrats won the last election. Women aren't just evil, they're powerful.
Here are some other things women are responsible for:
Rape -- I know, I know, it's an old charge, but Australia's top Muslim cleric, Sheik Taj Aldin al-Hilali, has managed to make it new. "If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside on the street, or in the garden, or in the park, or in the backyard without cover, and the cats come to eat itâ€¦whose fault is it, the cats' or the uncovered meat? The uncovered meat is the problem. If she was in her room, in her home, in her hijab, no problem would have occurred." Because veiled women are never raped, at least not as long as they stay in their rooms. Sheik al-Hilali later said his remarks were taken out of context -- he was only talking about prostitutes.
Gay preachers -- Pretty women may make men rape them, but ugly ones are even more powerful: They turn men into homosexuals! Here's Pastor Mark Discoll of Seattle's Mars Hill Church blogging about the downfall of evangelical preacher Ted Haggard, purchaser of gay sex and meth: "It is not uncommon to meet pastors' wives who really let themselves go; they sometimes feel that because their husband is a pastor, he is therefore trapped into fidelity, which gives them cause for laziness. A wife who lets herself go and is not sexually available to her husband in the ways that the Song of Songs is so frank about is not responsible for her husband's sin, but she may not be helping him either." Gayle Haggard, mother of five, must feel pretty silly for contributing a chapter to her husband's weight-loss manual, The Jerusalem Diet , in which, according to Publishers Weekly , "she urged women to accept their bodies and be gentle with themselves."
Iraq -- And you thought Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and those other neocons were in charge! Not so, according to the American Enterprise Institute's Michael Ledeen, quoted by David Rose in the November Vanity Fair : "Ask yourself who the most powerful people in the White House are. They are women who are in love with the president: Laura, Condi, Harriet Miers, and Karen Hughes." Ladies, you had the President's heart in your soft little hands, and you blew it. Now all those Iraqi children are dead!
Illegal immigration -- According to the Missouri legislature's GOP-heavy House Special Committee on Immigration Reform, there's a simple reason Mexicans are pouring across the border: abortion. "You don't have to think too long," said chair Representative Ed Emery. "If you kill 44 million of your potential workers, it's not too surprising we would be desperate for workers." In Missouri alone, women have murdered 80,000 future roofers and nannies since Roe v. Wade .
Grousing -- According to Rachel Morrison of the Auckland University of Technology, women spread workplace dissatisfaction. Unlike men, who bond by drinking and having fun, women bond by talking about their problems. That's bad for office morale -- before you know it they might start demanding equal pay! And female griping isn't limited to your ordinary office worker. As Phyllis Schlafly pointed out in an interview on scotusblog.com, "Both Justices O'Connor and Ginsburg are younger than I am, and I had no trouble getting a job when I graduated from college and obtained a Master's degree from Harvard. I am skeptical of self-serving claims, made decades later, that a woman could not get a job due to alleged sex discrimination. At any rate, it surely is bad grace for those two, who have enjoyed the most prestigious and powerful jobs in America, to complain about discrimination."
Bad dogs -- Cesar Millan, the hugely popular dog psychologist, explained to The New York Times Magazine 's Deborah Solomon that dogs need firm, manly leadership: "If what you do is say, 'I'm sorry, baby, Mommy has to go, blah, blah, blah,' the dog doesn't understand what you are saying. He only understands that you are in a soft state and he is dominating you." (The proper valediction to a dog is "Bye, man.") So next time you read about a pit bull ripping out a toddler's throat, blame the woman who didn't swat it with a newspaper when it peed on the sofa.
Childhood obesity -- It's obvious that women are responsible for everything that goes wrong with children, beginning with having them (or, in Missouri, not having them). In July Time suggested that mothers are even responsible for fathering: Their controlling, hypercritical "gatekeeper" behavior keeps Dad on the sidelines. But did you know working mothers make their kids fat? According to economists Patricia Anderson, Kristin Butcher and Phillip Levine, even ten hours a week of maternal employment ups a child's chances of becoming overweight. The more she works, the greater the risk. Why? The authors suggest that Mom is not available to supervise "vigorous exercise" and relies on junk food instead of home-cooked meals. To be fair, the authors call for social measures like better school nutrition and after-school programs, but the idea that Dad might step up to the stove now that Mom's so busy doesn't occur to them. It's Mom or Mickey D's.
National ruin -- Nancy Pelosi hasn't even been officially made Speaker of the House, and she's already being declared a disaster--a weak, emotional, vengeful prima donna who, much like a woman dog owner, doesn't understand how to lead. On Fox Morton Kondracke called her the Wicked Witch of the West. In the New York Times 's Thomas Edsall blamed her for the unraveling of the Democrats -- which, given that they haven't had a chance to ravel, is quite a feat. All this over a few contested leadership positions! Meanwhile, the Republicans brought Trent Lott back as minority leader with nary a whisper of dissent. Now that's leadership. Heel!
Katha Pollitt is a columnist for The Nation.