On Kim Davis

Dear Dad,

I’m sure you’ve heard of Kim Davis, the county clerk jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. It seems lately my Facebook feed has been nothing but Kim Davis, memes of her, memes about how many men she’s married, angry statuses about how she should suck it up and do her job, videos of her crying after she was released from jail, Mike Huckabee proudly at her side.

And I need to say up front that I think what Davis has done is deplorable. As a county clerk, her job is to serve her constituents and uphold the constitution. Our interpretation of the constitution has changed (that happens occasionally), but that doesn’t mean that she gets to refuse to uphold it. On a moral level, she’s homophobic and hateful. I’m happy that we finally have marriage equality, and that the country is moving toward giving all people equal rights regardless of sexual orientations. People like Davis stand in the way of that, but it’s clear that she’s part of a shrinking (if vocal) minority.

Meme of Kim Davis with jerk meme hat on. Text:

BUT—and it’s a big but—I am sick to death of the way Davis’ personal life is being treated by progressives. I can’t scroll through my Facebook feed without seeing something about how many men Davis has been married to, Dad, or how many kids she’s had out of wedlock. This isn’t kind, understanding, or progressive, and I can’t stand it.

As a feminist, I don’t believe women should be judged for their sexual history, and that includes women I don’t like. I don’t suddenly get to make fun of a woman for being divorced multiple times because I disagree with her politics. The wider progressive movement pushes for more compassion and consideration of marginalized voices, which is why I am attracted to it. We support gay rights, women’s rights, transgender rights, the rights of people of color. But when a movement about compassion starts deriding its opponents based on their personal lives, I can’t stand by silently.

Several people have told me that this is about pointing out hypocrisy: Someone fighting for “biblical marriage” doesn’t live by those ideals herself. They’re cutting this woman down with her own weapons.

Maybe I’m an idealist. But I don’t think that’s okay. If we’re going to hold people and society to a higher standard of compassion and acceptance, we have to hold ourselves to it too. We can’t just throw that aside the first chance we get to mock a brazen woman.

Furthermore, attacking Davis’ marriage history doesn’t really stop her from being a hero to the religious right. I was raised in a church, Dad. I know that Davis can say she repents and she’ll still get to keep her new spouse. Maybe some of the church members will gossip about her behind her back, but grace means she can ask for forgiveness and move on with her life. An LGBT person doesn’t have that luxury, because the “sin” is their sexual orientation. For an LGBT person to repent, according to Davis and her ilk, they’d have to stop being gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender, or at least suppress it forever. Look no further than Mike Huckabee proudly standing beside Davis as she was cheered by her supporters: To them, she’s a born-again woman standing up for God.

I believe that Kim Davis is wrong. As a county clerk, she must abide by the law and do her job or step down. I believe that she’s homophobic and that gay people should have all the same rights as straight people. But I will continue to defend Davis’ right to marry any damn person she pleases without progressives butting in.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, Dad. How has the rest of the family been talking about Kim Davis? What is your church’s reaction? What is your reaction, to both Davis and progressive attacks?

Talk to you soon. Love,

Victoria

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Dress codes redux

Hey Dad,

Did you see that story in the news about the 15-year-old who was forced to wear a “shame suit” at school because her outfit was deemed to violate school dress code? The story is absolutely disgusting, and I almost cried when reading it.

It’s just another example of dress codes being used to target women and shame them for having the bodies they have. If her outfit was truly deemed to be distracting (and that’s the excuse schools give for making dress codes) then how does an ostentatious outfit advertising her rule breaking create a productive study environment?

The fact is, it doesn’t. It’s not about helping kids learn. It’s about remind women and girls that their bodies do not belong to them in public spaces, that they are always on display, and that they should be ashamed.

Until next time,
Victoria

On a false feminism

Dear Dad,

I was really excited when I saw your new post, Feminism 2.0! And I thought you hit on some very important feminist notions of freedom and choice. I couldn’t watch the video because I wasn’t home, but I made time for it this weekend.

And what I felt made a little bubble of rage grow inside me until I felt like one of those anime kids with the cartoon blood vessels. I’m not going to link to it here because that page doesn’t deserve any more hits, but I will pull some quotes from it to summarize why Tammy Bruce’s “feminism for the 21st century” is about destroying a lot of the progress feminists have made, and I’ll even do it with her pillars.

  1. Dignity.
    Tammy defines dignity as meaning “that a woman should be able to freely choose her own path in life.” Okay, fair enough. She then goes on to say that while female college students might say they want to be lawyers or doctors, they never say they want to be mothers or wives. OH MY GOD. THIS IS SO BLEEPING WRONG ALREADY. I’m just gonna say, I am guessing I’ve been a female college student more recently than Tammy Bruce and for eff’s sake! There are women in college who talk about desiring a husband, or children, a family, and how they intend to balance home life and work. I even had classes with some wives and mothers, believe it or not.
    She goes on to cite the backlash to an opinion piece written by a Princeton grad that urged Princeton women to find a good man in college:
    “Any time someone has the temerity to suggest that a woman might want to look for a husband in college… feminists go nuts.”
    I read that letter when the story broke, Dad, and it wasn’t saying, “Maybe you’re interested in finding a man,” it was saying, “Ladies, you’re getting so educated and you’re going to be so successful no man will ever feel masculine enough to want you so marry a guy now.” She even said her sons, themselves Princeton students, could easily have any woman they wanted, but women aren’t so lucky when searching for potential mates, so better hop on that quick! As if the only desire in a woman’s life is to get a husband. Please.
    She then goes on to say that on the subject of dignity, women shouldn’t aspire to “be like men” sexually, casually drifting from one one-night stand to another. SO SLUT-SHAMEY! This, again, is not the goal of feminism. It is to allow women to safely and comfortably express themselves sexually, whether that is through frequent sex with multiple partners, or monogamously, or not at all! It means that a woman’s worth is not her chastity, purity or virginity, not that she is required to sleep with many people.
    Notice the double-standard, too? She never critiques men for the stereotype of their sexual appetite that she takes for fact. It’s fine that men sleep around, but women should be BETTER.
  2. The word “no.”
    Tammy just can’t stop slut-shaming. Though she earlier says a woman’s choices should be respected, here she says that throughout history, some “women said ‘yes’ when they should have said no.” Names like Anna Karenina and Cleopatra flash on the wall. Apparently, women’s power lies in the ability to say no. This has some heavy sexual overtones, and plays into the patriarchal idea that women withhold sex to punish and control men. As if our bodies are our only tools. IT’S EFFING GROSS DAD.
    Then she credits hook-up culture and naked pop stars to feminism, and while feminist empowerment has allowed women to a certain extent to feel more comfortable in our bodies, the current trend of objectification of women is actually a backlash to women gaining rights. For more on this, watch Miss Representation, since you like feminist videos so much. It’s a really incredible documentary analyzing women’s representation in the media, its origins and impacts. Plus it’s on Netflix!
    She goes on to say that feminists hate men but want to be like them. Which is false on two counts. A) I don’t hate men. B) If wanting some of the same rights as men means wanting to be like them, maybe. But I also embrace my right to wear lipstick and lace and cross stitch and be feminine. It’s about choice, remember, Tammy?
  3. Men. “That’s right, men.”
    Tammy says we shouldn’t forget that men “gave up their monopoly on political power and gave women the right to vote” as if we should be just grateful well gosh gee whiz to have some of the rights that men have. Isn’t it nice that my husband gave up his right to beat me? Isn’t it sweet when a man restrains himself from yelling rude things at me on the street? Isn’t it swell that they gave up some positions in the job market? Aren’t men AWESOME for GIVING US A BASIC VOICE IN OUR OWN COUNTRY’S GOVERNMENT??>??? Oh, and they also invented birth control, washing machines and refrigerators, Tammy says. Probably Tammy would say they invented shoes too, so we don’t have to be barefoot, pregnant, cooking in the kitchen making your GOD. DAMN. SANDWICHES.

In short, Tammy Bruce’s feminism is not in fact an advancement of women’s rights. She wants women to stop trying to “be like men” and go back to being feminine, subservient, chaste and motherly. It’s not feminism at all.

/Rant,

Victoria