The Consequences of Being a “Male Feminist”

 

 

I feel like I should say a disclaimer before I begin this post:

I am in no way comparing any trouble I encounter with the enormous obstacles faced by women. I believe that although sexism exists for both men and women, an overwhelming majority of sexist trials are endured by women.

That being said, I hate the term “male feminist.” To me, anyone who believes that women are equal to men in every aspect of humanity in the general sense is a feminist. Period.

When the history books discuss slavery, most of the time, they don’t identify prominent white opponents of slavery as “white abolitionists.” Just as the term “abolitionist” describes a person who opposes slavery regardless of their skin color, “feminist” describes a person who supports true equality for women regardless of their gender.

I suppose my reasoning for writing this post goes beyond an informative mission. I feel the need to define myself to you, the readers, so that we’re all on the same page and lingering questions you may have about me in the back of your mind don’t prevent you from connecting with the philosophy I intend to convey.

Being a man and a feminist is no easy task. Being a woman is even harder, no doubt, but a guy who describes himself as a feminist seems to automatically open himself up to speculation.

Admittedly, few men call themselves a feminist. In part, this is because “feminist” has become something of a dirty word–or, at the very least, an insult–across much of the country. It has been hijacked by uneducated and/or manipulative political powers that do everything they can to discredit the movement for women’s rights.

But it goes deeper than that. Men who strongly support women’s rights (and are vocal about it) seem to invite criticism, derisiveness, and a questioning of their motives.

My favorite bogus explanation that some throw out there is that men who fight for women’s rights are doing so to get laid, the theory being that they appear sensitive, inviting, friendly, etc.

Now, I’m sure those kind of men exist, but to say all men who call themselves feminists are like that is incredibly biased and ignorant.

Friends, I’ve been doing this for a few years (as best as a novice activist can), and I can tell you two things:

1. I have never been approached by a woman or flirted with by one or done any type of sexual activity with one as a result of saying something along the lines of “Hey baby, I’m a feminist. Can I have your number?”

It just doesn’t work that way. Granted, I haven’t tried it because I don’t like using my sincere political beliefs for personal gain (also because it’s manipulative), but based on my interactions with women, saying you’re a feminist isn’t attractive. It’s odd, it’s strange, and it makes you look weak (even if you happen to be passionate).

I think the reason for this is that society doesn’t equate feminists with stereotypically strong types of men. Feminists are supposed to be women who hate men. Therefore, a man who is a feminist must hate himself or be doing so to get laid.

This is nonsense, of course, but I’ve found that when I’m vocal about women’s rights, even if they happen to agree with my views, some men and women draw conclusions about my strength as a human being.

I don’t like that, but I’ve come to accept it. It’s the price in the fight for equality and a price I think is worth paying.

What I can’t accept is speculation that I’m trying to lure women in by casting out my opinions on gender equality.

2. I really don’t need help in this department. I do fine on my own without needing to attempt subtly manipulating women with my beliefs. On my first several dates, I don’t bring up heavy political topics. It kinda takes away the fun, which is the point of the date. If she brings it up, I’ll share. If she doesn’t, we can leave that for later.

Some seem to react by psychologically analyzing the man. If he’s not trying to get laid, he either hates himself (as previously mentioned) or there must be some kind of psychological benefit.

This is also false.

Now, I admit, I was extensively abused by my mother as a child. Amateur psychologists might draw the conclusion that I’m seeking the female approval I never obtained from my mother, and that by being active in women’s rights, I feel I can finally fill that need.

Well, this is also wrong. As hard it is to believe, I am a proud feminist solely because it disgusts me that women are second-class citizens both in America and around the world.

I am a feminist because I want my women friends, my women colleagues, my future wife, and my potential future daughters, and every other woman in this world to have every right that the men and the potential future sons in my life do.

It ends there. I have no ulterior motive. I genuinely want equality because it’s the right to do.

I feel better having posted this because I feel it now gives me license to write whatever I wish without fear that I’m secretly or openly being judged as insincere in my beliefs.

Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoy my future posts.

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It May Not Be Codified, But in the United States, Women Are Still Second-Class Citizens

 

The truth hurts, but if we ever hope to achieve a society that recognizes all as equal, we have to acknowledge that women are still second-class citizens in the United States

It would seem as though the right to vote and having three women serve as Secretary of State in the last 15 years has somehow laid the issue of gender equality to rest for many people.

Well, that’s just plain wrong. Let’s look at some facts:

– Women compose only 17% of the U.S. Senate and 17.4% of the House of Representatives.

– Of our 50 states, only six are currently led by women.

– Of our nine Supreme Court justices, only three are women, and that’s the most to ever serve at one time.

– Of 23 presidential cabinet and cabinet-level positions, only 8 are women.

– There has never been a woman who has served as president or vice president.

– No woman has ever served on the Joint Chiefs of Staff. and only two have been promoted to four-star general rank.

– Women are still barred from direct-combat jobs in the military.

– Of the companies on the Fortune 500, only 18 are led by women.

– Only 8% of all Nobel Prizes have been awarded to women.

– Women still earn less than men for the same work in every industry, across all levels of education and experience.

And I could go on and on and on…

Now, admittedly, some of these obviously have international factors at play, but the United States has more Fortune 500 CEOs and Nobel Prize Winners than any other country, and if we were to break down the totals of these two areas by gender, the number of women in either would be even more troubling.

This doesn’t even include the sociocultural challenges faced by women such as reproductive rights.

If this doesn’t trouble you, it may be time to check your pulse.

How “Slut” Reveals Our Sexism

Yesterday, I celebrated my 26th birthday. My friends and I threw a wonderful party, and as we sat around discussing different topics, the conversation eventually moved to talking about women in “slutty” Halloween costumes.

There were six of us talking about this: four women, two men (myself included), all college-educated adults, all endowed with a decent sense of humor, and all Christians who usually shy away from casting judgment on others.

(For my non-Christian friends reading this, don’t worry; this is not about to launch into a Christian post.)

The gist of our discussion was how Halloween isn’t an excuse for women to dress like “sluts.” My five friends were in agreement on this, and I couldn’t disagree more, but that’s not the point of this post.

When I voiced my disagreement I said, “I don’t think dressing that way makes you ‘slutty.’”

As soon as the statement left my mouth, I immediately regretted it. I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. It wasn’t that I disagreed with the opinion I was trying to get across but that I had indirectly validated using the word “slut.”

“Slut” is not a term of universal characterization. On its own, it’s almost always used to describe women who sleep around or, at the very least, are perceived to sleep around.

The word represents a double standard that has gone dramatically unchecked by both men and women: that uncommitted men who sleep around face little societal backlash but uncommitted women who sleep around are seen as immoral and/or unclean and unworthy of respect.

In fact, men who sleep around are almost always publicly accepted and even admired by both sexes. It’s seen as a sign that the man in question is attractive and charming.

Case in point: Joey from “Friends” has a running gag on the show of having multiple sexual partners over time, and it’s nearly always portrayed as an admirable quality. Can you imagine the three main women in the show (Rachel, Monica, and Phoebe) getting the same response? Not likely.

Quick note: There’s a difference between “sleeping around” and “womanizing.” For simplicity’s sake, “sleeping around” is having multiple sexual partners in a short period of time but under equal expectations between the partners in terms of relationship status. “Womanizing” is sleeping with women and effectively using their emotional vulnerability for sexual purposes.

The conversation among my friends and I, as previously stated, was launched over our opinions on women dressing “slutty” for Halloween. My friends felt that women who dress provocatively or erotically for this holiday are in the wrong.

This made me take pause, though. If men dressed for Halloween in only a Speedo, it would certainly get attention and commentary, but it’s doubtful it would be seen as morally wrong. It would probably be mocked for revealing far too much but not because it expressed an inappropriate sexuality.

And more often than not, the response would be one of humor, not offense.

But a woman dressing in a short skirt and high heels for her costume is seen as “slutty,” even though that would be revealing far less skin than the man in the Speedo.

Some readers may point out that men can be called a “man slut” or “horndog.” Well, let’s look at those.

“Man slut” is a modified term, and it’s implications are just as hurtful to women’s sexuality as the word “slut.” When you say “man slut,” you’re saying the man in question is acting like a “slut,” or a woman that sleeps around. But much of the time, “man slut” is used in a humorous manner. It’s not often used to deride a man for their sexual habits. On the other hand, calling a woman a “slut” is almost always seen as derogatory.

“Horndog” is the same way. It’s used to describe a sexually promiscuous man but is, more often than not, meant to be humorous. It’s used to describe men who are less than suave.

James Bond would never be described as a “horn dog,” but a woman sleeping around as much as 007 would definitely be called a “slut.”

Why are we so afraid of women’s sexuality?

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So, you’re angry about the sanctions against Penn State? Well, tough shit. Deal with it.

The Child Molester

Sanctions against Penn State: 4-year bowl ban, loss of 20 scholarships, $60 million fine, and forfeiting all wins since 1998.

And much of the Penn State community is pissed over this.

Can I remind everyone of the graphic details here?

Between 1994 and 2009, Jerry Sandusky molested at least 8 children between ages 7 and 13. This was not just fondling, which is bad enough. He anally raped these kids and forced them to perform oral sex on him.

Nearly half these incidents occurred on Penn State property, and no less than 3 adults witnessed the abuse.

If that wasn’t bad enough, it was reported to university officials but Joe Paterno, Penn State Pres. Graham Spanier, Senior VP Gary Schultz, and Athletic Director Timothy Curley all knew of the abuse, chose to ignore it and do nothing to stop it, worked to cover it up, and lied about it under oath…

And there’s people who are angry because the football program is going to suffer?

Boo. Fucking. Hoo.

You’re lucky the program didn’t get the death penalty from the NCAA.

At what point did these people, in their minds, decide that preserving the legacy of a football program is more important than protecting children from sexual abuse?

You’re upset about a statue being removed? What about a 10 year-old child being raped in the shower and the man that wonderful statue is based on not doing anything to stop the abuse and then, covering it up?

There are folks claiming that this falls outside the purview of the NCAA’s oversight.

But isn’t the NCAA the governing body meant to regulate and oversee the actions of collegiate teams and their personnel? Aren’t there standards set for a reason? And when we break those standards (in this case, quite egregiously), should they not be punished?

Penn State isn’t being punished for the molestation of children. They’re being punished because their top officials failed to address this problem and worked to cover it up…. all to protect the school’s reputation and it’s football program.

Furthermore, at least one trustee knew of the abuse. How do we know other trustees didn’t know and failed to do anything?

Moreover, some say it isn’t fair that Penn State is being punished for the actions of a few.

You’re right when you say Penn State is being punished for “the criminal acts of a few,” but in this case, “the few” are, literally, the most important people at Penn State: the President of the college, one of the VPs, the athletic director, Joe Paterno (who we both know is highly, highly revered by the Penn State community), and most of the coaching staff… all were complicit in this horrible, disgusting chain of events.

So, what do you do when the very culture and top leadership of a college allows something so horrific and inhumane to happen? You clean house. You *DO* set an example. You make it abundantly clear that this kind of atmosphere will not fly in the future under NCAA regulations.

These children, now young men, will never completely get their lives back. When something like this happens to you as a child, and I speak from personal experience on this, no amount of therapy or drugs or hospitalizations will completely heal you. You’ll learn to live with it enough (with help, of course) to enjoy your life, but it’ll always be there in the back of your mind, an ever-present ghost of irreparable scarring and loss.

My Unsolicited Thoughts on the Aurora Shooting (Part One)

 

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[Part One in what I hope will be an ongoing series on this subject as it seems far too large and important a topic to cover in one day. Also, I want to thank the users of Reddit.com who made it easier to research for this piece.]

I’ve been debating whether or not to add my two cents on the horrific events of this past Friday. On one hand, I feel like just about everything that could be said about Aurora has been said. On the other hand, I’ve found myself becoming far too angry over the ridiculousness of some of the commentary I’ve seen over the last few days not to say anything.

For those who have been living under a rock, here’s a brief summary of what happened on Friday morning: At 12:38 AM (local time), 24 year-old Ph.D dropout James Eagan Holmes entered theater 9 of the Century 16 cinema in Aurora, CO, dressed in full body armor (complete with gas mask) and armed with several weapons including a 12-gauge Remington Model 870 shotgun, a Smith & Wesson M&P15 semi-automatic rifle (with 100-round drum magazine), and a .40 S&W Glock handgun as well as tear gas canisters. Over several minutes of carnage, Holmes killed 12 and injured 58 more. Seven minutes after he began, he was apprehended by police in the parking lot, reportedly surrendering without resistance.

I’m not going to do a full-blown analysis of this tragedy. I just want to add a few things of particular importance to me.

First, I believe in having a sense of decency when it comes to talking about events like this one. I honestly don’t know what the appropriate amount of time is to wait before debating the causes of, and solutions to, such a tragedy, but deep down, I feel like it’s pretty damn insensitive to start pointing fingers within 24 hours of a massacre. I admit that I have trouble defining why it’s insensitive, but here’s the closest I feel I’ll get to an adequate explanation: As much as I’d love to believe that the media (any and all sources) only intended to report the tragedy for its value in the ongoing debate on gun control, I can’t help but feel that it was largely done for entertainment value.

Yes, you read that right: “Entertainment value.”

Whenever a shooting like this happens, the media (regardless of the source, but for the sake of argument, let’s say pretty much all the major television and radio networks, newspapers, and political commentators) seems to extract the juiciest information they can find (much of it false) and put it out to the public to increase viewership.

I mean, think about it… In 2010, firearms accounted for 8,775 murders[1] in the United States. On average, that’s about 24 gun-related murders per day.

So, why is this news? Why doesn’t the media spend any other day covering gun-related deaths?

Because if it’s 24 average joes or janes getting shot around the country, that’s hardly news. Actually, that’s hardly surprising. It might be easier for Americans to assume that 24 unrelated murders by firearms scattered across the United States can be chalked up to the victims getting caught up with the wrong crowd or doing something stupid or just an unfortunate anomaly.

But with mass shootings, there’s a far greater element of fear involved. It would be more than a significant stretch to assume that Holmes knew every person he shot inside that theater. More than likely, he didn’t know anyone he killed or injured. The act seems so random and gruesome and, well, oddly and nearly-repulsively fascinating that the media isn’t going to ignore the opportunity to drive viewership up by exploiting people’s interest-by-fear in the wake of such a tragedy.

There’s almost 8,800 gun-related deaths a year, and the media always waits for a mass shooting to start discussing why they happen and what should be done about it.

It’s my belief that they don’t care. It makes for good television, radio, and print (but mostly good television), and that’s all that really matters to the vast majority of the media.

Otherwise, you’d think this would be an ongoing conversation in our country, but allow me to break it to you if you don’t already know: In a month (tops), the gun conversation will go away. We’ll probably hear more about Holmes and his trial, but the debacle over why this happened and how it can be prevented will be old news.

That is… until the next mass shooting.

But let’s take a second to look at all the wonderful commentary out there on what happened. Chances are that you have an opinion on whether or not the United States needs stricter gun control policies to prevent tragedies like one from happening, and you wouldn’t be alone; more than 90% of Americans do.[2]

And that makes for great debate. In the aftermath of these tragedies, regardless of opinion, everyone seems to emerge as experts on the Constitution, gun-related homicide, etc.

Okay, that might be unfair, not everyone but it sure as hell seems like everyone.

For now, let’s not dive into the statistics. Let’s talk about the sheer amount of bullshit and outrageous stupidity circulating on the airwaves from both sides of the political aisle.

But first, two disclaimers from me: 1) I am a proud liberal on most issues and, yet, 2) For most of my life, I have been an ardent supporter of the 2nd Amendment, complete with gun ownership and oft-membership of the National Rifle Association. Obviously, this is an odd mix, but I believe it gives me a sense of objectivity. Sort of.

Let me start off with Jason Alexander (you know, George Constanza from “Seinfeld”) and his truly beautiful, eloquent, and largely inaccurate note he released through Twitter, which you can see here.

I’m not being sarcastic when I say it was beautifully-written, but to anyone who spends more than ten minutes doing a bit of online research from government agencies that track this sort of thing, there are several obvious mistakes:

1.       He states that 100,000 Americans die every year due to domestic gun violence. This is false. The actual figure (8,775, as you can see in my first footnote, according to the FBI) isn’t anywhere close to a quarter of that. He later Tweeted that he actually meant 100,000 deaths and injuries per year, which is also false. He counted suicides among the deaths. I do not. I believe guns make it a lot easier, but in that moment, if people want to die, the vast majority of them are going to figure out a way to make it happen. On the other hand, I’m going to make an educated guess that gun murders are largely out of the control of the vast majority of victims.This is debatable, but regardless of where you stand on that, Mr. Alexander has not removed the original note with that first glaring error. It’s still proudly on display.

2.       He implies that the AR-15 (and I’m assuming other assault rifles) accounts for a large chunk (if not a majority) of gun deaths. This also false. Most studies put it at making up just 2% of firearm-related murders.[3]

3.       His comparison of the AR-15 and the “standard hunting rifle” is also inaccurate. The AR-15 does not necessarily (and most often, does not) have a longer range, greater accuracy, “greater payload” as he put it, or fire more rounds without reload.

And that’s before we get into a debate on what exactly the framers intended with the 2nd Amendment.

However, it’s far easier for me to stomach being sloppy with statistics and knowledge on guns than it is to watch conservative commentators make complete asses of themselves when it comes to playing the blame game. Here are a few notable examples:

1.       There was Jerry Newcombe, who blamed the shootings on Americans’ growing lack of respect for the idea of a heaven and hell and the “ongoing crusade of those who want to remove any vestige of the Judeo-Christian in the public arena.”[4]

2.       Fred Jackson, Director of the American Family Association, said “I have to think that all of this, whether it’s the Hollywood movies, whether it’s what we see on the internets, whether it’s liberal bias in the media, whether it’s our politicians changing public policy, I think all of those somehow have fit together—and I have to say also churches who are leaving the authority of Scripture and losing their fear of God—all of those things have seem to have come together to give us these kinds of incidents.”

3.       Pastor Rick Warren allegedly blamed the shootings on teaching our children evolution, stating “When students are taught they are no different from animals, they act like it.”[5] I say “allegedly” since he is now claiming the Tweet was in response to a letter from a father about his daughter’s teacher claiming “there’s nothing wrong with sex with multiple partners… single partner is a man-made construct.” So, yes, this could very well be true, but I’m just not buying it as he did remove the Tweet although he kept it on his Facebook page as a status update.

4.       Former AZ State Senator Russell Pearce wondered on Facebook why no man had the balls to stop the shooting.[6] When newspapers reprinted the full text of his commentary, he claimed they were “mischaracterizing” him.

 I don’t care who you are… that’s classy right there. Get ‘er done, amirite?!

Of course, there were also liberal morons pointing their fingers, but as they’re all what you could call “ordinary citizens,” they don’t exactly have as large of microphones as the idiots above. If you do find evidence of a liberal celebrity, politician, or commentator saying otherwise, please send it to me, and I’ll post it here.

This is already getting pretty long, so I’ll post a “Part II,” tomorrow. In the meantime, be part of the conversation. I welcome all opinions on this blog, even if I may disagree with them.

 

 

 

You know what I really don’t like? Outspoken Republicans who never served in the military.

 

Actually, I’m sorry. That’s not fair. Or accurate.

Many of my closest friends are Republican, and they’re wonderful people who are able to articulate their views in a manner that promotes understanding between differing political ideologies.

Some of you reading this are that kind of conservative: intelligent, articulate, and understanding. This diatribe is not intended for you.

I’m talking to the conservatives–and conservatives who pose as libertarians or independents (seriously, you’re not fooling anyone)–who, literally, wave a flag with every opinion they spout and God forbid a liberal questions what they say, and if they do, they *must* be a traitor.

These are people who haven’t read the Constitution since they were in high school (and seem to gloss over the parts that are inconvenient to their opinion), who demand the government have less power while simultaneously calling for the government to control women’s healthcare choices and prevent gays from marrying, and who seem to perpetually have their fingers shoved in their ears whenever a dissenting opinion is told in their presence.

It’s these people who wave a flag and call liberals and Democrats “traitors” (or “socialists/commies,” which are just other words for “traitor”).

But here’s what really chaps my ass… the vast majority of these people have never served a day in their life in our Armed Forces.

These are the same people who criticize liberal politicians (many of whom actually did serve) for expressing disagreement with conservative policies by branding them “socialists” who are out to destroy so-called “American values.”

And more flag-waving, of course. And that makes me sad because I love our flag. It really is beautiful.

But seeing some ignorant asshole make ridiculous claims about people who happen to disagree with him or her and, literally, standing in front of, or beside, or while holding, an American flag really does make me want to vomit. It’s a disgusting display.

Here’s a prime example. My hometown’s Congressman is Rep. John Carter (R-TX). Congressman Carter has served in the U.S. House since 2003. My problem with Rep. Carter is not that he’s a Republican or conservative. Again, I have close friends who are conservative, and we get along fine. What pisses me off about John Carter is that the man has the gall to say the most ignorant things while simultaneously displaying an American flag beside his opinions as if the Stars-and-Stripes somehow makes what he says any smarter. His Facebook page is chock-full of this.

And here’s what makes this all so funny: The man has never served in the United States Armed Forces. Not one day. Not reserve duty. Not even JROTC.

This guy feels the need to call the President a socialist commie when even he didn’t make a decision to wear the uniform.

But you know what makes this all the more troubling? Rep. Carter chose not to serve his country during a time of war. Instead, he went to college (graduated in 1964 from Texas Tech) and then, to law school (graduated in 1969). He chose to attend these schools at the height of the Vietnam War, when his country needed young men and women to serve in uniform.

Let me make it even more clear: While young men and women were being sent to die for their country in Vietnam, Congressman Carter chose to avoid the draft and attend college, and then, law school.

And don’t get me wrong: There are probably liberals who do this, too, but honestly, I can’t think of one. If you can, please post their name in the comment section. I’d love to know… because to the best of my knowledge, this is a behavior that is entirely dominated by conservatives and Republicans.

Normally, I wouldn’t mind. If you don’t want to go to war, that’s your choice. But don’t then stand up with a flag in your hand and accuse others of being traitors. You look foolish.

By the way, I did point this out on the Congressman’s Facebook page and was promptly blocked. You gotta love “Freedom of Speech.”

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Where are all the women?

(Photo Courtesy: www.abovethelaw.com)

This is a question I’ve been asking myself, lately… where are all the women? Observing any indicator of influence or power in our world, it’s easy to come to the conclusion that women are getting the short end of the stick:

Percentage of women in the U.S. Congress? 16.8%

Percentage of women in the Fortune 500? 3.6%

Percentage of Judiciary Branch that’s female? 31%

Percentage of senior military officers who are women? 5.3%

Percentage of U.S. Presidents and Vice Presidents who are/have been women? 0%

Number of women who have been a major party’s candidate for president or vice president? 2.

But what really puts this all into perspective is the fact that women make up more than half (50.8%) of the population of our country.

More than half.

So, how is it that women still constitute so little of the power hubs in the United States? I’m not sure I can answer that adequately, but I can say there are clear consequences to women having negligible representation in these hierarchies:

– Women, on average, still make 19% less than men.

– Women are still restricted from 20% of all U.S. military active-duty jobs, despite expert opinion from retired senior military officers supporting changes that would allow women to serve in combat arms.

– There were an estimated 19,000 sexual assaults (95% against women) in the U.S. military, last year, a number that continues to climb and seems aggravated by a culture that fails to support victims when they come forward.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

How can we tell our young girls that all under the law are equal when it’s clear that women don’t enjoy equal rights in this country?

If you feel as strongly as I do about this, here are some organizations working to ensure that women have just as great a shot at success as men do in the United States:

National Organization for Women – Since 1966, NOW’s mission has been “to take action to bring women into full participation in the mainstream of American society now, exercising all privileges and responsibilities thereof in truly equal partnership with men.” The organization currently has over 500,000 members and 550 chapters across all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Service Women’s Action Network – SWAN supports, defends, and empowers today’s servicewomen and women veterans of all eras, through groundbreaking advocacy initiatives and innovative, healing community programs.

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Dear Santorum: Go serve before you talk about our women in uniform

https://i2.wp.com/www.defense.gov/dodcmsshare/newsstoryPhoto/2008-03/scr_080310-A-2013C-009.jpg

(Pictured: SGT Monica Brown, awarded the Silver Star for valor, an extraordinary example of women who have served in combat)

Former Senator of Pennsylvania and current contender for the Republican Nomination, Rick Santorum, recently gave his opinion on women serving in combat roles in the military, stating female warriors are “too emotional” for the rigors of combat.

When asked by CNN’s John King if women should be permitted to serve in combat, Santorum stated, “I think that could be a very compromising situation where people naturally may do things that may not be in the interest of the mission because of other types [re: women] of emotions that are involved.

He then appeared to backtrack his comments, later:

“I was talking about men’s emotional issues; not women. I mean, there’s a lot of issues. That’s just one of them. So my concern is being in combat in that situation instead of being focused on the mission, they may be more concerned with protecting someone who may be in a vulnerable position, a woman in a vulnerable position. You throw on top of that just simply physical strength and capability and you may be out there on a mission where it’s you and a woman and if you’re injured, the ability to transport that person back. And you know, there’s just, there are physical limitations.”

And of course, this isn’t the first time Santorum had made his views known on equality in the workplace, let alone the sphere of military operations.

In his book, It Takes a Family, Santorum writes, “Radical feminists have been making the pitch that justice demands that men and women be given an equal opportunity to make it to the top in the workplace.”

Yes, what a radical notion, indeed, that women should be treated equally alongside men.

For the record, we have two facts to establish here:

1. Rick Santorum has never served a day in his life in the military.

2. Both the public and military experts (p. 13, 2nd paragraph) agree that women should be permitted to serve in combat roles.

Coincidentally, the same year Rick Santorum started his undergraduate education at the University of Pennsylvania, the first class of women cadets were starting their own military careers at the United States Military Academy at West Point, going through hell and back to prove their self-worth against a mysogynistic system that believed women are inferior to men in the military arts.

To date, 280,000 women have deployed in support of the War on Terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan, 144 of them paying the ultimate sacrifice for their country and 865 being wounded.

They have served with valor, bravery, and competence against an enemy force that, while discriminating against their own women by keeping them from seeking equal rights in education and government roles, do not discriminate between men and women when pulling the trigger or detonating an IED.

So Rick, leave it to the professionals, the women who have been fighting on battlefields (legally or not) since the inception of this country, fighting while you attended law school, fighting while you ran for Congress and the Senate, and fighting to this day while you still, on the basis of absolutely no experience, feel free to comment on their abilities.

Back off.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/charlesmclymer

Prop 8 Ruled Unconstitutional; Headed to Supreme Court!

From Lisa Leff of the Associated Press:

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal appeals court on Tuesday declared California’s same-sex marriage ban to be unconstitutional, putting the bitterly contested, voter-approved law on track for a likely appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that a lower court judge correctly interpreted the U.S. Constitution and Supreme Court precedents when he declared in 2010 that Proposition 8 – a response to an earlier state court decision that legalized gay marriage – was a violation of the civil rights of gays and lesbians.

However, the appeals court said gay marriages cannot resume in the state until the deadline passes for Proposition 8 sponsors to appeal to a larger panel of the 9th Circuit. If such an appeal is filed, gay marriages will remain on hold until it’s resolved.

“Although the Constitution permits communities to enact most laws they believe to be desirable, it requires that there be at least a legitimate reason for the passage of a law that treats different classes of people differently. There was no such reason that Proposition 8 could have been enacted,” the ruling states.

Backers of Proposition 8 said they would ask the Supreme Court to overturn the 9th Circuit ruling.

“No court should presume to redefine marriage. No court should undercut the democratic process by taking the power to preserve marriage out of the hands of the people,” said Brian Raum, senior counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian legal aid group based in Arizona that helped defend Proposition 8.

“We are not surprised that this Hollywood-orchestrated attack on marriage – tried in San Francisco – turned out this way. But we are confident that the expressed will of the American people in favor of marriage will be upheld at the Supreme Court,” he said.

American Foundation for Equal Rights President Chad Griffin, who formed the group along with director Rob Reiner to wage the court fight against Proposition 8, called the panel’s ruling “a historic victory.”

“The message it sends to young LGBT people, not only here in California but across the country, (is) that you can’t strip away a fundamental right, and gay marriage is a fundamental right that no one can strip away,” Griffin said. “Now that Proposition 8 has been declared unconstitutional, the people of California will very soon be able to once again realize their freedom to marry.”

More than 50 people who gathered outside the federal courthouse in downtown San Francisco greeted the ruling with cheers. They held signs and waved rainbow flags.

“Today’s ruling is a victory for fairness, a victory for equality and a victory for justice,” said California Attorney General Kamala Harris.

The appeals panel crafted a narrow decision that applies only to California, even though the court has jurisdiction in nine western states. California is the only one of those states where the ability for gays to marry was granted then rescinded.

“Whether under the Constitution same-sex couples may ever be denied the right to marry, a right that has long been enjoyed by opposite-sex couples, is an important and highly controversial question,” the court said. “We need not and do not answer the broader question in this case.”

The panel also said there was no evidence that former Chief U.S. Judge Vaughn Walker was biased and should have disclosed before he issued his decision that he was gay and in a long-term relationship with another man.

The ruling came more than a year after the appeals court heard arguments in the case.

Proposition 8 backers had asked the 9th Circuit to set aside Walker’s ruling on both constitutional grounds and because of the thorny issue of the judge’s personal life. It was the first instance of an American jurist’s sexual orientation being cited as grounds for overturning a court decision.

Walker publicly revealed he was gay after he retired. However, supporters of the gay marriage ban argued that he had been obliged to previously reveal if he wanted to marry his partner – like the gay couples who sued to overturn the ban.

Walker’s successor as the chief federal judge in Northern California, James Ware, rejected those claims, and the 9th Circuit held a hearing on the conflict-of-interest question in December.

California voters passed Proposition 8 with 52 percent of the vote in November 2008, five months after the state Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage by striking down a pair of laws that had limited marriage to a man and a woman.

The ballot measure inserted the one man-one woman provision into the California Constitution, thereby overruling the court’s decision. It was the first such ban to take away marriage rights from same-sex couples after they had already secured them and its passage followed the most expensive campaign on a social issue in the nation’s history.

The Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation and the Law, a think tank based at the University of California, Los Angeles, has estimated that 18,000 couples tied the knot during the four-month window before Proposition 8 took effect. The California Supreme Court upheld those marriages, but ruled that voters had properly enacted the law.

With same-sex marriages unlikely to resume in California any time soon, Love Honor Cherish, a gay rights group based in Los Angeles, plans to start gathering signatures for a November ballot initiative asking voters to repeal Proposition 8.

Virginia House passes bill bashing gay adoptions; children still without homes

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On Friday, the Virginia House of Delegates voted in favor, 71-28, of a bill that would allow private adoption agencies to discriminate against gay couples on the basis of freedom of religion.

Yes, you read that right. You see, in Virginia, homosexuality is still looked upon as a gateway to pedophilia, bestiality, polygamy, and a whole host of other unsavory practices. Plus, it’s just gross, right? I mean who wants to see two guys kiss each other and then, get kids on top of that?

The bill, which is expected to be passed by the Virginia Senate and subsequently signed by Gov. McDonnell, follows regulations adopted in December by the Virginia Board of Social Services to allow discrimination by private agencies on the basis of gender, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation, and family status.

This will make Virginia the second state to enact such a law, and of course, conservative organizations are absolutely in love with this.

“We are grateful that the House of Delegates and the Senate Rehab and Social Services Committee both see the need to protect private child placement agencies that are doing incredible work helping children and families around Virginia. A majority of Virginians recognize that these agencies are critical to providing the best possible outcomes for children,” said Virginia Cobb, President of the Family Foundation.

Yes, let’s provide the best possible outcome for children by restricting adoptions among private agencies only to those couples that fall in line with “appropriate” demographics.

Of course, Virginia, Gov. McDonnell, and Pres. Cobb all forget two facts:

1. Studies have shown that children do just fine growing up in households with gay parents.

2. There are always children in Virginia without parents.

What we have here is a legislative body that, for the sake of their own careers and/or religious beliefs, are putting politics ahead of children.

This isn’t just sad; it’s tragic.

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