Well, the Violence Against Women Act was finally passed, in spite of the best efforts of the GOP.
I discovered an interesting article regarding a congresswoman in Tennessee who voted against VAWA. Marsha Blackburn (R) stated that while she is in favor of preventing violence against women, she could not support the changes made to VAWA this time around. She seemed unable to give a concrete example in her interview, however. She did vaguely mention that she didn’t like that it was “expanded to include other groups.” Now, we can’t be sure what she meant, but a huge issue regarding the reauthorization of the VAWA was its expansion to include undocumented immigrant women, Native American women, and homosexual women. I don’t want to assume that Blackburn took issue with protecting these other groups of women, but…the trend that we have seen over the past two years implicates otherwise.
In WWII Norway, Norwegians who collaborated with the German occupation forces were called Quislings (so named after a Norwegian politician who collaborated with the Nazis). Since then, the term has been used to describe anyone who betrays their own kind. As a woman, I’m annoyed and angered when male politicians disrespect and disregard women. However, the sad truth is, that in life, women come to expect men to do them wrong. Boyfriends will cheat on you, employers will sass you, etc. It only stands to reason that a male politician will not stand by us either. The real pain comes from the women in our lives who hurt us. A female politician who votes for anti-woman legislation is a modern day Quisling, turning her back on her fellow woman.
I believe that a great deal of the anti-abortion, anti-birth control legislation comes from the fact that female politicians tend to come from wealthy and political families. When women want birth control covered by their employer-provided health insurance, Quislings don’t think voting against it is a big deal because they’ve probably never suffered the financial strains themselves that would keep them from obtaining birth control. A lack of solidarity truly seems to be the problem. Feminism goes so much farther than simply seeing female bodies in Congress and Senate – it’s subverting patriarchy and achieving true equality for all economic classes and types of people. The ratio of men to women in politics, sadly, does not achieve true feminism.
I’ve done a bit of reminiscing, and here is an incomplete and unofficial list of Quislings that we have had the pleasure of knowing.
- Tennessee’s Marsha Blackburn (R), who voted against the VAWA, perhaps due to its inclusion of non-white, lower class women.
- New Mexico’s Rep. Cathrynn Brown (R), who recently introduced HB 206, a bill that would charge a rape victim who ended her pregnancy with a third-degree felony for “tampering with evidence.”
- Florida Rep. Sandy Adam, who posits that the “so-called GOP War on Women” is a smokescreen disguising the real issue, a war on religious liberties.
- Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona, who single handedly championed some of the most draconian anti-abortion legislation in 2012, including that the “gestational age as beginning on the first day of the woman’s last period,” thus “pregnancy as beginning two weeks before conception.” This is on top of threatening to defund Planned Parenthood, forcing public schools to revamp sex education to push for abstinence and adoption, and allowing doctors to withhold information from pregnant women that may encourage abortion.
- The infamous former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, who told a group of women who oppose abortion rights (i.e. “mama grizzlies) that they are responsible for an “emerging, conservative, feminist identity.” She essentially states that pro-life, anti-choice women are the “real feminists” while opposing basic feminist ideas of sexual agency and choice.
- Ann Coulter – not a politician, but rather a writer, political commentator and lawyer, who said this: “If we took away women’s right to vote, we’d never have to worry about another Democrat president. It’s kind of a pipe dream, it’s a personal fantasy of mine, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. And it is a good way of making the point that women are voting so stupidly, at least single women.” (http://rawstory.com/news/2007/Coulter_If_we_took_away_womens_1003.html)
So, there are some examples of Quislings betraying their own kind. If we can’t stand by each other as women, we will never accomplish anything as women and for women. If a woman truly thinks her place is barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, then that is her choice regarding her own life, and she should do just that – stay home, and stop ruining it for the rest of us.
“It was of the opinion from the outset that the best and most cost-effective way to control women for reproductive and other purposes was through women themselves. For this there were many historical precedents; in fact, no empire imposed by force or otherwise has ever been without this feature.”
-Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale