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Revisiting Yesterday's Sordid Mess: Texas GOP War on Women, Part II [Jul. 13th, 2013|10:52 am]
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In general, and across the country,  GOP legislatures have shown themselves to be delicate snowy-white flowers who react to the mere utterance of words like "vagina" and "uterus" as if someone had blasted them with a blowtorch.   They will protest that they don't use language like that, and neither should anyone else, because....well...because it's offensive to them.   These are the same guys who don't want to know about what happens when a woman menstruates (you can hear the cries of "Unclean!  Unclean" in their tiny brains) and they probably refuse to pick up a box of tampons or pads for their girlfriends or wives should they be shopping.

So the existence in their presence of tampons and pads and diabetic testing kits (I really don't get that one)  seems to freak them out in a way that is hard to explain as part of a normal, healthy cognitive/emotional state of being.   In their world, men should never be forced to contemplate the physical reality of a woman except as something pretty to look at, something fun to impose sex on, and something to provide them with sons.  If women must sneeze, cough, fart, bleed, vomit, and have less than Hollywood-quality attractive moments, they should do it out of sight and hearing of men, without making any noise or complaining or asking for relief.  The same goes for the inconvenient bodily fluids of babies and children: women should take care of those--change the dirty diapers (because they smell bad and men don't like bad smells other than their own BO), clean the dirty toilets,  wipe up the vomit and the "accidents" and the blood from childhood injury, and present the children to their father as clean, sweet-smelling, affectionate, obedient, little icons of genetic success.   Because women are arm candy, eye candy, an accessory to their male privilege, not actual persons with actual lives, inner and outer.

Luckily not all men are like this.  Many fewer of them are like this than in my childhood.  I married a man tough enough to change diapers (including dirty ones),  clean a toilet, wipe up blood, and, yes, buy me a box of Kotex when I was unable to do it myself.    When he's sick, I take care of him; when I'm sick, he takes care of me.  We both took care of our child.   A good arrangement.   A real-world arrangement, in which the reality of male and female bodies is accepted, acknowledged and dealt with equitably.

Unfortunately, the men in the ruling party in my state are not like him, and routinely deny women's reality for political ends that do nothing for the half or more of the population that is female.   They have steadily, and with great determination, attempted to (and succeeded in) rolling back decades of progress, with the acknowledged goal of making women's lives worse--by denying them the freedoms they themselves claim and by treating them harshly and with contempt.     GOP women have chosen--or been coerced--to accede to this attitude as appropriate...to agree that women deserve no better than to be treated as less than fully human and less than full citizens. The result of this is clear in the statistics on women's health in Texas, women's employment in Texas (including pay)  and the consequences for the children in Texas.  Access to medical care for poor women and women of color in Texas is already low, and just took a dive to the bottom of the pool .   The GOP in Texas doesn't care.   Access to quality education for our children is already low.  The GOP in Texas doesn't care.  Pay for Texas women is already below that for men, as it is elsewhere (only more so).  The GOP in Texas thinks that's just fine because women don't need equal pay.  Women in Texas jails and prisons are sexually harassed, assaulted, and raped...the GOP in Texas doesn't care because...well, it's not supposed to be a rose garden; you screwed up, you get screwed.

IIt's clear that despite thinking Texas women should have as many babies as possible, the lege doesn't give a damn about those children once they're born.   Live children are inconvenient and cost money--people keep wanting better schools, medical care for them when they're sick or hurt, schools for them to learn  in, parks for them to play in, even jobs for them to hold when they grow up.   Women used to have children without any prenatal care, so they should do that now--like cows in a field, just leave them there with some males around, and they'll get pregnant and have babies and...well...then it's their fault and they should have thought of the cost before they popped one out.  Why should taxpayers be stuck with the bill just because some woman "got herself pregnant?"    The only real citizens are the males who get rich and live in gated communities with their passive wives and their perfect obedient children.

I have a lot of skin in this game.  Over 68 years of experiencing the prevailing attitude from the underside...the female side.  I have seen women who had it a lot worse than I did.  Women raped, beaten, abandoned with children, denied employment,  their right to vote questioned, expected to be able to raise kids on a pittance.  Paid less, made to work longer hours, denied health care, yelled at and spit on and harassed for not fitting the mold the GOP thinks women belong in: helpless, hopeless, passive, obedient, dependent on men for survival.  And we say NO.   NOT NOW. NOT AGAIN.  NOT EVER.   YOU MAKE WAR ON US AND YOU WILL GET A WAR, LIKE THE OTHER WARS YOU STARTED, THAT DOESN"T END YOUR WAY.
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Comments:
From: (Anonymous)
2013-07-13 05:21 pm (UTC)

A thought from a Man

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I just wanted to say, as a man, an American Citizen and a voter........ YOU GO GIRL!!!!! Very well said. Time to vote idiots out and let them know that Men's 1776 attitudes about the opposite sex need to stay in 1776.

Ed Bunyan

[User Picture]From: talvinm
2013-07-13 11:54 pm (UTC)

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"I think we might need more than one Ranger for this Riot. Too many tampons."
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2013-07-14 12:06 am (UTC)

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Since the lege apparently believes that only people on their side a) own firearms and b) have a concealed carry permit, it has been mentioned here and there that perhaps women who *do* have such a permit ought to bring their pieces to the Capitol just like the other guys, and those with firearms and no concealed carry permit should just bring their rifles and shotguns and march around outside--since we have no law against displaying such things and in fact there's a picture of a guy with one on the Capitol steps dangling a tampon from his other hand.

Alas, it's the Department of Public Safety (an increasingly unsuitable name, given the duties they're assigned) that's tasked with security in the Capitol, not the Rangers.

[User Picture]From: talvinm
2013-07-14 12:16 am (UTC)

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Would they allow someone in with a Nerf Gun?

And can anybody think of a quick way to load such with tampons?
[User Picture]From: redvixen
2013-07-14 12:21 am (UTC)

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Get a ball mold for candles or soap. Stuff the tampon into it with some water to bloat it. Freeze the mold. Take tampons out of the mold. Use before the tampons thaw.
[User Picture]From: timill
2013-07-14 01:30 am (UTC)

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No doubt the Department is sea-green incorruptible, so no need to worry...
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2013-07-14 04:09 am (UTC)

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I wouldn't go that far...they are the people who decided to cavity-search a young woman on the side of the road, in sight of traffic.
From: (Anonymous)
2013-07-14 04:44 am (UTC)

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Good heavens ...

R
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2013-07-14 01:48 pm (UTC)

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Yup. Young persons stopped by DPS, one officer claimed to have smelled pot (there wasn't any pot in the car or on the person) and there's a photo of the officer with a hand down in the pants of the young woman being held against the car on the traffic side of the road. Was a big stink in some papers for a day or so.

When I was a kid, I thought law enforcement officers were all straight-arrow, honest, and helpful. Now, not so much. Some probably are. Some are scumbags.
[User Picture]From: kalimeg
2013-07-14 01:30 pm (UTC)

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An incredible fun thought -- pack a tampon AND a gun, and when the freak reaches for the tampon, tell him it will stop the bleeding from a bullet wound so the sucker can stand trial -- after all, that is how the military uses them.

Unbelievable stupidity.
[User Picture]From: kalimeg
2013-07-14 12:06 am (UTC)

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Your second paragraph describes the world Suzette Elgin wrote about in the linguist books. One of the female heroes was a notorious poisoner who terminated a few deserving men, and when caught pretended that she was visited by angels....

I am afraid I am considering carrying my own food and drink into TX for WorldCon so I can avoid improving the TX economy in any way.
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2013-07-14 04:09 am (UTC)

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You won't be hurting the funding for the bad guys at all, and you will be hurting the people who serve the food and drink and need those jobs and tips. Though if you choose to skip any food service for the duration, please double-tip the maids in your hotel room, who need it just as much or worse. There's no state income tax, so the money you pay them will go where it's needed--to their families, for necessities. Tips for service do actual good.
[User Picture]From: kalimeg
2013-07-14 01:24 pm (UTC)

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The maids ALWAYS get tips, plus occasional extras -- maids even tend to leave me thank you notes! Unfortunately, the Feds tax tips at 15.9 %, which, I am sure, is more than the snakes pay.
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2013-07-14 01:50 pm (UTC)

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I deleted the extra comment, since it was obviously a duplicate of this one. Good for you.
[User Picture]From: thewayne
2013-07-14 04:41 pm (UTC)

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Back when the Equal Rights Amendment was in circulation, Harlan Ellison went to a WorldCon (IIRC, might have been a WesterCon) in Phoenix and lived in a tent in the lobby so as to not spend money since AZ had not passed ERA.

But there are more than enough Harlan stories to go around.
[User Picture]From: redvixen
2013-07-14 12:18 am (UTC)

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Obviously the GOP don't realize the power a writer has. You are able to come up with coherent, well thought out arguments for why they are morons and are giving dinosaurs a bad name.

I've never had to deal with what you have dealt with and what the women in your state are dealing with. The worst situation I have to deal with is teaching a young man who still thinks with his gonads that just because I'm not young and pretty I do know what I'm talking about and he should be listening to my advice on how to have a good relationship.

They, the GOP, are enough to make decent men ashamed. Luckily, there are a lot of decent men around. Unfortunately, there aren't enough of them in Texas.

Seriously though, they're confiscating tampons? I never thought the strings were long enough to be used as a weapon but that simply shows I'm not paranoid enough.
[User Picture]From: talvinm
2013-07-14 01:22 am (UTC)

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My earlier comment was made in mockery. This is me being serious.

When I was in college, I worked as a Student Trainer with the Sports Medicine Staff. I was often asked to help out with Women's Volleyball practices. I was chosen over the other male trainers in part because I didn't act out over things like tampons. Usually it was either a Graduate Assistant or a female undergad handling Women's Volleyball. I, as a sophomore, was welcomed because I knew how to act.

We carried a few tampons and pads in our kits. Not many: obviously, they normally supplied their own. But things happen, it was a courtesy and common sense. One of the pockets on my kit bag had the manufacturer's logo on it. All the players knew they could either ask me (and I would just hand them one), or that was the one pocket they were allowed to take supplies from without asking me. (There are a thousand uses for athletic tape, some of them unspeakable, and then the trainer suddenly finds he has none. Hence the "don't touch my kit!" rule.)

I was asked once that I can recall, and I recall it only because it was so unusual. I restocked it a few times. I also had to deal with some gross immaturity on the issue, including from my peers who were studying, like I was at the time, to be part of an Allied Health Profession.

I had an advantage: my college roommate was an old Marine Corpsman (Navy, technically, but he worked with Force Recon) who got a medical discharge shortly after making Chief and decided to go to college. I made the mistake of giggling about the tampons once, and he set me straight. So finally I did to these young men what my "bunkie" had done to me: I got one, I opened it up, and I proceeded to dissect it in front of them. See, it's sterile or at least semi-sterile cotton. There is a sleeve that is filled with absorbent cotton, and there is a string, and this thing here is the applicator. It's not much different from any of the bandages we carry in our kits, just shaped differently and for a specific purpose. Nothing here to act so freaked out about, really. Grow the **** up already.

You would have thought I was vivisecting a live frog in front of them. There is something about American male culture, and, forgive me, but especially in the South, that just can't handle these concepts. These are the same guys that I had worked with when the quarterback somehow got his jockstrap so tightly tangled around his cojones that we had to cut the fabric away (all powers preserve me from ever having to do THAT again!), but some nice clean cotton wrapped in paper was just more than they could handle.

So, yes. They are confiscating tampons. They have been raised to be afraid of those things! It is a phobia in the technical sense of the word.
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2013-07-14 04:06 am (UTC)

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Cooties. It's all about the cooties. They're afraid the cooties will crawl onto them and turn them into girls. And being a girl would be...just terrible. They know how they treat girls.

[User Picture]From: redvixen
2013-07-14 12:06 pm (UTC)

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Wait, you mean the tampons are being packaged with girl cooties already on them? Well, no wonder they have to be confiscated. (heavy tongue-in-cheek tone)

I'm a believer in making the punishment fit the crime so having them get turned into girls and treated the way they treat them would please my outraged little heart. Unfortunately, since that's still an impossibility in our reality, I can only hope that there is an afterlife that will show them the errors of their ways - slowly, painfully, and for an extremely long time. In the meantime, they are making women's lives miserable and they need to be stopped. Somehow.
[User Picture]From: redvixen
2013-07-14 11:57 am (UTC)

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I assumed your earlier comment was not meant seriously but I couldn't resist giving you an actual way to do so. :)

I admit I just can't wrap my mind around having a phobia about tampons. I can understand embarrassment or disgust at used tampons or even just the silliness of young kids when they first learn about them. I can't understand being scared of something that is in a package until finally opened. As you said, they are like bandages only shaped differently.

Glad to see that you are trying to get some sense into people. That's never an easy job.
[User Picture]From: thewayne
2013-07-14 04:46 pm (UTC)

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The last time I was picking up tampons for my wife, Walmart had moved the entire 'feminine hygiene products' section into its own gated area with its own register, I guess they have a problem with theft. I think I made some young women decidedly nervous as I was scanning the racks looking for my wife's brand.

I was amused.
[User Picture]From: draconin
2013-07-14 03:16 am (UTC)

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If you feel this strongly about it (and I don't blame you) and it's having such a bad effect on your state's progress then have you considered running for office? :-)
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2013-07-14 04:04 am (UTC)

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If the little graphic is supposed to be a smirking "Gotcha"--you don't. Yes, I have actually served in elective office, though at a lower level. And I've done various kinds of volunteer service.

We each have our talents, and politics, as it happens, is not mine. Among other things, I don't recognize faces well, an essential for effective work in politics (if you can't recall who you said what to, because all the faces look alike, you're doomed. My best friend has to warn me when she's changing her hairstyle, or I don't recognize her.) So I hold up or post signs supporting what I support, email and call my elected non-representatives to give them an opinion they don't want, and contribute my mite to the campaigns of people better qualified than I am.

Also...it's not just my state's progress that's caught in the same grinder. It's a national (and to some extent international) problem.
[User Picture]From: draconin
2013-07-14 06:05 am (UTC)

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Clearly I didn't word that very well; I was meaning to be supportive but it apparently didn't come off that way. The graphic was just a smiley face and the only reason I suggested state rather than federal was because I would imagine that one starts seeking office at that level (if one does). It wasn't meant to cast aspersions at Texas!
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2013-07-14 01:58 pm (UTC)

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Cast aspersions at Texas if you want to--I do, and I'm a native. But the problem for women is nationwide, so in whatever place you live, keep a close eye on the statehouse. Ditto the problem for minorities and voting access. It spreads fast because there's an organization that sends canned legislation to state legislatures all over the country and has a very extreme right-wing agenda.

The same things that would make me lousy in state politics would make me lousy in national politics...if you can't recognize faces quickly, you're in deep trouble. It's an essential for politicians, at least until we can insert a face-recognition module into a brain implant. It's the talent I would most like to have.
From: sheff_dogs
2013-07-14 04:16 pm (UTC)

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It is an interesting thing face recognition, apparently there are super-recognisers at the other end of the face recognition spectrum too. The work seems to show that it's hard wired so while you can, with a great deal of effort, improve your inherent ability it's only a little and basically you are stuck with your wiring.

And I am sorry for what the legislators are doing to women in the states. We are fighting battles in the UK, but at the moment nothing like as bad.
[User Picture]From: nagasvoice
2013-07-15 05:28 am (UTC)

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The other critical requirement for a politician is a good memory for names and dates. *le sigh*
SO, w can help out in the campaigns of persons who do have that, plus some logic and an ability to do basic math and understand when somebody's trying to flimflam them.
Also, BTW, thank you for raising the level of debate around here, it's helpful to know that lots of folks in your state do not like these stunts and want to do something about it.
[User Picture]From: thewayne
2013-07-14 04:54 pm (UTC)

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Aside from the fact that I don't understand why people keep electing Republicans, why do people continue to elect men? I think one thing that could improve things would be to get a lot more women in to office, then perhaps you'd see more rational decision-making.

Which is not to say that there are female Republican idiots in office, such as the woman in Texas who said that there was no need for a rape exception because the rape kits in hospitals clean the woman out. Yeah, right. Another favorite of mine was the legislator who was a doctor, was anti-abortion, and had convinced his mistress and possibly his wife to have abortions.

I also don't understand the dichotomy between 'every life is sacred' and executing 500 people, plus their cutting of education and child medical care. And I particularly loved the TX RNC having a statement in their platform last year to eliminate critical thinking from schools, I think they subsequently removed that statement.
[User Picture]From: rand0m1
2013-07-16 03:42 am (UTC)

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You know, I don't think this had anything to do with tampons or girl cooties or the like. I suspect it was just an excuse to harass women who had come to show their support for Pro Choice. A handy way to divert attention from the real issue at hand.

First time poster, but I'm a huge fan and a long time reader of your blog.

Oh, and the phrase "Your weenie is safe from cooties" is now a favored quote in my household.

Edited at 2013-07-16 03:47 am (UTC)
[User Picture]From: glaize
2014-08-08 12:33 am (UTC)

Wow

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I haven't been back to Tx in a few years, but this sounds a little too much like New Texas for my comfort.