Misogyny – Will It Ever End?

The ethernet and airwaves are currently awash with news and opinions over the latest vitriol to come out of  Rush Limbaugh’s mouth.

By now I’m sure you’ve all heard it.  Over the course of 3 days he launched 53 separate attacks against Sandra Fluke for testifying before Congress about birth control as a medical necessity. He called her a slut and a prostitute, saying that she was having so much sex she couldn’t afford birth control and that she wanted to be paid to have sex. And then he said that if Sandra Fluke wants birth control coverage, he should get something for it—she should have to post videos of herself having sex.  So should every woman who uses birth control be required to post videos of herself having sex?  That would be very interesting.  Wonder how the men (often they are involved) would feel about that.

What the heck is going in our country?  It would seem that we are moving backwards in time with each passing day; the war against women still rages in men’s hearts.  Even left wing commentators use sexists language to disparage right-wing female politicians.  I personally abhor Sarah Palin’s politics (she frequently takes a position which works against women’s issues.)  but don’t want to see her attacked for being a woman   Apparently men are still very threatened by women with power.

Aphrodite Dancing, painting by Judith Shaw

Aphrodite Dancing

The most ancient civilizations worshiped the Goddess as the creator of all life, as that principle which generates the birth, death and rebirth of all souls within the endless cycle of  seasons and ages. No one can really say why all of that changed.  But change it did and the Patriarchal age began some 5000 plus years ago.  The hatred of women is written into the holy texts and myths.

The Greek myth of Pandora tells us that Pandora (who represents all women) caused all the terrible things to come into this world. And then even should men be able to deal with these horrors, the evil of women would always trap their hope in a vessel.  Genesis, the first book of the Bible, says that woman caused all the pain and suffering in the world because Eve ate the apple from the Tree of Knowledge.  This world view has created an environment very hostile to women, to say the least.

aphorodite hidden and revealed

Aphrodite - Hidden and Revealed

Here are just a couple of the many misogynist things said by influential men of the past.
“a woman is perhaps an inferior being”; that female characters in a tragedy will be inappropriate if they are too brave or too clever” – Aristotle
“If a woman is raped within the city walls and does not call out then she shall be stoned” – Paul of Tarsus

Disturbing as it is that Limbaugh says what he says, even more disturbing are the numbers of people who listen to and believe him, jumping to his defense when he’s called out for his extremely vulgar and offensive behavior.  David Frum addresses this reaction in his article “Are we being fair to Rush?” He says “Even by the rough standards of cable/talk radio/digital talk, Limbaugh’s verbal abuse of Sandra Fluke set a new kind of low.”  He goes on to explain why he sees the incident as so inflammatory.  He also explores Rush’s scope of influence.

But human consciousness changes and grows, or so we hope.  During the  20th century it seemed that we were making advances in consciousness. The Women’s Liberation movement and the Civil Rights Movement begin to make changes in the attitudes toward and treatment of women and minorities.

So why this retreat backwards into hateful ways of thinking and being? Perhaps we can blame it on the planets, many of whom are retrograde.  Are we to return to a time when women had no control over their own bodies? Are we forever to remain locked in this “us versus them” mentality? How can it be that in the year 2012, a Senate committee discussing health insurance and women’s reproductive health can bar all women from speaking?  Apparently to these men, a women’s voice is not to be heard.

As a woman, a feminist, a humanist, and a long-time Goddess worshiper, I am deeply concerned that this centuries old flame of hatred against women is being fanned into a bonfire by the misogyny running rampantly out of the mouths of politicians and their highly paid mouthpieces.  Now I understand why I am continually drawn to paint the Goddess, to bring positive images of woman into the world, to counter the many eons of fear and hate.




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