Sunday, June 22, 2008

Speak for yourself, Mrs. Obama

I caught a short clip of "The View" the other day in which Mrs. Barack Obama said, "Yes, there's always a level (of sexism). People are not used to strong women,"

As I said, speak for yourself, Michelle. Many of us happen to DEARLY LOVE strong women. I, for one, wish one of the strongest women to ever walk this earth was still here. I wish she was here to confront your husband with words similar to those she addressed to the last Democrat to live at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue when she spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast in 1994:

But I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love and we remind ourselves that love means to be willing to give until it hurts. Jesus gave even His life to love us. So, the mother who is thinking of abortion, should be helped to love, that is, to father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. The father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So abortion just leads to more abortion. Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.

Now THAT is a strong woman.


Anonymous said...

I agree, in part. Conservatives, often seem to have a great deal of tolerance for strong, outspoken, professional women -- as long as those women advocate the "right" views a la Phyllis Schlafly and Ann Coulter. One of the loudest, most outspoken, forceful women I ever met (a member of my grandmother's congregation) was strongly opposed to the notion of women ushers in her church. She felt that women should sit quietly in church, but she herself was the least quiet person I have ever encountered.

The irony is that the Shlaflys and Coulters of the world often use their hard-won public roles to harangue the rest of us to focus on staying at home, out of the public sphere, and deferential to our men. There seems to be an "what is okay for me is not for thee" mentality at work.

Mother Theresa's issues are different, of course. She was undoubtedly a strong and forceful person with a great deal of commitment. But that doesn't make her right.

-- Maggie Fox

Kamilla said...


The problem with your use of Schlafly is that she *did* stay home with her children. I've never heard Coulter advocate women stay home and be defferential to their men.

Didn't you think Mother Theresa had an interesting point about violence. Whatever else you think about it, abortion is a uniquely intimate form of violence perpetrated by the woman on herself and another human being which many feminists are willing to defend with verbal violence of one sort or another.


Anonymous said...

Is there such a thing as "verbal violence?" If so, I think people on both sides of the abortion debate are guilty. But I also think that the debate often calls for angry words. While courtesy is an important value, I think we can all agree that the stakes in the abortion debate are very high. The notion of outlawing a woman's right to control her fertility (whether by abortion or otherwise) certainly makes me angry, although my general style is temperate and I struggle to see the point of view of those on the other side in a charitable light when appropriate.

While I generally adore debating issues that affect women, I usually shy away from abortion debates because the issues have been hashed and re-hashed so much that I just don't feel I have much to add. I will say that I have evolved from being agnostic on the issue to being fairly passionate in favor of abortion for those who choose it.

Framing the abortion issue in terms of violence is certainly interesting. I don't agree with Mother Theresa's point for two reasons: (1) It is begging a primary question which divides people on both sides of the debate, the question of whether a fertilized egg or early stage fetus is in fact a "child." (2) We (not Mother Theresa necessarily but our society in general) tolerate violence in all sorts of other contexts, such as killing animals for food, self-defense, corporal punishment of children, the death penalty, and war. Certainly, we often tolerate violence when we deem it necessary to preserve our own life, health and well-being (eating meat, self-defense, certain wars). Women who abort their fetuses are doing the same thing.

-- Maggie

-- Maggie

Kamilla said...


I'll not engage you directly on the abortion issue other than to make note of a few things:

First, fetus is a technical term. Whatever terms you want to use, depending upon emotion and which side of the debate you fall on - this new life is human. From the moment of conception there is a new human life in existence, this is a matter of scientific fact. No matter what you want to call it and no matter what rights you afford it, you won't change the facts.

Second, violence is not all of a piece. Killing animals for food is a difference in kind, not of degree, from killing human beings merely for convenience.

Once a woman is in need of abortion, the question of her controlling her own fertility is moot - she is fertile and has reproduced. The only question remaining is what she may do now that she is pregnant.

Having said that, it seems you agree with my point that it is not strong women we are not used to. Rather, it is what the strong woman argues for with which we either agree or disagree.

I welcome your response on the issue of strong women, but I ask that you leave the abortion debate for another time and probably another place.

Anonymous said...


No problem. As I said, I am not a big fan of debating that issue. It is too polarizing.

Your point about strong women is very well taken. I think gender does come into play when people disagree with a strong woman. I have seen people use gender insults to smack down strong women who are socially conservative and strong women who are socially liberal-- but it is because they disagree with that woman and gender insults can be handy to use. Like a lot of feminists, and like a lot of non-feminist Christians, I disapprove of the use of gendered insults against any woman, even a woman whose views are contrary to what I stand for.

There may be something to the idea as well that some people react poorly to women who step out of traditionally female roles. That is, strong women may be okay in some people's eyes only if they still adhere to traditional gender distinctions. However, I have very rarely been able to identify anyone who had a problem with me working in a male dominated profession or doing things that are "unfeminine." There have been a few people along the way who have disapproved of me (a gym teacher in elementary school, a high school boyfriend) but not too many. On the other hand, I am fairly "feminine" in my presentation and demeanor, so it might be a different story if I were more androgynous in my presentation. On the whole though, I think our society has adapted remarkably quickly to changing mores.

Hmmm. Reading the above, it is kind of a "stream of consciousness" response to your ideas. Please forgive the rambling and have a lovely summer's day.