Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Christian conservatives fire another cannon in the war against sex

"Standing above the crowd,
He had a voice that was strong and loud and I
Swallowed his facade cuz I'm so
Eager to identify with
Someone above the ground,
Someone who seemed to feel the same,
Someone prepared to lead the way, with
Someone who would die for me."

Maybe I've simply consumed one too many beers when I line up the rap-sheets and compare Islamic fundamentalists with their Christian counterparts; maybe all that squiggly text blurs due to my double-vision and I get confused - because I really can't see a significant difference between the two forms of worship.

Amanda Marcotte at Pandagon has a post up today about American fundamentalist fathers who take their daughters to a very special ball. At this ball the father "extracts a promise from her that her vagina is his until... she marries someone he presumably approves of." As Amanda points out, this behavior is not far removed from the typical arrangements at weddings where the father gives away the bride or when the bride adopts the husband's surname. All of these patriarchal relics serve as a reminder that the bride is property to be passed around at the whim of men:

"It used to be enough for patriarchs to demonstrate their symbolic ownership of their daughters by the whole giving away thing at weddings. I suppose that so many women like me are out there not being given, taken, purchased or laid claim to in any way that in order to restore the karmic balance, these poor girls have go through a series “Daddy owns this virginal vulva” rituals before they get passed off to their new owner. The testimonials are sufficiently creepy, too."

More and more as I get older I'm developing the inclination that if the human race is to move ahead in a positive way the patriarchal assumption needs to be smashed to pieces. I can't really tackle feminist topics in any depth because, when it boils down to it, being a white, middle-class male, I'm surfing upon a wave of entitlement and privilege. This means that I don't possess a full insight into what it's like on the flipside of that coin. But it seems to me that there are plenty of advantages for men in a restructuring of the social order. I mean, what kind of man really wants a relationship with the women in their lives based on ownership rather than mutual respect and admiration?

So much war-mongering, posturing and egotistical heroics are based around various nations' attempts to bring their particular brand of oppression to other cultures. If you aren't prepared to allow those of a particular gender or sexual preference within your own country to determine their path, of course that will extend to the way that your state relates to other nations on a global scale. It represents so much outward looking and so little introspection. And yet most of these nations have at their heart a fundamentalism that is indistinguishable from that of their rivals. Perhaps if the patriarchy itself were dismantled it would mean more than just the emancipation of women. Perhaps it would end a whole host of zero-sum behaviors. Imagine what lofty heights we could attain if we focused on lifting people up rather than keeping them down. If we looked inwards on ourselves instead of outwards at other people imagine the places we could go. On that note I'll leave the final word to M.J.K who once wrote of Jesus and his followers: "Ranting and pointing his finger/ At everything but his heart."

Meanwhile: Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, on the ACT's proposal to allow homosexual marriage: "This is not an anti-homosexual gesture. This is a gesture to support the special and traditional place of marriage as a heterosexual union for life of a man and a woman in Australian society. Why we're against what the ACT is doing is that, in all but name, they are equating same-sex unions with marriage. I don't support that, not because I'm against homosexuals, but I think there should always be a margin for marriage as we understand it in our society ... you don't equate a gay union with a traditional marriage – that's our position."


nailpolishblues said...

In shouldn't be the least bit worried about my essay writing if I were you.

Doing any Gender Studies? Very worthwhile even if you don't pursue it as a major.

Don Quixote said...

Gender Studies was one of about 8 subjects that I would have really liked to take on but had to drop because my schedule was already too full.

So many subjects, so little time in which to complete my degree.

nailpolishblues said...

Ah please, mine took five years - on the second attempt. Lots of meandering and a couple of changes of majors on the way [and no, I do not know the status of my HECS debt]...
If you ever get a chance - try - or just crash some lectures :)

Don Quixote said...

I should probably crash a few lectures when I have the time. I'd also like to learn a bit more about one of my major passions - film.

nailpolishblues said...

What are you actually studying?

Don Quixote said...

I'm studying Arts/Law. The first year of the subject only requires me to do arts subjects, which is good because I think law is going to be quite boring.