So, basically, I listen to all of the POD Save America Podcasts, because I am a politics junkie and nerd-girl and what could be better than to listen to a bunch of smart, funny people talk about several of my obsessions? And, last week one of the many hosts on PSA (clearly, trying to be provocative, but still!) blamed the fall of Roe v. Wade on Ruth Bader Ginsburg. That’s right, it’s all Ruth’s fault, because she didn’t retire early in Obama’s second term. FFS, WTF? A liberal, white male pundit is saying RBG is at fault for the fall of Roe? I’ve been stewing on this ever since, because noNo. And just fuck no. The conversational context, to be clear, was the imminent return of Dianne Feinstein to the senate after an extended absence, during which the GOP members of the Judiciary Committee of the US Senate refused to move numerous appointments to the Federal Judiciary forward on an almost evenly divided committee that, lacking Feinstein’s single vote to appoint, was stuck at an entirely even 50-50. Please, please, puh-leeze blame those intransigent conservative fuckers, not Dianne Feinstein, FFS. And, blaming a woman – Feinstein or Bader Ginsberg – for what mostly male Senators, justices, legislators, donors to and members of the Federalist Society, religious leaders, and male everything else in power have done to squash Roe (including creating a Senate where the rules overwhelmingly advantage small states, and white male power), is classic patriarchy. Coming from a liberal voice – a gay white male, no less – simply added insult to injury, but just because a man is liberal, or gay, or a professional pundit re: politics doesn’t mean he isn’t infected with the same biases we all have, including misogyny. 

And, this is how the patriarchy works. Patriarchy 101. Blame women. (Or POC, or the Poor, or Gays, or Drag Queens … it’s all the same, really) Blame women who are victims of sexual assault for wearing the wrong outfit or being out at night; blame E. Jean Carroll for entering a store with Trump (I’m still working on getting the sound of the crowd’s laughter at the CNN Town Hall re: sexual assault out of my head); blame Hillary Clinton for Bill Clinton’s infidelities; blame Feinstein for – after a lifetime of public service – not getting out of the way; blame RBG for wanting to do her job to the last moment possible, largely because she wanted to see a female president appoint her successor (like a lot of other people, RBG underestimated the power of misogyny, and misinformation, assuming Hillary Clinton would win the election in 2016). Blame women for the many ways in which our political system is set up to keep those in power in power, which includes, at this late date, a mere handful of women like Feinstein. Gasp!  

Call the Violence Against Women Act the Violence Against Women Act, when its purpose is to eradicate, reduce, punish and find solutions for male violence against women, a clever trick of language that erases male responsibility. I want and need to do a deep dive to find out if the original writers of the act believed the it would never pass if you added that language, making men own their gender’s actions? And please, please, please – don’t go there with ‘but not all men’. Not all men, sure, but far too many. Reminds me of that mental trick: ask yourself how many women do you know personally who have been raped, stalked, assaulted, harassed, abused, or groped; now, how many men do you know who are rapists, gropers, stalkers etc., and why it is that no one seems to know any of these men? 

Do I wish Feinstein had retired last year, or the year previous, or had simply not run again? Sure. And, feminism at its core is about empowering women (and men, for that matter) wherever they are, whoever they are, to make their own choices without judgement, with freedom, and with the support of individuals, organizations, and our society at large. And, feminism’s mission is to fight the real enemy of equality for all, which ain’t a couple of old ladies in the Legislative or Judicial branches of our government, but rather are the many entrenched misogynistic (and racist, and homophobic, and, and, and) biases and inequalities baked into our systems of justice, policy, religion, finance, education, and government. 

If blame we must – and don’t we love to play the blame game – how about we blame Mitch McConnell for refusing even to meet with Merrick Garland, stonewalling his nomination to the Supreme Court in 2016? How about we blame Mitch as well for flipping that script, shoving through Dumpster Fire’s nomination of the handmaid’s tale dream date Amy Coney Barrett at the last possible moment? How about we blame the lying sacks of crap (Kavanaugh and Gorsuch), who swore under oath that they respected and would uphold precedent, including Roe, at their Senate confirmation hearings? How about we blame that conservative Catholic prick Sammy Alito, who quoted 15th century jurisprudence for part of his decision on Roe? A fifteenth Century British Jurist quoted in America in 2022?!? You can’t make this shit up, people. Or how about we blame yet another conservative Catholic, this time Leonard Leo, and his billions along with every other member of the Federalist Society for wanting to control women’s bodies, choices, and futures, claiming it’s because they believe in the ‘sanctity of life’ – while at the same time that exclusive club of mostly rich, white males promote judges, politicians, policies and laws that would fundamentally undermine or eradicate Social Security, Medicaid, Food Stamps (SNAP), and WIC? FEH.  

Fuck that shit and those shitty men. RBG was and is an icon, who – along with Dianne Feinstein – may have stayed too long at the party. And, that was her right. Sigh.

And, while I think men (in power, especially) need to fix the fucking problems men have created, feminism at its core is about equity for everyone, freeing women and men from the idiocies and literal harms of the patriarchy. Here’s a link to yet another recent podcast I listened to entitled The Problem with Boys and Men, featuring two white men in what is, regardless, a great discussion re: the challenges and solutions we’re all facing (we are, all of us, in this together) in case you’re interested. I think Richard Reeves has a lot of good points, although I disagree with a few of them and find it maddening how, as the tables turn, men are unable to help themselves out of the trench they’ve dug. Still, it’s vitally important to know what’s being done, being thought, on all sides, and to dig deeper regardless of what issue is being discussed, and how passionately nauseous I feel about the ‘but men are suffering’ and ‘not all men’ narrative lines. Of course, not all men, and of course men are suffering! Rigid gender roles, ancient, unchanging role models for what men can and cannot be and do, harms everyone, women, girls, boys and men: all of us. Humanism 101. Gosh, I spy a theme.