No, Pro-Life Women Aren’t ‘Men With Breasts’
A few weeks ago, in the midst of the outrage over Rush Limbaugh calling Sandra Fluke a slut, I noted how the media seemed shockingly disinterested in attacks on conservative women. The media like to pretend that all women think the same and the same way that they think is uniformly liberal on all issues.
As a libertarian, I’ve seen the folly of such generalizations. I have conservative and liberal and libertarian friends who are female. We all have lady parts, this is true, but that doesn’t mean we share an identical brain. No one expects men to think the same way about every issue out there but that unfair expectation is put on women all the time.
And, sadly, this is sometimes done by liberal women themselves. Take what Pennsylvania State Rep. Babette Josephs, a Philadelphia Democrat, had to say about the women who have the gall to disagree with her politically:
During her remarks, she blasted women lawmakers who co-sponsored the ultrasound bill, asking rhetorically, â€œWhat are they? Women, or are they men with breasts?â€ according to supporters of the bill who watched the rally.
Josephs stood by her words after the rally, arguing that the women lawmakers on the bill â€“ sponsored by Rep. Kathy Rapp of Warren County â€” are acting like women only in the sense â€œthat they will do what the men tell them.â€
â€œThey must believe that they are not capable of making their own health care choices, but they are capable of voting on bills that control all of our behavior,â€ Josephs continued. â€œI donâ€™t understand it â€¦
â€œI donâ€™t believe theyâ€™re really women. â€¦ I believe theyâ€™re men with breasts.â€
You stay classy, Rep. Josephs.
The fact is that about half of women identify as pro-choice and about half identify as pro-life. I’m in the latter camp. Which means I’ve spent the last few months being invisible to media outlets. When the Health and Human Services department enacted a new rule requiring religious employers to fully fund contraception, abortion drugs and sterilization — even if their doctrines strenuously oppose such things — some religious groups and civil liberties outfits were outraged at this government action. Their response to the new mandate was billed as a “War on Women” by Democratic operatives. That’s what partisan people are supposed to do — frame the issue for maximum political gain. But the media bought it hook, line and sinker.
What’s frustrating about this “War on Women” meme is that it dehumanizes all women who don’t adopt the Democratic talking points. Some of us — indeed, many of us — don’t. Even the New York Times poll shows that more women are against the mandate than support it. But we don’t fit the narrative.
Either way, and even if pro-life women only existed in a tiny minority, Josephs’ comments are unacceptable. (Not to mention that they’re also quite sexist toward men, too.) They remind me of the derangement that some politically extreme women had over Sarah Palin back when she was governor of Alaska. She was only the second woman to be tapped to appear on a major presidential ticket but was met with comments in a Washington Post piece by Wendy Doniger that fumed Palin’s “greatest hypocrisy is in her pretense that she is a woman.” Wow.
When you call your female political opponents “men with breasts” or deny a woman’s sex because she doesn’t adopt your views, it simply demonstrates that you have nothing worth saying. And that’s not a good way to win arguments.
Pro-life and pro-choice women have been talking to — and debating with — each other for decades without resorting to such rhetoric. I hope Josephs and others who have tried to strip pro-life and conservative women of our femaleness will reconsider their words.