No matter where you turn, it seems, women are under siege and fire.
Much ado has been made about Hillary Clinton's "humorless" and "frustrated" replies to queries from reporters in Nairobi, Kenya and the Congo.
First, Godwin Kipkemoi Chepkurgor, 39, a former city councilor in Nakuru, a city in southern Kenya, restated the offer he first made to President Bill Clinton in 2000. This time, he reiterated his offer to Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, of a 20-cow and 40-goat dowry to woo Chelsea Clinton.
Secretary Clinton was asked about the proposal by a CNN reporter at a Nairobi Town Hall session Thursday. "If you think about the current global economic climate, in which asset value has gone down...it's not a bad offer," the reporter said.
Though the audience laughed, Clinton's response was humorless,"She (Chelsea) is very independent, so I will convey this very kind offer."
Humorless? Gimme a break! What on earth is funny about treating your daughter like chattel?
The word to describe Hillary's response is this: Appropriate.
So, we probably shouldn't be surprised that, when a translator incorrectly relayed the query from a Congolese university student about what her husband (instead of President Obama)thought about an international financial matter , Hillary bristled.
"My husband is not secretary of state, I am," she snapped. "I am not going to be channeling my husband."
Well, and haven't the media been all over this story.
Oh, for Pete's sake! Again, she responded appropriately to the question she was given. The translator was the one at fault. Not the student. And certainly, not Hillary.
I honestly don't know how she stands it. The noxious fumes of world-wide misogyny only rise higher and get pretty strong at that level.
Even so, no matter the level, misogyny still stinks.
Approximately 800 Roman Catholic Religious Women, known as Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the umbrella organization for 95 percent of the women religious of America are gathering, even as we speak, for a three-day conference in Louisiana where they are 'under investigation' by the Vatican.
The National Catholic Reporter interviewed over two dozen of the women as the conference was beginning. You can read the remarks there, but this one caught my eye.
"Sister of Notre Dame de Namur Mary Daniel Turner, long respected for her scholarship and thoughtful perspectives on religious life, said tensions between the Vatican and the women religious of America date back at least to the 1950s “when we [the congregations] began to see we shared a common vision. “At the heart it is hard for Rome to understand us as moral agents in our own right.”
She added that the issues behind the Vatican investigations “are wider than women religious. The issues are those of the whole church. I hate to see this reduced to just religious life. It is deeper than that. It is a difference between the church of Rome and the U.S. church. I think we, the women religious, are asking what the laity is also asking. ‘Who are we as Catholics in a pluralistic society?'"
Gee, does that have a familiar ring to anyone?
If the Boyz at the Vatican think that they can bring these women under fire because, well, women are 'the weaker sex', they obviously don't know anything about the Nuns I grew up with. And, most of these women are the nuns I grew up with.
But wait! There's more!
Down in the heart of Texas, the Board of Education wants to change history. The Religious Dispatches is reporting that
Rev. Peter Marshall (one of their appointed academic experts), for example, wants to restore America, according to the Web site of his Massachusetts-based ministry, “to its Bible-based foundations through preaching, teaching, and writing on America’s Christian heritage and on Christian discipleship and revival.” He also believes that Hurricane Katrina, Watergate, and the Vietnam War are the result of divine wrath.
As part of his curriculum review for the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills process, Marshall issued an assessment of a Grade 5 history section in which students are asked to “describe the accomplishments of significant colonial leaders such as Anne Hutchinson, William Penn, John Smith, and Roger Williams.”
Marshall, along with his fellow reviewer David Barton, did not believe that students in the public education system should learn about Hutchinson:Anne Hutchinson does not belong in the company of these eminent gentlemen. She was certainly not a significant colonial leader, and didn’t accomplish anything except getting herself exiled from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for making trouble. (emphasis added)
Making trouble. Right. Don't want that in our history books. I mean, what kind of role model would that be for young girls?
Problem is, Texas is the second largest purchaser of textbooks in the country. If conservative Christians on the Texas Board of Ed panel prevail in their wish to leave Ann Hutchinson (trouble maker!), Cesar Chavez, and Thurgood Marshall out of the social studies curriculum, all US schools could be affected.
I know. I know. I've been saying that patriarchy is in it's last gasps of life. This looks far from a death bed scene, doesn't it?
Ms. Conroy, Hospice nurse extraordinaire, can tell you that it ain't called a 'death grip' for nothing.
Power never gives up power without a power struggle.
And, misogyny is the 'original sin' of the Garden of Eden.
No matter where it comes from or where it's directed, misogyny is still a toxic waste substance. Not to put too fine a point on it, but it stinks.
I have become convinced that it kills brain cells - male and female.
There's an ancient Chinese proverb which ends, "Women hold up half the sky."
Something tells me that, in these waning days of patriarchy, women are going to be doing more of the heavy lifting.
Good thing we can.