When we last left off with our ongoing series on the World Congress of Families (WCF) and the worldview espoused by their speakers and board members, we were talking about the extreme anti-woman views of the (mostly) men who grace the stage at WCF events. We looked at men’s rights activist and WCF speaker Stephen Baskerville, who explained in a mandatory lecture at Patrick Henry College that, for the most part, sexual violence against women is a trumped up accusation meant to wage war on poor, put upon straight white men. From his speech:
Since the inception of their Revolution—and well beneath the media radar screen—militants have been creating a panoply of new crimes and expanded redefinitions of existing crimes—all involving sexual relations. While it is very likely that the Sexual Revolution has also increased incidences of real sex crimes, the new gender crimes are very different: They play on the fear of sex crimes, but they redefine these politically to include not simply acts but heterodox political beliefs. The reality of the witch hunts thus bears no necessary relation to what is suggested by the inflammatory language and jargon:
- “rape” that includes consensual relations and in most instances is no more than that;
- domestic “violence” that involves no violence or any physical contact or threat of it;
- sexual “harassment” that can mean anything from simple flirtation to unauthorized opinions about morality or politics;
- “child abuse” that is routine parental discipline, or homeschooling, or concocted altogether to win advantage in divorce court;
- “bullying” that involves criticism of the homosexual agenda or other differences of belief and opinion;
- “stalking” that is forcibly divorced fathers trying to see their own children;
And much more.
Libby Anne at Patheos summed up Baskerville’s thinking in a paragraph:
Baskerville is a rape denialist, a domestic violence denialist, and a child abuse denialist (among others). Baskerville could simply argue that rape, domestic violence, and child abuse are results of the sexual revolution (or of feminism), a common argument in Baskerville’s camp, and to some extent he does. However, he is also arguing that as commonly reported and prosecuted, rape, domestic violence, and child abuse are nearly universally trumped up, false, and mere pretexts for divorcing, prosecuting, and imprisoning innocent men. And the enemy here, of course, are those evil, deductive, temptresses—women.
If you were an alien visiting Earth for the first time, you’d probably imagine that Baskerville’s audience and the organizations that he works with and supports are made up solely of weak-minded, professional victim white males like himself. After all, what woman with any sense of self worth would listen to that kind of tripe for even five minutes? But, of course, if you’re familiar with the religious right, you know that they have more than enough women who are willing to carry water for the misogynistic men in their lives, and they give visual cover to their movement. “See? We’re not anti-woman. We’re pro-FAMILY!” (As long as the women know their place.)
Phyllis Schlafly was one of the pioneers of that movement. Never one to let her own hypocrisy give her a sense of humility, Phyllis has worked night and day throughout her life spreading the message that women need men for their very survival, that they should be submissive, that they shouldn’t work, and so on. Janice Shaw Crouse, Executive Director of Concerned Women For America (a group whose hate group designation is surely forthcoming), seems to be the chief water carrier/misogyny enabler for the World Congress Of Families, having been a featured speaker at six of their seven international conferences, beginning in 1999. In 2012, they named her “Woman Of The Year.” Her positions on the religious right don’t stop there, either. From her CWA bio:
Dr. Crouse serves on the board of The Howard Center [parent org. of the World Congress – ed.] and is Chair of the Board for the Institute on Religion and Democracy. She is on the Board of Advisers for the Christian Film and Television Commission and the International End Demand Coalition. The Heritage Foundation nominated her for the 2003 Bradley Prize for her influence on contemporary issues. She received an “Abolitionist” award from the U.S. State Department for her work to end sex trafficking and a “Global International Leadership Award” from the Leadership Institute.
So, she’s connected.
Would you be surprised to find out that Crouse’s beliefs on women are along the same lines as Baskerville’s? At WCF III, held in Mexico City in 2004, she spoke on “feminism and the family.” Please understand that when religious right leaders use the word “feminism,” they simply mean “women.” Their beliefs about what feminism is and what feminism is not are ridiculously skewed, which is a huge problem in our culture in general (see note below). In her talk, Janice explained that “falsehoods enslave and myths destroy” — true — and then goes on to invoke Hitler, Stalin and Mao in order to set up her talk on why women’s rights are evil.
Crouse believes that the very foundation of feminism is bent on destroying women’s relationships with their families:
First though, we have to understand why the feminist myths predominantly have to do with women’s relationships – with men, marriage and the family. For feminist thinkers, traditional marriage is the ultimate oppressor of women; the biggest obstacle to the realization of an egalitarian society is patriarchy and the social order that supports it, particularly marriage and religion. So, at the top of their agenda over the past four decades have been efforts to undermine marriage, family, religion and masculinity.
It might be tempting to dismiss this out of hand. Feminist women have long had happy, wonderful marriages to men, so one does wonder what she means when she says they want to destroy “traditional marriage.” The key is the word “traditional,” and here is where it’s helpful to cross reference her words with the words of the gentleman I quoted above. If Crouse, Baskerville, Don Feder and others didn’t have any problem with strong, egalitarian heterosexual marriages where the partners treat each other as equals, she wouldn’t be railing on about this. The tell comes just after her words “traditional marriage,” when she says, “the biggest obstacle to the realization of an egalitarian society is patriarchy and the social order that supports it.” The fact that things have become more egalitarian — and indeed studies have shown that more egalitarian marriages are better for people and for their kids — is Crouse’s problem here. Those pesky women simply no longer “know their place.”
Crouse, like Schlafly, is a woman who is highly paid to tell women to get pregnant and head to the kitchen barefoot, essentially.
Crouse continued her WCF talk by going on to address several alleged totems of the “feminist agenda,” explaining why they’re bad for society:
Abortion on Demand: Since the central aspect of women’s liberation is so-called “free love” –– sexual activity that is unconstrained and without consequences, they declared that abortion on demand is a basic human right and they made abortion an essential and sacred element of their life’s creed. The abortion activists defend the 45 million murders of unborn lives by abortionists – at every turn and in every arena.
The central aspect of women’s liberation was never “free love,” Janice. An aspect of women’s liberation is and always has been that women should have control over their own bodies and be free to enjoy consensual sex without shame. Men (yes, even and some might argue especially patriarchal fundamentalist men) have always enjoyed the ability to run off on their wives and get a little on the side from mistresses, sex workers, their secretaries, etc. The women at home were subjugated and the women on the side are branded as whores. Feminism merely seeks to give women the right to make the same good or bad choices as men always have, without the stigma.
Federally Mandated Day Care: Feminists demand that childcare arrangements be federally funded so that the rearing of children can be turned over to childcare providers and thus not interfere with a woman’s career aspirations. The data clearly indicates the risks to babies and children who are in day care too much – generally conceded to be over 20 hours a week. That data has consistently been suppressed, buried and un-reported. Or, it has been unfairly attacked and distorted. In fact, the suppression of the overwhelming evidence about the attachment, behavioral, emotional and health risks associated with the overuse of day care amounts to statutory child abuse, but such is the power of the feminist special interests that they can keep that information from widespread dissemination. Feminists are at the forefront of those who are trying to convince the world that “father and mother” are just words –– that all a child needs are both male and female influences and that any man and woman can provide a child’s nurturing and guidance needs.
In the worldview of misogynists like Janice Crouse and Stephen Baskerville, women want these things because they’re selfish. In reality, many women have strong career aspirations and would like to figure out how to make it all work. Many women who would otherwise love to raise their kids at home pursue careers because they have to. Life is much more expensive than it used to be, and it’s getting harder and harder for families to provide for their children each year. Incomes aren’t growing at the same rate as inflation, and while I’m sure we all wish we could lead the charmed life Janice leads, it’s not the reality for the great majority of Americans. And yes, it would be nice if child care were easier to come by than it is now. I know this as the devoted uncle of an eight month-old who shoulders a lot of the child care while her parents are working, and I am grateful that I have a job that allows me to multi-task like that. So are they.
When people like Janice Crouse flippantly suggest that women want these things just because they’re selfish and won’t submit, I’m reminded of Molly Ivins’ four word final smackdown of Camille Paglia: “Sheesh, what an asshole.” Paglia, of course, is the original anti-feminist, and the one that patriarchal water carriers like to cite.
Sexual Orientation Special Agenda: Feminists are determined to mainstream lesbian and homosexual lifestyles. One of the women’s movement biographers attributed Betty Friedan’s downfall as the “mother of feminism” to her refusal to embrace homosexuality. Some of the movement leaders privately accused Friedan of only dealing with “symptoms” and that only “those willing to explore the significance of ‘women loving women’ would come to grips with the underlying causes of women’s oppression.”
Well, the two do go hand in hand. Women’s rights and gay rights, after all, are two sides of the same coin, as they are both, at heart, about allowing people who aren’t straight white Christian men to make their own decisions about how they live and love, to, in essence, truly be treated as first class citizens.
Anti-Masculinity: At the recent UN Commission on the Status of Women, the theme was the role of men and boys in achieving gender equity. There was considerable emphasis on teaching young boys to be more “sensitive” and less “aggressive.” Characteristics that are stereotypically “male” were clearly undesirable and consistently portrayed in a negative light.
It’s always strange when they start talking about “anti-masculinity.” However, it’s important to understand that, in Crouse’s worldview, the purpose of women is to “civilize men.” A short version of this worldview could be: “Man hunt, fight, kill, bring home carcass! Wife teach him manners, cook carcass, give man sex!” Yes, it really is that much of a caveman mentality. The very idea that men can be sensitive, or that true masculinity can embody a whole host of characteristics, is highly threatening to the conservative Christian worldview. Because they are so used to the roles they believe their God has assigned them, the idea of men not needing women in order to experience feelings, or women not needing men to open jars (see note and link to Amanda Marcotte article below), opens up a huge Pandora’s box.
We’ll be examining more of Janice’s writing and work in the coming days, but as an explanation of the above point, let’s close this chapter with a quote from her book Marriage Matters: Perspectives On The Private And Public Importance Of Marriage, which I will be reviewing in full at a later date:
You see? Men are animals, need women to tame them; women need men to make their decisions for them, because they’re clearly not equipped.
Yes, it’s a horrific that a woman believes this, but that’s the nature of the fundamentalist anti-feminist woman, and that’s what’s on display on stage at the World Congress Of Families.
Note: (For a brief, wonderful pushback against the modern movement of women who, for whatever reason, can’t bring themselves to use the word “feminism,” and who seem to think that they can’t be feminists because they believe in equality for everyone — which is what feminists believe — read Amanda Marcotte’s latest, “No need to marry that creepy misogynist, ladies! Feminists will help you with your jars.” It’s sad that she even had to write it, but there seems to be a movement out there that says that while women should be equal, women need men, because jars are hard.)