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The Republicans’ War On Women

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You’ve come a long way. baby!

Virginia Slims 1968 – early 1970s cigarette ad

The 1970s was the decade of the rise of the women’s liberation movement and the historic Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court Decision, which legally established the reproductive freedom of American women.

Most importantly, events of that decade established once and for all that American women would never again be second-class citizens.

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But during the last six years, Donald Trump and his Republican cohorts have managed to not just halt the economic and social progress that American women have been making over these last five decades, but they have actually succeeded in turning back the clock.

Social Injustice

Members of Gen Z and the Millennials – and even members of Gen X – have had a hard time grasping just how badly women had been treated. Yes, of course they know about the suppression of reproductive rights and job discrimination, but what was truly astounding about those times was how nearly all men and women accepted the status quo.

That’s life! So, you better just learn to live with it, because it’s never going to change. That was the sage advice that each generation of mothers gave their daughters.

Their highest life goal was to marry a doctor, a very successful businessman or maybe even a man from a very rich family. There was even a 1953 hit movie starring Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable, Lauren Bacall and William Powell that was entitled, “How to Marry a Millionaire.”

As late as the 1972, not one woman headed a Fortune 500 company. In that year, Katherine Graham took over the Washington Post Company upon the death of her husband, Phil. All of the company’s stock had long been owned by her family.

Only an infinitesimal number of women were admitted to the nation’s top law schools, or permitted to serve as police officers or college presidents – except, of course, at women’s colleges. In fact, the ranks of virtually all the nation’s best paying jobs were filled by men.

Men became doctors and lawyers, while women became nurses and legal secretaries. Men were the breadwinners, while women were housewives.

Americans were so accepting of blatant job discrimination that although the Help Wanted sections of virtually every newspaper listed all the job openings under either of two listings – Female and Male – almost no one ever complained about this blatant form of sexual discrimination.

In general, the positions for males paid a lot more than those for females. And if a woman applied for any of these positions, she was firmly reminded that these were men’s jobs – about the same reaction that a woman might receive if she had inadvertently walked into a men’s bathroom.

The Republican Party's War On Women

Trump enjoyed calling himself a “wartime president,” presumably because of his role in the war on COVID. But he was far too modest. He largely devoted his presidency to the Republican Party’s war on women.

In his own words, this expresses Trump’s attitude towards women, which was captured on the infamous Access Hollywood tape: “When you’re a star, you can do anything. Grab ‘em by the pussy. You can do anything.” No wonder he wasn’t invited to Queen Elizabeth’s funeral!

It was Trump, with a very powerful assist from Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who appointed three archconservative justices to the Supreme Court – Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Elizabeth Coney Barrett – who joined with fellow reactionaries, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas – in overturning Roe vs. Wade just a few months ago.

Of course, Republican dominated state legislatures had been chipping away at abortion rights over the last five decades, and now they have been even more emboldened in their efforts to completely eliminate women’s productive rights in nearly every Republican controlled state.

The core of the Republican political base is composed of white men – very few of whom have college degrees – who are very angry about having been left behind, while others- -better educated white women and members of minority groups – have cut the job line.

This view anticipated the newly popular replacement theory promoted by MAGA Republicans that white Americans are being replaced by hordes of illegal immigrants.

These men, who never went to college, have also voiced similar resentment at those people whose student loans are now either partially or fully being repaid by the federal government. Why should they get a handout from the government, especially since I have to subsidize it with my tax dollars?

Trump and his Republican allies agree with these aggrieved white men that women need to be put back in their place. And where is that? The words will bounce off your tongue: A woman’s place is in the home.

And what, then, is a man’s place? He’s the breadwinner. Women should not be cops and they should not be corporate executives, doctors, lawyers, and college professors. They should stay at home, taking care of their families.

The world has gone mad since the passage of Roe vs. Wade. Women should be giving birth to their children – not having them killed!

Do the MAGA Republicans hate women? Not at all! Indeed, they just love them to death! And they will keep on loving them as long as they stay in their place.