Thanks to Sir Charles for pointing me to this hilarious spaz of an op-ed by Kathleen Parker. If you really want to understand the wingnut mind, you have to really, truly understand that male power over women’s bodies is a holy principle to them, second only to the love of pissing off liberals. (By the way, thanks to AJ Kandy for tweeting me this link suggesting that the love of angering other people for no good reason has been measured, and related to hormone levels, though I’m cautious about making causal claims.) You really see it on Pam’s post about the Freeper reaction to Mary Cheney’s pregnancy—this visceral anger about pregnancy existing outside of their own model of it as a man’s conquest of a female body and demonstration of his virility upon that body. The cock is all-powerful in the wingnut imagination, and suggestions to the contrary are rejected angrily. Even when those suggestions to the contrary aren’t actually made with any strong feminist intent—I imagine Mary Cheney and her partner simply want another child—it’s spun as some childish rejection of male authority and control.
Anyway, few people understand the importance of Cock Power better than wingnut welfare recipient Kathleen Parker, who never met a rapist she wouldn’t shield from the vicious attacks by uppity feminists. If you don’t believe me, here’s some reading on how date rapists are being unfairly treated and how a man shouldn’t have to stop having sex with a woman just because she says no and how rapists and sexual harassers are the real victims, of women who tempt them by being rape-able. For the commenter who left the maudlin comment about where I got the idea that conservatives don’t care about rape, I would ask him to ask Kathleen Parker that question.
Parker knows what her audience wants to hear—that mere women should not get in the way of Cock Power—and she delivers it with enthusiasm to spare. So I was unsurprised to see her jumping on the scolding pile-on aimed at Penelope Trunk for having the nerve not only to be relieved that her body rejected the all-powerful male essence before she had to pay a doctor to do it for her, but that she tweeted it, demonstrating that she didn’t even feel ashamed that her body was not a better passive recipient for Cock Power.
For those of us in a less batshit frame of mind, pregnancy is about potential, specifically the potential to have children. And potential invites a variety of reactions, all valid. When a door opens and you don’t want it open, it’s valid to shut it. If you’re ambivalent, it’s valid to be relieved if it closes on its own. If you want to shut it, but something else does it for you, then it’s acceptable to be relieved. If you wanted the opportunity, but it was snatched from you, it’s fine to grieve, even if you know there’s going to be more chances. We grasp this when it comes to job opportunities, education, relationships, etc. All of these things are great sometimes, bad sometimes, middling sometimes, and it’s not only important that people have choices, but the right to feel what they do about taking one path and not another, or having paths shut off for them.
But pregnancy is all muddled up by the matter of Cock Power, and how some men and their female enablers unabashedly see pregnancy more as a demonstration of male power over women than anything else. Grasping this makes it surprisingly easy to predict how bunched up people will get over the issue of abortion. Parker herself doesn’t quite even know why she’s outraged that Trunk was nonchalant about her miscarriage.
Where, oh, where is Flannery O’Connor when we need her? If she were still roaming around Milledgeville, we can be fairly certain she wouldn’t be tweeting. But one might hope that O’Connor would put pen to paper and expose today’s sideshow for what it is. Once asked why the grotesque is so alive in the South, the author said it’s because Southerners can still recognize a freak.
Except she obviously doesn’t think that Trunk is a mere freakshow (which she is most definitely not), because Parker dedicated an entire WaPo editorial to this incident. She’s stabbing in the general direction of disapproving of this woman on the grounds that she was somehow inadequately concerned—after all, one should be angry at one’s body for not cooperating with Cock Power, I suppose—but she’s not quite sure what the crime is here. After all, the problem with miscarriage is that it’s not a deliberate rejection of Cock Power, and so it doesn’t really rate wingnut ire or faux concern, like abortion does, even though the result is the same. Indiscretion? That’s the most she can land on.
Perhaps some women do need more information about miscarriage, though it seems probable that those following twitterers and blogs know how to mine the Internet for information. Or, you know, they could talk to their doctor/mother/grandmother/aunt. Pick up the phone?
Of course, that misses the point. The information women are seeking is cues on whether their feelings are legitimate. And knowing that other women don’t feel guilty, and may even feel relieved about miscarriage, is information that a lot of women might want to have.