Thank you (should I say “thank” you), Scott Lemieux, for linking this display of really first class wingnutty sex hysteria from Maggie Gallagher, where the head of the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage argues that legalizing abortion is bad for women because now they have anal sex, which I guess wasn’t an option before because of the fear of making santorum babies. I really needed this, because I spent yesterday morning taping a Bloggingheads with an anti-choicer who kept repeating as a mantra that antis oppose abortion because it’s the taking of a human life. (I did not, sadly, have a chance to point out that so is ejaculation, because sperm are, like fetuses, both human and alive. Plus they do fetuses one better, which is they can live outside of their host, sometimes for days.) So, this was a nice refreshing bit of sex-phobic honesty from Gallagher to cleanse the palate.
And yes, she seriously jumps from abortion to anal sex. Her logic is pretzel-like, as it often is from antis who are trying to argue against sexual freedom without using the tools they’ve had for thousands of years of simply saying someone’s a pervert and letting that be enough, but this is how it goes: Abortion rights convinced young women that their sexuality is “like a man’s”, i.e. something you do for fun instead of grimly tolerate so you can have babies. But deep down inside, women don’t really want to have sex for fun. Women just want to get married and make babies, and sex is a means to that end. But now they all feel they should be pretending to enjoy sex for its own sake, which opens the door not just to casual sex, but to doing things like anal sex, which you have to grimly tolerate to prove you’re “like a man” (even though few straight men are up for having someone put dicks up their butts), when in the past the only sex you were required to grimly tolerate was vaginal intercourse within marriage. We’re doing it to please our boyfriends, which we don’t even have, because boyfriends are a quaint relic from the time before men had all the power.
Oh yes, Gallagher—this is standard wingnut nonsense now, by the way—argues that women had more sexual power back when they were forced to give birth against their wills, raped without any hope of legal recourse, and ushered into marriage before they were often old enough to know what they wanted, where they were then expected to give up, if they could afford it, any paid employment they may have enjoyed outside of the home. The logic here is basically that women love men, but men don’t love women, so women need leverage in order to force men to be with them, and pregnancy is that leverage.
Needless to say, while Gallagher and others like her try to claim this is a “feminist” argument, because they’re totally trying to get women what they want, it is in reality incredibly misogynist. This belief is based on the premise that men are good and women suck. Think about it. In this formulation, women obviously want men for their personalities, bodies, intellects, values—they love men’s whole entire lovable selves. But men don’t love anything but boobs and vaginas (and buttholes), and will only tolerate women’s odious personalities if forced to in order to get access to the vagina. Babies, in this formula, are the weapon used to force men to do this. I’m afraid I don’t see the “feminism” there. My feminism is one that suggests that women are men’s equals, and that just like men, we totally have value outside of our sexual functions. And that men can and do love women, instead of just pretend to love them in order to get access to their vaginas.
Hell, I’d go a step further and say that not only are men perfectly capable of loving women, but women also can love women. And men can love men! No wonder Gallagher finds homosexuality so threatening—since men are lovable and women aren’t in her world, what’s to stop all dudes everywhere from just quitting women altogether so they wile away the rest of their days gloriously loving each other? Well, that, and same sex attraction really undermines her notion that all of human sexuality can be reduced to “women want men, and men hate women but really like vaginas”.