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“Tradition” is just code for patriarchy

By Amanda Marcotte
Monday, April 4, 2011 13:11 EDT
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Julie Sunday, writing for RH Reality Check, reports on a piece of legislation that passed the Texas House and will probably become law because Republicans have a super-majority. The law would require any university that has a “gender and sexuality center” to also have a “traditional values center” as a form of counter-programming.

What I like about this is how nakedly obvious it is. Gender and sexuality centers at universities are there to promote what really should be non-controversial ideas: that women/gay/transgender people are full human beings, that human sexuality is a natural part of life, that rape and domestic violence are bad things, and that people have a right to be healthy regardless of gender or sexual status. Counter-programming then, I have to assume, is pro-rape, pro-domestic violence and bullyin, anti-health, and anti-woman. Not a big surprise to those of us who’ve been paying attention and know that the conservative movement does in fact oppose anti-rape efforts, sex education, gay rights, anti-domestic violence efforts, and health care for anyone who has dared experience sexual pleasure, especially outside of their strict rules (which include not just being married, but being the right race and wealthy enough to pay out of pocket for all expenses related to sexual health care).

On that last link, I want to point out that the implication behind the misleading obsession with mammograms on the right carries with it the implication that anyone who dies of cervical cancer—which Planned Parenthood does screen for in office—had it coming and deserves to die. Because she touched a penis. In theory, virgins can get breast cancer, so they’re hard-pressed to oppose screening for it, though I suppose if you released statistics showing that 99.9% of breast cancer patients have had sex at some point, they’d probably go ahead and round that one up to a had-it-coming disease.

What is fascinating about this particular story is how blatant this is. Usually there’s an attempt to pretend that anti-woman efforts are somehow pro-woman—Susan B. Anthony would want women to die of cervical cancer, we swear!—though of course, no such effort is expended in the game of pretending they care if queer people live or die. In this case, though, it’s just straightforward. Gender and sexuality centers offer health and anti-violence information, and that needs counter-programming. I’m curious what kind of “traditional values” programming we can expect to see. For instance, if gender and sexuality centers organize a Take Back the Night Rally, will the anti-feminist centers organize a Bitches Stay In Or You Deserve To Be Raped Rally? If a gender and sexuality center has a seminar on avoiding or escaping violent relationships, will the “traditional values” center have a seminar explaining that men only hit because they love too much? If you think about it, it seems that this move might be a tad counterproductive, except that it creates more jobs for professional anti-feminists.

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
 
 
 
 
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