Red State Feminist Blog:

Karl Lagarfeld Said Something Wise

Red State Feminists are not smitten with haute couture, but nevertheless took notice of a recent New York Times piece quoting Karl Lagarfeld. The subject of the article was the French debate over same-sex marriage. While France has had civil unions for quite some time, the French have not--to this point--andorsed same-sex marriage.

Most celebrity figures in France, including Lagarfeld, a famous designer, support the movement for same-sex marriage, though Lagarfeld opposed it until 2010. However, notice the interesting statement he makes on the subject, quiting the Times here:

Asked by reporters after his recent show if his use of lesbian couture was a sign of support for gay marriage, Mr. Lagerfeld replied, “Of course it was.” He added, “I don’t even understand the debate.” He pointed to the 1905 law that separates church and state in France. “Why can’t people who live together have the same security as bourgeois marrieds?” he asked.

But he said he was “less enthusiastic” about male couples as parents.

“Two mothers seem to me better than two fathers,” he said. “A child without a mother, that’s a bit sad.”

Indeed, Lagarfeld is willing to say something that others have not been willing to say. And that is that homosexual couples deliberately plan to deprive a child of either its mother or its father. And yes, it is not simply sad, but horrible, that any male couple would purpose to do this to a child. Every child deserves to be with his or her mother, assuming she is not abusive. This is a fundamental human right, enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), a global human rights treaty acceded to by the majority of nations in the world. Article 7, point 1 states:

1. The child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a nationality and, as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents.

We seem capable of respecting everyone's human rights, except the human rights of the child. Every child has the right to know and to be cared for by his or her parents. Every human being has a mother, whether it is politically correct to say so or not. In the heart of every child, they know that they have a mother somewhere, even if no one will tell them who she is. Creating motherless children on purpose is the sign of a civilization in its twilight. How interesting that a fashion designer can see this clearly, but governments cannot.

This issue is not like issues of restrictions on marriage revolving around race, religion, or other such characteristics. In all of these circumstances a child has a mother. In the case of same-sex marriage, we are saying it is right to deprive a child of its human right to have a mother. This is a horse of an entirely different color than all other regulations on marriage.

Red State Feminists will continue to raise the warning voice on this issue, even if it is not popular. Those who acquiesce in the purposeful creation of motherless children are not feminists, and are no friends to women.

March 16, 2013 by Red State Gal


More Women Than Men View Abortion as Morally Wrong

Red State Feminists note a new Pew study surveying attitudes among Americans about abortion. There's a lot of interesting stuff in there, but one that caught our eye was that 49% of American women surveyed thought abortion was morally wrong, though 64% did not want Roe vs Wade to be overturned. The comparison figures for men were 45% and 63%. (Pew also helpfully provides a guide to teachings on abortion by seventeen mainstream religions.)

The 40th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade brought one of the largest Marches for Life yet; estimates suggest at least 100,000 marched in Washington, DC. The proportions for and against abortion have remained relatively unchanged over the last 20 years--about half believe abortion is morally wrong, about 40% do not believe it is morally wrong, and the rest state that it depends on the circumstance.

But as we have repeatedly argued in this column, what is left out of the debate is the role of men. Except in those rare cases where the life of the mother is the factor precipitating the need for abortion, there was a betrayal of a woman by a man. The initial violence in an abortion was the initial violence perpetrated by a man against a woman.

And this need not be an overt violence, such as in the case of rape. It can also be a man who has sex without any commitment to the woman with whom he has sex. As one commentator to a recent Op-Ed in the New York Times put it, "Any man, who at any time in there life, has had even one casual sexual encounter with a woman forfeits the right to speak or write on this topic." "Casual" and "sex" cannot be in the same sentence without testifying to a wrong having been committed. Another commentator put it this way:

Every abortion is caused by a man who lets down his woman. He was there to have sex, but he is not there to take care of the child. Yet I have never seen a discussion about these men.

It is certainly easier and safer to attack only the abortion seeking women, because they have already been deserted by their men. Have you ever seen pro-life people demonstrating against a man? "Hey, look: that big muscular guy with the tattoos on his face is a baby killer!"

Another commentator said, "I will give up my right to an abortion as soon as men give up their right to ejaculate for purposes other than procreation." Red State Feminists would have said it differently: ". . . as soon as men give up their right to ejaculate in a context other than committed, loving marriage to the woman who is their lover." There is quite a bit of truth in this comment also: "No one who has not faced losing their future because of a broken condom or a missed pill gets to preach to women on the morality of abortion." That is, if it is the man's sperm that will cause a huge problem for the person he has sex with, then it is incumbant upon the man to shoulder the responsibility not just of birth control, but also to shoulder the responsibility of failed birth control.

Another good comment is this one:

Men and women can eliminate abortion (except for some medical reasons) by managing their reproductive activities responsibly. First, men have to respect their female partner's choices and not feel that they have the right to make decisions for her or dominate. And women have to use good judgment so they only let responsible men father their children.

The Roman Catholic Church and other churches which promote patriarchal, controlling values for men are responsible in many cases for women having to turn to abortion.

Those who believe abortion is a moral wrong--as Red State Feminists do--must first address men's irresponsbility, impunity, and entitlement in sexual matters and in relationship matters before we can credibly call ourselves pro-life. To be pro-life is to be against oppression and exploitation of women by men in sex and in marriage. First things first--let us start there and see what happens to the abortion rate. For example, consider this comment:

Any male caught causing a pregnancy, where he isn't willing and/or able to provide material support for the child, gets the head of his penis removed-- make it so that the male half of the equation (it takes two to make a baby) really has some (fore) skin in the game, so to speak.

Though we may not agree with this specific remedy, there is no doubt that the betrayal-through-sex of women by men must stop. More women than men view abortion as morally wrong because men know abortion gives them greater impnity to perpetrate betrayal-through-sex. More women see abortion as morally wrong because they know abortion is, in most cases, the perceived necessity of committing a moral wrong to offset a moral wrong that has been committed against them. Men must, indeed, have some "skin" in this debate, or abortion will continue as a curse on the land. Where, then, is the pro-life leader, preferably male, that will take it upon himself to focus on this obvious first step?

January 27, 2013 by Red State Gal


Good for the French!

Red State Feminists wish you a happy 2013! We hope this year will bring greater happiness for those who have suffered during the Great Worldwide Recession.

There are many issues will we be talking about this year as a nation, including gun control, immigration, and others. And of course, with voter-approved measures legalizing same-sex marriage in Maine, Maryland, and Washington, even that issue will still be with us.

Along those lines, it is instructive to see what is happening in other countries on that score. The French president, Francois Hollande, has vowed to legalize same-sex marriage, and has drafted a bill he hopes to get through their national legislature. Yes, while we think of the French as more "progressive" than Americans on sex, France has resisted same-sex marriage to this point. However, they do have a system of domestic partnerships, called PACs, which are the equivalent of the American concept of civil unions and are open to same-sex couples.

France has resisted to this point because among all the religious forces arrayed against same-sex marriage, many French feminists also opposed it. French feminists felt that same-sex marriage and same-sex parenthood could lead to the erasure of women from the lives of the children produced from their bodies. To tell a child they have no mother is always a lie. There is always a woman involved; there is always a mother. Legal fictions that there is no mother are misogynist to the core, in this perspective.

A recent CNN article suggests that Hollande may not have an easy time with legalization of same-sex marriage. Supposedly hundreds of thousands of protestors marched in Paris against the proposal. And also, supposedly over 100 lawmakers have vowed to vote against the bill, and "hundreds" of mayors are also opposed. It will certainly be very interesting to see the outcome of the vote, which is to take place in February or March.

In the meantime, we can only hope that the type of feminist discourse that stood in opposition to same-sex marriage in France will work its way across the Atlantic. The issue of same-sex marriage has been characterized as an issue of fairness. But the question of whether this redefinition of marriage is fair specifically to women has not yet been broached. It is high time to have that discussion.

In the meantime, we wish France all the best in this fateful decision . . .

January 13, 2013 by Red State Gal