Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The War on Women: Are John Kasich and the Republican Party Engaging in Political Gyno Porn?

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Republicans are continuing their war on women. Their latest engagement consists of Ohio Governor John Kasich signing into law a set of draconian guidelines that restrict women's abortion rights in his state.

Chris Hayes was excellent on his TV show in exposing the problematic optics and policy implications of a group of old white men telling women what to do with their bodies.

I want to push his analysis a bit farther.

Racism and misogyny are political personality traits which overlap. The same personality type which is fearful of social change, upset about the perceived influence of people of color and the election of Barack Obama on American politics and life, and how women, gays, and other historically marginalized groups have been asserting their rights from the 1960s onward, is now mired in anxiety and a sense of existential threat.

Conservatives are ostensibly "colorblind" while being deeply color aroused; they do not "see" gender, but are deeply paranoid about being forced into social and political equality with women.

Prejudice involves a sense of psychological advantage and superiority over the out-group and the Other. When this sense of group position is threatened the dominant group lashes out.

Is there no better example of this dynamic and its politics of racial resentment, hostility to women's rights, gays, the poor, and immigrants than the faux populism of the Tea Party GOP in the Age of Obama?

The Right's recycling of the language of States Rights, Secession, Nullification, and Birtherism is not coincidental to the Republican Party's efforts to restrict women's reproductive rights. Those attitudes are commingled such that they are not easily separated for the members of Tea Party GOP.

I earlier described the Right-wing's obsession with Kermit Gosnell in Philadelphia as a type of addiction to "torture porn." John Kasich's (and other's) insistence on invading women's bodies in order to win their crusade against female reproductive rights is part of the same imaginary.

In all, John Kasich and his kind are practicing a type of "gyno-porn" in the political sphere:
...dedicated to all lovers of medical fetish and all that relates to the theme of the clinic, sex doctors, nurse sex and patients. Many people are afraid of doctors, but many derive great pleasure from these sensations and the more experiences and expectations from the upcoming preparations and physical procedures for handling the more exciting. 
Also of great importance attaches to the atmosphere and equipment of the doctor's consulting room. As a child, many played in doctors and patients, but some still practice these erotic examination games and do it with enthusiasm, experience and imagination. If you like the theme of clinic fetish porn, such as a BDSM physical examination, gyno exam, type of medical equipment, clothing, medical staff and of course, nude nurse sex, and doctor, you will find a lot of interesting things on this site. Tema of clinic fetish attracts both men and women, after all kind of women or men in a white coat is already causing great excitement. 
So here you will find including lesbian actions with nude nurses and strict doctor. Particular attention is paid to the various procedures, physical exam, gyno exam, with using of special equipment such as electric stimulation, syringes, needles, acupuncture, catheters, vacuum pumping, asphyxiation, and much more.
The Tea Party GOP are not traditional conservatives. No. They are political radicals who are invested in forcing their political paraphilia and fetishes on the American people.

Republicans' efforts to restrict women's rights are a type of slash porn made real through public policy:
“Okay, Joan, I’m going to begin the digital vaginal examination now. You’ll feel my two fingers go inside you and press all around the entrance first. We don’t use any lubrication for this part of the exam but you shouldn’t have any discomfort. Just relax.” Joan paid close attention as Doctor Welch took his index and third finger and introduced it into her vaginal opening about an inch, moving it in a slow circular motion. “Let me know if anything feels uncomfortable or like anything more than light pressure,” he instructed her as he pushed his fingers in another inch and made the same circuit, being careful to make a complete circle and not miss any area. Joan enjoyed the sight of the doctor’s fingers entering her and circling around, and yet the specific motions were not sexual at all and what she was feeling wasn’t exactly sexual either, just diffusely pleasant under the circumstances. 
Doctor Welch was also enjoying the sensation of palpating Joan’s vaginal entrance, his fingers sure and thorough as he made his exacting circuit of her inner flesh. It was exciting, he knew, but somehow that sounded lame to him, and it was more of an awestruck experience to do this, and mere excitement seemed too blasĂ© a word to describe it. Part of the intrigue was being able to take as much time as he cared to in this slow examination, being able to look and touch as much as he had always wanted. The female genital anatomy was fascinating and never more so than under this close scrutiny, the structures close at hand and open to his gaze. Was he getting sexually stimulated? Sure, that was a part of this whole fetish, but wasn’t the point of it. He knew instead that the mental pictures he was storing up now would be much more exciting days, weeks and months from now as he thought back on this playexam. Right now his only indulgence was the thorough examination of the patient. 
Doctor Welch’s fingers were now inserted about three inches into Joan’s vaginal entrance. “Joan, I want to test your vaginal tone now. While my fingers are inside your vagina, I need you to tighten the muscles when I say so. Let’s start first with those near the entrance, if you can isolate those. Okay, please squeeze, hold for a count of three, release and continue until I say so.” 
Joan concentrated on the sensations emanating from her vagina and tried to tighten the muscles nearest the entrance first. Doctor Welch both saw and felt Joan’s vaginal introitus contract around his fingers in a strong squeeze, hold for several beats, then relax. She repeated the movement, very conscious of the effort it took to isolate the specific muscles and also of Doctor Welch’s fingers as they shifted inside of her to assess the tone in a 360 degree sweep of her vaginal entrance. Joan also watched in the mirror and could see the contraction of her muscles around his gloved fingers. 
“All right, Joan. I can feel that you’re able to isolate the introitus muscles fairly well. Very good. Now I’m going to push my fingers in further and then I want you to tighten all your vaginal muscles as much as you can, hold and repeat as before until I say stop.”
Ultimately, anti-choice conservatives are disgusted by the female body while simultaneously being fascinated by it.

Would you expect any different from the American Taliban?

There is an odd mix of disgust, titillation, quite literal invasion, violation, and yes penetration, that ties together the Conservative Right's prurient obsession with women's reproductive processes, and a version of the pornographic male gaze, which mates with Christian Dominionism to legitimate the very sexual deviancy that the Tea Party GOP so desperately yearns to stand against as a way of (ironically) validating their own "morality."

Conservatives who support procedures such as "vaginal ultrasound" (and other cruelties) for women seeking abortions are the voyeur who lurks in the shadow of the tea room, the video booths, the orgy, and the glory holes. They watch from the shadows--or maybe even the bushes while engaging in onanism and self-abuse--wanting to be included, but afraid to step out and own their sexuality. Scared and ashamed, they skulk off, cowards who are unwilling to admit their of desires, yet committed to condemning what they have just witnessed.


physioproffe said...

Dude! A warning on the gyno-porn link would have been nice! I was on the fucken train!

Elly said...

This is the first time I've heard of "gyno porn," lol. Guess I need to get out more.

Overall, I agree with your analysis, with one small exception...

"Chris Hayes was excellent on his TV show in exposing the problematic optics and policy implications of a group of old white men telling women what to do with their bodies."

It makes the divide between men and women on this issue just a little too neat. Sure - I get the rhetorical purpose, but it depresses me to see the numbers of old (and not-so-old) (mostly) white women supporting those old white men.

I'm not surprised that this happened in Ohio... I lived in the SW part of the state for 8 years - I volunteered in my kids' elementary school, and my interactions with various moms were sometimes... interesting. I will never forget the time, for example, where I was calmly chastised by another (younger!) mother for permitting my 3rd grade daughter to buy a copy of Dav Pilkey's "The Adventures of Captain Underpants" during the school book fair. There is absolutely nothing the least bit sexual about the book, but - as she solemnly told me - she wouldn't want her daughter to be reading about underwear.

Seriously. I had a hard time not laughing in her face.

That's one small example. I have stories...

You'd think that experiencing pregnancy and childbirth would make women like her less uptight about sex, and more sympathetic to a woman's right to choose. But for some, it seems to have the entirely opposite effect - to the point where they're willing to give cover and support to those "old white men." The "War on Women" could more accurately be called "War on OTHER Women."

chauncey devega said...

That is an important part of the puzzle that I have struggled with too. Is this internalized patriarchy? cooptation?

chauncey devega said...

the warning because it was too exciting or too distracting or too embarrassing?

Sujata said...

It's Stockholm Syndrome. Women who are damaged or weak-willed learn to love Big Brother in attempt to survive a world run by patriarchy. They construct fantasy scenarios in which women are divided into feminists and "cool chicks", and they put themselves in that second category. Women who've internalized this mauvaise foi tell themselves that because they aren't "teases" or "sluts", they won't get raped. They tell themselves that because they don't rock the boat, they won't get sexually harassed. They tell themselves that by being waifish and sexualized at all times, they won't be the subject of crescendos of hate from men who reduce all women to their sexual value.

These women can't handle the psychic assault of patriarchy, so they tell themselves that if they identify with their oppressors, the assault won't happen to them. It'll only happen to the "bad women".

chauncey devega said...

That also parallels with how so many young women disown being "feminists" because it is a "bad" word and they aren't "pushy."

Sujata said...

Exactly. And I think, circling back to one of the points you made in your essay, that this sort of pathological response to oppression is utterly intersectional. While a misogynist is probably also going to be a racist and aggressively heteronormative, the behavior of those who can't deal with oppression and turn to identifying with their oppressors also seems to be universal.

I mean, if you took my previous comment and changed around a few words, you'd think I was talking about that arch-magister of bad faith, Clarence Thomas, rather than a patriarchy-supporting woman.

Elly said...

As you said yourself, racism and misogyny overlap (and I'd throw classism in there, too). But, my sense is that they compete, too - and some women find more solidarity with male racists/classists... they overlook the misogyny because they believe their privilege insulates them from (most of) it.

I frequently turn back to a long, and frequently hilarious blog post written in 2003 by philosopher John Holbo, concerning David Frum's "Dead Right." (http://examinedlife.typepad.com/johnbelle/2003/11/dead_right.html) Holbo's dissection fails to find any coherent conservative philosophy; rather, he finds Frum seems overly focused on aesthetics: the "conservative" goal Holbo takes from the book is that public policies should be directed toward social coercion... if you make better people (that is, those who feel their interests are aligned with the dominant culture), then the economy and related social problems will magically take care of themselves.

Corey Robin's view of conservatism as a counter-revolutionary movement against the agency of the lower classes (http://chronicle.com/article/The-Conservative-Mind/130199/ ) is a related, more academic version of Holbo's larger point.

Barring a few exceptions (Alveda King comes to mind), pro-life activist women are overwhelmingly well-off whites (see the faces in this list, for example: http://www.sba-list.org/pro-life-women-leaders/national). I imagine that these women see abortion restrictions from the perspective of keeping the poors in line, and forcing them to adhere to the standards of conduct deemed appropriate for them by their "betters."

Elly said...

Merde... some of the links above got messed up by enclosing them in parentheses.





Felonious Grammar said...

White, male, heterosexual, Christian Western patriarchy wants to enforce white, male, heterosexual, Christian patriarchy. All challenges to the pecking order are sacrilege and perverse to those who are completely convinced that wmhCWp is "natura,l" "God's will" and mete.

What Sujata says about Stockholm Syndrome. The development of Stockholm Syndrome requires that the abuser show kindness to the abused, so that the abused (whose safety rests in the hands of the abuser) feels grateful that the abuser hasn't hurt her more or killed her. Women can fall into the trap of believing that their abuser is protecting them from other abusers, and tragically enough, many of them are right.

Is very sad and pitiful.

physioproffe said...


blavag said...

So these right wingers in NC, TX, OH and elsewhere are a manifestation of the creepy id of the psycho billionaires funding them?

Miles_Ellison said...

That's creepy stuff. However, the writing is a vast improvement over the interracial breeding/cuckholding fantasies you posted a few months ago. At least the "doctor" wasn't just some big black penis with a limited vocabulary that consisted of "white bitch" and "white slut."

chauncey devega said...

Maybe they are all in a writing group together trying to improve their craft?

Miles_Ellison said...

Perhaps they're ringers. Maybe Stephen King or James Patterson wrote that.