The Right Rope-a-Dopes Women

By Nancy L. Cohen, December 5, 2012

It’s been one month since an election that I and others declared a victory in the war on women. Are we keeping our eyes on the prize? Ummm, no. Signs are feminist women are getting played by the Right. In Delirium, I wrote about how the GOP Right typically works its way back into power after a defeat. Ladies, we’ve been rope-a-doped.

Exhibit one: Much hilarity ensued over Fox News’s War on Men op ed. But was the joke on us?

In the piece, Suzanne Venker pretends to offer sage advice to ladies anxious over the terrible, awful shortage of marriageable men. The problem, she tells us, is that “women aren’t women anymore,” and that’s why men don’t want us. “All [women] have to do is surrender to their nature – their femininity – and let men surrender to theirs,” and all will be right again in the land.

There wasn’t a word new in Suzanne Venker’s complaint that feminism has ruined men, marriage, and America. Venker herself has been peddling this snakeoil for years at the side of her more famous aunt, legendary anti-feminist Phyllis Schlafly. And like Schlafly, Venker takes evident pleasure in taunting feminists. (Schlafly used to open her speeches by thanking her husband Fred for allowing her attend.)

The War on Men touched a nerve and went viral. Days after it posted feminists of the male and female variety were still enthusiastically debating its lack of merit.

That was the point all along, methinks. Venker and her comrades at Fox News might believe their backward claptrap, but really, they had more immediate goals in mind: to warn the GOP establishment they hadn’t folded their tents and to distract everyone else from what her fellow anti-women warriors were up to.

And what were they trying to prevent everyone from noticing? Why, their no-holds-barred mobilization to kill the Disability treaty, which I detail in my upcoming Guardian piece.

There are other examples – the focus on Rick Santorum signing on with World Net Daily while he was leading the grassroots lobbying campaign against the Disabilities treaty is the most egregious. But you get the point. Progressives, women, sane people are going to have to play politics smarter if we want November’s win to mean anything.

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Nancy L. Cohen