I did some research into why people really want to repeal Roe v Wade

What does the Supreme Court’s possible repeal of a key abortion rights law have in common with the behavior of bonobos?

Devorah Blachor
New York
Monday 06 December 2021 21:35
Comments
Leer en Español

Why do people hate women? As the Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v Wade, stripping abortion rights away from women, I keep seeing and hearing women ask this same question over and over. I’ve spent the last five years researching a book on this subject and trying to answer it. How did we get here? Why do people hate women? When did misogyny begin?

Well, I think I have some answers.

Nature

A few evolutionary biologists say that a society in which males control females is a legacy of human nature, pointing to alpha male chimpanzee society as proof. We share the exact same amount of DNA with bonobos, however, whose society is female-dominated and who resolve conflict with spontaneous sexual contact.

If we’re genuinely trying to find the origin story of hatred towards women through the lens of evolution and our shared traits with other primates, it’s just as possible to imagine that restricting sexual contact is the source of violence, conflict and all our problems. On the bright side, this would explain all of human history.

Marriage

Speaking of restricting sexual contact…. Some people believe the problem of misogyny began with marriage, a prehistoric institution which codified and legalized male ownership of women. Even though American men no longer have legal control over their wives the way they once did under coverture, the convention of owning female bodies  —  and labor  —  lives on in our culture.

Radical feminists were among those who pointed out that marriage is the problem, but unfortunately, everyone loves smoked salmon canapés and Vera Wang garments too much to give up this delightful tradition. Here’s another happy thought: Believing that wifely “women’s work” should be free can also explain why the US failed to pass parental leave.

Farming

Another theory posits that hunter-gatherer societies were egalitarian, but that inequalities developed when humans began settling down, working the land and accumulating wealth.

OK, this one is more about wealth inequality, but the idea is that women, like animals, became “domesticated” around this time, destined to be regarded as second-class citizens whose role was to provide sex, children and free, or devalued labor.

The devaluation of domestic work is alive and well in 2021, and is another reason the country can’t manage to mandate parental leave. It’s almost as if this is all connected!

Capitalism

In her 2004 book Caliban and the Witch, Silvia Federici explained how women’s free labor became separated from men’s wage-earning work in the 16th and 17th centuries when Europe made the transition from feudalism to capitalism.

In the olden days, “the commons” referred to land and resources that belonged to the whole community. When capitalism placed common resources into the hands of the wealthy class, women became a kind of substitute to provide male workers with free labor, including reproductive labor. Women came to be seen as “a communal good anyone could appropriate and use at will…. in the new capitalist regime, women themselves became the commons...”

If this sounds far-fetched, take a moment to consider other democracies that welcome socialist safety net programs instead of stupidly labelling them “Soros communism”, and which, in a crazy coincidence, also provide abortion rights for women.

Religion

“To the woman He said, I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception, in sorrow you will give birth to children, and your husband you will desire, and he will rule over you.” That’s Genesis 3:16, in case you’re unfamiliar with it. When right-wing politicians obsess about preserving Judeo-Christian civilization, this is a major component of what they’re talking about, and controlling women and banning abortion are logical extensions of this.

If this sounds farfetched, one of our Supreme Court Justices, Amy Coney Barrett, actually belonged to a religious group that believes wives should be subservient to their husbands. And now, along with Brett Kavanaugh, who was credibly accused of attempted rape, she gets to help take away abortion rights from other women. So does Clarence Thomas. And people wonder why women are angry!

Racism

There’s no separating misogyny and racism, and everyone understands that abortion bans will mostly harm people of color and marginalized women, who have less access to reproductive care, a higher maternal mortality rate, and are uniquely persecuted for their pregnancy outcomes. All the flat-earth, regressive assumptions made about women  —  that they should provide free labor, that men are entitled to control their bodies  —  have been disproportionately applied to Black women since the time of slavery. Seen through the lens of racism, this country’s hatred of women’s origin story lies in its racist institutions and beliefs. Luckily, no one will ever learn the truth because of Republican anti-CRT hysteria.

So there you have it! Multiple theories help explain why people hate women and why Roe v Wade will probably be overturned. That probably won’t make anyone feel better, except the Republicans who have been trying to take away women’s rights for decades. Congratulation  — you won! And so did misogyny.

Devorah Blachor is writing a book about the endurance of “wife culture”. Her writing and humor have appeared in The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The New Yorker, among others. She’s the author of “The Feminist’s Guide to Raising a Little Princess”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in