Women in Afghanistan wearing burqas.
If Trump’s ultraconservative pick Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed, we women are vulnerable to losing all our rights — and I’m not just talking about abortion. It may well include birth control as well, and a lot more. There’s already a horrifying new Arkansas law that was just passed last week. The law says a rapist can sue a victim if she seeks to obtain an abortion. Rape victims in our culture are being newly demonized, just as they were in patriarchal times in the past, of being temptresses who “teased” or tempted the man to rape her, because, you see, men are incapable of controlling their lustful urges. It’s always the woman’s responsibility to tame them.
I hear more and more horror stories about pastors at fundamentalist and evangelical churches who tell abused wives that the way to solve the issue is to “get right with God” and “submit” to their husband. Of course we all know how well that works out in real life. It doesn’t. Many of these women end up emotionally or physically destroyed, or dead. Such women are often forced into leaving their churches in order to stop being shamed for being an abuse victim. If they leave their abuser, the church will usually shun them rather than offer any kind of support, even if children are involved.
This regime would like to erase everything women achieved during the 1960s and 1970s. Ideally, they would like us to lose our voting rights too, bringing us back to the early 1900s.
All this is only the tip of the iceberg, of course. Life for women who are not wealthy, white, evangelical Trump supporters is going to be hell on earth, and that’s what they want for us. This regime is misogynistic and hates women. They don’t want us to have any kind of voice or any autonomy at all. They want us barefoot, pregnant, and subservient to the patriarchs who get to tell us what we can and cannot do.
We all know what will happen if Kavanaugh gets confirmed. I’m not going to name what those things will be. We all know. It may take some time, but it will happen.
I’m not giving the man the benefit of the doubt. At first I wanted to, but after seeing his cold and heartless reaction to the father of the murdered Parkland student (and then calling Security to have the man removed), with his assistant making the “white power” symbol with her fingers right behind him, the message was loud and clear.
Here is a picture of some young Afghan women in the the early 1970s, before the Taliban and Sharia law came and changed everything. They look like any women of the free world, don’t they?
This quote is from the article, Women in Afghanistan: The Back Story:
Until the conflict of the 1970s, the 20th Century had seen relatively steady progression for women’s rights in the country. Afghan women were first eligible to vote in 1919 – only a year after women in the UK were given voting rights, and a year before the women in the United States were allowed to vote. In the 1950s purdah (gendered separation) was abolished; in the 1960s a new constitution brought equality to many areas of life, including political participation.
But during coups and Soviet occupation in the 1970s, through civil conflict between Mujahideen groups and government forces in the ’80s and ’90s, and then under Taliban rule, women in Afghanistan had their rights increasingly rolled back.
This is what happens when religion and the state merge. The end result is always oppression of women and groups of people deemed to be “other” or “sinners.” There are no exceptions to this. Mixing religion with politics always ends badly, especially for women and those who do not submit easily to the regime.
In the 1970s, women in Afghanistan, like American women (and women in all developed countries) were discovering new freedoms, finding their voices, and being granted new, hard won rights. The young women in the photo above look happy and carefree. Most likely, they had no idea that in a few short years, all that would be lost.
Another image of young women in pre-war Afghanistan, 1970s.
I’ve always wondered what it must have felt like to be an Afghan woman during the early Taliban years, as the regime began to remove women’s freedoms and rights while enforcing draconian new laws on them that were much harsher than the rules men were expected to follow.
It must have felt quite a bit like what it feels like today to be a woman in America.
The Handmaid’s Tale seems like it could be prophetic: a peek into a possible future for American women if Christofascist politics isn’t stopped in its tracks right now. I can’t even watch the show. I find it too upsetting. The book was enough for me, but boy, was it eye opening.