The Week in Patriarchy is a weekly roundup of what’s happening in the world of feminism and sexism. If you’re not already receiving it by email, make sure to subscribe.
The reaction to the Kavanaugh hearing proves that America hates women
There was a moment on Thursday, while watching Dr Christine Blasey’s Ford brave and moving testimony, that I thought that was it: there was no way Brett Kavanaugh would be confirmed. Even Fox News called Ford’s testimony “extremely credible”. If Kavanaugh was confirmed when even Fox had to concede Ford was credible, then what message would that send about America’s attitude towards women? What message would that send to high school kids about the consequences of their actions?
Then, when it was Kavanaugh’s turn to speak, I was even more certain he couldn’t possibly be given a lifelong seat on the supreme court. Judges are supposed to be measured and objective. He came across as an entitled hothead, unable to control his emotions, blaming everyone except himself for his current situation. If Kavanaugh was confirmed after that performance, the credibility of the supreme court, the credibility of America, would surely be undermined. There was no way it could happen.
Well, it looks like I completely underestimated the pull of patriarchy in America. If you’re a rich, white guy with powerful friends it seems you can get away with anything. Kavanaugh hasn’t been confirmed yet, but the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board has called for him to be confirmed and Republicans are rallying around him. It’s looking increasingly likely he’ll be given a lifelong appointment to impose his will on America, no matter how women feel about it. But Republicans shouldn’t expect women to accept this without a fight. We will march, we will strike, we will run for office. We have had enough: patriarchy is on borrowed time.
How to prove you didn’t sexually assault anyone: the Brett Kavanaugh playbook
Sorry to keep on about Kavanaugh, but the entire episode really has been a case study in rape culture. Let’s review, shall we? Here are five defenses that Kavanaugh, a supposed genius in law, actually thought were credible.
Say you were a virgin. In an interview with Fox News that aired on Monday, Kavanaugh stated, unprompted, he was a virgin for years after high school. If you think, as Kavanaugh appears to, that being a virgin means you can’t be guilty of sexual assault, then you have no right to be a judge in the first place, let alone on the supreme court.
Use your 10-year-old daughter as a political pawn. In his testimony on Thursday, Kavanaugh said he meant no ill will to his accuser and, in fact, his 10-year-old daughter wanted to pray for Ford. He choked up after delivering this anecdote. I’d like to think in shame, but I’m not sure he is capable of feeling anything other than self-pity and entitlement.
Dig out a calendar from 1982. Look, it doesn’t say “attempted to rape someone tonight on it”! Clear sign of innocence there.
Reiterate how much you like beer. During the Thursday hearing Kavanaugh mentioned he like beer around 30 times. He even asked a senator if they liked drinking beer, too. Can you imagine a woman telling a Senate judiciary committee how much she enjoyed drinking? She’d immediately be characterized as an irresponsible slut who deserved anything that happened to her. When men get drunk, it’s a whole different story.
Convince more than 85 women you know to get onstage in support. If you’ve been nice to one woman, it stands to reason that you can’t have sexually assaulted another one, right? That’s supreme court justice thinking right there.
Now for some good news from other supreme courts around the world
On 3 October, the UK’s supreme court will have a majority of female judges decide a case for the first time in its history.
India’s supreme court has ruled adultery is no longer a crime. The court ruled that the colonial-era law, which criminalized a woman having an extramarital sexual relationship without her husband’s consent, was archaic and discriminated against women. “It is time to say husband is not the master,” said the chief justice, Dipak Misra.
India’s supreme court seems to be on a roll. It has also ruled that women can no longer be banned from Sabarimala temple, which is one of the holiest for Hindus. Before this ruling, women of a menstruating age (which was defined as 10-50), were barred from entering the temple in Kerala.
And let’s not forget – Bill Cosby is finally behind bars
On Tuesday, Cosby was sentenced to three to 10 years for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand at his home 14 years ago. It took decades for justice to be served, but as attorney Gloria Allred, who represents several women who say they were assaulted by Cosby, said: “We’re glad that judgment day has finally come.” Kavanaugh, I hope you’re paying attention.