Women Haters

Marjorie Murphy Campbell

Woman is a vulgar animal from whom man has created an excessively beautiful ideal.  ~Gustave Flaubert 

Note:  this post contains strong and offensive language.  Feminists fuss over misogyny, the more radical camp insisting that man’s disdain for women has steered the course of all human history.  New Feminists and dissident feminists like Camille Paglia view most female-unfriendly behaviors by men as far more complicated than a sweeping hatred of all things female.  Despite these differences, all feminists do agree that, in its rawest, most hate-driven form, misogyny can and does pose a real threat to girls and women.

It’s important to remind ourselves that raw, gender-based hatred exists.  It is a  shameful condition, so frighteningly repugnant that those compelled by hatred of women often opt for denial and blame of others, rarely getting the help they require.   Men obsessed with a hatred toward girls and women often surface only in violent outburst, such as the 2009 shooting of 4 women during an aerobics class.    

Most women have caught glimpses of misogyny.  We often experience it as a suspicion, a suspicion that the man addressing us uses a particular tone or body language because he hates women, not us in particular.   We sometimes hear or read this type of misogyny in rants about Eve’s destruction of men, the suffragettes’ ruination of civilized society, or feminists’ conspiracy to emasculate all men.   Recently, I encountered blatant misogyny head on – how it ended reminded me that women need to talk about misogyny, not just disagree about it.   

 I am a 56 year old, graying mother who wears glasses.  I was alone, seated in my 2006 red, dented Accura throughout this incident.   

After Mass one recent Sunday, I took Lombard Street to the freeway here in San Francisco.  There was a last exit on that route into Crissy Field, a bay front park I can cross to my home on the opposite side.  It was a rather abrupt, tricky exit from the left hand “fast” lane, used almost solely by locals familiar with it.  I often took this exit to avoid the high speed road and enjoy the park and views of the Golden Gate Bridge.

My timing was unfortunate.  The exit was clogged and backed up.   I hit my brakes and broke a sweat:  I was stopped dead on what is supposed to be a moving exit ramp.  Ahead, I could see a full sized tractor trail truck trying, incredulously, to back down the exit ramp.  Fearful of being rear-ended, preparing to call 911, I watched the confused drivers ahead of me crowd against the concrete barrier or edge onto the wet, grassy shoulder, opening narrow passage for the big rig in its effort to reverse down the ramp.  Suddenly, a car shrieked to a stop behind me.  The driver – a neat, 45ish, lean male – jumped out and started jogging along the ramp toward the truck. 

“Good,” I thought, “this guy will sort out the nonsense.” 

I lowered my window and said, “He’s trying to back out onto the highway … I am afraid we are going to get rear ended sitting here.”

He stopped and looked at me oddly.

“We won’t get hit,” he said dismissively. 

“Oh but I got hit just a block from here,” I replied, recalling the day a distracted commuter plowed into me at full speed on this same stretch of highway.

The man turned toward me abruptly.  “Don’t be a drama queen,” he barked nastily, totally … I mean totally … shocking me.  I gave him a quick salute, smiled and said, “Yes, sir,” expecting he would move on. 

He did not. 

Instead, he moved aggressively toward my car.  “What the fuck did you say?  Don’t fuck with me you cunt,” this man shrieked, his face contorted, his hands fisted.

I was in trouble.

“How about if I pull you out of the damn, fucking car you cunt and beat you right here and break your fucking arm?”

This irate, ranting male was now less than 5 feet from my car.  I had no escape.  I felt pretty certain he would break the window if I closed it.  My only hope was to say something that calmed him, but all I could think was “Oh God this is going to hurt.”

I drew in a deep breath and said as calmly as I could, “I am laughing here.  I am trying to use some humor, sir.”

With that, he veered toward his car, but stopped again, turned and came straight back at me like a confused, violated animal. “I’m going to take you the fuck out of that car now, bitch.  I am going to break your arm.” 

By God’s grace only, I made eye contact and gently, very gently, said, “Is this going to make you feel better?”

That stopped him.  He glared at me, snorting with rage, and shouted, “You are a CUNT.”  He turned, got in his vehicle and sped backwards down the short stretch of ramp into oncoming traffic. 

He was gone.

Several days later, when I described the event to an older friend, a psychologist, I was still shaky and mystified.  Nothing in the span of those minutes made any sense to me; I could no more fit this man’s behavior into a cause and effect flow than I could understand why a tractor trailer truck was backing down an exit ramp into oncoming traffic. 

“Why,” I asked my friend, “why didn’t the guy break my arm?  I have no idea why he stopped.”

“Because,” she explained, “you made it about him when you asked if he would feel better.  I’ve heard this many times from women, women who are about to be assaulted or are being assaulted and they ask the attacker how he feels, or something personal about him.  These men are acting from hatred and rage against all women – and when you ask about him, you become a person to him.  And he’s not angry at you individually.  He doesn’t know you at all.”   

Misogynists like this fellow, we must remember, are filled with hatred toward the female, at all of us as a whole, much more so than anyone of us individually.  We live with these men in our midst, each of us potentially the next victim for their rage.  This is what hatred of women looks like, misogyny that can kill. 

Upon this, I think all feminists can agree.




NCI’s Denial

Angela Lanfranchi, M.D.

A California candidate for Congress walked back his statements affirming the abortion breast cancer link recently. This created disappointment among some of his supporters.  Although as a breast cancer surgeon who has studied the issue almost 20 years and has no doubt that induced abortion raises the risk of breast cancer, I can’t say I don’t understand this candidate’s predicament.

After all, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) denies it. The NCI even had a well publicized 2003 three day conference with 100 scientists that concluded that there was no link between abortion and breast cancer.

And yet, that wouldn’t be the first time the American people were misinformed by the NCI.   One only has to remember that the Director of the NCI is a political appointee by the U.S. President.  Although the first study linking cigarettes to lung cancer was published in 1928, it was not until 1964 that the U.S. Surgeon General warned the public of the risk.  The NCI was not the first to warn the public.  You see, the tobacco state Senators pressured the NCI not to publicize the link because they feared it would destroy their states economies.

More recently, although the United Nation’s International Agency on Research of Cancer (IARC) published Monograph 91 in 2005 listing oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy as Group 1 carcinogens for breast, cervical and liver cancer, there has been no warning to the 12 million American women on oral contraceptives.  Put another way, over 10 million women are taking a Group 1 carcinogen for a non disease, fertility. Not only that, our Federal government’s policy is to broaden their use by making them free under “Obamacare”.  This policy is inexplicable given the NCI’s own statistics that show a 400% increase in the risk of non-invasive breast cancer among young, premenopausal women since 1975.  Population control for a “green” ecology friendly world trumps women’s health and women’s lives.  That’s the real War on Women.

In 2005, the British journal Nature published a disturbing study in which over 3,000 scientists who had been funded by the National Institutes of Heath (NIH) were asked to anonymously answer 10 ethical questions.  Over 20% of mid-career scientists reported that they had “changed the results, methodology or design of a study based on pressure from a funding source”.  They committed scientific fraud due to governmental pressure of the NIH, the funding source, of which the NCI is a member.

The California candidate also succumbed to political pressure to disavow those that are tarred as junk scientists, members of the flat earth society and right wing extremist ideologues who want to scaremonger women in desperate circumstances to forgo their reproductive health care needs.
The candidate did not know that since 1957 there have been 70 studies that differentiate spontaneous from induced abortion (3 in 2012 alone) and that 33 were statistically significant and 55 showed a positive correlation confirming a link between abortion and breast cancer.

Just think about what we do know about breast cancer risk reduction.  We know that a birth in the 3rd trimester will reduce a woman’s risk of breast cancer.  In fact, we’ve known that since the 1700’s.  We know that the younger a women gives birth, the lower her risk for breast cancer.  In fact, her risk of premenopausal breast cancer increases 5% for each year she delays her pregnancy past 20 years old.  When a woman has an abortion, she is already pregnant.  Abortion not only denies her of the risk reduction from giving birth but also delays her next pregnancy thereby increasing her risk.  And if she remains childless for her entire life, her risk is also increased compared to if she gave birth.  During the first half of pregnancy in preparation for breast feeding, the breast doubles in size by increasing the amount of immature cancer vulnerable breast tissue.  Most of this tissue does not become cancer resistant until the third trimester.  Aborting a pregnancy before the third trimester leaves a woman’s breasts with more tissue or places for cancers to start, thereby increasing her risk for breast cancer.

Thus the scientific studies, what we know and don’t dispute about known risk factors and the biology of breast changes with pregnancy all support the abortion breast cancer link.

What about the 100 scientists that supported the 2003 NCI denial of the link?  I think Einstein said it best when he was asked his thoughts about a book of 100 essays each by a physicist who denied relativity.  He said, if relativity was not true, “it would have only taken one.”

A New Feminist

Marjorie Murphy Campbell

NewFemininsm.co is dedicated to Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, a scholar whose thinking and manner inspired this blog and provides the foundation upon which New Feminism is growing.  With this post, I introduce her background and bio.  I look forward to posting excerpts from her work which help us consider and discuss New Feminism and how New Feminism informs and impacts our daily lives.

Elizabeth Fox-Genovese was an accomplished historian and professor of women’s studies who “roiled both disciplines with her transition from Marxist-inclined feminist to conservative public intellectual.” New York Times.  Prior to her death in 2007, she resided in Atlanta with her husband Eugene Fox-Genovese and worked at Emory University as the Eléonore Raoul professor of humanities.

Both a feminist herself and a convert to Roman Catholicism, Fox-Genovese clarified and challenged the presumptions and consequences of late 20th century feminism. She consistently sought meaningful dialogue on the stresses and contradictions confronting women in daily living, conflicts which she believed resulted from the “difference between women and men” in a legal, political and social world focused upon “the rights of women as individuals.”

If women, she earnestly asked, pursue their fulfillment as a matter of “individual right or a market transaction,” who will bear the “responsibility for the values that embody our humanity . . . nurture, care, patience, self-sacrifice?”

One online bio of Fox-Genovese describes her life as follows:

“Elizabeth Fox-Genovese began her career as a specialist in French History, developed expertise in women’s history in the antebellum South, and ultimately came to be known as a leading conservative feminist. With degrees from Bryn Mawr College and Harvard University, she began teaching history at Emory University, where she was the founding director of the Institute for Women’s Studies and began the first doctoral program in Women’s Studies in the United States.

Having started her career as a Marxist, Fox-Genovese became increasingly aware of the conflict between Marxism and human rights and dignity. Her conversion to Roman Catholicism in the 1990s coincided with a shift to pro-life advocacy, and her outspoken
expression of her views and critiques of liberal feminism brought her notoriety on the left and admiration on the right.

The author of a number of scholarly works, including Within the Plantation Household: Black and White Women of the Old South and Feminism is Not the Story of My Life: How Today’s Feminist Elite Has Lost Touch with the Real Concerns of Women, as well as The Mind of the Master Class: History and Faith in the Southern Slaveholders’ Worldview with her husband Eugene Genovese, she was the recipient of the National Humanities Medal, the Cardinal Wright Award from the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars, and the C. Hugh Holman Prize from the Society for Southern Literature.”

While Fox-Genovese developed and contributed substance to New Feminism, she also, importantly, mirrored that substance in a New Feminism manner of discussion and dialogue. Mark Bauerlin captured this aspect of New Feminism:

“As is well known,[Fox-Genovese’s] anti-abortion position put her at odds with her field, and even though she founded the first doctoral program in women’s studies in the United States, she earned little credit for it once she went pro-life.

More than that, Fox-Genovese was the object of widespread animosity at her own university, and before I even knew her I heard and overheard dozens of smears, whispers, and denunciations at faculty gatherings and in lounges and at the next cafeteria table.

Here is the remarkable thing about it. . . . not once in private or public conversation did she ever utter any statement of a personal nature against them. Fox-Genovese was sharp and incisive about intellectual matters, and she played no favorites, arguing in a firm and patient manner with everyone including her husband whenever she found important disagreements. (Rarely did she quibble over the small stuff.)

But gossip and slight weren’t her thing. She stood in the middle of heated and rancorous debates that extended from national legal policy to local politics at Emory, but never did I hear her descend into detraction. Time and again the bait was offered, and she held back. No cheap shots, no easy dismissals, no reliance on like-minded auditors for reassurance. Her example continues for the many students and colleagues she affected over the years, and academe is a lesser place without her.”

Allow me to add:  her example continues for New Feminists determined to engage an often aggressive and combative culture in urgent dialogue about the health, well-being and future of women and their children and families.  May we live up to her standard.



New Baby

Liz Farrell

Contributed by Liz Farrell

A three-step process for helping children accept a new sibling

September is commonly a time for new transitions, mostly for our children as they head back to school.  For the past several years, I have written about ways to ease those back-to-school transitions; however, this month I am writing about a different kind of transition, one that is personal and that our family will soon face: a new baby.  This is something we are all eagerly awaiting, but the effect could be greatest felt by our other two children.  Here are some tips that I hope will make this next transition a smooth one for our family and yours:

Before baby: The key to any transition is preparation and setting expectations.  Preparing siblings for a new baby is no different.  As your body begins to change, use the opportunity to talk about what is happening inside you.  There are hundreds of books to help with this. Some of the best have pictures of how the baby is growing each week.  Another way to help children prepare is to get them involved by helping with the nursery or to practice changing or feeding their own baby dolls.  I also recently brought both children to one of my prenatal appointments so they could hear the baby’s heartbeat, which they loved.

After this experience the excitement really escalated, and one morning I found them creating a “countdown chain.”  Each day we take off a link as a visual countdown until the baby comes.  Finally, as the due date approaches, make sure to discuss with them the arrangements while you are in the hospital — who will be with them, when they will see you, and how long you will be gone.

At the hospital: When we went from one child to two, I found there were several key things that helped.  One was not to hold the baby when the other child came into the room.  I would have the baby in the bassinet or have someone else hold him so the first thing I could do for my other child was to welcome her with a hug.  We also had pictures taped to the hospital bed and the baby’s bassinet of the older child so she could see she was always present.  The last thing we did, which was fun and helped especially with younger children, was when they came to visit I had a “surprise” from the new baby, anything from a lollipop to a new book.  Finally, keep the visits short because you are still trying to recover; long visits in a small room can be trying for everyone.

Coming home: Continue to think of ways the older children can be involved, such as helping decorate with balloons and streamers or coloring a welcome home sign.

When you get home, let Dad carry the baby inside so Mom’s arms can be open for the other children.  Depending on how many older siblings there are, get ready to be “chief referee.”  Figure out a system for who will get to help with what (diapers, bath time, feeding) and whose turn it is to hold the baby.  Also, as exhausted as you may feel, make special time for each child. One or both parents should have a planned activity outside the home with each older child.  This should be part of a weekly routine for the sibling and can be a trip to the park, library or music class.

Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help from family, friends or neighbors.  For me this is much easier said than done, but a new baby can be a stressful time as everyone in the household tries to adjust, so getting help with a carpool or a having a dinner made can make all the difference.

Liz Farrell is the mother of two young children with another on the way.  She was formerly a television producer in Washington, D.C., and San Francisco. This article appeared in Marina Times and is reprinted with the author’s permission.