Commentary Human Rights

Christian Men Want Their Kingdom Back, and They Won’t Stop Until They’ve Gotten It

I finally realized that fundamentalists don’t give a hoot about Adam and Eve populating the world. What they care about is keeping the Eve and the Apple story alive. That way, they can blame women for all the evils of the world. 

Full Disclosure: I never believed the Creation Myth was real.

I was raised Protestant. Mostly Mainstream Protestant, which I know doesn’t count to the fundamentalist right, but still. In Sunday School, of course, we learned the Old Testament’s Greatest Hits. I had a Sunday School teacher, Dayton Lewis, who called himself a fundamentalist, but even he glossed over the question of whether we were all descended from Adam and Eve. I was always suspicious of that, and the Noah’s Ark story, because it seemed weird to me, even as a child, that Adam and Eve’s children — brothers and sisters — married each other and had babies. Animals, too, would have had to do that after getting off the Ark. It struck me as wrong, because I was raised on a farm, and we had sheep. My father made sure to rotate out the ram to prevent it from mating with its sisters. He explained this was because inbreeding hurt the flock, causing malformed sheep.

So if Adam and Eve were the first humans — and the only ones at the time — and their kids married each other and had babies, I raised my hand one Sunday to ask Mr. Lewis, “Does that mean their kids were all deformed?” I didn’t stop there, because I had a habit of thinking aloud, and taking things to their logical extreme. “And then the next generation would have had to marry their siblings or their first cousins…” so it’d still be too close for genetic comfort. “Does that mean, Mr. Lewis, that Christians are inbred?” I had worked my self up into a frenzy of genetic concern.

Mr. Lewis, not accustomed to being challenged by second graders, especially girls with animal husbandry experience, reassured me. “Times were different then,” he said. But that didn’t do anything to reassure me.

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A few years later, we would again discuss the creation story, but this time, older and more attuned to the social justice movements of the late sixties and seventies, I had a new insight as I contemplated Adam and Eve. Again, I raised my hand, an action that Mr. Lewis, a kind man who really believed in his mission of Christian education, had come to dread. “So that means, then, that if all people are descended from Adam and Eve, we truly are equal, right? Like in the song, red and yellow, black and white — we really are all brothers and sisters under the skin!”

This notion excited me, but it alarmed the adults. “Yes,” Mr. Lewis responded, “but many have strayed…” Again, my hand. “Strayed? OK, maybe, but we’re all equal, right? Despite our skin?” I felt as if I had just solved the problem of civil rights. He didn’t seem quite as enthusiastic.

When I got older, of course, I learned about evolution, and it just made a whole more sense to me. I couldn’t believe, when I read about the Scopes Monkey trial in seventh or eighth grade, that people were arguing about whether we should teach evolution in the classroom. Of course we should, I thought. Because by now, churches (at least the ones I went to) were walking back The Garden of Eden story, selling it as metaphor, the type of stories village elders might pass down in an oral tradition.

So I’ve always wondered why, today more than ever, fundamentalists are pushing that story as fact, and insisting it be taught alongside evolution. Was it just ignorance? But recently, with the GOP War on Women, I finally put 2+2 together, and came up with a theory. I began to suspect men had made up this story, and included it in the bible just to keep women down. And Jesse Lee Petersen just proved to me that my theory = 4!

Watch this video and you’ll see what I mean:

See, I finally realized that fundamentalists don’t give a hoot about Adam and Eve populating the world. What they care about is keeping the Eve and the Apple story alive. That way, they can blame women for all the evils of the world. When you combine the Eve story with God’s alleged command — heard by no one, BTW — that man is to rule the earth, assisted by woman, and you’ve got yourself every reason in the world to subjugate women to men.

I listen to the venom perpetuated by the Right, but I must admit, I haven’t read enough of the religious materials on which they are based. I can see I’ve been remiss in keeping up with how God wants to punish me now. Read this website about how women shouldn’t use anesthesia during childbirth, because labor pains are God’s payback for Eve’s sin. There are some lovely comments there about how it is God’s will if a woman dies in childbirth for lack of anesthesia. That giving anesthesia during childbirth is sin, for which a doctor will burn in hell.

But Rev. Petersen lays it all out for us. Women are not capable of handling power, we get stressed far too easily, and because we have gotten power, America is on death’s door. In the “good old days,” which he refers to often, men weren’t scared of women and took care of business when a woman spoke out of turn, presumably by beating them. But women –who represent the material temptations of life and are ruled by Satan — took care of that, by getting laws passed to preventing men from performing their duty. To the point now where men are afraid of women, an abomination before God.

The problem can be traced, according to Rev. Petersen, to giving the women the vote. Now, he despairs, that with 50 percent of the vote, women are picking the wrong people for powerful positions, and America is on the road to ruin. He weighs in on Sandra Fluke, and women like her, misquoting her but more or less regurgitating el Rushbo’s hate speech. Of course, he conveniently glosses over the fact that these women only need birth control if they are having sex with men, a fact which he seems to have forgotten. And he also seems to forget that the same men — our Founding Fathers — who did not give women the right to vote also did not see fit to give it to black men, either.

And then he comes full circle by concluding that because women have been given power, we are now saddled with gay marriage. His logic is a little fuzzy there, since gay men aren’t really too interested in, well, anything about women, but I figured it out. Men who are gay, in that they both catch and pitch, make themselves like women, and who but someone evil and gross would emulate anything so evil and gross as a woman?

So now you know, people. Christian males want their kingdom back, as the Good Lord intended. And they won’t stop until they’ve gotten it.

Roundups Sexual Health

This Week in Sex: Some Men Base Condom Use on Women’s Looks

Martha Kempner

This week, a study suggests some men are less likely to have safer sex with women whom they find attractive. There's now a study of women's pubic hair grooming habits, and a lot of couples don't have wedding-night sex.

This Week in Sex is a weekly summary of news and research related to sexual behavior, sexuality education, contraception, STIs, and more.

Men Less Likely to Have Safer Sex If Partner Is ‘Hot’

The old adage “Never judge a book by its cover” is apparently easily forgotten when it comes to judging potential sex partners. A new study in BMJ Open found that men said they were less likely to use a condom if their potential partner was hot.

In this small study, researchers showed pictures of 20 women to 51 heterosexual men. The men were asked to rank how attractive the woman was, how likely they would be to have sex with her if given the opportunity, and how likely it was they would use a condom if they did have sex with her. The results revealed that the more attractive a man found a woman, the less likely he was to intend to use a condom during sex with her.

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Men also rated how attractive they consider themselves, and the results showed that this was also related to condom use. Men who thought of themselves as more attractive were less likely to intend to use a condom.

Researchers also asked the men to estimate how many out of 100 men like themselves would have sex with each woman given the opportunity and finally, how likely they thought it was that the woman in the picture had a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

The results of these two questions turned out to be related: The men assumed that women whom other men would want to sleep with were more likely to have STIs.

This did not make the men in the study any more likely to intend to use a condom with those women. In fact, the men were most likely to intend condom use with women they found less attractive, even though they considered these women less likely to have an STI.

This was a small study with a relatively homogenous group of men ages 18 to 69 near Southhampton, England, and it measured intention rather than behavior.

Still, the results could present a challenge for public health experts if men are making condom decisions on a broader scale based on attraction rather than risk assessment.

How and Why Women Groom Their Pubic Hair

A new study published in JAMA Dermatology is the first nationally representative survey of U.S. women’s pubic hair grooming habits. The study included more than 3,300 women ages 18 to 64.

Overall, 84 percent of women had engaged in some pubic hair grooming. Pubic hair grooming was more common among younger women (ages 18 to 24); among white women; and among women who had gone to college.

Before you start thinking everyone is out getting Brazilians, however, grooming means different things to different women. Only 21 percent of women said they took all their pubic hair off more than 11 times, and 38 percent of women say they’ve never done so. Moreover, waxing lags behind the most popular hair removal methods; only 5 percent of women say they wax compared with 61 percent who shave, 18 percent who use scissors, and 12 percent who use electric razors. (Respondents could choose more than one answer in the survey.)

Most women (93) do it themselves, 8 percent have their partners help, and 6.7 percent go to a professional.

The researchers were most interested in the most common reason women groom their pubic hair. The most common reason was hygiene (59 percent), followed by “part of my routine” (46 percent), “makes my vagina look nicer” (32 percent), “partner prefers” (21 percent), and “oral sex is easier” (19 percent).

Tami Rowen, the lead author of the study and a practicing gynecologist at the University of California, San Francisco, told the New York Times, “Many women think they are dirty or unclean if they aren’t groomed.”

But while people may think that, it’s not true. Pubic hair actually exists to help protect the delicate skin around the genitals. Rowen and other doctors who spoke to the Times believe that women, especially teenagers, are taking up grooming practices in response to external pressures and societal norms as reflected in images of hairless genitals in pornography and other media. They want young people to know the potential risks of grooming and say they’ve seen an increase in grooming-related health issues such as folliculitis, abscesses, cuts, burns, and allergic reactions. As some may remember, This Week in Sex reported a few years ago that emergency-room visits related to pubic hair grooming were way up among both women and men.

This Week in Sex believes that women should be happy with their genitals. Keeping the hair that grows does not make you dirty—in fact, it is there for a reason. But if shaving or waxing makes you happy, that’s fine. Do be careful, however, because the doctors are right: Vulvas are very sensitive and many methods of hair removal are very harsh.

Wedding-Night Sex May Be Delayed, But That’s OK With Most Couples

Summer is a popular wedding season, with couples walking down the aisle, exchanging vows, and then dancing the night away with friends and families. But how many of them actually have sex after the caterer packs up and the guests head home?

According to lingerie company Bluebella—about half. The company surveyed 1,000 couples about their postnuptial sex lives and found that 48 percent of them said they did “it” on their wedding night. Most women in those couples who did not get it on that night said they were just too tired. The men, on the other hand, said they were too drunk or wanted to keep partying with their friends. (It is unclear whether the survey included same-sex couples.)

By the next morning, another 33 percent of couples had consummated their marriage, but about 10 percent said it took 48 hours to get around to it.

But whenever couples did have that post-wedding sex, the overwhelming majority (84 percent) said it lived up to their expectations.

Roundups Politics

Campaign Week in Review: Cable News Turned Mostly to Men to Discuss Clinton’s Historic Moment

Ally Boguhn

Even as Hillary Clinton seemed to clinch the Democratic nomination, cable news shows barely had women on to discuss this moment. Also this week, Sen. Marco Rubio announced that his political aspirations didn't end with his presidential run.

This week on the campaign trail, Hillary Clinton becoming the first female presumptive nominee of a major party wasn’t enough to push cable news to bring on women to discuss it, and former presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) changed his mind about running for re-election to the Senate. 

Cable News Turns Largely to Men to Discuss ElectionEven Amid Clinton’s Historic Moment

When Clinton became the first female presumptive nominee of a major party earlier this month, cable news tapped more men than women to discuss the historic moment.

As Gender Avenger Founder Gina Glantz, Women’s Media Center President Julie Burton, and Center for American Women and Politics Director Debbie Walsh explained in a Tuesday column for USA Today:

On the day when headlines and large photos of the former secretary of State celebrated her historic role in American politics, not one woman appeared on Fox News’ The Kelly File. In fact, the only time Hillary Clinton was mentioned was when Megyn Kelly speculated about the cost of her wardrobe, referred to a focus group discussing Clinton’s supposed divisiveness and considered whether President Obama’s endorsement would create a conflict of interest with the investigation of her State Department emails. 

Other cable shows did a bit—just a bit—better. On CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 and the MSNBC, Fox, and CNN morning shows (Morning Joe, Fox & Friends, New Day) about one in three of the voices in their discussions were women. Only The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC hit 50%.

Gender Avenger, an organization that seeks to “build a community that ensures women are represented in the public dialog [sic]” has partnered with the Women’s Media Center and the Center for American Women and Politics to release monthly reports on how many women appear to discuss the 2016 presidential elections on some of cable news’ most-watched television programs. According to its website, the organization “monitors the highest-rated morning and evening shows on three major television news networks: CNN, FOX, and MSNBC. Any guest who is not the host (or substitute host) and is asked to comment substantively on the 2016 presidential election is counted as an analyst.”

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Analyzing data from March 1 to May 31, the groups found that only CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 had roughly equivalent ratios of men and women on to discuss the election. Of the other nightly programs, only 15 percent of guests who joined Fox News’ Kelly File to talk about the presidential election were women; 33 percent of guests on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show to discuss related issues were women.

All morning programs examined had a poor ratio of men-to-women guests who discussed the election: CNN’s New Day had 31 percent women guests, Fox News’ Fox and Friends had 22 percent, and MSNBC’s Morning Joe had 24 percent.

Glantz and her co-authors explained in their column that these findings coincide with past research from the Women’s Media Center, which found that “in 2014, men reported 65 percent of all U. S. political news stories.” 

Former Republican Presidential Candidate Rubio Decides to Run for Senate Re-Election

After losing the 2016 Republican nomination for presidentand spending months of vowing he would be a “private citizen” in JanuaryRubio has decided to run to keep his Senate seat.

Admitting that he had previously expressed frustrations at the limitations of what he could accomplish in the Senate, (remember, he justified skipping Senate votes because of his “frustration” with the process), Rubio cited the importance of Florida’s position in determining which party would hold the Senate as a key factor in his decision. “Control of the Senate may very well come down to the race in Florida,” said Rubio in a press release announcing his decision. “The stakes for our nation could not be higher.”

Rubio went on to point to the 2016 presidential as another component to his decision to run for re-election, reasoning that “no matter who is elected president, there is reason for worry.”

Calling Donald Trump’s rhetoric about women and people of color “not just offensive but unacceptable,” Rubio noted that the prospect of electing the presumptive Republican nominee to the White House was “worrisome.” He also criticized Clinton, claiming that electing her “would be a repeat of the early years of the current administration, when we got Obamacare, the failed stimulus and a record debt.”

Rubio’s late-entrance into the race was not unexpected. Last week, Rep. David Jolly dropped out of the GOP primary race for the seat Rubio was supposed to be vacating, instead deciding to run for re-election to the House. Just before he announced his decision, Jolly appeared on CNN’s New Day, mentioning that “Marco is saying he is getting in [the race],” seemingly referencing rumors Rubio would be running.

The New York Times reported that Rubio has already told “colleagues and advisers that he is considering running for president again, in 2020 or 2024.” Yet Rubio told CNN today that “if my plan was to run for president in 2020, jumping into a race like this with all the political risks associated with it would not be the decision one would make.” He did not, however, explicitly rule out a presidential run.

The Florida senator’s time in the presidential race this season was marked by anti-choice positions so extreme even some Republicans questioned his electability. As Rewire previously reported, “Rubio’s anti-choice views were a key part of his platform throughout his campaign, even leading him to create an advisory board of anti-choice leaders and activists to advise his campaign on how to chip away at abortion rights.”

What Else We’re Reading

Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on Friday said he would vote for Clinton to “focus on defeating Republican Donald Trump,” according to CNBC.

A Moody’s Analytics analysis released Monday found that electing Trump to the presidency would hurt the economy “significantly,” leading to a nationwide recession.

“I hate the concept of profiling. But we have to start using common sense,” said Trump on CBS’ Face the Nation Sunday, seemingly suggesting that the United States should indeed begin profiling against Muslims.

Ann Friedman wrote in New York Magazine that the “real lesson of the Obama presidency is not that our sitting president is a failure. It’s that having a president who looks like a feminist is not enough.”

Washington Posts Glenn Kessler looked into a claim made in a recent Clinton campaign ad suggesting that the Democrat had worked across the aisle as first lady on child health programs.

Did Trump’s campaign really pay $35,000 to advertising firm “Draper Sterling” (the last names, of course, of two leading characters from Mad Men)?

Aliza Abarbanel highlighted in Elle magazine the 27.3 million Latinos who will vote this November, and what they think about the election.

Politico offered a look into a campaign finance case that could be “the next Citizens United.”