Texas Same Sex Marriage Ban: Are Married Men With Vasectomies Considered Divorced In Texas Because Sex With Them Won’t Produce a Child?
For a state that denies the responsibility for taking care of reproducing migrants, it’s funny that their argument in support of same sex marriage goes back to the premise that sex is for having children only. We should only have sex if we want kids? That ship has sailed. In fact, that ship is a ghost ship, the ship that never was. Women used crocodile dung, of all things, to prevent pregnancy. That is old school, as in ancient Egypt. Birth control is not new, neither is the idea of having sex without conceiving, so why does Texas feel the need to undo thousands of years of tradition, the birth control tradition, and determine that sex must lead to conception.
Heterosexual sex, is the only sex the state of Texas will recognize, because it causes pregnancy? So a couple that conceives a child together is then considered married in Texas because they participated in heterosexual sex that led to pregnancy? What about the couples who participate in heterosexual sex with the intent to conceive but don’t know that one or both is infertile? Are they still married?
This concept is startling in its breadth, in its arrogance, as if the last two to three thousand years of history have been covered with a blanket, one that we must be smothered with by the Texas legislature. How odd that sex is the only part of the discussion with marriage. Has no one read the posts about spreadsheets of excuses about sex? The state of Texas has not, apparently:
“Because same-sex relationships do not naturally produce children, recognizing same-sex marriage does not further these goals to the same extent that recognizing opposite-sex marriage does,” the brief said.
Of course recognizing same sex relationships won’t necessarily produce children as a form of recognizing marriage, but do we stop recognizing marriage after menopause, after a man gets a vasectomy? If a man gets a vasectomy, is he then considered divorced by the Texas legislature because sex with him won’t result in a child? Maybe once a couple hits 60 years of age, they are considered divorced because they can’t have biological children anymore. So marriage is only a baby-making machine, not a legal contract? Or the contract is only legal if the marriage is currently capable of producing children? Because most gay couples retain the ability to produce children, with outside assistance, so are couples utilizing IVF divorced in Texas, too, because they have problems with procreation?
Technically is marriage based only on the sex act? Are heterosexual couples having sex married only while having sex with the intent to conceive? Are they married while a woman is labor and giving birth but separated after the baby is born so that more heterosexual sex with the intent to conceive can be perpetrated by different partners?
If we are basing the concept of marriage in Texas on the ability, pure biological ability to conceive during a sex act, then gay couples should only be denied marriage if they are found to be infertile. Marriages of couples past the procreative ages should not be recognized, and gay couples that can biologically conceive should be recognized. Infertile couples in Texas should be considered divorced, as should any couple who doesn’t wish to have children. Sure sounds like a stable family arrangement for Texas, doesn’t it? Thanks, Texas, because your arguments make everything so much more clear… Misogyny much?
This isn’t new, but it’s worth repeating in the news world, that Norway was one of the first countries to require female representation on the boards of all of its public companies:
Norway’s law requiring at least 40 percent of public limited company board members to be women has made the panels more professional and globally focused, the head of its largest domestic-focused investment fund said on Monday.
In 2003 Norway became the first country in the world to impose a gender quota, requiring nearly 500 firms, including 175 firms listed on the Oslo bourse, to raise the proportion of women on their boards to 40 percent.
Sounds a bit drastic to the draconians here in the US who might feel that this sort of play could be heavy handed, and if we were to quote the Old White Men’s Club, that there might not be enough qualified women to act the part. Guess what though? Having women on the boards turned out to be a huge advantage. Companies took more time to recruit, to focus on a better search, a more thorough search for board members and actually expanded the expertise in their firms.
“You had to look more thoroughly to find females. This started a more professional process,” said Svarva, who is also the head of the corporate assembly and the election committee at Statoil, the largest company in the Nordics.
Another effect has been that nomination committees have looked outside Norway’s borders in the search for suitable candidates. “Boards have become more global,” she said.
This program has been so successful that more countries in the UK copied the winning formula for success–hiring more women:
Norway introduced a 40% quota for female directors of listed companies in 2006, to come into force in 2008, it was a first. Non-complying firms could theoretically be forcibly dissolved, though none has in fact suffered such a fate. Since then gender quotas for boards have been imposed in Belgium, Iceland, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain (though with less severe sanctions: non-complying firms must generally explain in their annual reports why they fell short and what they plan to do about it). The European Commission is considering imposing quotas across the EU. Malaysia has imposed a 30% quota for new appointments to boards, and Brazil a 40% target, though only for state-controlled firms. The governments of several other countries, including Australia, Britain and Sweden, have threatened to impose quotas if firms do not appoint more female directors voluntarily. So why are gender quotas becoming more common?
Quotas are common because there is still so much gender bias in the workplace that is unfounded. To counteract that, quotas have been instituted to try to break gender stereotypes. The Economist article, from which I quote above, elaborates on this succinctly:
Oodles of research demonstrates that women are evaluated less positively than identically qualified men when applying for stereotypically male jobs, such as leadership roles. One study found that a commitment by hiring committees to shortlists with at least 25% women helped to remove anti-woman bias.
The study also found that there was a bias against women expressing any signs of anger or showing a sense of self promotion. Strangely enough, the study also showed a hiring preference related to perfume or cologne scents, that stereotypically masculine scents were preferred: “Masculine-scented perfume favored the hiring of both sexes.” If our lizard brains are focusing on scent rather than performance, what chance do we have to change these dynamics?
There is reason to believe that sudden change in leadership roles and dynamics creates lasting change:
Over time, advocates of quotas hope that a sudden large increase in the number of women in leadership will change attitudes. They point to the results of a law passed in 1993 in India that reserved positions for women in randomly selected village councils. A decade later women were more likely to stand for, and win, elected positions in those villages that had by chance reserved positions for women in the previous two elections.
Since gender quotas have been implemented, representation of women on executive boards has increased; however, women have yet to make it to the role of CEO:
In Thursday’s Personal Journal, Christina Zander points out that none of Norway’s 32-large cap companies have a female chief executive, even though 41% of directors are female. Less than 6% of general managers at Norway’s listed companies are female.
The theme that gender equality at board level fails to trickle down to executive roles is known, but the example of Norway is interesting because its quota system has been in place for such a long time.
One could say that there is no downside to hiring more women, and that would be true, but is there a downside to quotas for hiring women? If one were to look at the Nordic region, one might say that there is a downside to hiring quotas–no female CEO’s are present:
Members of the U.S. Fortune FT.T +1.30% 500–not under a similar quota system–are more apt to appoint women to chief executive. And so are Norway’s private companies, which have far fewer female directors but a far greater number of women leaders (18% of private-company board members are female, 15.1% of general managers at these companies are women.)
And this isn’t just a Norway problem. In Finland, where female board participation is highest, none of the Nordic nation’s 27 biggest companies have women as CEOs.
The trend, in fact, permeates the entire Nordics. Sweden, Denmark and Iceland have sparse female representation at the top. “The cork is still in the bottle,” Sydbank SYDB.KO +1.34%’s Karen Frøsig, one of the few female CEOs in the Nordics, told The Wall Street Journal. She’s not a fan of quotas, but she suggests policy makers continue to keep the issue in focus.
Just 3% of the 145 Nordic large caps have a female CEO, compared to 5% of Fortune 500 firms.
Of course, it’s easy to say that quotas are the problem, when in fact, gender bias is the problem. The quotas were put into place because of such extensive gender bias. It’s not quotas, but it’s discrimination that is the issue at forefront. Maybe the Nordic region needs a quota for CEO’s.
Top pay for female CEO’s still focuses on traditionally female venues: cosmetics, retail, and cosmetics and retail…
The top compensated female CEO in the US is for Avon Products, a cosmetics company, Sheri Mc Coy. Ursula Burns is the CEO of Xerox,and Indra Nooyi is head of Pepsi Co. Rosalind Brewer is CEO of Sam’s Club. The trend is toward retail products, but we do have a CEO of IBM, Virginia Rometty, here in the US. Top pay for female executives went to Oracle Software CEO, Safra Catz. Of the top five paid female CEO’s, three out of five were in retail niches, like Victoria’s Secret. So, yay, women get to be CEO’s. Boo that it relates to women’s underwear promotion; however, perhaps with more women at the top, the trend will continue. One could look at it as an example that the buying power still sits proportionally with women, as long as underwear are the items bought.
I can’t forget the tech companies though. First time I thought I would say it, but thank goodness for Oracle and IBM. These companies are a welcome break from lacy underwear and nubile recently post adolescent advertising campaigns. Quotas, maybe, but how about focusing on the success or the income related to hiring more women. Finances don’t lie. Let’s study how diversity increased income, the bottom line. It’s clear that it does for some companies, so why not study that?
“I Don’t Care If the Federal Government Is Telling Me To Buy My Employees Jack Daniels or Birth Control…”
“…What gives them the right to tell me that I have to do that?” Startling egomania aside, or comments about how the government tells everyone what to do, so begins a tirade by Michael Potter who objects to the birth control mandate. With this tirade, it doesn’t sound as if Michael Potter’s “religious” exemption has anything to do with religion whatsoever, and more to do with doing what Michael Potter wants in true egomaniac fashion. This concept of the depth of religious authenticity in the religious exemption has not gone unnoticed by other commentators:
In at least one of those cases, the sincerity of the employer’s religious objections is open to question. That shows why allowing a broad “religious” exemption from a federal law can be atrociously bad policy.
So comments an LA Times writer that goes on to question the decision to allow a religious exemption to follow a federal law a blatant “legal” policy. Unfortunately, good ole Michigan makes headlines again with asinine comments making headlines with Eden Foods head, Michael Potter, issuing an anti-government tirade that has followed him:
The most interesting case, however, was brought by Eden Foods, a Michigan “natural foods” firm. Its Catholic owner, Michael Potter, claimed in his lawsuit that “participating in, paying for, training others to engage in, or otherwise supporting contraception, abortion, and abortifacients” offends his “deeply held religious beliefs.”
The appeals court that rejected his motion for an injunction against the mandate was skeptical. Potter’s real position, it suggested, resembled more “a laissez-faire, anti-government screed.” The evidence came from an interview Potter gave last year to Irin Carmon of Salon, in which he stated:
“I don’t care if the federal government is telling me to buy my employees Jack Daniel’s or birth control. What gives them the right to tell me that I have to do that? That’s my issue, that’s what I object to, and that’s the beginning and end of the story.”
This hint that Potter had merely swaddled an anti-government rant within a “religious” blanket illustrates the main problem with Justice Samuel Alito’s majority opinion in Hobby Lobby: it takes claims of religious scruples for granted.
Thank you, Michael Potter, of Michigan, of course, for making all Michigan business people sound like Minutemen Militia supporters carrying our swashbuckling armories with us.
For a court that is supposedly separate from religion, the mainstays of the Federal Supreme Court sure worship at the altar of religion any time it seems convenient to thwart a federal law they just applauded a mere few months ago. Please see my post on the virtual senility of this the Federal Supreme Court in this…
The problem with offering a religious exemption from federal law, aside from the fact that there generally is no religious exemption from federal law, see examples such as: no religious exemption for committing murder, no religious exemption from paying taxes, no religious exemption from dealing drugs or importing illegal aliens as a professional smuggler…etc., ad nauseum. Really, there is no religious exemption for following federal law, so why did the Federal Supreme Court just create one? Is this a smack back at Obamacare? If it were, then the court could have simply found the law unconstitutional on religious grounds. It’s a sloppiness in legal approach that is so troubling, and this religious blanket approach pretty much negates the federal law if one so much as claims any sort of religious belief:
There’s no evidence in the record of Tuesday’s cases that the lower courts conducted any inquiry into the sincerity of the business owners’ religious claims or beliefs. Alito’s majority opinion Monday certainly didn’t offer any guidelines for validating what he established as a qualification for exemption from the ACA mandate.
In a case involving the Gilardi family, owners of an Ohio produce firm, Judge Janice Rogers Brown of the Washington, D.C., circuit appeals court wrote in a 2-1 decision overturning the mandate that “this case is not about the sincerity of the Gilardis’ religious beliefs, nor does it concern the theology behind Catholic precepts on contraception. The former is unchallenged, while the latter is unchallengeable.”
But why should that be? If the only requisite for an exemption from this important mandate is a religious claim, why should it not be subject to challenge? Otherwise, how do we limit the exemption only to those with genuinely religious scruples?
Here is the problem with a federal court involving itself in religious disputes: now the United States Federal Supreme Court has become the gatekeeper for religious exemptions, the arbiter of religious beliefs. How ridiculous is that??
It’s frightening that our highest federal court in the nation has taken to determining the extent of religious beliefs in this country and their breadth into our most personal lives, the sexuality of women, the performance of a business, the payment of healthcare. Can anyone deny evidence of a Christian Sharia law in the highest Federal Supreme Court of the United States? Perhaps the Federal Supreme Court will next require virginity tests for marriage because of religious beliefs? Purport the mass expansion of female genital mutilation, because this, too, is argued to be a religious belief. Look next for the Federal Supreme Court of the United States to task itself with taking on morality of women in deeper breadth and detail, because our highest court has spoken from the pulpit.
In an op-ed proving that Christian women have more sense than their conservative male counterparts, Katheryn Pogin effectively delineates how Christian principles actually promote equal treatment of all people, a definite teaching of Christ, arguing that discriminating against others is a distinctly unchristian enterprise. Hobby Lobby’s “win” in the Supreme Court, that it doesn’t have to provide birth control, by a court who agreed that the law they declared Constitutional is now unconstitutional less than a year later, is definitely confusing. At best, the Federal Supreme Court looks wishy-washy, undecided, weak; at worst the Federal Supreme Court looks confused, aging, as if the institution itself is incapable of understanding its own rulings and so must refute them nine months after it issues them. We appear to have a Federal Supreme Court in the throes of advanced Alzheimer’s disease.
One might assume that the Christian-right would applaud this age-onset version of judicial dementia, applaud that corporations are still allowed to control women’s sexual behavior, act as voyeur and observe sexual practices amongst women and approve or deny them, as if in paternalistic pursuit of a teenager. (Not, that I would argue, that is appropriate either, just amply socially representative.)
Kathryn Pogin eviscerates the idea that corporations playing God in the game of morals is a Christian endeavor:
Make no mistake: This is no victory for the freedom to exercise Christian principles. Though employers like Hobby Lobby are now free to deny women access to contraceptives through their employer-subsidized health plans on the basis of religious objection, they will be violating their own purported Christian principles if they do. While Christians are not compelled by their faith to engage in religious practices that impose upon the freedoms of others, they are compelled — by their belief that all persons, men and women, are created in the image of God — to oppose discrimination.
Pogin also points out that these corporations, with the Federal Supreme Court’s senile blessing, act as a means of economic coercion to control women’s sexuality, their behavior, on a level that supersedes that of any other form of institutionalized moral codes:
This suggests that the legal challenges are not merely aimed at allowing corporations to abstain from facilitating behavior they deem immoral but instead are seeking to effectively prevent women from engaging in that “immoral” behavior by keeping financial barriers for women, and administrative barriers for the government, in place.
This is economic coercion. Opponents to the contraceptive mandate have insisted that women remain free to purchase whatever health care services they choose, but this is woefully insensitive to the reality that low-income women and families face. For these women, there is a very large difference between what is available to them for purchase in principle and in effect.
In essence, our Federal Supreme Court has just approved the first version of Sharia law, enabling the larger society to issue an opinion and control women’s sexuality through a religious mandate. If the United States government is truly separate from its religious arm, truly secular, it should not concern itself with religion, period.
Hobby Lobby makes money off of contraceptives in its investments, investing in companies that manufacture birth control products, but then claims that contraceptives are morally offensive to its employees. How is it Christian to be duplicitous? Pogin asserts that this is not Christian behavior:
This kind of economic coercion is distinctly at odds with Christian principles. There is only one incident described in the Christian scriptures where Jesus is represented as employing coercive force, and it was not used to prevent people from engaging in sin. It was used, instead, to prevent people from dishonoring God by exploiting religious practice for personal gain. The gospels describe Jesus’ reaction to those who sought to profit from the Passover pilgrimage to the temple as fierce: “And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. And he told those who sold the pigeons, ‘Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.’” This is where corporations that claim their operations constitute religious practice of the Christian faith ought to take note.
Hobby Lobby offered coverage for some of the contraceptives it now claims its religious faith forbids it to have any association with, until shortly after the Becket Fund for Religious Freedom asked it if it would be interested in filing suit. The company continues to profit from investments in the manufacturers of the “objectionable” contraceptives through the401(k) plan it offers its employees. Recently, Hobby Lobby has faced legal trouble for false advertising. It has built a fortune, in large part, by selling goods manufactured in China, infamous for its poor labor conditions and related human rights violations. These are the practices of a corporation that will emphasize the Christian faith of its owners when convenient and profitable, but set that faith aside when it would be costly to do otherwise.
The principles of Christianity were not founded on economic principle, but on the belief that equality under God was the most guiding principle. It seems that so-called Christian companies have forgotten that guiding premise of Christ’s teachings and have replace their almighty God with the almighty dollar.
In a new study some deem provocative, it appears that the internet may “shape” our culture’s preference for facial shapes. People having access to the internet were compared with people having no access to the internet to determine which facial shapes they found attractive. People with access to the internet claimed to prefer wider male faces and narrower female faces. People without access to the internet claimed to prefer exactly the opposite, narrower male faces and wider female faces.
The article was laced with the normal gender gobble-dee-gook speak about what constitutes “feminine” facial features, read narrow, and what constitutes “male” features, read, wider. Since so much of visual beauty preferences are determined by a cultural narrative, it’s amazing that the researchers failed to reveal any cultural narrative regarding these so-called preferences, determining instead that the internet shapes our preference for concepts regarding what is male or female. How boring.
“One possibility for the difference is the level of media exposure: people with internet access are more exposed to the media (adverts or websites), which promotes the beauty ideals of muscly men and thin feminine women,” study co-author Carlota Bartres, apsychology Ph.D. student at the lab, said in a written statement. People with internet access were also more likely to have a TV in their homes, further exposing them to influence from the media. While the study shows only a correlation between internet access and our preferences, its results match up with previous research showing that exposure to images of thin women in the media is associated with “internalization of the thin ideal.” That’s according to Dr. Renee Engeln, a psychologist and director of The Body and Media Labat Northwestern University, who was not involved in the study. “In other words, the more we see these types of images (whether on the Internet or in magazines or television shows), the more we tend to buy into the notion that thinness is a key indicator of beauty in women,” Engeln told the Huffington Post in an email.
While I do agree that “adverts” can cause problems about what we feel is appropriate for women and men for physical beauty, it could have just as easily been influenced by things like the Super Bowl worship and Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. Notice there is no reference to a female agenda with a title like “cowBOYS.” You mean having football fluffers might be an issue with gender norms in our society? I don’t see how treating like objectified penile fluffers who literally stand on the sidelines and jump could possibly influence gender norm ideals–do you??
Television is much more of a dominating force than internet. How many people could watch the Super Bowl if not for television? Television execs reach a wider audience with a televised production than they could ever hope to with a live production and a limited number of viewers. More to the point, it’s not the internet that determines cultural preferences; its the culture that sets preferences, to some extent the religions that dominate that cultural preference.
Shows like Duck Dynasty have no trouble exploiting their teenage girls with things like “fashion design” jobs, when something like biology, college, math professorship and such exists. Add in the ranks of shows like with the 3-ring religious circus of Duggars who profess to breed women to further breed more of their breed. Women in the Duggar clan are purported to be nothing more than broodmares, and those women with brains need not apply. Brains are apparently not necessary to birth.
One could look at the Kardashian family, busy selling its youngest members to the nearest swimsuit purveyor to better show off a young Kardashian ass that has yet to age. Perhaps we could look at the Mormon family in Utah, wherein the women who purport to be wives engage in nothing more strenuous than housework and discussions on religion and how they lack the freedom to have women marry other women. (Methinks they have much in common with the LGBT community, should they realize it.) In light of all of these television shows, one must not forget
“Real Housewives,” whose only claim to fame is being a housewife and glorying in their lack of mental development outside of anything resembling a marriage or link to a man. Perhaps we could look at the former Jon and Kate Plus 8 wherein the female figure resembles an overwhelmed and angry woman suddenly dealing with 8 kids and apparently an unspoken desire for her own spotlight, which appeared in later episodes when she was sans husband. The fickle public doesn’t like a single mom with 8 kids apparently.
We can’t leave out of this equation beastly television sitcoms with the historical gender bias in the title, as in old school shows like “Father Knows Best” and “Leave It to Beaver.” Even “Bewitched,” with a purportedly female lead, attempted to figure out how to place a witch in the glory of Stepford suburbia.
It’s not just internet that’s to blame. Without internet, we might not have as much of a pulse on these preferences, but they are just reflections of the society gender stereotypes reinforced by television media.
If we didn’t have internet, we might not get specific about gender bias, may not be able to publicize it, just as if we couldn’t publicize the Super Bowl. But hell, if no one liked the Super Bowl male butt fest, would anyone watch it? Nope. The machine would shut down, and the industry would die out. What may take it out of the running sooner than anything else is that men may finally figure out that they don’t want to accept money to become brain dead from concussive injuries, but that seems a bit precocious at the moment. One can only hope that it will happen. Until then, it’s ridiculous, if not irresponsible to claim that the internet shapes a gender preference when a culture shapes that and the internet just makes us aware of it.
Consider this chilling statement from music pop star, Kesha, and see if, after all, it’s the internet or the industry that uses women that promotes shape preferences, facial shapes, body shapes, whatever… Note that Kesha penned this quote after exiting rehab from issues caused by cultural norms about shapes acceptable for women:
“The music industry has set unrealistic expectations for what a body is supposed to look like, and I started becoming overly critical of my own body because of that. I felt like people were always lurking, trying to take pictures of me with the intention of putting them up online or printing them in magazines and making me look terrible.”
“I felt like a liar, telling people to love themselves as they are, while I was being hateful to myself and really hurting my body. I wanted to control things that weren’t in my power, but I was controlling the wrong things. I convinced myself that being sick, being skinny was part of my job. It felt safer somehow.”
Let’s not talk internet, People, let’s talk cultural norms.
Want to go give birth outside unattended? Want to have a video record of it? Maybe you could be on Lifetime’s new series, Born in the Wild. I don’t know what bothers people more, that women might not need medical intervention to give birth or that it happens outdoors. People! Don’t you all know that women have to have doctors to have babies??? Have you no sense of propriety?
A Lifetime exec says the network has set out to document something people are already doing. It’s not as if “we’re dropping people in the woods and saying ‘go have the baby,'” he says. “These are all people who have already had babies in hospitals who had unsatisfying experiences and who are choosing to have different experiences.” AtSalon, Mary Elizabeth Williams isn’t impressed by the “completely insane” concept or by Lifetime’s press release describing childbirth as the “craziest experience” of a woman’s life. “I’m not going to get whipped up over whether a woman wants to give birth in a hospital or a swimming pool or on a pile of leaves, but I do find the premise of having an entire film crew around to document and televise the experience does somewhat undercut the whole ‘in the wild’ thing a bit,” she writes. “And I definitely find Lifetime’s branding of childbirth as an insistently ‘crazy’ event spectacularly offensive.”
Outdoors? Sans doctors? Surely we are reverting to cave men? Or wait, women? Or caves? How could we survive? Hmm, maybe most of us did. The last 50 years have nothing on humanity’s history, right? Never mind that these women don’t want to have babies in hospitals. Never mind that childbirth is an inherently risky event and the US has one of the highest rates of childbirth complications and lowest rates of fetal maternal health in developed countries as it is. Who knows, maybe childbirth in the wild will improve things. After all, from where we are now, the US can only go up.