Sister, did you take five minutes to feel good about the future after President Obama was reelected, thus ending the immediate threat that contraception would be outlawed, abortions would become criminal, lesbians wouldn’t be able to adopt children or marry, and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act would be gutted? Good for you. Now gird your loins right back up again. Last week brought bad news in the form of a vote by the Anglican Church to forbid women from becoming bishops. That’s right: The bishops’ club, for at least the next five years, will remain all-male.
As a result, Anglican women priests (they’ve been allowed in the church since 1992) are threatening to resign en masse in protest. The outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, declared that the vote has cost the church its “credibility,” and the incoming archbishop, Justin Welby, called it “a very grim day.” The Reverend Canon Rosie Harper accused the church of “institutionalized discrimination” and said it was hard not to take the vote personally.
Coming on the heels of the Catholic Church’s bitch-slap of its own nuns earlier this year, Pope Benedict’s reaffirmation of his church’s ban on women priests, and an Australian priest’s caution that modern women are way too choosy when it comes to marriage, it doesn’t seem the battles will be ending anytime soon. (Oh—to be fair, Mormon women can’t be priests in their church, either.)
The Anglican Church isn’t much of a threat to us here in America. And despite the big ol’ temple the Mormons are raising at 17th and Vine, they’re much less worrisome than domestic terrorists like Phyllis Schlafly’s niece, Suzanne Venker, who penned a real doozy of an opinion piece for Fox News over the weekend. According to Venker, our only problem as women is that … we’re not women anymore.
No, no, really—we’re not women because we’ve been acting like men, taking all the jobs that rightfully belong to them, hogging up their places in colleges and universities. Here’s how Venker explains it: “Ever since the sexual revolution, there has been a profound overhaul in the way men and women interact. Men haven’t changed much—they had no revolution that demanded it—but women have changed dramatically.” And this, you see, is a Very Bad Thing. It has got men, in Venker’s elegant term, “pissed.” How come? Oh, here, it’s so simple: “Men want to love women, not compete with them. They want to provide for and protect their families—it’s in their DNA. But modern women won’t let them.” You mean, mean modern women, you!
Never fear, though. We ladies have the power in our hands to make our men happy again—because hey, you know there’s no way in the world that our having meaningful careers and making choices other than full-time mom and housekeeper could result in men being genuinely happy for us, along with us. Not in the Anglican or Catholic churches, and not in Venkerville, either. No, what we have to do for our men to be happy again is so simple. All we have to do, Venker says, is “surrender” to our “nature”—our “femininity”—and let guys get back to providing for and protecting us, and all will be well again.
Tell that to the mothers whose children’s fathers owe $108 billion in child support. Tell that to the upstanding gentlemen at Lackland Air Force Base, whose idea of “protection” includes sexual abuse, or the average of three women a day in the United States who are killed by their husbands or boyfriends—not to mention the one every nine seconds who suffers from domestic abuse.
But statistics like that may only make men more angry, and we wouldn’t want that.
What Venker—and the Republicans, and the Anglicans, and the Catholics—don’t seem to get is that there isn’t any going back. The Mad Men days are gone (not to mention the Dark Ages). Sorry if you miss them—if things were better for you then, if they were easier. They sucked for us, and we’re half the human race. We don’t want to take your place. We just want to take our place beside you. We want the Full Monty, not separate-but-equal, or almost-equal, or anything less. You can try to delay the inevitable, but it’s coming. There will be women bishops someday, or there won’t be an Anglican Church.