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Sunday
Apr052015

Jessica Valenti

The article I am analyzing today is Jessica Valenti's February 6, 2015, attempt in theguardian.com.

 

Valenti writes, “If the 2012 elections were about male Republicans sticking their feet in their mouths and their heads up their asses – 'legitimate rape', 'binders of women', offering women the aspirin-between-the-knees method of birth control – I predict that 2016 will be the year that the Republicans reveal themselves to be the party of, for and by old farts.”

 

“Lately, everything old Republican men say – about women, about rape, about marriage equality, even vaccines – sounds more old-fogey than forward-thinking. And while they have never been the party of the young and hip, in the midst of an all-out young feminist revival, Republican rhetoric sounds older and limper than ever.”

 

“And as the male Republican guard reveals themselves to be as stale and funky as your grandpa's drawers, older liberal women are stepping into the limelight as cool and accomplished.”

 

Valenti does not trust her readers to understand a subtle message. So she writes, “male Republicans”, “old Republican men”, “old-fogey”, and “Republican rhetoric sounds older and limper than ever.”

On the other side, “young feminist revival” and “older liberal women are stepping into the limelight as cool and accomplished.” Notice it's older liberal women and not old liberal women.

 

Valenti writes, “We've got Notorious RBG.” That's an allusion to 82-year-old Ruth “Cool” Bader Ginsburg.

 

“Today's Republicans might be clued in enough to realize calling one of the country's most experienced female politicians 'old' is not a good way to woo the women voters they're so desperate for, but I'm not sure they fully realize the power of Clinton's experienced cool”, Valenti wrote, after describing Republicans as “old” several times. Republican politicians shouldn't say Clinton is old, but that doesn't mean the rest of us can't have some fun.

 

Of course, over-the-Hillary Clinton's age matters (she's 67), it's why Valenti is trying so hard to create a counter-narrative: old liberal women cool/old Republican men uncool. Clinton is older than all of the following Republican candidates: Bush, Carson, Christie, Cruz, Huckabee, Jindal, Kasich, Rand Paul, Perry, Rubio, Santorum, and Walker.

 

Compared to their youth, Clinton is a dried-up old prune. She's cooler than being cool. She's ice-cold, just ask Bill!

 

Valenti writes, “In a statement reminiscent of Pat Robertson's claim that feminism encourages women to 'practice witchcraft,' US [Texas] senator Ted Cruz has accused pro-choice activists of being Satanists.”

 

She omits pro-choice activists in Texas were chanting “hail Satan” during the time surrounding Wendy Davis's pro-abortion filibuster. (Guideline 7c-1 and -2.)

 

Valenti is wrong about feminism and witchcraft. (Guideline 17a: Selective research.)

 

In her book, Feminist Politics and Human Nature, Alison Jaggar writes about a list of radical feminist institutions. “It includes the revival of a specifically women's spirituality, based on wicca or witchcraft, the ancient goddess religion driven underground by Judaeo-Christianity.” Page 276.

“especially those radical feminists who are concerned with rehabilitating women's spiritual powers and reviving the 'Old Religion' of wicca or witchcraft.” Page 368-369.

 

Here is Jaggar's complete endnote 42 for chapter 11:

Jade River, “Witchcraft: A Political View,” talk given at conference on Women's Spirituality, Cincinnati, 22 March 1981. River draws heavily on Margot Adler, Drawing Down the Moon (Boston, Mass.: Beacon Press, 1979).

 

Jade River has written about Dianic Wicca. I found a post “The Dianic Tradition” on legionofpagans.com, dated March 19, 2004.

 

Zsuzsanna Budapest wrote a book called The Feminist Book of Lights and Shadows. The book is now called The Holy Book of Women's Mysteries: Feminist Witchcraft, Goddess Rituals, Spellcasting and Other Womanly Arts and according to River, it contains “the foundational principles of Dianic Wicca.”

 

I will let you do an Internet search for information about Margot Adler and Zsuzsanna Budapest. If you do, it all makes sense and everything falls into place.

 

The Dianic Wiccans have their own denomination called the Re-formed Congregation of the Goddess – International (RCG-I). One of their seminaries is called the Women's Thealogical Institute (WTI), founded in 1989.

 

Valenti isn't the first feminist writer to miss the connection between feminism, wicca and witchcraft. Still, with so many examples of it, how can feminist writers continue to be so ignorant? Do feminists have, in Valenti's words, “their heads up their asses”?