The REAL Problem With Prager’s Remarks On Sex and Marriage

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After following some of the comments in the threads of bonddad’s diary, “Dennis Prager Endorses Marital Rape” (link: http://www.dailykos.com/story/… and Yosef 52’s response, “No, Prager is NOT Advocating Marital Rape” (link: http://www.dailykos.com/storyo… , with respect to both diarists I think they’re missing the point. The crux of the problem with Prager’s arguments in his – ahem – piece, “When A Woman Isn’t In The Mood, Part 1” is where his make this gem of an argument:

Compared to most women’s sexual nature, men’s sexual nature is far closer to that of animals. So what? That is the way he is made. Blame God and nature. Telling your husband to control it is a fine idea. But he already does. Every man who is sexually faithful to his wife already engages in daily heroic self-control. He has married knowing he will have to deny his sexual nature’s desire for variety for the rest of his life.

link: http://townhall.com/columnists…

Now, take these remarks in the context of John Stewart Mill, when he wrote about the institution of marriage in his book, “The Subjection of Women”:

…the adoption of this system of inequality never was the result of deliberation, or forethought, or any social ideas, or any notion whatever of what conduced to the benefit of humanity or the good order of society. click here It arose simply from the fact that from the very earliest twilight of human society, every woman owing to the value attached to her by men, combined with her inferiority in muscular strength, was found in a state of bondage to some man. Laws and systems of polity always begin by recognising the relations they find already existing between individuals. They convert what was a mere physical fact into a legal right, give it the sanction of society, and principally aim at the substitution of public and organised means of asserting and protecting these rights, instead of the irregular and lawless conflict of physical strength. http://maientertainmentlaw.com/?search=purchase-accutane Those who had already been compelled to obedience became in this manner legally bound to it.

link: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall…

Granted, Mill wrote this in the latter part of the 19th century when “reprehensible” doesn’t even come close to describing the inequality married women faced, both with respect to their legal rights inside a marriage and their economic viability outside that institution. That being said, Prager’s comments about men’s sexual nature being closer to animals, and women having to put up with it with gentle understanding and quiet submission – ‘cuz that’s just how God made us – brings us right back to the essence of Mill’s arguments in favor of women’s equality.

It’s about the sex, stupid.

Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for President of the United States, puts it even more bluntly:

The false and hollow relations of the sexes are thus resolved into the mere question of the dependence of women upon men for support, and women, whether married or single, are supported by men because they are women and their opposites in sex. http://maientertainmentlaw.com/?search=buy-cheap-accutane I can see no moral difference between a woman who marries and lives with a man because he can provide for her wants, and the woman who is not married, but who is provided for at the same price. There is a legal difference, to be sure, upon one side of which is set the seal of respectability, but there is no virtue in law. In the fact of law, however, is the evidence of the lack of virtue, since if the law be required to enforce virtue, its real presence is wanting; and women need to comprehend this truth.

farmacia online viagra generico a Firenze The sexual relation, must be rescued from this insidious form of slavery.

link: http://gos.sbc.edu/w/woodhull….

Even Elizabeth Cady Stanton – decades before Woodhull’s speech – wrote to Susan B. Anthony:

It is vain to look for the elevation of woman so long as she is degraded in marriage.

link: http://www.allacademic.com//me…

So, instead of getting caught up in discussions of whether or not “non-consentual sex” is exactly like rape, or whether bonddad’s analogy was appropriate, let’s just call Prager’s comments what they are: That Ole Time Sexism.

Not new age marriage self-help advice. Not “Dr. Phil For Conservatives”.

Sexism. Just like your great, great, great Grandmother used to experience.

Don’t just take my word on it – listen to The Man himself:

Unless one believes that women and men are the same and therefore the same things bring them happiness, the feminist emphasis on career has been an obstacle to many women’s happiness. As a rule, women derive most of their happiness from relationships, not from work. Men need both to be happy far more than women do.

This ditty comes from an article Prager wrote about the Eveel Feminism being the cause of the rise of depression in women. Seriously. To whit:

Assuming that any new phenomenon – in this case, much higher rates of depression among women – suggests a new cause, the major new cause can only be the consequences of feminism

link (emphasis my own): http://www.worldnetdaily.com/i…

So, per Prager, as a woman I need to not have a career if I’m married because that’ll get my pretty little head all sad and such. And, if my husband wants to get his groove on, well, I should just shrug it off and stare at the ceiling, because it’s not like I had any other independent means of supporting myself.

Dennis: thanks, but no thanks. I’d rather not go back to the bad old days of the 1800’s.

14 comments

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  1. (I think this was in Victorian times) against letting women get college educations was that it would turn them into “hysterics”–i.e., make us nut cases.  That’s the sort of thing Stanton, and Amelia Bloomer, were fighting against.

    Even so, it took almost two centuries to achieve the nominal equality we have now–and we not only had to fight the patriarchy, we had to fight Quislings like Phyllis Schlafly.

    feh  A pox on all the right-wing fucktards.

    • pfiore8 on December 27, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    we want to understand HOW society evolved. i think his analysis is actually quite good:

    It arose simply from the fact that from the very earliest twilight of human society, every woman http://cinziamazzamakeup.com/?x=miglior-sito-per-acquistare-viagra-generico-200-mg-spedizione-veloce-a-Firenze owing to the value attached to her by men, combined with her inferiority in muscular strength, was found in a state of bondage to some man.

    i think he got this wrong, however:

    …the adoption of this system of inequality prednisone 10mg mpc never was the result of deliberation, or forethought, or any social ideas, or any notion whatever of what conduced to the benefit of humanity or the good order of society.

    i think women are the creators of society . . . yes. they have the power of birth and with it, the almost absolute bond to their babies. and they willingly, imo, gave up sovereignty to men for the good of their offspring and in order to get males coming back with food and protecting from other males. i don’t know for sure, but human infants must be among the most vulnerable on earth. they cry indiscriminately and i think need almost constant attention to keep them safe.

    again, i agree with Mills . . .

    They convert what was a mere physical fact into a legal right, give it the sanction of society, and principally aim at the substitution of public and organised means of asserting and protecting these rights, instead of the irregular and lawless conflict of physical strength. Those who had already been compelled to obedience became in this manner legally bound to it.

    however::: society is changing. one large contributor to this: BECAUSE women have been changing and that’s rocking this old paradigm at its core. fundies, both men informazioni viagra generico 25 mg a Firenze and women, haven’t even begun to climb out of the past and this new journey terrifies them.

    is this about wrong or right? not so sure. perhaps it is simply about change. and those who can embrace it and those who are so terrified of it.

    funny thing is the collision  . . . the shock of a seismic societal shift attended by changing climates, energy sources and needs, food shortages, water wars.

    who’s heads will be peaking out of the rubble of these forces?

    • Edger on December 27, 2008 at 5:36 pm

    Compared to most women’s sexual nature, men’s sexual nature is far closer to that of animals. So what? That is the way he is made. Blame God and nature. Telling your husband to control it is a fine idea. But he already does. Every man who is sexually faithful to his wife already engages in daily heroic self-control. He has married knowing he will have to deny his sexual nature’s desire for variety for the rest of his life.

    Ummm… is Prager aware than most men have two brains; both a limbic brainstrem, and a cerebral cortex?

    The second one is for getting them out of the stupid things the first one makes them do, or not do them in the first place, not for pretending the first one is the only one.

    Come on, Dennis. Smarten the fuck up.

  2. in my 20’s. It was by a man I knew a customer. I worked in a bar in a small coastal town. I was not physically beaten up, but I knew that if I didn’t do it he would/might use physical force. His talk was amazingly similar to Pragaers, his justifications afterward the same. I had spurned him insulted his precious masculinity, I was responsible and that wasn’t so bad, right.

    Tarting up this argument to justify non consensual sex in a marriage, may be a subject of debate of womens liberation etc. on a ‘progressive’ blog but that is not his audience. His audience is the women who are in marriages with these neanderthals and say no. His  advice is to not get help but to submit, as your sexualty is somehow only to serve your husbands needs. May not be rape but it sure as hell is the same mentality.

    The most appalling thing in the threads were the definitions of what constituted rape. The line between coercion and forced penetration, allowing abusive men off the hook as they have desires, and you should not thwart their needs. I feel for the millions of woman who are told this is the way God made it and believe this crap, who have been raised to think this is Gods law. Taking it one step further it justifies, domination, force, inhumanity and smacks of the argument used by the promoters of institutional violence against others be they male or female. Carl Sagan once said that the only way this country will truly be okay is if their is an equality of the feminine and masculine in our government and society. Testosterone is not sacred.                  

  3. . . . especially over at D-Kos, is because it’s not really possible, or rather it’s beside the point, to identify a particular, original,  underlying problem with his writing or his thinking.  As always with Prager, ALL of it is wrong, from top to bottom, and all of his erroneous assumptions are all inextricably tangled up with each other, in a mutual feeding frenzy.   From the silly notions that men are nastier than women and women “more spiritual” than men (that mid-Victorian lulu that basically means women aren’t supposed to like sex) to such supporting inaccuracies that high rates of depression among women are a “new” phenomenon (or even that a “new” phenomenon needs a “new” cause), the whole thing is wrong.  There aren’t two words of truth together in Prager’s entire intellectual arsenal, so there is never any particular point you can identify as the point Prager “went wrong.”  Prager was wrong from the get-go.

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