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To All American Women: Please Wake Up and Soon— We Must Fight the War on Women

Updated: Mar 11

-by Helen Klein

Listening to Biden's speech and Senator Britt's retort, unfortunately for Republicans, it was a big time double whammy lose/lose for them. Biden was vibrant, assertive and dramatic and made excellent points that few Americans could disagree with, other than the wealthy and corporate entities. He belied the media's relentless push that he is “too old.” (I'm looking at you, Ezra Klein, for your promotion of this position and your lack of mea culpa in yesterday's editorial. Shame on you.)  Britt, on the other hand, portrayed what American women DO NOT WANT TO BE. 

Britt's unbelievably awful speech, which took place in a kitchen, showed exactly what Republicans think of women and their place in American life. Senator Tuberville praised her as a “housewife,” a term from the 1950's that has little meaning any more and is now considered derogatory. Wow: Alabama hit the jackpot with their two Senators. The state should be embarrassed by both of them: Tuberville, ignorant and dumb as a rock, and Britt, anti any gains in women's rights over the last 75 years. Britt put forth a white nationalist Christian point of view that Republicans want to apply to the rest of us. Whatever happened to separation of church and state? 

I did learn something though. I had never heard of “Fundie baby speech” before, the particular voice and emotions that were apparent in Britt's overwhelmingly terrible delivery. What is this voice?

From Wikipedia: "Fundy is slang for fundamentalist, most often applied to fundamentalists of Abrahamic religions in general and American fundamentalist Christians in particular.

"It (this voice) means you're a good woman. It means you're kind and you support your husband. The better you are at the baby voice, the better woman you are."

There’s a survivor part of me, a part that fought like hell to save my life, my children’s lives, and to recover over a decade from fundamentalist abuse that is deeply grateful to Heather Cox Richardson (and any researchers who helped her) for getting the word CHILDLIKE correct when describing Katie Britt’s manipulative speech. Vocal training and forced modulation in Christian fundamentalism is more than “fundie baby voice.” It’s the denial of our voices, the suppression of our natural sound and range of emotion, and the terms used to train us are reflective of the agenda and abusive system we were in. They want us to sound like sexualized children.

And Jess Piper wrote Fundie Baby Voice:

As soon as Senator Katie Britt started speaking, I knew exactly who she is. She is many of the pastor's wives and Sunday School teachers I knew growing up in an Evangelical church.  Be sweet. Obey.  
I threw so many folks for a loop last year when I discussed the voice in a video. I used my “training” as a former Evangelical, a Southern Baptist, to describe the breathy cadence and the soft, child-like high pitch. Folks outside of Fundamentalist culture had never heard the term— they just knew the voice made them uncomfortable.
Christian nationalist Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson, is married to a woman who also uses the voice. Johnson removed a document from her Christian Counseling site that said, “We believe and the Bible teaches that any form of sexual immorality, such as adultery, fornication, homosexuality, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, pornography or any attempt to change one’s sex, or disagreement with one’s biological sex, is sinful and offensive to God.”

Back to Sen Katie Britt and the Republican response to the State of the Union speech; it was filled with Fundamentalist ideology and the fundie baby voice. The setting was her kitchen— that is not by accident. It is likely that she thinks this is where most women should spend their time. She’s wearing a modest shirt, opened just far enough to see her cross necklace. She started her speech by indicating that she’s “just a mom” mentioning her children’s names to assure other fundamentalist Christians that she understands her role in society.

Her face says as much as her voice in fundie culture— that hyperbolic wince that she performed each time she said “Biden.” It means, “I’m going to say something here that isn’t very nice, but y’all know I’m going to keep it sweet.”

So to women everywhere: this is what the Republicans want us to be. HELL NO, I say!! 

There are many other aspects of Britt's speech that can be torn apart. For one, Britt lied her head off about the rapes that she described ad nauseam, trying to project blame on migrants and Biden. False and ridiculous! The events took place in Mexico, many years ago, and while President Bush was in office. Of course lies are par for the course for Republicans. I will leave critiques of other aspects of Britt's speech to others, and there have been an exorbitant amount of them since Thursday.

The Democrats need to focus on the term pro choice rather than abortion and emphasize that Republicans are forced birth advocates who want women to be incubators. The Democrats need to stop adopting right wing slogans, which have negative connotations, and start using ones that portray real meaning. Pro life is another one. Define it for what they mean: pro life for in utero cells (and now even extra utero cells given the IVF lunacy), not pro life for women. Women are pro life— theirs! 

Britt wouldn't even be a senator if she hadn't made a shady deal with Sam Bankman |Fried

Abortion is only one aspect of the War On Women. It encompasses all of our medical health. Women's bodies are made to carry babies, of course they are— this is how all animals survive, by procreating. If women cannot control their reproductive health, not only will many have serious medical problems as a matter of course but some will possibly die. 

It is important to look at the facts.

How many women die in childbirth? In 2021, 32.9 women per 100,000 died in childbirth in the USA. In 2020, 23.8 and in 2019, 23.1.  So the rate is going up and the recent change in substantial. The World Health Organization ranks the USA 55th.  Wow. This is awful. Among wealthy nations, the USA has the highest rate of maternal mortality. USA maternal deaths have doubled over the past 20 years. That's sad, to say the least. We have to do better. We certainly won't, given the end of Roe: it will only get much worse.

How many women have miscarriages (early loss of pregnancy before 20 weeks)? Possibly 10-20 % of pregnancies, although this may be higher for various reasons. At least 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. This is a fairly common part of women's lives, unfortunately. My mother had 4 miscarriages; my mother-in-law 1. Medical care afterwards can be critical; however, symptoms may be similar to abortion and doctors in some states are hesitant to treat women who have had miscarriages. Just think of this potential negative effect on American women's health. 

Women have come a long way baby!! A old slogan that continues to have current meaning. This is no exaggeration. It is critical for American women to realize that reproductive freedom has been monumental to significantly increase our participation in American society. We have moved a great deal towards becoming full and equal partners in our lives outside the home. This has not been addressed or emphasized nearly enough.

Just look at the advances made in a few professions:

Medical school: In 2022, over 53% of the students were women. In 1969, in my boyfriend's medical school class of 100, only 3 were women. 

Veterinary school: In 2009, women became more prevalent in American veterinary schools. Now over 80% of the students are female. In the late 1970's women were only 14% of students.

Law school: From 2000 onwards, women have made up close to or more than 50% of law students. In the 1940's and 50's, there were only a few women in law schools and 20% of the schools had no women at all.

Politics: Women now make up at least 25% of the Senate; from 1965 to 1991, it was less than 5%. In the House, women now make up over 30%; it was 2% in 1965. In State House and Assembly seats, women are 34% of the members; in 1980, only 11% were women. Clearly, women's voices have increased dramatically in our political lives.

If women cannot control their reproductive lives, all of these statistics will change and drastically. What if you become pregnant in high school? In college? In graduate school? How could you finish your training and become who you want to be? What if your pregnancy threatens your life?

People have sex. Men want it, too, and they should be as supportive of women's choices as we are. Unfortunately, too many men want to control and abuse women; fortunately, many do not. Contraception is next on the chopping block. Teenagers and young women as well as older women all want to have a say about when they have children. Many want to be able to finish their education and have careers, just like men. We want CHOICE. We also want choice for our granddaughters.

I won't even begin to talk about women's rights and freedom in other countries. In Europe, over 95% of women of reproductive age live in countries that allow abortion on request or on broad social grounds.

France's Macron vows to enshrine abortion rights throughout the European Union. I can't imagine what Europeans think of our current state of affairs.

So— The choice is ours. We desire and deserve to have equal rights and we cannot have it without reproductive freedom. It's freedom vs. repression in November. We must recognize what is at stake and fight for our rights. VOTE BLUE.


1 Comment

Mar 12

Beyond taking control of the narrative, it would really be nice if democraps actually stood forcefully up in support of the rights of women (, blacks, latins, LGBTQs, jews (not israel), asians, voters, the poor, born children, the aged...). Saying the correct words means little when they have refused to DO shit about the nazi war on ... everyone but white males.

FDR DID stuff. his party enjoyed success for almost 5 decades.

Your party struggles to even be competitive (see: 2010 as the worst case of this) because they refuse to DO anything about anything.

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