‘Stop it, punish it, corral people, shame people’

‘Stop it, punish it, corral people, shame people’ March 13, 2013

Last week we looked at an incident involving an evangelical college that fired a woman for having sex outside of marriage — offering her former job to the man she slept with. Examining San Diego Christian College’s double-standard, and the affirmation of that double standard in Christianity Today’s reporting on the incident, I wrote this:

Given the chance to choose between “saving babies” and controlling women, both the magazine and the college instinctively opt for controlling women.

Women who have sex must be punished. …

And over the weekend we looked (again) at the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act — a necessary piece of legislation that “pro-life” social conservatives ought to be enthusiastically supporting, but are not. That lack of support is so inconsistent with and contradictory to this movement’s purported aim of protecting the unborn that, I wrote, it seems to disprove the integrity of this claim, revealing the movement to be “really motivated by an anti-feminist impulse to control and punish women.”

Some responses to both of those posts have suggested I’m being uncharitable — that it is unfair for me to accuse the leaders of the pro-life movement of being driven by their desire to punish women who have sex.

That does seem like a rather harsh accusation. But in my defense, there’s one good reason I keep accusing the leaders of the pro-life movement of really wanting to punish women who have sex: The leaders of the pro-life movement keep saying that they really want to punish women who have sex.

Here is Family Research Council senior fellow Pat Fagan, speaking yesterday on a Christian radio program:

It’s not the contraception, everybody thinks it’s about contraception, but what this court case said was young people have the right to engage in sex outside of marriage. Society never gave young people that right, functioning societies don’t do that, they stop it, they punish it, they corral people, they shame people, they do whatever. The institution for the expression of sexuality is marriage and all societies always shepherded young people there, what the Supreme Court said was forget that shepherding, you can’t block that, that’s not to be done.

Fagan’s agenda is clear: Stop, punish, corral, shame. His words, not mine.

So yes, I am in fact accusing the leaders of this movement of cruel and unseemly motives, but that is only because they themselves say that is what motivates them. Is it uncharitable of me to take them at their word?


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  • Michigan’s law isn’t sensibly written.

  • Madhabmatics

     Not to mention that like half of that stuff involves minors.

  • Bingo. It’s a social control tool since the anti-“Cruising” law cannot possibly be enforced fairly or impartially. So the real effect is to stealth block the Constitutional right of free mobility that a citizen has.

  •  From what I’ve heard, it’s not like any of the alternatives proposed won’t also make big money for big pharma. They’re primarily things that would turn cancer into a chronic, controllable disorder, and big pharma loves those. I suspect it’s closer to “No one wants to be remembered as the guy who mistakenly claimed he’d found the cure for cancer”

  • I thought that most age of consent laws were either both partners had to be above an arbitrary age threshold (usually 18) or within a certain age range of one another (about eighteen to twenty-four months difference in age.)  

  • True, but some of us were basically prevented form being able to have that insight by being raised in a pro-life bubble.  I never once heard any reason why anyone was pro-choice until I was in college.

    You know, you remind me a bit of a classmate of mine who grew up along the Gulf Coast in Louisiana.  She said that a big part of the reason she moved up to Seattle was because her family, and most of the other people around there, had very little imagination while she had an abundance of it (she is studying to be a computer animation artist.)  

    I have to wonder if that lack of imagination is something that is trained into a person (or more likely trained out of a person) because it keeps them from asking questions.  Sure, you never encountered any reason why anyone was pro-choice until college, but surely you could have imagined one as a thought experiment?  If you are encouraged not to imagine that, then you will never question the political position of it.

  • I have only read his Incarnations of Immortality series and his Firefly (not to be confused with the Joss Whedon show.)  Both were at the advice of others (the Incarnations was lent to me by a female friend who was fond of fantasy, the other by a then-girlfriend who thought I seemed like the guy who was hired to keep the grounds.)  The take away I got from those books was, “Wow, this guy seems to go through a lot of contortions to try and find moral justification for underage-girl-on-older-adult-man sex.”  

    I decided not to pick up any more of his stuff, which is kind of unfortunate because there is some good stuff in what I read, just mixed in with the bad.

  • Transitioning is really expensive, and yeah not everyone can afford it. As a demographic, trans* people are disproportionately poverty-stricken (between workplace discrimination, depression and anxiety disorders… there are a lot of interlocking reasons). It’s kind of an “oh thank god” moment for at least a few trans* people who do get insurance that covers it.

    The expenses pile up for therapy (generally mandated by any transitioning program), hormones, surgery, and related procedures if you’re physically transitioning. Even on top of the costs, navigating the whole process can be really daunting, especially with all the controls that seem to have been put there by people who didn’t quite seem to have believed that gender dysphoria is a thing. At least it’s getting better on that front, if slowly.

    (Not an expert either, but I’ve been at least casual acquaintances with several at once in an online community, where some were actively transitioning and talked about the day-to-day things they were dealing with. And somewhat longer discussions with one as a friend as he dealt with the medical system, and in relation to a similarly trans* character he was playing in a game I ran to make sure I didn’t bungle representing how the whole thing might intersect with the PCs’ adventures and daily lives.)

  • Isabel C.

    I’d believe you. I’d also count having a moral objection to other people using contraceptives as being a dick, because there really is no justification for that except wanting to control women’s sexuality in a…well, a dick way.

    But I’m basically with you worldview-wise.  I would like there to be less need for abortions exactly the same way I would like there to be less need for root canals. I’ve had several of the latter, and they’re both expensive and a total lack of fun; I would imagine, based on hearsay and every someone-messes-around-in-my-plumbing-with-instruments experience I’ve had, that the former is comparable.

    Apparently there’s a male BC procedure developed in India that’s permanent-until-reversed, reversible, and has like no side effects. FDA: approve that already. Don’t make me come over there.

  • banancat

    Or maybe it’s that nobody can find a cure for cancer because what we call cancer is actually hundreds of different diseases with different causes and different treatments and anyone who claims to find a “cure for cancer” is almost certainly lying or delusional.

    ETA: Also, plenty of cases of cancer are cured, either by chemo or other treatments.

  • banancat

     Do you remember the name of either the drug or the disease?

  • No, which is the problem. I think I read it in one of the Linda McQuaig books I have, but they’re print, not e-books. I will keep exerting all my Google-fu, however.

  • Jenny Islander

    In some states, the 15-year-old who is slightly older is automatically the sex criminal and the other one is automatically the victim.  Others have passed “Romeo and Juliet” laws protecting the older partner in cases where either both are underage or one is just over the legal age of consent.  The case that first made me aware of this was a teenager picked up by the police for sexual abuse of a minor (a high school classmate IIRC) although he had decided on his own to take a parenting class so that he could help to take care of their baby.  The boy spent some time in jail, but the couple was reunited IIRC.

  • Jenny Islander

    Couldn’t find that one, but here’s a comparable case: 


    Couple, 14 months apart, fall in love, agree to marry, start a baby, and get a place together.  Cops come around investigating a burglary and in the course of taking down their basic information note that she was technically a minor when they started the baby.  They promptly arrest him.  He is back with his family, but on the sex offenders’ list for ten years (as of 2011), so he can’t even take his own kids to the park.

  • lectorel

     …? I’m not sure what you mean. Non-female trans* people = trans* people born with uteruses (uteri?) whose gender identity is something other than female. (e.g. trans* men, people under the umbrella of genderqeer or genderfluid)

    Or are you thinking non-female-bodied tran* people? I’ve picked up a somewhat specialized vocabulary for discussing GSM issues because I’ve got a bunch of queer and/or trans* acquaintances from tumblr, and I sometimes forget other people don’t speak fluent queer theory.

    Although, in terms of uteruses and the possibility of obtaining one late in life – there has been a successful uterus transplant, from mother to daughter, though they’re not sure if the daughter will carry to term yet, last I read about it. If she does, I imagine it may be possible to do a uterus-transplant to people of all sexes at some point in the future, though how difficult their pregnancies will be I don’t know.

  •  There are also states, or at least there were in my memory, where the laws were straight-up gendered, so that if a 14-year-old boy had sex with a 17-year-old girl, he had committed a crime and she hadn’t. If memory serves, there was one state where the result was that there was a certain range where even if two partners were the same age,  whether one, the other or both had committed a sex crime depended entirely on their genders (And yes, technically, gay male couples could legally have sex at a younger age than hetero couples)

    (There were also states where the age of consent was tied to the specific sex act. This presumably could lead to very complicated things happening)

  • P J Evans

    It’s because it’s what they want to do.

    I’d congratulate a teenager who comes up with stuff like that: they’re very very bright and if they don’t get turned off by being stuck as a bottle-washer in a lab, they’ll go even farther.

  • Speaking of crime and punishment, Alberta (of all provinces!) is diverting more first time offenders into non-judicial programs (while federal criminal law is more or less uniform, provinces are given the responsibility of running part of the criminal justice apparatus) and the extreme right-wing party there, the Wildrose Party, is throwing a shitfit over it.

    I personally like the fact that Canada continues, in small but important ways, to refuse to keep aping the US wholeheartedly.

  • Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s unspeakably awesome. Like I said, they’re brilliant. But why do they seem to be the only ones? These kids ought to be bringing ideas to scientists and getting told “Your thesis is impressive. I did something like that months ago; here are my published results. Why don’t you intern with me?”

    Am I wrong for wanting the industry not to be driven by kids who haven’t yet graduated high school? ._.

  • P J Evans

    That’s what I think, too: that there are many kinds of cancer with many causes, including random-chance mutations.

  • Rae

    Wow… so far he’s been somewhere in the middle of “classic sci-fi authors I maybe should read sometime” list, but after reading all of this, I think I’m just going to forget it, because there’s so much more SF than anyone can ever read in a lifetime and I’m pretty sure there still is (and will be) more good SF with better gender politics than I can read in my lifetime.

  • Rae

    “…functioning societies don’t do that, they stop it, they punish it, they corral people, they shame people, they do whatever.”

    That quote made me recall this Cracked.com article that involves unusual beliefs that cultures have about sex. Some of it’s unrelated, but it’s interesting how some cultures deal with extramarital sex, and in a couple of those cases there’s no cultural idea of “illegitimate” children: http://www.cracked.com/article_20180_the-6-craziest-beliefs-entire-cultures-have-held-about-sex.html (Sorry for the link, I know Cracked is nearly as bad as TV Tropes)

  • The_L1985

    Exactly. In fact, we were brainwashed into thinking that the only people who believed any differently were cruel, evil sorts. That’s pretty much guaranteed to cut off any investigation until you learn differently firsthand.

  • Clevelandchick

    There was an article in The Nation about Alito and his “pro-life” movement work as a lawyer/jurist during his nomination hearings for SCOTUS. Alito wrote the blue-print to whittle away at reproductive rights and one of the strategies of that blueprint was portraying hormonal birth control as a ‘abortifacent’. As well as the medical misinformation about breast cancer.

    There is a minute chance (.01%) of the pill allowing an egg to be be produced during a cycle and there is an even more minute chance that egg ‘might’ be fertilized if a woman has unprotected sex….if that happens unbeknownst to a woman and she continues to take her BC, there is an extremely minute chance it will cause that fertilized egg to abort.

    THAT ginormous stretch of the imagination is the “scientific” basis upon which pro-life movement bases it’s opposition to hormonal birth control. That one in a billion chance it might cause a fertilized egg to abort..ergo, all birth control causes abortions.

    So yeah, obviously opposition to BC is utter dickishness and ONLY about punishing women for having sex.

  • sunmusing

    A curse upon these…..people….”may they never, ever get laid nor blown, evah again”….

  • William Lamm

    (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)
    ((OK I really didn’t try to resist.))

  • Arachne646

    You must remember, however, that the USA is not the whole world, and that its statutory rape laws are, shall we say, eccentric. Their general spirit and purpose, granted the fact that they vary significantly from state to state, is unusually severe and seemingly has progressed little in importing any ability to consent to any sexual activity of any kind to female persons who are of the age to assume other responsibilities, like driving privileges, emancipation, or elevation to adult criminal court.

    In Canada, for example, there is no such offense as statutory rape, and sexual assault cannot occur if there is consent for sexual activity between two young people of approximately the same age, or if the younger is, I think, 15 or so, and the elder person is no more than 10 years older. There is, though, a caveat, in case of the older person being in a position of authority: a teacher, minister, employer, relative, coach, or similar role–then the possibility of consent is not present, and the Crown prosecutor might choose to lay a charge of sexual assault in that case, if the younger person were not yet 18 years of age. The sexual activity that took place would have an effect on the degree of the charge. Any physical violence would be a different, additional charge of assault and battery.

  • Bonnie

    But, they only punish the women. The men get off with remarks like “sowing their wild oats.” Men are entitled to do that not women.

  • P J Evans

    My bad. Still, White wasn’t what I’d call sexist.

  • Whaaaa…? I, uh… well, I… um… hmm…

    It… I… I… hmm. Hmmmmmm. I don’t even… Just… no.

  • brightie

    Oh, God, no.

  • Victor Savard

    (((“Shame the sluts control the women dominate the women. The kids, oh uh yeah, we guess they’re important too, or something.”)))

    Ya got “IT” Man! That’s the way to be NOW!


    (((Oh, God, no.)))


    Don’t bee like that sinner vic! Bee nice NOW!

    Go Figure! :)