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Republicans and Sex

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Amanda Marcotte has an outstanding essay on how poorly the Republican Party understands American attitudes toward women and sex. In part:

As for the second one, this is where the Republicans really misfired. They really overestimated public antipathy towards privileged adult women having sex while single. I can see why they made this mistake; they watch a lot of Fox News, and Fox is always on about “girls gone wild”. What they forgot is that Americans don’t see single women as an undifferientiated mass. When it comes to middle class or upper class women who eventually want to marry and have children, there’s widespread acceptance of premarital sex. There’s also complex racial politics in play here, where women of color still face more shame for being sexual than white women, even when all other things are equal, but I think that’s one of those things that’s fading away, especially with women like Michelle Obama living up to the modern ideal of sexy-but-wholesome. Right wing media thought that they could label someone like Sandra Fluke a “slut” or a “semen demon” for no other reason than she’s 30 and unmarried, and this is where they misfired. Americans are still uptight about poor women having sex, teenage girls having sex, queer women having sex, and women who openly reject the path to marriage and motherhood having sex, but they’re just fine with the Sandra Flukes of the world having sex. Cohabitation before marriage is the national norm, and not just for my generation. I’m from Texas, for god’s sake, and I can probably count the married couples I know under 60 who didn’t live together before marriage on one hand, and in all my life, I’ve never known anyone to have a fight with their family about that.

Amanda sees the current round of the Republican fight against sex coming to an end, but we’ll see. I would not underestimate the craziness of state legislatures and their ability to influence the actions of the national Republican Party. I’m still counting on a strong anti-sex plank in the Republican platform!

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