Why Farrah Fawcett Is A Feminist Issue

Farrah Fawcett

Farrah Fawcett

Farah Fawcett is dead.  The 1970’s blond bimbo Charlie’s Angels teevee star who transformed herself at mid career into a talented actress has died of a disease so horrible I’m almost glad I had never heard of it:  Anal cancer that spread to other vital organs.  This type of cancer has a high correlation with the human pappilloma virus, HPV.  To the Phyllis Schlafly’s of the world Farah Fawcett’s life and death must look scandalous.

That is why Ms. Fawcett’s death is a feminist issue.

For the right wing there are just two possibilities for women: Conventional man-on-top marriage or disease, disgrace and death.  Take your pick.

A couple of years ago there was talk of immunizing girls against the risks of HPV caused cervical cancer with Guardasil, a Merck product.  “Defenders” of the “family” such as Phyllis Schlafly contend that HPV can only be contracted from an unchaste, and presumably unmarried, partner.  Therefore, as expected, the religious right concealed its true anti sex education agenda with claims that Guardasil was bad for women’s health.  It put forward its usual antidote for all issues sexual.  Here’s what Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum had to add to the conversation on HPV:

A 100% effective means of protection against … diseases is freely available, and it is abstinence (emphasis mine).

This abstinence only proscription dealing with disease has also produced painful results in Africa, where religious zealots Rick Warren and Pat Robinson deliver the Gospel, dramatically increasing the HIV/AIDS rate among women, obliged to have sexual relations with their infected men.

The religious right fought convenient contraception and the post-coital drug RU 486 on health grounds as well. But their real aim is obvious.  Read the language describing the action of the drug:

That initial action causes the lining of the uterus to release the embryonic child. A second drug, known as misoprostol, is taken two days after mifepristone and causes the uterus to contract, expelling the baby, (emphasis mine).

Much of the “abortion” debate is cloaked in concern for health issues such as this alarm over FDA inspections in  China:

We do know that Shanghai is the sole supplier to the United States of the abortion pill, Mifepristone, known as RU-486. The FDA had previously concealed the source of RU-486…

Or this:

Free trade is not only bringing us contaminated drugs and foods, but soon could bring us the products of embryonic stem cell transfers (aka cloning).

Does Phyllis oppose free trade and globalization or just stem cell research?  Hard to figure.

The religious right’s argument in favor of abstinence also permeates their position against sex discrimination and animates much prejudice against public school  curricula, the teaching of evolutionary and biological science, as well as other “socialistic” subjects.

For the far right-

Marriage=sex=children=happiness=private enterprise=the controlling formula in the “choice” debate.  Here is Phyllis making the case for marriage+capitalism at all costs.  That’s why female conservatives fought and beat the ERA:

Another theory could be the increase in easy divorce and illegitimacy (now 40 percent of American births are to single moms), which means that millions of women are raising kids without a husband and therefore expect Big Brother government to substitute as provider. The 2008 election returns showed that 70 percent of unmarried women voted for Barack Obama, perhaps hoping to be beneficiaries of his “spread the wealth” policies…..

In the pre-1970 era, when surveys showed women with higher levels of happiness, most men held jobs that enabled their wives to be fulltime homemakers. The private enterprise system constantly produces goods that make household work and kiddie care easier (such as dryers, dishwashers and paper diapers).

Here’s a FOX channel video of Phyllis speaking about the defeat of the ERA:

STOP ERA rally


I don’t know whose universe she’s living in (yes, I do) but there is no boundary here between sex and capitalism, with comfortable, stay-at-home women the consumers, and you know who running the world.

There is plenty of talk about women putting aside differences over abortion to form a neutral voting block that can simply advocate for women’s rights.  That sounds good.  But among other non-starter stumbling blocks on the road to non-partisan kumbaya (such as just about everything) is the barricade that must never be surrendered, choice.

Choice isn’t just Rove v. Wade.  Reproductive choice for women is the sine qua non of other choices: to be married or not; to have sex or not; to go to work or not; to have a career or not; to accept bad treatment within a relationship or not.  The prevalence of unmarried women in the workplace has removed much of the stigma associated with divorce, Lesbianism  and the terrible shame once known as “spinsterhood”.

What the religious right opposes is not just “choice”, it’s choices. That’s clear.

I wonder what Phyllis Schlafly would have to say about Farrah Fawcett.


15 Responses to Why Farrah Fawcett Is A Feminist Issue

  1. […] Fawcett succumbed to anal cancer, and the nature of the disease gets more titillating speculation under the guise of serious journalism than does advice on […]

  2. RIChris says:

    You don’t seem to have a problem exploiting Farrah’s battle with cancer, as long as it promotes your hatred of the right wing. It’s this liberal blaming crap and the onslaught of bile directed at Palin that diminishes all women.

  3. RIChris – does that mean that everyone who posted on Farrah’s battle with cancer, and her death, was exploiting her illness? Or just PatriotDEMs?

    And I am not seeing anything here about Palin, pro or con.

    So I guess your real point is to promote animus against PatriotDEMs while elevating the martyrdom status of the right wing.


  4. RIChris says:

    Incorrect. Using Farrah Fawcett’s cancer as a link to the political leanings of the far right IS exploitation.

    Palin was used as another ‘for instance’ of women being exploited or vilified by the liberals for….what?

  5. patriotdems says:

    Chris, merely pointing out that Ms. Fawcett died of a disease that can now be prevented with a vaccine and having that prevention blocked by the Schlafly crowd because they’re pushing abstinence, is not exploitation.

    Did I take Ms. Schlafly’s words out of context? Did I misquote her?

    Why is the right troubled by my quoting their own words about abstinence?

  6. RIChris says:

    For starters, Schlafly no more speaks for the majority of the right than Obama speaks for the majority of the left. Their words just get the attention.

    As for the vaccine, it has not been time-tested nor proven to perform as advertised by the pharmaceutical companies. Women have proven to be willing guinea pigs for the medical industry for decades, but when they start offering up their children for the experiments, it’s time to scream WTF!

    Thalidomide (deformed infants). Rampant hysterectomies (doctor’s orders). Radical mastectomies (no choices offered). Hormone replacement therapy (Serious increase in breast cancer rates). Osteoporosis drugs (Drug can have debillitating side effects and bone scans themselves vary widely from machine to machine).

    It’s past time to stop being thought of as expendable, in the name of science.

  7. patriotdems says:

    Of course no single person speaks for every other single person. However, Ms. Schlafly has a wide audience which she is able to deploy against issues such as the ERA and sex education in schools or political candidates not favored by the Republican Party leadership.

    I think it’s telling that most of the focus of the right wing vis a vis the medical industry is against products and procedures associated with reproduction. I haven’t heard a hue and cry about heart medicine, blood pressure and cholesterol drugs. And right wingers get vaccinated against rubella, polio, tetanus, small pox and other diseases, at least those who are not homeschooling their children. I haven’t heard public opposition from the right wing about invasive medical procedures such as heart transplants, electroshock, kidney dialysis or psychological interventions such reparative therapy for homosexuals.

    If you could show me some right wing concerns about medical risks in other areas than women’s reproductive capacities that don’t boil down to abstinence and the rhythm method I’d be interested.

  8. RIChris says:

    Those who preach abstinence and the rhythym method are extreme right wing, not at all representative of the majority of the right but the right is unfairly characterized by these views. Much like how the right will use late-term abortion to define the left’s pro-choice point of view. Both ploys are extremist and succeed in dividing women, when in fact there is much more common ground on all of life’s other issues.

    The abortion issue (and the rightwing radical rants) is used by Democrats to keep women from thinking past it, thus ensuring a Democratic vote. Republicans have no interest or intention of changing anything, liberals aren’t the only women who benefit from reproductive freedoms.

    As far as the healthcare industry is concerned, women are the only ones who can assure that women are not used as human guinea pigs when it comes to vaccines, drugs and medical procedures. As I’ve pointed out, when it comes to women’s health, the pharmaceutical industry has struck out enough times during the last few decades to warrant questions, and lots of them. Too many doctors are on retainer with the drug companies, making them less than objective.

  9. patriotdems says:

    It’s hard for me to believe that Republicans (whom you call right wing but not extreme right wing) don’t want to divide women along the issues of choice when that division is likely to put them in the majority.

    I can’t remember when the right hasn’t used some sex related issue, such as homosexuality, gay marriage, contraception, RU-486, when life begins, and abortion to divide women. Since I don’t see any push back against it from non-right wing women, I guess they must be in agreement about these tactics.

    Every senator, congressman, governor, supreme court justice is given this litmus test by the right and the left,too, because it is so polarizing. If ordinary women didn’t rightly fear the loss of reproductive choice and sexual freedom the right wing might win more votes from them on lower taxes, war, ending social programs. Is that your point?

    When I see the right take on Merck, Abbott Labs, and other big pharma on the issue of using human guinea
    pigs for anything other than reproductive issues, I’ll be impressed. Why doesn’t the right go after the medical establishment for off-shoring human test trials and using third world women for guinea pigs if they’re so concerned about the exploitation of women?

  10. RIChris says:

    Hard to believe that the woes of women, minorities and the LGBT community are caused solely by Republicans. If that were the case, then just what have the Democrats been doing these last few decades?After all, right now they have the majority in voters, Congress and the Presidency, and not for the first time. Instead of concentrating on those radical few you believe are stifling the forward motiion, why not hold accountable those whose promises are continually broken, the Democrats.

  11. RIChris says:

    Actually, I should just acknowledge that I stumbled upon the wrong blog. Oh well, it’s therapeutic to rant and hopefuly, you’ll try to see that the ills of the world are not rightwing induced.

  12. […] Why Farrah Fawcett Is A Feminist Issue PatriotDEMs – PeopleRank: 1 – June 27, 2009 …Pat Robinson deliver the Gospel, dramatically increasing the HIV/AIDS rate among women, obliged to have sexual relations with their infected men. The religious right fought convenient contraception and the post-coital drug RU 486 on health grounds as… Cited people : Barack Obama  Farrah Fawcett  Phyllis Schlafly  Rick Warren  + vote […]

  13. Melinda says:

    I can’t believe someone believes Sarah Palin was undeservedly vilified.

    Do you know that the US government now requires all foreign women intending to immigrate to the US have the HPV vaccine? Yet, not all American women are required to.

  14. patriotdems says:

    Hi, Melinda. I think Palin was maligned for her appearance, which is the wrong reason. IMHO any shot taken against her is fair as long as it is not misogynistic, racist or an attack on her family.

    I didn’t know foreign women were required to get the HPV vaccine. I suppose American women are not required to because it is such a political hot potato to the far right.

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