One of the tricky parts about Blogging While Feminist is deciding which issues are worth tackling. Some days, it's far too tempting to be sidetracked by outrage...or the outrageous.
Other times, it's not so hard at all.
Submitted for your examination: Jesse Lee Peterson.
He’s a minister of some sort, although it’s very hard to call him “Reverend.” An ultra-conservative favorite of Sean Hannity who describes himself on his website as "this generation's Booker T. Washington," Peterson hosts a syndicated radio show and runs the nonprofit Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny (BOND), an organization which wants to rebuild the family "by rebuilding the man." Key to his philosophy of man-boosting seems to the idea that behind every great man is a submissive woman.
One of Peterson’s “sermons” was uploaded to YouTube by BOND back in March, but only started getting serious attention over the several days. In his talk, he calmly defines all of womanhood as a undifferentiated mass of stupid, helpless, crazy whores who are going to lead to the destruction of all mankind.
"I think one of the greatest mistakes America made was to allow women the opportunity to vote," he says. "We should have never turned that over to women. It was a big mistake." Why? Because they actually vote. "And these women are voting for the wrong people. They are voting in evil people, who agree with them, who are taking us down this path of destruction."
"This is probably the reason that they did not allow women to vote, when men were men. Because men in the good old days understood the nature of the woman. They were not afraid to deal with it, and they understood that you let them take over, this is what would happen."
Now, with men being totally pussy-whipped and all, our destruction is nigh. "It's so unfortunate, but this is how evil is coming in. It's coming through the women...and I know you don't want to hear that."
But, he insists, it's Truth.
Jesse Lee Peterson & Kirsten Powers (Still image via BusinessInsider.com)
Last week, Peterson was rather awesomely blindsided by FOX News political analyst Kirsten Powers during a panel discussion on Hannity's show.
After a very long question by Hannity on President Obama, Powers announced she hadn't realized she was going to be on with Peterson, so she was "hijacking" the panel. As Peterson broke into a visible sweat and did his damndest to talk over her, she took him to task for “using God’s word to teach misogyny.”
Hannity quickly came to his friend's rescue and steered the discussion back into safer waters, but it was the equivalent of seeing an albino elephant in the wild: a rare instance of a FOX News guest actually being called to account for their crap.
There isn’t much anyone can do to salvage a soul like Peterson. His damage, the roots of that fear and anger towards women, run deep. Having decided his words are Truth, attempts to challenge him only strengthen his resolve. He, and men like him, have their narratives.
We have ours.
Women were not “allowed” the opportunity to vote. We demanded the right to vote. We fought for the right to vote. It took seven decades, but we earned the right to vote. We’ve also earned the right to work in the professions of our choosing, defend our country in wars, and have sex for pleasure rather than procreation. We can also stay home, eschew birth control, and be submissive. It’s called “choice,” and it’s a pretty cool thing, especially since we didn’t have it for the better part of human history.
Even when it feels like overreacting, even when we’re accused of being “shrill,” every time someone like Mr. Peterson spouts off, we need to challenge him. Challenge that narrative. Every. Single. Time.
We can also make sure the wider public knows about his views, so if there are parents out there who want to send their boys to BOND’s “character-building” programs – because how many mothers out there genuinely want their sons to go through life thinking that their masculinity rests on the subjugation of women?
If sunlight is the best disinfectant, we need to blast him and others like him with sunshine, because there are some pretty moldy ideas bubbling around in the shadows.
It’s a good use of outrage.