March 21, 2002
The priesthood and the saving grace of women

Today Ginger points out this infantile little article in the conservative Cornell Review, in which the author makes the oh-so-original point that we menfolk are just hunks of burning carnal desire who need wimmin around to keep us civilized:

Presumably, women could exercise their true power to tame men by using celibacy (and other ladylike behavior) to induce men into monogamous stable relationships and eventually into marriage.


But women have historically been the civilizing forces for men. That is biological. Moreover, several verses in the Scriptures refer to the important role that women have in the moral uplift of men.

As Matt Welch likes to say, "Whatever, freak."

Meanwhile, via Jeff Jarvis, I see that Andrew Sullivan has written the following about the growing pedophilia scandal in the Catholic Church:

The Catholic Church in America will not endure as we know it unless the current hierarchy is rooted out and unless the issue of a celibate all-male priesthood is addressed head-on without euphemism or denial. Others may differ, but it seems to me that the exclusion of women from the priesthood is the root of the problem. None of this hideous abuse of children would have occurred in the same way if women were fully a part of the institution. Not only would they have blown the whistle on some of this evil, their very presence would have helped prevent it from happening.

And finally, we have Maureen Dowd on the same subject:

Societies built on special privileges -- the all-male Saudi rulers, Catholic priesthood and Taliban, and the boys' club running Enron -- become far too invested in preserving those privileges. They will never do the kind of soul-baring and housecleaning that might raise questions about the kind of secret society that creates that kind of privilege.

Is it just me, or are these three sides of the same coin? I mean, to my male ears, all three seem to be making the claim that women are somehow inherently "good" and "moral", while men are "bad" and in need of a positive influence. Left to their own devices, men are pigs/child molesters/privilege-preserving oppressors. What they need is a few good women to set a proper example for them.

I'm not here to defend "the patriarchy", whatever that means. I'm totally in favor of giving women equal access to power, which is to say equal opportunity to abuse it. We're all human, folks. If men have caused the most spectacular screwups in history, it's because we've always been in the position to do so, not because we're inherently any less good or moral than women. Can we please just get over it and move on?

Posted by Charles Kuffner on March 21, 2002 to Society and cultcha