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(Fascist) Women of the World Unite

As I write this, elections are under way in Italy that are expected to bring Giorgia Meloni of the neofascist “Brothers of Italy” party to power, which must be making her French sister in arms Marine Le Pen green with envy. In America, many of the foremost MAGA fascists, such as congressional representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert, and Trump lawyer Sidney Powell, are women.

During the long struggle for women’s suffrage, one of the foremost arguments against it was that women are so very morally superior to men, it isn’t right to let them be sullied by the filthy business of politics. Some of the suffragists retorted that, if women are indeed so very morally superior to men, as soon as they could take part, they would clean up the filth. We have a century of experience behind us now that abundantly disproves this idea and the corollary notion that as mothers, women in politics would stop bloodthirsty men from waging wars (see under Margaret Thatcher and Golda Meir, whatever one thinks of the wars they oversaw).

Nevertheless, there is still something deeply shocking and disquieting to most of us about the spectacle of women whom we unconsciously expect to be nurturers flaunting their desire to mass murder their political opponents, as Boebert does with her military-type rifles, or personally harassing the grieving parents of murdered children, which was how Greene got her start in politics. If we have any humanity in us, we weep to witness Meloni, a single mother of three, urging ruthlessness toward refugees and LGBTQ people, although we would struggle to articulate why it is worse for them to act that way than it is for the Trumps, Putins and Modis of this world to take us down the roads of cruelty. Our expectations may be wholly culturally determined, but if so they have the weight of most of recorded history behind them. We have to get over them. That same, sober history tells us that women were among the worst of the perpetrators of the Holocaust and other genocides and crimes against humanity.

Few would argue anymore against the existence of gender differences, on average if not for every single individual, even if the precise nature of these differences is as hard to pin down as the particulars of “human nature” itself. Like it or not, though, moral superiority for either gender is not among those distinctions.

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