Perplexed. That is what I am on a good day. Enraged is what I am if I allow myself to ponder on things too long these days. I feel like Bruce Banner. Without the mellow jazz, bongo drums, huge bag of weed. [I would include an image but I cannot even find one that is not “Sexy Hulk.”
And these are the things that have got me all worked up. Green with fury, as it were.
In the latter half of the 19th Century some wild and crazy ladies got the idea they could – no! should – wear pants. It was an outrage. But, thanks to the work of these reformers, who never gave up their efforts to work on all sorts of social reform regardless of the fact that they were shut out of nearly every option to do so by the “progressive” men running the show, eventually, women could wear pants, short skirts, even a bathing costume here and there. It was wild.
In 1920 women fought for and earned the right to vote. This in spite of the fact that citizenship had been defined by the 14th Amendment way back in 1868 (and no, Virginia, they did not say that corporations were people) but they sure did say that every person [not blackbrownyellowredgirlypoorgayorjewish] born in the United States was a citizen and that every person [not blackbrownyellowredgirlypoorgayorjewish] so considered a citizen would be guaranteed the rights – all of ’em – set forth in that dandy little Constitution with the lofty aim of a more perfect union. It went a little something like this:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
So women could vote. Mostly. Then came WWII and women went to work outside the home, all the while multitasking like bandits and continuing to hold the home front together in every imaginable way. Rosie was a bad ass. (I wonder if she needed mellow jazz, bongo drums, a huge bag of weed.) But that didn’t really work out, in spite of the actual cost benefit of hiring women, because they can be paid so much less. Still.
Then we had that groovy Counter-Cultural Revolution where the aims included sexual equality, and all sorts of other extreme ideas like reproductive rights and choice started to be whispered about. Though in some of the most radical reform groups women were still the ones to sweep the floors, prepare the food and listen while the men ran the show – in its entirety. Consequently, people started talking about this notion of a double standard… actually saying out loud that it maybe sort of seemed like men and women were not exactly being treated equally or held to the same standards. It was like saying the earth was round.
And even though I can stand as witness that the Seventies pretty much sucked, even in the eyes of a child, it seemed like this known fact, that women were kind of promised all the same shit as dudes in this country, was (even if begrudgingly so) being acknowledged. Shut up Phyllis. I mean, Dick Nixon signed Title IX that was to guarantee equal spending on the girls in education, and the highest court in the land even ruled that it was really the private right of a female citizen to choose what would become of her body. (Ahh… 14th Amendment, how we adore you.)
So things were looking up for us girl children of the late 20th Century. In the 80s with all this talk about SMALL government one would have thought things would be looking even better, I mean, no SMALL government is going to find its way into my bedroom, doctor’s office, or workplace (where I am pursuing those golden rings: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness)… right? Right.
The 80s that I lived through were ruled by the double standard. Girls had to over achieve to show their worth, be thinner, had their athletic contests on shitty off nights. They were sluts if they hung with the same boys who were studs for hanging with the girls. They were expected to do well in English, and to suck at math – Oh, Ed Gary, you will forever remind me of this fact. We ushered in the decade that produced songs like “Smack that bitch up” with our own dulcet melodies, “Down with OPP” and the more direct, “Gotta get some pussy” and “I used to love her (but I had to kill her, I had to put her six feet under, and I can still hear her complain…)” All complemented nicely by comedians laying out witticisms like, “Hickory dickory dock, this bitch was sucking my cock…”
And what became of this? Binders, that is what. How so, you ask? Read on.
Girls out performed the boys and now outnumber them in college and gradation rates. They got jobs (though still were paid less – we will see how Lily Ledbetter comes through, but the need to legislate basic equality is embarrassing). They decided that maybe they could have families in less conventional ways or not have them at all. Scandalous, no?
All of this evidence of the basic parity among the human species has not been used to encourage the acknowledgment of what shall be now referred to as a known fact (women are at the very least equal), but instead has engendered a whole host of backlash. Things that one would assume to be the worst sort of fiction in any novelization:
- Men should determine a woman’s reproductive responsibilities and choices
- We should have binders full of women – and be flexible with their hours so they can go home and make dinner…
- Legitimate rape cannot make a woman pregnant (so abortion rights are unnecessary) and women are kind of like dogs…
- Men claiming that women who seek health benefits that include birth control are sluts
- Employers having the right to say which health benefits women are entitled to
- Rape being part of God’s plan, and pregnancy from rape offering us a gift from said God
And that is just a sample from this election season.
Add to this a “Fantasy Slut League” at nearby Piedmont High School, in the oh-so-liberal Bay Area, in which none of the students involved are going to be punished by the school because it is not a “school related offense.” The slut-shaming phenomenon has become the new trend in bullying, leading in some cases to suicide. Or how about the student rally dance at my school where one of the standard moves involves a guy grabbing a girl by the hair. Or the reality that every Halloween costume for a girl has the word “Sexy” in front of it. Note the aforementioned issue with finding a female Hulk. (As a side note, I am still wondering what it says about our men-folk that their top choice costumes always seem to involve dressing up in drag…)
It is enough to make a person – and not just a woman, but any thinking human – fill with furious anger. You want to hear what god has to say about that?
The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who in the name of charity and goodwill shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother’s keeper and a finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee. – Ezekiel 25:17
Take your government out of my bedroom, my medicine cabinet, and my uterus. I am done hearing about how one particular political party stands for individual rights, but has no eye for my most personal rights. Who the hell do you think you are? And more importantly what the hell do you think you are teaching these generations of men about their women?
Your beliefs will be adhered to by me as much as mine are by you.
Until then, piss off.