W.O.M.A.N.

~~ Posted by Kenosha Marge, August 8, 2008

(With additional comments by GRL)

I sat down to write a little essay about misogyny. I intended nothing too profound and nothing that hasn’t been said before, just something that hadn’t been said by me. I thought perhaps, as had happened before, that if I put something down in writing I would better understand it.

Looking back I wonder that I was so surprised by the brutality of the misogynistic attacks on the first woman to be a viable candidate for president. Sexism is such a part of daily life that few of us stop to think about it. A snort of disgust here, a sniff of resentment there, and on with the business of living our lives.

Older women have had a lifetime of watching incompetent and under qualified younger men come out of no where and snap up the best jobs. I’ve worked in offices where the big man couldn’t find his ass with either hand if his secretary hadn’t pointed it out to him. He got the big paycheck, the power, the glory and she got to do all the work while supporting the dunce. She also got to be taken out to lunch once a year during the week of April 22 – 28 for Secretary’s Day.

While fooling around googling sexism I came across this sentence: “On average, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends in this country every day.” I reread it just to make sure that I was reading it correctly. Their husbands or boyfriends murder three women every day.

This is happening here in the USA. It’s happening here so going all C.J. Craig about the awfulness of how Saudi Arabia or some other foreign country treats it’s women seems a tad hypocritical. Unless we use the same logic we use to elect presidents; we may be bad but they’re worse. Feel better now?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k30MOebDSww

The United States is not a safe place for women. It may be safer than elsewhere but we don’t live elsewhere. We live here. Here where every single day of the year more than 3 women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends.

President Clinton signed into public law the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 on September 13, 1994. VAWA was reauthorized in 2000 and signed into law by President George Bush on January 5, 2006. It will be up for reauthorization in 2010. Okay, that takes care of that.

Somewhere in America, a woman is raped every 2 minutes, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Four in 10 women at a veterans hospital reported being sexually assaulted while in the military. 7% of girls in grades 5-8 and 12% of girls in grades 9-12 said they had been sexually abused. Does this sound like a society that likes, respects or cares for women?

Gender trashing is epidemic, out in the open and unashamed. Women do it to other women. Men smirk and laugh while making malevolent sexist remarks on national television. It all seems part of the same underlying distain for women.

Cringe? Protest? What’s the matter sweetie can’t take a joke? Ya trying to play the victim? Laugh it up girls or the boys won’t think you’re a good sport.

Wish I could wave a magic wand and make it all go away. Wish I could make all the “isms” disappear as they should in any decent society. I wish busybodies would quit worrying about the sex lives of consenting adults. Homophobia isn’t any prettier than any other form of bigotry.

For the sake of my 7 granddaughters and my two lovely little great-granddaughters I wish my generation had done a better job of making a better world for them. I wish I could somehow keep them safe from all the ugliness that misogny will bring into their lives.

I am no smarter or any closer to the answers I sought then when I started this essay. I’ve learned some things. Some ugly, terrible things. I wish I was hopeful.

Because I don’t want to leave a bad taste in everyone’s mouth and since we women can always find a way to get through what we have to get through with humor I give you a song about women.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FIWpqSajYPM

****

GRL Adds:

This post hits home for me on so many levels.  For example, I trained a young man, only to see him get a promotion which I was in line for. He leap-frogged me, and I was forced to find another job to reach the level I should have reached in my former workplace.  As a temp, I literally bailed out a manager at Rolls Royce who screwed up the publication of a manual and who was even more dismissive of me after I did him the favor.

And then there is the concept of “comparable worth.” The idea has gone nowhere. Once in awhile you’ll hear how a stay-at-home mother is worth several hundred thousand dollars but, in reality, it’s more like $30,000 and that may be high.  As Liz Pulliam Weston of MSN says,  the “shocking truth” is that “Our society doesnt place a high dollar value on a homemaker’s work, and those who choose to stay home do so at their own economic peril. ”  Meanwhile, women earn what 80 cents for every dollar men earn.  Sure there are trade-off, choices which may contribute to this disparity.  But some of those choices have to be made because we don’t have the attitude toward supporting families and children that other countries have. (An interesting read on this subject here.)

Complacent young women these days may believe they’ve reached parity but reality hits them sooner or later.  But I’m afraid that something else is going on, too…that the violence and sexual messages against that are so prevalent and viral these days are being too easily accepted as “the norm.”  I’m afraid a lack of self-respect is just as deeply ingrained as it always was…

This campaign season has been a reality check for many of us who have beeing fighting for women’s rights for several decades. When you see NARAL and Planned Parenthood support an inexperienced guy who makes a habit of using and discarding people along the way, you have to wonder what has happened to the women leading these organizations.

They’ve gone soft, at a time we still need them to lead.