… even when it comes to such trivial matters as wanting to play middle school sports in a pair of shorts that aren’t so short and tight that a girl has to spend half her time pulling them out of her various crevices.
But that’s yesterday’s news already.
It’s not been a good year for women. In the United States, Republican lawmakers, with the aid of religious zealots, have re-launched vicious attacks on our right to birth control and to not be forced to submit to all manner of vaginal indignity when we seek to exercise our presumed right to decide all matters related to our health for ourselves.
In Afghanistan, women are jailed for running away from physically abusive husbands and in New York City, cops can now legally rape women at gunpoint and expect to go free if there is a man on the jury bloody minded enough to force his fellow jurors to vote for acquittal.
Sigh. We are decades and decades into this fight for equality and, essentially, unless you are white and live in an industrial nation with a solid hold on what passes for a democratic government, we gained inches worth of ground – if that.
Men in my neck of the planet will argue that this simply isn’t true, but deep down, they know it is. They argue because it’s in the interests of their penis-granted privilege to appear to be in favor of the advance of gender equality while at the same time they know that as long as they don’t admit to the lack of progress, this grants them even more time in the driver’s seat.
How did this happen? Arriving in a new century and still battling sexism? Male dominion over nearly every aspect of our existence?
Erica Jong, in a recent defense of feminism to Hannan Rosin, brings up a very valid – though somewhat taboo – point about the collaborators of our gender. From the famous like Phyllis Schlafly to the Facebook friend of a friend who upbraided me for expressing my doubt about the necessity of skin-tight short shorts that my Facebook friend’s pre-teen daughter is expected to wear if she wants to participate in a sport she loves, women themselves are the greatest ally that male domination has needed in order to perpetuate over the span of human history. We are quite willing to rather meekly submit to all manner of controls, or make sure that others of our gender do, and the reality of this has stranded me in a crossroad without any clear idea of where I should go next.
Canada is hardly an equity utopia. Ism’s of all sorts abide north of the lower 48 and a few are even more unsettling than those I left in the land of my birth. However, the manual labouring sector aside, women make strides here in all manner of this and that, and our basic right to physical autonomy appears – among the born and bred Canadian if not so much the immigrant classes – to be on sounder footing. The Neanderthal set may be ubiquitous the world over, but they aren’t suffered here to the extent they are in the United States. I could simply mind the greenery on my side of the fence. Settle in the pasture, so to speak.
But it nags at me that the gains that seemed to grow up along side of me over the past not quite fifty years are being swept away by male and female alike down there, and the social media feminist excepted, no one is all that upset by it, if they notice it at all.
Speaking up is running the risk of ridicule. Shame baiting stuff intended to call up emotions from days of yore when a woman was still literally a girl and more easily controlled by externals because she hadn’t lived enough life to know them for the shackles that they are.
I might yet live long enough to see women in the United States covering themselves like Hutterite women and be grateful for an eighth grade education. Too many these days would call that progress.
- The War on Women Began with the War on Words (luvsiesous.com)
- Erica Jong Defends Feminist Revolution (ladycheeky.wordpress.com)
- Wisconsin Republicans Go After Single Moms (leftperspectives.com)
- This week in the War on Women: How about electing more, better women? (dailykos.com)
- The Male Domination Racket (thedailybeast.com)