Wednesday, October 10, 2012

On Feminism or "Fuck You Very, Very Much"

Women of the world are under attack, and I'm looking for some men (and women) to join me in giving a damn.

My soul has been sick since yesterday, when three noteworthy events occurred--each piggybacking on the other--in heightening my awareness that the "fairer sex" continues to receive unfair treatment.

And I've, quite frankly, had it.

These events were (in this order):

1. Observing the Prime Minister of Australia stand before her government and lambast a misogynist for his deplorable example. http://jezebel.com/5950163/best-thing-youll-see-all-day-australias-female-prime-minister-rips-misogynist-a-new-one-in-epic-speech-on-sexism?utm_campaign=socialflow_jezebel_facebook&utm_source=jezebel_facebook&utm_medium=socialflow

2. Being personally verbally attacked by a professional male weightlifter for assuming a position of authority on my own film set. That I was the only woman present in a room full of muscular men was one problem. That none of those muscular men came to my aid, opting instead to stand by and watch, was another.

3. A beautiful feminist voice was silenced when the Taliban decided to murder (they failed) a 14 year old Pakistani writer by shooting her to death as she rode on a school bus. http://hellogiggles.com/14-year-old-pakistani-girl-malala-yousufzai-shot-by-the-taliban-for-being-a-feminist-blogger?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

ENOUGH.

Does it piss me off that women continue to make less than men for the same job? Yes.

Does it anger me that women's healthcare coverage denies necessary annual exams but will cover prostate checks? YES.

Does the fact that women are underrepresented in nearly every power-related field in this country? Yes, yes, YES.

But despite my annoyance at these situations, my investiture usually does a consta-hover at just that - annoyance. After all, this is just the way things are, and change comes slow, and I have no doubt that my daughters (should I ever have them) will one day be afforded opportunities that I never had...

That's me usually. Susan B. Anthony am I none.

Until today.

Because, goddamnit, someone has to stand up for the ladies. And I guess that someone is just gonna hafta be me.

From my vantage, each instance on the above list shares two common characteristics: 1. that they all involve an instance of acknowledgement of extreme gender inequity and 2. the media.

Let's consider:

That genitalia is not a signifier of intelligence, grace, wit, or entitlement has been scientifically verified in every way possible. But in a society (societies) where gender roles dominate (and are heightened and perpetuated by media outlets), this equity is often thrown by the wayside in favor of perpetuating the ideals of subservient, pretty women and powerful, take charge men.

And while there is nothing wrong with any or all of these traits--should someone come by them naturally--there is something very wrong with listing them as a mandate. And with punishing those that choose not to fit in with the "Brady Bunch" structure of our socioeconomic mindset.

And most of us refuse to even admit that gender mandates continue to be a problem. After all, there's a war in Iraq and the economy's in the toilet. But while we focus on the men dying on the Middle East battlefield and the men who caused the economic decline and the men we are going to turn to to clean up the mess, we refuse to see what has, since yesterday, become quite plain to me: women's voices are all but absent in these pressing matters. And that, my friends, is a pressing matter.

If we truly take an unbiased look at the evidence, most of us would rather turn a blind eye to sexism than admit that there is not only an elephant in the room, but that it is shitting all over the lives of vagina-wielding members of our populace.

Most of us really just haven't thought about it, because we don't want to think about it, because it's ugly and it's scary and we're better off here than those poor girls like Malala Yousufzai in Pakistan who are getting bullets on buses.

My friends, "Injustice somewhere is a threat to justice everywhere." And whether in the Australian Parlament, on a Mid East school bus or in a gym in Marietta, Georgia, our choice to turn a blind eye to the rampant inequity fostered by gender roles is, at best, obtuse and, at worst, a death sentence.

Think that's hyperbolic?

Think gender equity is not a problem here?

Think again.

That it remains "emasculating" when a woman's wages exceed her husband's is misogyny.

That people care more about Hillary Clinton's haircut than the policies set forth through her post? Misogyny.

That a female producer can't call for "Quiet on the set" without a roid-raging egomaniac screaming and cursing at her, exerting his physical dominance because she dared to assert herself as a position of authority? Misogyny.

And it's coming to a head.

Most likely because we often refuse to even see or acknowledge it.

I guarantee you Mr. Temper Tantrum didn't go home and assess the fact that he has a deep-seeded issue with female authority figures. Double or nothing he went home seething about that "uppity bitch" who tried to take over his gym, and punched it out on his heavy bag, content in that he had "put [me] in [my] place."

All I can say is, I hope this man doesn't have sons.

And therein, my friends, is our solution: sons. and daughters. US.

First, we must take a good, hard look at what we personally believe about gender roles. What is good? What is not? What is acceptable? What is not? WHY.

Why, for example, is it NOT okay for a man to be "effeminate"? Why are female weightlifters "disgusting"? Why does a man speaking with authority equal leadership, and a woman doing likewise equal an attempt at usurping authority?

Realizing we are all guilty.

And then teaching our children differently.

Because our sons will not believe they can be "real men" without being the biggest, strongest, richest guy on the block if we do not believe it.

And our daughters will never stand up, speak up and tell anyone with a problem to shut up so long as The Secretary of State's pantsuit is more important than her policies.

2 comments:

  1. I don't know if i've mentioned it lately but i kind of adore you.

    -doc

    ReplyDelete
  2. I don't know if i've mentioned it lately but i kind of adore you.

    -doc

    ReplyDelete