La La How The Life Goes On

Fempower

Posted on: June 8, 2016

Two major topics to discuss today, both of them connected. They are both about the constantly evolving role of women and female power in our society.

First, the first female major party candidate for President of the United States was determined last evening. Whatever your politics, this is good news for our daughters–and sons. Think about it. Think of all the countries in the world–Great Britain, India, Pakistan, Germany–that have had female leaders. Decades ago. And yet, here we are in the great United States of America, just rollin’ around to it in 2016. It’s certainly not that there have been no qualified women lo these 200 and some years of our history. How would that even be statistically possible? That 50% of the country’s population was somehow just not qualified for the office but, you know, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter were? Come on now. It is because the bar has always been higher for women to be seen as capable of the multiple challenges of the job.

She must be tough, but not a Lady Macbeth.

She must be just the right amount of decent-looking. Not too attractive to be considered stupid, but not too unattractive to be considered too ugly for men to look at her face on TV. To be crass, she can be a hot grandma, but she cannot be fuckable.

She must be open to all ideas, but not easily swayed.

She must be smart, but not so smart that she acts like she’s smarter than you.

She must be accomplished, but not so accomplished that you doubt her mothering instincts.

She must be married to a man, but not be wifely.

She must be independent, but not so independent that you wonder if she’s a lesbian.

She must have had the same career as a man, but cannot have committed any of the same errors as a man, as these indicate dishonesty and treachery.

She must dress well, but not so well that she is seen as profligate, and not so cheaply that she is seen as frumpy and dowdy.

AND THIS BRINGS US TO TODAY’S RANT:

Apparently Hillary Clinton wore a $12,000 jacket to talk about inequality! GASP!

Now, quick–how much did Donald Trump’s suit cost yesterday?

The answer is: no one knows because no one cares. He can fly his personal jumbo jet while wearing a $75,000 suit and top hat and shiny black cane and not one reporter would give a single solitary crap about it because….well, why? Because we have never in the history of American politics judged our leaders’ fitness for office based on their outfits, on their fashion choices. “Oh I would have voted for Reagan except for that tie he wore just represented so much ignorance to me.” “I loved JFK’s speech about poverty. I wish he hadn’t worn a jacket with those lapels, though.”

IT DOESN’T HAPPEN

Stop asking why Hillary is wearing a particular piece of clothing and start asking yourself why you care.  If you are honest, you will not like the answer. Because we have been conditioned to judge women and men in politics by different standards. For men, clothing is simply fabric you use to cover your body so you can go do whatever it is you do. For women, clothing is apparently an expression of something, a totem holding some kind of meaning, a secret code we can crack. AHA! She doesn’t care about poor people! She’s wearing an expensive jacket!!

It is ludicrous on its face. And yet we all unthinkingly unexaminedly buy into it. To the detriment of our daughters, granddaughters, and our entire country.

WHICH BRINGS US TO THE NEXT TOPIC: THE STANFORD RAPE

We want to believe that how we treat Hillary Clinton or any woman in power or, really, any woman in society has nothing to do with an unconscious woman being raped behind a dumpster and her attacker getting basically a non-sentence.  But it has EVERYTHING to do with it.

When a woman is judged by different standards than a man, for engaging in the exact same behavior, we have a problem.

Two people go to a party. Two people get drunk. One person passes out. The other person rapes that person while she is unconscious.  The rape victim is questioned about what she wore, what she drank, who she talked to, how she engages in sexual relations with her boyfriend at home, what crimes she has committed in the past. The man who was caught running away when confronted in the act, is given glowing letters of recommendation. Character witnesses up the wazoo. And given 6 months in jail so as not to have a “severe impact” on his life.

This is the result of having one standard for males and one for females. Men commit crimes against women and are protected from consequences so as not to ruin their futures. The women are treated like criminals from the start, with futures already ruined.

When you see a boy in an outfit–any outfit–and think nothing of it to the point that it doesn’t even register with you, and yet you ascribe all kinds of meaning to a girl and her clothing, you are contributing to rape culture. Whether you like it or not.

There is not a girl in the world hoping to get raped. And there is not an outfit in the world she can wear that would justify it. You can decide you think what she’s wearing is not appropriate by whatever standards you hold. But you cannot decide that her outfit contributed to a rape. Unless you believe that women’s apparel has a magical power to turn nice men into criminals, which is not reality-based thinking, and you should see someone about that.

causes

So let’s take this week, where a woman took a crack at a big glass ceiling, and where another woman took back her power and her dignity in the face of unimaginable cruelty (http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/read-the-stanford-rape-victims-letter-to-her-attacker-in-full-w209255 ) and resolve to do better. For our daughters, our granddaughters–and for ourselves. Who knows what greatness lies in the heart of some young girl watching this play out right now? Who knows what she will achieve in the future if we get out of her damn way with all of our sexist nonsense? Who knows what awe-inspiring things are possible for our nation if we can finally and at long last judge all of our citizens equally?

When you know better, you do better.
Let’s do better.

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1 Response to "Fempower"

Very well said.
Let’s do better. Amen and amen.

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