Thursday, May 19, 2016

Woman Trouble

If you really think about it, it’s a wonder we women folk haven’t burned the world down already. We make up more than half the world. Yet, when it comes to our place in it, we continue to be systematically subjugated by our male counterparts. This is not opinion, just fact. We earn less than men. We run less than men. We govern less than men.

In the 227 years of the presidency, we have never once had a female president. Not once. Yet somehow, mentioning our desire to perhaps see a woman be elected to the highest office in the land is playing some unfair and unreasonable “woman card.” Still it’s perfectly OK for one of our major political parties to pick a man to run for said highest office who sees casual misogyny as his signature brand. Neat-o.

Now, keep in mind, we women have only even had the legal right to vote since 1920 in this country. I would wager a few of you might have grandparents born before women’s suffrage. Almost all of you have great-grandparents who lived when we couldn’t vote. History you can still go to visit for tea.

None of this is news, which makes it all the more extraordinary. We live in a world that is patently unfair to more than half the population and quietly accepts it. This is not opinion, this is just fact. And, of course, the world is just as unfair, if not very much more so, when you add on our intersecting identities – be that as a person of color, or a LGBT person, or a person with a disability, et al. Life is just harder if you’re not a straight white male – period.

Yet, ironically, one of the most persistent political narratives this election is the power and importance of the Angry White Male voter. They flail furiously at any perceived threat to their long-standing dominance. That means when we women – or any underrepresented group – try to gain a little ground and find more equal footing, we are met with dismissal, mockery, hatred or violence. Want to wallow in despair forever? Find an “MRA” thread on Reddit.

Given all this consequential, real-world utter bullshit, it might seem silly to get riled up about something as seemingly insignificant as, say, a female-fronted TV show adapted from a female-centered book series not getting picked up became it skewed “too female.” Or, say, a blockbuster superhero franchise nixing a female villain because the toymaker thought it would hurt sales. Or, say, a trailer for a high-profile female-led movie reboot getting the most “dislikes” on YouTube ever.

All the while, it should be mentioned, over on CBS (the channel which passed over that “too female” Nancy Drew series starring Sarah Shahi) all six of the new shows ordered for next season by the network feature white male leads? But by all means you stay angry, white men – stay angry.

The thing is all of this feeds into each other. It piles on. Our cultural narrative, despite our statistical dominance, is one that dismisses women as secondary, less important, unequal. We women make up 51 percent of the population, and yet.

The simple fact is we women are on the losing end of representation and governance and ultimately control in this country. Yet, because of our prevalence, it’s easier to dismiss the insidious institutionalized sexism that exists. Many men think, how can women still be discriminated against? I see them every day. They are everywhere. They seem fine.

And, yes, some of us are fine. But fine is not the same as being truly equal. And being told we should be happy with what we have, quit whining and definitely stop talking about it is exhausting, so terribly exhausting. But also maddening. We are not crazy, we are just sick and tired of this crap.

But we cannot get beaten down by it either. We cannot simply accept it as our place. We need to keep bringing it up, both amongst ourselves and to the men in our lives.

Like, hey, don’t you think it’s crazy we’ve never had a woman president? Or, hey, don’t you think it’s nuts there are so few woman bosses? Or, hey, isn’t it whack that mom/sister/wife/best friend/coworker makes less than you just because she is a woman? Or, hey, isn’t it weird that so few major studio films are about women? Or, hey, isn’t it stupid that people think men won’t go see a movie/watch a show/read a book featuring women? Or, hey, isn’t it cuckoo bananas people still expect women to do most of the housework and child-rearing – still, today, in 2016? Because it is, all of it is.

Pointing out the fundamental inequality women face is a necessary part of progress. We should, and will, never shut up about it. It is in fact the only way we will ever achieve the equality we deserve. Feminism is how we solve this. I mean, what else can we do? Burn the whole world down?


Helena said...

Well said Ms Snarker.

Scamp said...

Hurrah, Dorothy! Is it too late for you to run for president?

Anonymous said...

It;s NOT that we don't want a woman to be president, but you never write about Hillary's record of NOPT supporting marriage equality then flip flopping on that, of her voting FOR the Iraq war, of her supporting drone strikes and worse, of her work in dismanteling Libya and a slew of other thingsw. I mean what is wrong with you anyway?

Carmen SanDiego said...

Beautifully said
Let's burn this world down

Carmen SanDiego said...

And good thing Hillary "flip flopped" on marriage equality. People are entitled to change their minds, nothing wrong with that, and I'm happy she supports it now

Angela Watson said...

It's not even the changing her mind: I'm ok with people changing their mind with expanded perspectives. What concerns me the most about HRC is that she has her paws in the corporate cookie jar: one cannot serve two masters. So either she is for the common folk and quits taking money thru the Clinton Foundation or she keeps taking money from UBS, AIG, CitiGroup, etc and does their bidding. And those guys are hell bent on destroying our country from the inside out.

Anonymous said...

Brilliantly put DS! Once again you eloquently voice something that is so frustrating and I have a hard time putting into words. I am like Gollum and your blog is The Ring...also I am a nerd.

Anonymous said...

As long as women bear children they will be less than. Man have had power over women because they are the one's who must be responsible for children. The same children who will some day grow up and discount them.

Men are terrified of woman. They understand on some molecular level just how inadequate and inept they are. They also are unbelievably insecure. What do insecure men do; dump on women, because they can..

This system works just like gov't power, military power and monetary power those who have snatched the power will never give it back.

If you believe that any group will have equality in our lifetime - your just not paying attention. I scream constantly -- how the fuck can over half the population of the world "have no value"?? Again they do it because they can. We have to start really fighting back, but; we won't.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous Angela Watson

Yes Hillary takes money from corps - The Clinton Foundation does incredible good all over the world. Buying and selling favors is how the world works. Think about it really hard and tell me. If you had the opportunity to do good but; had to do things you didn't like for that to happen - would you stay on your high horse and bypass the good. Tell me on your job how many times a day do you do things you don't like to get that pay - which is good for you.

The world and life are messy and dirty - it sucks. How many times have you been late for work, or stayed longer on your lunch break, or called in sick when you weren't or lied about something to stay out of trouble, or drove over the speed limit, or cheated on your taxes, or cheated on your lover if only in your mind.

See how that works, easy to throw stones hard to admit you may not be perfect either. It's just a different scale.

There are 3 people left in this election (IMHO) Hillary is the only one even partially qualified.

maya said...

Great post and good comments too. Makes my heart smile to hear others speaking out. Now let's get Hillary elected!