According to Fox News, 'no matter how independent women get, there will always be that part of them that wants to be treated like an old-fashioned lady.' Patriarchy and sexism are still up and swinging, writes Trish Kahle
I came across an older article this week on Fox's Men's Health site called "Five Feminist Demands She Wants You To Ignore." It concluded that "no matter how independent women get, there will always be that part of them that wants to be treated like an old-fashioned lady."
That's news to me, who, as an independent woman, really has no desire to be forced into a corset, "protected" by coverture policies, stripped of my legal and political rights, denied access to birth control and other reproductive services, and...you probably get the idea.
However, according to AskMen.com (because surely we couldn't ask women what they want, since women apparently have no innate desires), I, as a part of what seems to be a frighteningly homogeneous group of about 3 billion people, just want a man who can make some decisions for me. As a woman, I am a liar if I claim I do not want to be objectified, and I can also not tell the difference between being told that I am attractive and being designated to the role of masturbatory sex object. And, whatever fuss I might put up now, I will eventually "crave the ultimate commitment." (That being marriage, apparently? I thought it was pinky swears--guess not.)
The article's stunningly vomit-worthy conclusion is "Women are a complete contradiction in terms and that’s one thing they’re likely never to evolve out of — like men and leaving the toilet seat up. We all have our crosses to bear."
This is how to "decode" this patriarchy speak (decoding is something the article suggests must be done to women, since we seem to lack the ability to communicate with humans):
"I do not understand why my girlfriend didn't like this article I wrote. I just can't understand women. Also, she's like 30, so she'll be wanting babies soon. Tick, tick and all. Aren't you glad men have evolved past the whole pregnant, barefoot thing? Me too. This Armani suit is great! Don't get me wrong, men have flaws too. Women are substandard human beings, sometimes my left incisor doesn't sparkle quite enough--apples and apples. Both my girlfriend and I have crosses to bear, but her ass looks hotter when she stands up straight, so I'll carry them both!"
This is all just more clear evidence that patriarchy and sexism are still up and swinging. But if they had their way, we would never even know they were still here. So here's my response Women's Health column...Five Realities of Patriarchy He Wants You To Ignore."
1. Voting women in isn't all it's cracked up to be. See exhibit 1: Hillary Clinton. Just as legal equality doesn't necessarily translate into real equality, representation in patriarchal systems does little to end women's oppression. Even with three women on the Supreme Court (though to be fair, they are not democratically elected), women were denied recognition as a class in suit against Walmart. Elected women officials create, enforce, and defend policies that are destructive to women around the world. Even with equal political representation, the situations faced by women worldwide would not change significantly.
2. Good luck with getting that abortion. Despite the right-wing portrayal of reproductive health services as being equivalent to a bunch of promiscuous women getting abortions en mass and then forcing all other women to get them, free abortion on demand--which is a basic right and requirement for the liberation of women--seems further away today than it has in a long time. Increasingly, we women seem to have less rights than the fetus lawmakers would have us carry to term regardless of how it was conceived, regardless of our personal situation, choice, or desires. They not only make direct attacks on the right to an abortion, but they use sneaky backdoor methods to curtail our rights. North Carolina legislators this week said that a new waiting period would "help women make a truly informed choice," completely ignoring the reality that women are perfectly capable of making our own choices in any time frame we see fit.
3. Rape is just a four letter word. It might seem strange that society, which is so eager to take away our responsibility for making our own life choices would then expect us to take the responsibility for rapes committed against us. In addition, the rise of raunch culture tries to tell us that some rape is "not really rape" and maybe even "enjoyable." The thought process here is that if you have a body, men have the right to enjoy it. This is the kind of bullshit that gets sold to us as "sexy" and "desirable." Also, 11 year old girls who are gang raped can "ask for it," according to this rape culture. Welcome to the 21st century. Does this start to sound like The Handmaid's Tale to anyone else?
4. You don't need men to protect you, but they're going to do it anyway. And by protect, I of course mean "deny you access." Women are still "protected" by men in sports, the workplace, and just about anywhere else you can think of going. Men claim to recognize that women are strong, intelligent, and capable, but then conveniently ignore it unless they think it's a good line that might get them laid. In every aspect of life, where the competence of men is assumed, it falls to women to prove their competence. And when they deny you a job, or the right to play with the men, rest assured (and hungry, if you didn't get a paycheck for another week in row) that they were doing it with your "best interests" at heart. Except, of course, that what they call our best interests are really their best interests and are of no benefit to us at all.
5. Think for yourself...and enjoy the psych ward. Women who disagree with male perspectives have always been labeled as crazy. These days, the psychiatric profession has reserved whole diagnoses for "difficult" women, like borderline personality disorder, a diagnosis almost exclusively applied to women have "erratic" and "manipulative" behavior and relationship patterns. Slightly lower on the scale of severity, but in the same mode of thought, is the tactic many sexists use of dismissing anything you say that they disagree with as being "emotion-driven" or "irrational." Men, apparently, control rationality, making anything that goes against it irrational. Oh, and anything else will be blamed on your period. Good times.
This article was first published on I Can't Believe We Still Have To Protest This Shit.