Friday, December 28, 2012

W is for Women

Years ago, I read "The Handmaid's Tale" (by Margaret Atwood).  I loved that book.  It was so scary how they took away women's rights and then their freedoms.  It was insidious.  The right to have a bank account here, a right to vote there,  and before you know it - BOOM!! Women are put into categories of Gentry, Workers, and Breeders and that's all that's available to them. 

When I read the book, I remember thinking, "Wow.  That could actually happen.  It wouldn't even be that difficult."

Then, a couple of years after that, I read "Reading Lolita in Tehran" by Nazar Afisi.  As I  read, I thought, 'Holy shit, it happened.'  They took the rights of women away nearly exactly as it happened in the Atwood book.  Out of all the things in that book, I think what broke my heart the most was when the author's daughter came home in tears, "Why CAN'T I wear rainbow laces??"  That and when one of her students went on vacation and was reveling in the wind against her skin at the beach.  Things that women in this country take for granted as normal and everyday things.  Things that shouldn't be luxuries for women in other countries.

It also fascinated me how angry the women were.  They were angry at the men, of course, for imposing these ever-more ridiculous and confining restrictions on the women.  But they were also angry at themselves for allowing these restrictions to come in to play and become de rigeur.

I talked about all this on the blog years ago when I read these books.  I bring it up now because I've seen so many things this year that remind me of the ever-more ridiculous and confining things I've been  noticing lately.

Like this...

Back in late April, I saw this article.

It's all about how the Catholic Church devalues women.  Or at least that's what I took from it.  How can you say that what the men (archbishops and such) think is correct, but what the women think (nuns) is wrong and NOT be considered to devalue women?

And how does promoting charity and helping the poor make the nuns pro-choice?  Just because they are not touting that philosophy doesn't mean they don't believe it or care about it, and it most definitely does NOT mean they are promoting pro-choice!

Then there was this...
Terrorized on the commute - here
Basically, it's about a woman who commutes on a train and is constantly harassed when she just wants to be left alone to her reading.  She even encountered an obviously mentally ill man who harangued her to the point where she was forced to flee.

Mainly she has to deal with men sitting next to her, hitting on her using the pretense of asking about her book (when there's plenty of empty seats available).  If I knew her, I'd suggest she hand the book to some nearby, random guy and ask the guy hitting on her to do the SAME exact thing to that guy that he just did to her.  No?  You don't want to?  Why not?  Is it because if you did it to a guy it would be weird and creepy?  Well, guess fucking what.... doing it to me is JUST as weird, JUST as creepy, and JUST as unwanted.  Move along, dumbass.

Then there's the whole "legitimate rape" and various other dumbassery that went on during the campaigns.  What. the. Fuck.  The scary thing about that is that so many of the stupids that said that stuff actually BELIEVE it.  (Which, on a related note, also speaks to term limits.  When you have these ancient, pre-Civil War Rights movement people in office, there views aren't necessarily in step with modern times.  But that's a whole 'nother argument.)

In my own life, I can't stand it when customers call me Honey, or Baby, or Hon, or anything like that.  It's belittling and irritating.  I don't like it whether it's a man or a woman calling me that. 

Dave doesn't get it.  He thinks I take it too personally, and it's no big deal.  I tell him he doesn't get it because, as a man, it's something he NEVER has to encounter.  Sometimes when I want to push his buttons, I call him Sparky.  He hates that.  (FYI - we tease each other mercilessly, so when I do it, it's one of our gotcha things.)  I try to liken some total douchebag stranger calling me Hon to when I call him Sparky, but  he still doesn't get it.

On FB, there's so many women that let people walk all over them and all they do is whine about it.  Get a fucking backbone and DO something about it!  You have options.  And anyway, most of the slights they speak of don't even come close to the issues the nuns or even that commuter deal with on a daily basis. 

In this country, we, as women, are lucky enough to still have most of our rights.  For now.  We need to push to get them all (equal pay, etc.).  We also need to make strides to help women in other countries get theirs.  There are many charities that can foster education and independence among our sisters abroad.  Let's make 2013 a time when women of all types can have the same rights we do.  Let's make an effort.

Sisters all, Ruth!

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