That’s right. I said it. I’ll say it again. There is no war on women.
Fine. Perhaps I need some qualifiers. There is no legal war on modern day, American women… says this modern day, American woman.
Up through recent history, I would have vehemently disagreed with the above statement. For most of time, physically, women were the weaker sex, by nature; while intellectually, women were the weaker sex by design. Both ideals were perpetuated on a global scale. Not until 1870, were married American women allowed to own property. In 1918, Great Britain granted the vote to women over 30. It was 1920 in the U.S., before women finally won any rights to vote. Britain then took a few leaps back, deciding acts of lesbianism shouldn’t have the same punishment as male homosexuality, because women were too naive to comprehend such behavior. In the U.S, it was not until 1960 that the FDA approved birth control pills, which was leaps and bounds ahead of Great Britain’s 1974 availability.
Depending on your theological beliefs, man is potentially seven million years old and the institution of marriage (as we think of it today), is estimated to be around 4,000. Still, I was five on July 5, 1993, when it officially became illegal, in all 50 states, for a man to rape his wife. That’s right. Twenty-one years ago, women were still considered property of their husbands, in the same sense as a fleshlight. So… I am not saying that there has never been a war on women, in this country. I am saying that it has been won.
Where, exactly, am I hearing of this “war on women”? Well, let’s start with…
The Trivial Crap
Recently, some very successful women have declared that they’ve been held back (clearly, Condoleezza Rice) by the male sex for calling them “bossy.” I’m not going to write about how ridiculous this is, because so many other bloggers have already covered it, but to sum it up, these women are demanding that we stop using the word bossy. This is a thing, y’all! This is a pretty minor issue, sure, but isn’t that a point in itself? Have we run out of evidence of a “war on women”, so thoroughly, that we have to ban words that are completely gender neutral, while enabling young girls to blame their failures on mild extrinsic factors? I’m sure this one will blow over quickly enough, but I’m also sure some equally stupid movement toward “gender equality” will rise up, drastically favoring women; such as when parents were appalled by The Children’s Place’s distribution of a t-shirt implying that girls would rather dance than do math.
Admittedly, it was a terrible idea, but was it the horror that mommy blogs made it out to be? No. Especially considering that little girls will still wear this to school.
“Boys are stupid. Throw rocks at them.”
Given the choice between the two, I’m really more concerned that one shirt incites violence, than I am that the other declares shopping to be more fun than equations. Why is there no emphasis on the villainization of little boys and how that affects them? Why are we only supposed to be concerned with the mental health of our little girls, with the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty, when society regularly tells little boys that they need to look like Chris Hemsworth in Thor? How is self image even gender specific?
The Glass Ceiling and Equal Pay
Alrighty then. Let’s address a less trivial issue.
– glass ceiling –
an unfair system of attitudes that prevents some people (such as women or people of a certain race) from getting the most powerful jobs
Well, the woman whose life has been so irreparably damaged by a fairly innocuous insult, that she must start a movement to ban words – suck it, first amendment! – is the COO of Facebook and worth $1.05 billion. I think Sheryl Sandberg’s very existence kind of covers the issue of whether or not women can find “the most powerful jobs.”
What about everyday women, though? They still only make .81 for every dollar a man makes, right? Well, no… not really. When this subject comes up, I have to remind myself that Research for Fun is not a game normal people play. I’m a librarian. I’m a researcher by trade and by heart. This topic happens to be one of my favorites to study and in fact, the 81 cents on the dollar statistic is intrinsically flawed, because it’s figured by averages and nothing more. Many studies show that when all factors are considered, such as the fields women choose, the hours they work, leave time, priorities such as pay vs. working conditions, et cetera, the perceived “wage gap” closes itself. The differences remaining are often so negligible that they can be attributed to aggressiveness in pay negotiations and things of that nature. While a man will probably choose a more stressful, time consuming, but lucrative career path, such as petroleum engineer, a woman is still more likely to choose something in a caretaker field, with more vacation time, steadier hours, and lower pay, such as librarian.
Finally, the biggest claim I can find that declares a “war on women” is made by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), in regards to an attack on women’s reproductive rights. Before 1936, it was more or less illegal for a woman to learn about birth control, as the topic was considered “obscene” and banned from distribution through the mail. Today, for better or for worse, any 12-year-old can perform a Google search and walk into a drugstore to grab some condoms. As a society, we don’t hoard information on the subject at all. Whereas a woman’s doctor might have been able to tell her father or husband if she was using contraception 50 years ago, now HIPPA laws mandate doctor/patient confidentiality, no matter the individual’s age or marital status. Those issues were an “attack” on women’s health and reproductive rights and are, clearly, no longer the norm. In regards to abortion, not until 1971 did Roe vs. Wade actually grant a woman the right to the procedure (as long as the fetus was not viable outside the womb), without explanation, in defense of her privacy.
Now, I am not going to debate abortion here, because that is not my point. My point is that abortion is debatable, as a moral issue, not a gender issue. Nationally, 51% of Americans consider themselves pro-life and the make-up of pro-life men vs. pro-life women is actually at about 50%. These people, both men and women, are not attacking women. In their minds, they are protecting the innocent, and don’t want to personally fund their destruction. Regardless of your take on the issue, you cannot argue that these laws are gender biased, because their proponents are distributed fairly evenly, between the sexes. Yes, a woman is the only one who can get pregnant, so these laws target her. By extension, however, a man is the only one whose potential child can be disposed of without his consent, so these laws target him. The presence of gender, does not make the subject gender.
ACLU also mentions “medically unnecessary ultrasounds.” Define unnecessary. Personally, I feel that any medical procedure, should be thoroughly explained. When I miscarried, I had to look at an ultrasound of my emptying uterus, as the doctor explained what was happening. I had to look at the bloody fucking wand, but it’s too much for someone to be informed about what’s happening to them by choice? I’m not suggesting anyone play clips of crying babies as they perform these ultrasounds, but that’s not what’s being done, either. “Here’s the heartbeat” is hardly the same as “here’s the eyes you will never see open.” If that is what your doctor said to you, then get a lawyer.
So there it is. There is no war on women. Sure, there are still some kinks to work out of the system, but I don’t think we gals are unique in that. A gentleman at a gun store once responded to my request to look at a Springfield .45 XDM with “You don’t need to be messin’ with that.” Was it sexist? Yes. Was it a declaration of war? No. When I Google image searched “international abuse toward women”, I found pictures of decapitated heads shrouded in burkas, children undergoing female circumcision, and women in various stages of recovery from acid attacks. We’re awfully quick to throw around the word “war” in a society where both of these things are pretty universally abhorrent. Perhaps some households, some religions, some small sects of society hold strictly traditional gender roles, but if they’re forced on adults, we consider it abuse.
“Boys fix things. Girls need things fixed.”
In the 70’s, When my Gramma’s boss found out that she was going back to school, he told her that he didn’t care what degree she earned, she would never be an accountant. Today, though? The only job I can’t hold is King, and I don’t think any American is entitled to that, anyway. Every now and then, my Gramma will say longingly “Women can do anything, today.” Yet, as a society, we don’t seem to see it. We’re too busy demanding equal pay for kindergarten teachers and physicists. Personally, I chose a less lucrative field. Some claim that that’s because women are socially programmed to do so, and to that, I say fuuuuck you. How dare you tell me that, because I’m a woman, I’m not intelligent enough to form my own opinions and set my own priorities? How dare you say that to any woman, be she the stay-at-home mom or Sheryl Sandberg, herself? I didn’t become a librarian because someone called me “bossy” when I was little (and they totally did) or because society told me I wasn’t capable of more. I wanted this, because I’m an intelligent and capable adult. So, suck it.
The same goes for this reproductive rights argument. If you’re not happy with the fact that a woman can get a medically safe abortion in all 50 states, you need to have a sit down with my great grandmother and her wire hanger. No. That’s not a joke. I’m not entirely sure what more you want out of abortion laws, but I am certain that my views on the subject are not an attack on women. Again, how dare you say that I’m not capable of forming that opinion on my own, that it’s some brainwashing accomplished by man as they feel the need to assert their control over the female body? How intensely arrogant that I can’t just disagree with you, while remaining fully informed. I write this blog for fun and I’ve got over15 citations listed. I promise, I’ve done the research.
From what I can see, the only “war”…
Acid attack. Still wanna go with that word?
… on women, that I’ve experienced, is when other women tell each other that they’re making the wrong life choices. (No, that doesn’t apply to pro-lifers in general, because they feel they’re considering a different life, that cannot speak for itself.) Despite the fact that I’ve survived a wretched marriage, obtained a master’s degree, begun a professional career, and cared for myself financially and physically for years, I’m making less money than men, because I was programmed to do so. Similarly, that girl from high school, who wants to become a professor, surround herself with cats, and never get married or have children? She’ll change her mind. She’ll see the light and realize the right way to be female.
It’s not possible for me to have a different interpretation of the concept of “life.” I just must not be informed of the biology behind Plan B and can’t defend an innocent without attacking “all women.” On the other side of the debate, a woman can’t take Plan B, without being called an irresponsible slut or being told that if she gets pregnant, she asked for it. It is possible for us to have differing opinions without insulting each other. From what I can see, it’s not men flinging these comments. If there is any remaining war on women, it is being waged by women.