Feminism does not exist because women want special treatment or special rights. It exists because even after nearly a century of suffrage and other societal reforms, women still do not have a truly equal position in our society. Not an opinion, fact. There are still a lot of people out there convinced that women should not have any roles in society outside the kitchen or the bedroom: they shouldn’t vote or run for office; that they shouldn’t be in the military or serve in combat; that they shouldn’t get an education; that they shouldn’t be single mothers; they they shouldn’t be able to practice birth control; that they shouldn’t be in the workplace, much less executives or political leaders; and that they should always be subservient to men.
Go ahead, Google any of these ideas and concepts I just listed and see what you find. See the kinds of people defending these ideas. Be prepared to turn over a few rocks and see what’s underneath.
I don’t recommend doing it on a full stomach.
Like they do with so many other problems going on in our world (*cough* climate change *cough cough*), many people are inclined to not believe it because they don’t want to believe it. Believing that something is a problem implies that you have to take a position on it somehow, because you have acknowledged its existence, and you have acknowledged that it is in fact a problem. It’s much easier to argue it isn’t a problem. If it isn’t a problem, then you don’t have to modify your ideas or your behavior. And that’s just SO much easier for everybody now, isn’t it? People would rather argue for years about something they don’t think is real rather than be forced to admit that they might be wrong, or that they might need to modify (or defend) their views and behaviors.
I used to like George Will when he was talking baseball or history. But this latest screed of his regarding rape is so horrifically oblivious and over-the-top mind-numbingly ignorant, even hateful, and his defenders are delving so far down into the bottom of the barrel, that I have trouble processing that these people exist in 21st century America sometimes. I am glad that Katherine Graham did not live to see the disgrace that her newspaper has become.
So here’s two things that cheered me up, for whatever it’s worth.
The first is what is perhaps the most epic public take-down of a smarmy sexist meathead that I have ever seen. It happened in Australia not quite two years ago, when Prime Minister Julia Gillard just ripped into Tony Abbott, who led the opposition party, after he tried to pass a politically-motivated motion by saying he was pushing it as a defender of women’s rights, essentially.
This second video I saw over at Salon. These kids are all in high school. And they seem to have it figured out pretty well, I think. George Will and his defenders could learn something from them.
Anyway, it’s nice to watch this and think there might be hope for us after all.