A confession from us (men) to you (women)
March 8, 2008 marks the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, a day initiated in the USA in February, 1908 by women demanding the right to vote and other equal treatment. The very fact that 100 years later we still have this day is a testament to the failure of this effort. It is still overwhelmingly a man’s world.
Why is that? Why, when America is based on equality, equal access and equal freedoms, are women still struggling to attain that equality? Why, in this 21st civilized century are women still oppressed by men, even in this great country of ours?
Well, we men have a confession to make. It’s because we are in charge and we don’t want you to be equal. Never have – never will.
We insist on branding you as the weaker sex because we are frighteningly aware of how strong you are. For decades in the US, and still today in some parts of the world, we did not allow you an equal level of education. Not because we thought your place was in the home raising babies, although we firmly believe that it is, but because we didn’t and still don’t want you to be as educated, as prepared as we are. If you were, you might want some of our jobs and our power and as men we simply don’t want and can’t allow that to happen.
How effectively have we kept you in your place? Damn effectively. Of the 1,897 citizens who have served in the US Senate since 1789, a grand total of 35 have been women. 16 of those are serving right now. So, over the period of our nations history, 1.85% of the Senate seats have been held by women.
In the House, of the thousands who have served over the last 2 1/4 centuries, just 216 have been women including the 74 that are there now. Between both the House and the Senate, 16.3% are women. (The global average for women at parliamentary level is 17%)
That’s about as much equality as we’re willing to give.
What about that most noble of bodies, the Supreme Court? Ah, now that is a different story! These are not elected positions but appointments by the president HIMself. Of the 110 justices that have served on the Court, a grand total of………drumroll………. 2 have been women (1.8%). Again, equality American style.
And of course there has never been a president from among you. There may be in the near future, but that’s ok now. Afterall, corporate America controls the actions of even the president, and corporate America is controlled by us.
These numbers are utterly justified because, if men were not in control of all three branches of government – at all times – then we couldn’t control your sexuality, what you do with their bodies, and all the other roles that we allow you to play in society. We certainly can’t leave these most important decisions up to women themselves. Shudder at the thought.
An excellent example of this is Roe Wade. Was this law passed because you demanded control over family planning through access to abortions? Only partially. Had the majority of men been against your right to choose, you wouldn’t have it. But we finally realized that abortion rights also serve us, the men.
Afterall, without Roe/Wade, if every woman – every time she became pregnant – had to give birth, a whole lot more of US would be paying a whole lot more child support and marrying a whole lot more of YOU that we really didn’t want to. And when we ultimately divorced you, we’d have to put up with that pesky alimony. That would be troublesome, problematic, inconvenient and just plain messy for us. So, despite religious adversity, even in today’s ultra conservative Christian USA, Roe Wade is a-okay.
As men, we are brutally aware of our nearly absolute dependence upon women. It’s been that way since we suckled at our mother’s breast. This dependence, which we hide behind a facade of machoness, makes us resent you. Some of us even secretly hate you. To vent our anger and resentment we belittle and dehumanize you. We tell dirty jokes about you. We sexualize you unmercifully. We even beat and rape you.
Why? Because we can. Afterall, we are bigger and stronger than you are. And have more power. We hold all the cards. Sure, we allow laws that make those acts criminal. We have to in a ‘free’ society. But if you go public with your victimization, we will humiliate you, expose your most hidden secrets in court, and generally make your life miserable. So we have done everything we can to convince you to tolerate us, even build us up and make us feel masculine.
We like diversity in our women so, year by year we change you. Through the fashion and cosmetics and retail industries, which we control, we tell you how to dress, how long or short your skirts should be, what color lipstick is ‘in’, what uncomfortable shoes to wear and how to fix your hair just right. And we generally charge you more for these accessories than we do other men. We know you will eagerly pay the price. But, hey! We don’t force you to wear burkhas. Or do we?
And by the way, there’s a little stubble on your legs and under your arms. Take care of that, will you? Thanks a bunch.
We no longer restrict your education because, in this modern world, we need you in the workplace. There are just not enough of US to go around. And we pay you exactly what we think you are worth which is less than we pay other men.
We are confident that we can maintain this status quo indefinitely. Why? Because, even though you have an equal right to vote, even though as a group you control 50% of any and all ballots, we are convinced that you are too foolish to organize yourselves – to use that voting power – to make any meaningful changes.
And even if you did, what changes would you make? Enact meaningful equal pay legislation? Crack down on crime? Put in place a real war on drugs? Spend money to improve the quality of education? Bring the troops home? Stop our perpetual involvement in foreign wars? And take action on all of the other things that need to be done to protect your children? Yikes! Sorry, can’t allow that. We, the men, know where the money needs to go and those things just ain’t a priority.
We know your husband ran off with his young, pretty secretary. We know your son is in Iraq and your daughter is in rehab. We know your balloon payment is overdue. But have a happy International Women’s Day.
PS: Rumor has it that for 2009 its gonna be minis, beaufonts, and the return of those wonderful garter belts in virginal white. Shop early.
(afterthought) What would the world be like if only women owned guns?