People Power and Women

 

 

Finally my series on women’s issues and my people power posts converge as I reach the point of advocating an overthrow.  Time for women to use their power to take charge.  Not just beg for an equal place in the patriarchy.  Overcome the patriarchy.

The last post I wrote in the Women series explored the exploitation of women in the sports world, with a long look at the Larry Nasser disaster at MSU and in U.S. Gymnastics.  The more I examined the shocking degree of sexual abuse happening across the country from early school through college and on into professional sports, the more dismayed I became at the lack of real protest.

When I talked to various women about the enormity of the problem, they were all distressed but also shrugged and assured me nothing would happen “because it’s sports…”  The  attitude from other feminists shocked me even more than realizing we have an epidemic of sexual abuse against women in the sports world (and of course beyond).

It was the first moment I began to understand how deeply immersed in the patriarchy we are.  Men can molest and abuse women starting in middle school and it’s not only covered up but only the parents of those molested protest.  Surprisingly the Moms are not sufficiently outraged by the treatment of girls to withdraw their children from sports activities.

At MSU women students did not immediately transfer in protest.  Parents did not take their daughters out of the school or refuse to allow girls to apply.  Other than some editorial letters and outraged phone calls I could find no sign of any large scale protest at MSU demanding policy changes and assurances of protection for the women who attend the school.

No parents organized a boycott of all MSU sports until action is taken.  Nothing.  Not even the parents of girls think girls count enough compared to male sports figures to stand up for them.  I could find not a single news story in the entire country about parents organizing any kind of major protest or boycott at any level at any school where widespread sexual abuse had been reported.

I haven’t stopped reeling at the comprehension of how very little value we women have in this society, even among women.

In the meantime, I watched the #metoo movement catch on and listened skeptically as various women talked about how we’d never go back now.  Been there, seen that in the ’70’s.  We thought the tide had forever turned.  Until we realized it turned back the other way.  By a year or so after the wave of “Me Too’s” peaked I started hearing about Wall Street firms stopping the hiring of women in order to avoid harassment claims.  T.V. sets where women complained of harassment and producers failed to even report the claims.

Oh boy are we deep in the patriarchy.

Then I read an amazing article, Men are 100% Responsible for Unwanted Pregnancies.  Step by step the author goes through an eye opening litany of the ways in which men are responsible.  Starting with the fact that women are only fertile about 24 days a year compared to a man’s 365 day fertility.  In wanted pregnancies, there is an agreement and both are participating in a decision.  In unwanted pregnancies there is at least a failure to prevent and at worst a cavalier irresponsibility on the part of the man who is inevitably part of the equation. Moving on to the horrible side effects of birth control pills compared to the relative ease of using condoms or getting a (reversible) vasectomy.  Well, please read the article in full.

Again I was left reeling at the depths of the patriarchy.

Even the Women’s Movement has failed us here in my opinion.  The strident insistence on protesting and taking stands about abortion is in itself a patriarchal position.  By fighting about abortion and women’s right to choose after they’re already pregnant, we completely sidestep around the real issue and behave as if women get pregnant by themselves.

If men were held responsible for their “boys will be boys” mentality and held to account for failure to take all precautions to avoid causing a pregnancy, abortion would not even be an issue.  Give men jail time and big fines for causing unwanted pregnancies and there wouldn’t be any.  End of abortion problem.  Should suit both the pro- and anti-abortion factions.  Yet no one even raises the possibility.

Because the patriarchy has such an insidious hold even feminists don’t really see it.

When I look at the years since we first took off our bras and marched around for women’s rights in the 70’s, I see:

  • no Equal Rights Amendment
  • women making less pay than men across the board
  • women being assaulted and raped while men for the most part go unpunished
  • men who truly do not understand why they should be punished
  • women coping with issues of pregnancy as if men have nothing to do with it
  • men getting away with abuse, inhumanity and heartlessness while exercising control over everything to see it doesn’t change

The more I look, the more I’m ready to take a radical leap.  It’s time for women to stop begging for a few more places at the table of patriarchy.  It’s time for us to quit hoping to be taken seriously enough to get paid the same.  It’s time for us to quit letting boys and men off the hook for sexual violence against women.

We need the feminine.  We need humanity and compassion.  When women rule, education, care, kindness ensue.  Men aren’t going to give it to us.  Men will fight for us not to have it.  It’s time to take over.

Yup, it’s time for women to revolt.  It’s time to quit messing around about equality in their world and in terms of what they’re wiling to “let” us have and be.  It’s time for women to take charge.  Question is, how many women are ready?  #WomenRevolt #BurnthePatriarchy #WomensRevolution

The Women posts:

People Power posts:

 

@Alyssa_Milano @marwilliamson @ewarren @GloriaSteinem @TaranaBurke @angelajdavis @scotusginsburg @Oprah @TheGirlMalala @MichelleObama @jameelajamil @justinbaldoni @MargaretAtwood @EmmaWatson @rgay @EverydaySexism

Fashion, women and the veils of patriarchy

A few months ago some of my posts were muses on the current state of women.  It’s an issue I’m still ruminating and this week some things came together for me.  Can’t quite decide if I’m disturbed or energized.  But I am ever more convinced that a shift into a time of greater feminine/Goddess energy requires women to take some long, deep looks at the many ways we’re hooked into the patriarchy.

This rumination started years ago when I began to realize that the “perfect” body coaches and judges demand of gymnasts and figure skaters is basically the body of a pre-pubescent.   Pre-pubescent boy was my first thought, but really the average body type at that stage is about the same for either gender.  Women’s grown bodies… not okay.

And more recently, as I discussed here, I reflected on another piece, the question of women dressing in revealing or “sexy” clothes.  It bugs me how much Hollywood and the fashion industry push for women to be sexy above all else.

Then lately I’ve been running into discussions about how younger women basically are waxing all the hair off their bodies.  Suddenly I got the whole picture of the body type fashion favors:  skinny, flat chest and no body hair.  Okay, we’re back to pre-pubescent.  So we’re permeated by a fashion sense that wants women to look like young girls — or boys — rather than grown up women.

You know, kids  The ones only pedophiles consider sexy.  I’m not sure which disturbs me worse:  that the fashion industry has somehow shaped the world view of sexiness to suit the desires of pedophiles (and wtf is that about?) or that so many women, instead of saying, “screw you, women who look like women — in every shape and size — are sexy and we don’t want your fashion” just jump on board and follow these dictates.

Is pedophilia really so pervasive that this long-standing, widespread effort to tell grown women the only thing that’s sexy is the body of a child hasn’t even been noticed?  Or is everything about women–not to mention children– so unimportant in our society no one is paying that much attention?

And what’s with all the women who get told they’re only sexy if they look like a pedophile’s wet dream and instantly start dieting and taking off all their body hair?  How did so many of the rest of us — us non-fashionistas — not quite see the deeper meaning in all this?  A world view that grown women aren’t desirable unless they look like and — as far as I can see — behave like children.  Now that I’ve noted it, it’s so glaring I can’t understand why this isn’t a national conversation.

I’m a great believer in the divine feminine, in the power of women.  We’re beautiful in every shape and size.  We’re smart, capable, talented, creative and most important, filled with compassionate and loving hearts.  Our compassion is the biggest reason we’re needed in positions of power and authority.  But instead of being celebrated and given equality and power for our wonderful attributes we’re in a male-dominated culture in which we’re treated as disposable, negligible, objects… children.

It’s a culture so pervasive I think most of us women are blind to some aspects of it because we’re too enmeshed in it to see.  I’m excited by the current climate of embracing women’s rights and yet I feel like much of it is dancing around the edges without delving into the deep issues.  It’s time to explore all the ways patriarchy is operating to keep women marginalized and degraded and to stand up for overthrowing all of it.  Not to mention stop colluding in it.

It starts, I feel, with women exploring their own inner landscape and healing all the ways they feel less than, lacking in self worth and/or self-respect, dependent on men, insecure, etc.  We need an army of GROWN, confident women who respect themselves and know their worth. And none of us can make anyone else do it.  It begins with me.  It begins with you.