What on earth is going on?
There seems to be an outbreak of blatant misogyny. I feel as if I’m in a twilight zone of female dissing. In the past three months alone in the United States …
- the Vatican smacked American nuns for their social justice work and lack of support for its agenda. (Click here for a news article about it, and here to read my blog post about it.)
- the Commission for Women in the Reformed Church in America recommended in its report to General Synod 2012 (the denomination’s highest assembly) that the “conscience clauses” that protect those who disagree with women’s ordination be repealed. (Click here to read an article I wrote about it.) Several churches have already threatened that if it is repealed, they will leave the denomination. (Click here to read an article written by Rev. Stacey Midge, Moderator of the Commission for Women.)
- Republicans in the US Senate successfully blocked the passage of the Equal Pal Measure that would have guaranteed women in the workforce pay equal to that of their male co-workers.
- and just so the “totally bizarre” category does not go unrepresented, Groupon has sent out at least two emails (perhaps more — I must admit that I delete most of them) advertising their Father’s Day deals. The tag line for one read “deals for the guy who gave birth to you” and the other read “deals for the man who felt you kick inside him for nine months”. If this isn’t bad enough, the banner on the “Father’s Day Deals” page sports a photo of a pregnant man whose belly is being caressed by the expectant mother(?) and perhaps the couple’s first-born.
(Of course, this is just what has been going on in this country recently. If I listed all of the global injustices against women, I would probably crash the WordPress servers.)
Someone summon Lucretia Coffin Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton to rise from the dead. Apparently we need a second Seneca Falls Convention and a modern-day Declaration of Sentiments. While we’re at it, bring back Harriet Tubman to remind us how brave and staunch in the face of risk women are; and Sojourner Truth to remind us how strong. “If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, together women ought to be able to turn it rightside up again” (Sojourner Truth at the Women’s Convention in Akron, Ohio, on May 29, 1851).
And get Gloria Steinem on the phone to see if her schedule can be cleared for a massive round of rallies and speaking engagements. The ERA was not passed in the 1970s and it seems that the attitudes that brought about its felt need remain within American society.
Scratch that…of course they remain. I guess sexism has been more latent and insidious in the years since the 1970s as compared to its nasty head popping up in plain view presently.
Obviously I am raging. But even in the midst of my fury, I can see clearly. This is not an entirely bad thing. As a matter of fact, it might just serve quite well.
After Pearl Harbor was bombed on December 7, 1941 Japanese Admiral Isoroky Yamamoto was quoted as saying, “A military man can scarcely pride himself on having ‘smitten a sleeping enemy’; it is more a matter of shame, simply, for the one smitten. I would rather you made your appraisal after seeing what the enemy does, since it is certain that, angered and outraged, he will soon launch a determined counterattack” (Hiroyki Agawa, The Reluctant Admiral: Yamamoto and the Imperial Navy, trans. John Bester [Japan: Kodanasha International, 2000], 285).
And indeed we did…to the (horrific) tune of forcing the Japanese to surrender and finally end World War II.
I am certainly not advocating the violence and destruction of war. I use this moment in American history to suggest that perhaps metaphorically it is soon to be repeated. What is being done to women presently (still, to be more accurate) is shameful. I think (I hope), though, that all of this unveiled sexism has awoken an American public that has been sleeping.
We have allowed ourselves to slumber, feeling that “enough” progress (whatever that means) in the realm of equality for women has been made. (e.g., More women are in the workforce than ever before. This generation of fathers is participating more in the rearing of children and household duties than did their fathers.) But clearly, as recent news, events and social networking offerings have shown (see above), this is not the case. If we are moving at all, our direction is most certainly not forward.
Bottom line, I am thankful for this stuff. There isn’t anything about each of the above-bulleted scenarios that doesn’t stink, mind you. But the misogyny in the air as of late seems to have performed a much-needed function. Anger and outrage are already being expressed for American nuns. I certainly hope that this is not the end of the Equal Pay Measure. At the very least I have a feeling that we haven’t heard the last about the Senate’s shortsighted action. It is an election year, after all, and we do get the chance to express ourselves definitively about it in November.
What more is to come only time will tell. And I do believe that it will come. For women have (once again) been smitten.
Arise, lionesses, and roar.
You are the hunters;
you are the providers;
you are the mothers;
you are the keepers of this pride.
The desert forgets
your prowess and power,
and is haughty in its disrespect.
There is a rumbling in the depth of my spirit,
a growl of displeasure vibrating.
It is deep enough
that some may mistake it for a purr.
But there is fire in my eyes
and my ears are flat.
My sisters and I have caught scent.
You might steer clear of our path.
For when she bellows and bears her teeth,
all of the desert knows
the lioness is prone to attack.
And then it remembers
why it fears her.