Monday, November 20, 2006

why?

something has occurred to me lately and i have been thinking quite a bit after i posted that story of the poor brazilian model who eating disordered herself to death. i think dr. phil or some show like that this week was trying to save a 60 pound anorexic woman. then- i saw the story about the afghan women setting themselves on fire to escape domestic abuse in a country that sees even less choice for women than here. i do not necessarily label myself feminist because i consider my self a humanist. i believe that humans are humans no matter what their gender, age, skin color, religious(or not) background, ethnicity and so on. i am not in the majority in the world. what struck me- and continues to strike me- are the similarities between woman of different backgrounds throughout the world. the similarities that stand out are the fact that men cannot seem to be able or willing to treat women as equals. to that end, women are not able to stand up for themselves for fear of domestic violience, imprisonment and even death. folks here in america take it for granted that women here are free to come and go as they please. i suppose that is true to a certain extent, but women are still seen as below men on the totem pole. we are still paid less and expected to do more- and expected to look and behave a certain way in order to "enjoy" men`s company. while it doesn`t seem to matter which strata of life women come from, there is always one place in particular where women are treated worse than mainstream- the organized religious sector. from sharia law in islam; to st. paul`s epistles in christianity; to the ancient laws in the torah in orthodox judaism- women are supposed to remain subservient to men. that has been the last word on defining gender roles throughout the world. the crux of it is- if you actually look at the scriptures of any of these orthodox religions- it was later generations of men who added the bullshit about women being less than. as we have become more "civilized"- apparently, men have decided that women are less than. i am truly lucky because i have a husband who values me as a person. he values my mind and what i do- as do i him. my only hope is- more and more folks are having less traditional couplings- and men are taking a more active role in the lives of their families instead of trying to control. time will tell if there will ever be a time when women do not have to escape a living hell of a life by setting themselves on fire or starving themselves to death. perhaps there will come a time when we stop looking at differences as something we have to control and instead embrace as unique. perhaps there will come a day when we start treating other people as people.

7 comments:

Obob said...

It comes down to a reoccuring theory of mine, fear of conquest. Men have been the dominant sex throughout history and will continue to do so for some time. It's not right. But what can be done with a realistic ideas.
I am not a liberal and I will mock the feminist movement for thier hypocrisy on a regular basis, but the standard treatment of women in our country alone is appalling.
Examine our culture:
- who do they show on commmercials doing housework, unless it is a parody
- watch a rap video
- watch an American Pie movie
- look at the women on the cover of the magazines at the check out, you are buying the groceries because it is your job. Just kidding, but I'll get hate mail for that.
- look at the judgement of Katie Couric, I didn't hear anyone critique Brian Williams' ties
- on your sitcoms tonight, look at the portly male with the skinny wife or younger bride

I know the intelligence of betmo's posters and they can rattle off thirty more examples before I exhale my next breath. But as the father of two little girls, I regret the world they are exposed to daily. Just a harmless rant. Sorry

Sarah said...

Excellent post. Women have come a long way, but there is still work to be done for others who are not as fortunate. Women who live in Africa and the Middle East still live in horrid conditions. Most women in the Western world are very lucky, even though we still face problems.

EAPrez said...

I have a 20 year old niece who suffers from an eating disorder. She is going to her second ip treatment facility in a year - leaving for Wisconsin next week for a minimum 45 days. I don't have much hope that she will ever be 'cured'. Comes from her feelings of worthlessness - but this kid was always top of her class, very athletic got a letter for track and volley ball in hs, level 9 gymnist - and now she does nothing including not eating. It's like once she got out of high school - she was unable to cope with 'this is my life without track, volley ball and gymnastics'. It's very sad to watch. I'm sure the news of the death of that model over the weekend sent a chill through my sister and her husband.

betmo said...

no- obob- i agree with you. men have to be the ones to stop this nonsense. the problem is- many see no problem. perhaps they don't treat 'their' women that way- perhaps they do respect their mother, sister, or wife. but-- it is going to take the men on this planet to start stopping the nonsense. we, as women, can protest and fight- and should- but men have to change their thinking.

Chuck said...

Beth-

Not to be nosy, but it sounds like your sister's girl has something deeper going on than just an eating disorder, citing the "dropping out of life" things you mentioned. You guys probably know that anyway (I don't know what an ip treatment is). Best of luck to that young lady. I hate to hear this stuff.

shawn (aka blogstud) said...

Excellent post, b.

We are all human beings worthy of dignity and respect.

when any person decides the easiest 'way out' is setting herself on fire, we have very big problems.

education, tolerance, understanding, respect are the keys I think.

this is me said...

i agree with most of the things discussed here. as an indian living in a very patriarchal joint family
( all my uncles and aunts and cousins live together)i can say with some degree of confidence that it is the ingranation of both women and men since birth of their different gender roles and identities that creates such disparities. the men atleast don't think anythink is wrong if the woman slogs her ass in the kitchen, and works with her head bowed and covered. and does pretty much nothing else. that's because they haven't seen it any other way. their mothers and sisters did the same and they all think it's normal. It's so atereotypical, you could have read it in any book on feminism or patriarchy.