Saturday, April 28, 2007

erosion of women's safety and rights

there is a tendency in this male dominated world to fall back on the same old chestnuts when there is a fear or threat: mistreat and limit women. i haven't figured out why men haven't figured out that women are people too. women fight and fight the same fight around the world- including america- for equality as a fellow human being. when are men going to figure it out? even so called 'enlightened' men who allegedly love their wives- look the other way or ignore completely the limits and erosion of basic human rights for the other half of the human equation.

you can blame culture and you can blame tradition but what it boils down to is men need to stand up for the women in their lives. i have a hard time thinking that iranian women would be interrogated and mistreated and jailed for peaceful assembly if their husbands and brothers and fathers and uncles and sons stood up for them. i have a hard time thinking that the supreme court of america would be trying to reverse roe v. wade one case at a time if the husbands and brothers and sons and uncles of american women weren't complicit through silence and/or votes. i have a hard time believing that we would have to have day of awareness of cyberstalking of women- if the above mentioned folks didn't view women as convenient outlets of hostility and hatred release.

it is easy to blame sharia law in islam for the horrible way that women in the middle east are treated, but who carries it out so self importantly? it is easy to blame the right wing evangelicals and other right wing christian groups in the western world for the continued discrimination of women in the workforce and in the home, but who is discriminating? women do try and fight back and still make less in america than men for the same job- and still do the lion's share of housework and childrearing. women who fight back in the middle east and make strides have acid thrown in their face or are beaten and stoned to death. or- beaten and jailed.

i don't know what it is that is so difficult to grasp that women are people- i mean the majority of the couples on this planet are heterosexual so that means that men sleep next to their mate every night in intimate ways. men talk to their mate about personal matters and they create families. often there is genuine love for that mate. so- when push comes to shove- why aren't you defending her? i don't want to hear the whining from the male establishment about how i am bashing males. i am not. i love my husband and he loves me and i know that if ever i needed defending or he did- we would be there for each other.

my question is- would you be? if the right wing evangelicals rose to power in america, and suddenly women had to stay home and stay covered- with no access to the outside world without you to take her out- would you protest? or would you let it happen? would you go along with the law of the land? would you fight for your mate? would you fight for someone else's? how can you justify beating or mistreating your mate- in the name of religion? in the name of the law of the land? i am curious.


C-dell said...

Women have been persucuted for many many years. I cannot understand how anyone can mistreat women. Women are the most beautiful, delicate, strong, and caring people in the world. My friends an I did a can food drive for a domestic abuse shelter. It was very fulfilling to help these women out. We intend to make it a yearly thing.

alaskababy said...

I so agree with you betmo. the move toward equality for both genders must include male voices and their physical presence across the planet.

c-dell, good on you. we see appeals for assistance across the planet (american idol's "give back" episode last week had me bawling my eyes out!) and tho I think that's great, for most of us all we have to do is pay attention locally to see great, great need.

it's true, women are incredibly beautiful. I love men too :) love my guy and I think he's gorgeous but there is something in women that I think the insecure man fears, hence the beatings and abuse. I learned that as a teenager. The more I shone, the harder my b/f hit me. he taught me what NOT to go for in a man so I can thank him for that.

Things could've been worse, I could have married him, had children with him... i was luckier than some that i got to get smart so young.

Dizzy Dezzi said...

Great post, betmo!

Good questions!

Today's fathers and soon-to-be-husbands/fathers, need to raise up their son's TODAY and teach them that women have value and in so much as women fight for our men, our men need to fight for our women. Even after ten years, there is still a lot my husband takes for granted from his upbringing, such as the man is "the king" of his castle. I would not even have my karaoke business if I had not fought him at every turn (not physically, thank goodness). But, he used to pick arguments with me within minutes of me leaving for work in hopes that I would call in sick, he felt threatened by the fact that I was satisfied just being in his presence (I am not exaggerating here)...I couldn't accept jobs without asking him first. It got so bad that my contractors were asking HIM if it was OK for me to work...and this was in 2005 (Not 1895)! He still had this dream that I would be barefoot and pregnant and that I would be like his mother; at home ALL THE TIME with the children with her world revolving around her husband, her church, then her kids. After reminding him time and again that I am not his mother and never will be, I am his partner: I reminded him that if "mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy..."

The way that we get along now and the way that he treats me you would never know that I was once married to a complete schmuck. He has come to terms with the fact that my business makes me happy. He does his best (way better than in the past) of showing support for what I do.

But, there are times when a subject comes up that reminds me of his former days as a schmuck, like when we discuss rape (as in, if a woman is drunk, can she truly consent to sex?) and abortion. I'm still working on him, for the sake of my daughter, and even for the sake of our sons. I think that my daughter getting older and learning to stand up to her father herself may help sway the meantime, I'll work on molding my boys out of thinking that they are the boss of any woman and teaching them that even strong people need support and showing support for women is showing support for the world.

Thorne said...

We do need the male voices. But we also still need soooooo many women to wake up. Even my partner is beginning to really "get" the ways in which she was indoctrinated, as a "butch" working in male oriented trades like construction, to alot of sexist thinking. We need those women loving and supporting men, but we also need to maintain hyper vigilance of our own attitudes and behaviors toward ourselves and other women, and help open the eyes of EVERY woman, everywhere.

bluegrrrrl said...

this is an excellent post betmo! a nice addition to yesterday's "Take Back the Blog" blogswarm. I was so busy trying to impeach Bush I didn't have time to participate...

excellent point about men supporting the women they love (and vice-versa, of course)...i think there are so many ways that people, both men and women, do not realize the ways in which we still perpetuate misogynistic attitudes and violence toward women and children. in spite of all the progress women have made, a strong woman is still a threat to the dominant paradigm, and women are still perceived as objects to dominate.

your question about evangelicals rising to power terrifies me...precisely because i believe this scenario could easily happen, even in our country. i would probably end up getting clubbed to death in the street because i would not go down without a fight!

Intrepidflame said...

Great post Betmo. I have been wrapped up in a feminism phase the last few days. I have been reading Ain’t I A Woman by bell hooks. (good read!) It has me asking the same question that you are. Having traveled the world, especially after living in Africa for two years, I have come to the conclusion that it is women who are keeping the world a float. They do most of the work, they bear the children, and they get no credit for it. I have always hypothesized that we will not have social justice until we take down the patriarchal capitalist system and give the woman of the world the power they need to balance out so much male aggression.

Anyway, rest assured that there are men out here who got your back ladies! Here is a post I wrote last year on the subject:

I also found it interesting that you had no woman on your truly American list in your sidebar. What gives? Don’t you go and put a picture of Hillary up there! But what about Maxine Waters or Ani Difranco?

Great comments by the way!

Anonymous said...

It is so disheartening to watch story after story such as the supreme court decision, reminders that women still make only 77-cents to a man's dollar, and still keep my head up as a woman. So I remind myself by looking at my strong and beautiful friends and co-workers, and women bloggers out there to remind me that we are strong, we are worthy, and we will prevail. Because we ARE women.

dreamsinpersia said...

I am a woman from Middle East and I agree with you that the men should be
protesting when the laws change by the powerful religious establishment. However
The Radical Islamist have a very powerful tool in their hands and that is a group of women who believe their teaching. In Iranian Revolution there were women who first cover themselves with Chadoor voluntarily. In Iran there are women who stop the other women and tell them they should cover their hair completely. These women some times are not even the police women but ordinary citizen who are devoted to Islamic laws.
In Iran women can vote and they can get elected in the Parliament but guss what one of these woman representative suggested when she got elected? She suggested that the number of female students in the colleges and Universities be drop since it is no use for women to go to College because they can not get a job later!
I think we women got oppressed and are oppressed because we do not protest. I have found more women devotee’s than men. We should get educated and want to change the laws for ourselves, unfortunately we are more concern how the Mullah
In the Mosque or priest in the church think ? than our own well being.

Maryam the author of
Persian Dreams

Ingrid said...

to answer your question; I'd go back to Canada and say, goodday eh, and all a good night! LOL
Seriously though, I'd fight. For myself, and for my daughter, and for all my sisters!!
After I lived in Saudi Arabia for a few years post-Gulf war 1, I came back to North America (Canada first) and found a different kind of discrimination and sexism. It made me remember this british scifi show that I saw when I was about 12 or 13. On this planet, the women were the 'superior' ones and men were just there to serve and had no rights at all. For what ever reason that I do not remember, one of the women warriors and her servant had to go to earth for some mission and on earth, SHE worked and HE stayed at home as a househusband literally having coffee klatches thoroughly enjoying this new status being surrounded by women considering him their equal. It really opened my eyes at the time to see women's situation shown through a role reversal and I never forgot it. I always grew up thinking I was equal because I grew up in a family with a lot of outspoken women.
hmmm..memories with this post Betmo!
btw..big congrats on the thinking award. Never heard of it, but am pleased as pie because you ARE a thinker and I like the way you think!!

betmo said...

bz- you are correct of course. these are the folks who came to my mind first- as being willing to stand up there and fight when it was not popular to do so. cindy sheehan comes to mind as well. it is not complete by any stretch- and i would never dream of putting mrs. clinton on the sidebar. she is too much of a conformist.

ingrid- aw shucks. thanks :)

Intrepidflame said...

Looks much better with some women on the list! Sheenan was a great choice!