Thursday, March 08, 2007

Why We Still Need Feminism

1. Rape. Rape by strangers. Rape by fathers and uncles and brothers. Men dropping roofies in a drink in a bar. There is disagreement over how many women, exactly, get raped, but it's way too many, and it's not getting better.

2. Abuse of women by male partners. Men murdering partners when they try to break away. It's certainly not something most men do, but there are too many cases of it and it's not getting better.

3. Prostitution. Prostitution has become almost acceptable. The hit TV show House shows the lead character using prostitutes as if it's a perfectly normal thing for a single man to do. I have heard advocates for the disabled argue that the government should pay for prostitutes for disabled men. We now regularly hear politicians say that prostitution is a legitimate enterprise that should be legalized.

None of these people mention the lives of the prostitutes: the danger, beatings, disease, virtual slavery by pimps, the drug addiction that is practically a necessity to perform their disgusting duties. None of them mention the quality of life or life expectancy of prostitutes, the injuries on the job. None mention the quality of life of their children or the lives their children can expect to lead.

4. The erosion of reproductive rights in the United States. As I have argued elsewhere, free and easy abortions result in earlier abortions and less abortions, as well as better mental and physical health for women.

5. What happens to women who attain power. Look at Hillary Clinton or Sheila Copps: Women who reach the top in politics are seen as shrill castrating shrews... Or sexual opportunists flirting their way to the top... Or ugly crones who don't have lives... Or whatever.

There is an under-representation of women in the power structure. There aren't many female university professors, so female university students don't have role models. There aren't enough female managers, so many companies practice systemic sexism and don't even realize it. There aren't many female politicians, female heads of state, females on boards of directors, female CEOs, female power brokers, female rainmakers.

6. The ubiquity of pornography. Little girls walk into a corner store in their neighborhood, in an airport, or many other places that sell magazines, and they see Giant Jugs at eye level. Everyone gets spam advertising such delicacies as "underage girls masturbating!" Movies, TV shows, TV ads, billboard ads - all use (surgically and electronically enhanced) naked women to make money. The objectification of women has a devastating effect on the place of women in our society and leads to my points 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.



Anonymous said...

I agree completely. We've come a long way in the past 40 years, but we still have a long way to go.

Yappa said...

Thanks decoin -

You totally made my case!


DorsetDipper said...

hmmm ... disagree on women in politics.

The thing about men is that we are pack animals. We want to be sure that our leaders have what it takes to represent us no matter what, so their personalities get tested. The women who succeed have personality, courage, and know their own mind.

Angela Merkel said": "Anyone who really has something to say doesn't need make-up". If more women behaved like that there would be more women leaders.

AaronSw said...

I was with you up to the point where you called prostitution "disgusting". Many sex workers claim to enjoy their jobs and while certainly we should work to make sure they can be performed safely and under better working conditions, do you really think the job is inherently disgusting and should be completely eliminated? Maybe you should read more issues of _$pread_.

Yappa said...

To aaronsw:

Who's going to enjoy giving a blow job to a stranger in an alley? Putting him/herself in personal danger? Exposing him/herself to disease? I don't know where you get this romanticized view of prostitution but you've got it wrong.

And of course they have to pretend to enjoy it. That's the job.