Part III, Women as “Others” and Women of Color are “Other’d” More

 

 

  1. Even though women make up half the population, we’re “othered” by men, and women
  2. It’s worse for women of color
  3. Women are worth more than sex
  4. ‘Men are pigs’ is a bullshit excuse for women getting hurt

 

1.

So, since the dawn of man, women were property of their fathers, their husbands. We liked it. It worked for us. We were protected by the men, and in exchange, our bodies and motherhood, and care of the home, was assumed. We didn’t need the right to vote, or to property, or to an education, the men knew what was best for us and had it covered. We didn’t have to get our hands dirty with the hard work and decisions. Keep your hands small and pretty, girl.

Women were appendages to men. Men told us. We told each other. It was reinforced for generations and generations and generations.

But there is nothing inherent in women making us afterthoughts or insufficient humans unable to make our own choices, fend for ourselves, live on our own, decide what’s best for us. Not a thing. And we’re usually represented only from the man’s perspective, so it’s taking us a looooooong  time to convey this message.

It’s deep in our psyche, our identity. The “regular” or “normal” or “average” is male, and white. They are the dominant class. We women are as large in number, but not in representation or power. Yet. The heroes of our tales, until very recently, are always (white) men. The status quo is (white) male, and we women are the exception. Like how whiteness is the status quo here and ‘nude’ makeup is definitely only nude for Caucasian skin. We’re on to that, aren’t we?

Think of the language we use, that demonstrates how we feel about women vs men:

Man and wife. (He stays a man, she is only identified in her relation to him)

Kid and girl (If we say “a kid was at the park,” we mean a boy. Males defined by age, girls defined by sex)

We describe things as weak and bad, by using the feminine:  “Throw like a girl.” / “That guy is a pussy” /  “Scream like a girl.”

It’s bad for us. For us women and girls, and us men and boys. Take the last one- “scream like a girl.” I mean, if a human is scared or hurt, he/she screams, the airflow is restricted with adrenaline, so it often comes out high pitched. Don’t make men feel like they can’t make all the normal noises their throats make, especially in pain/crisis!  And, then of course, it’s assumed to be bad, because it reminds us of women and their voices, and that is seen as weak and wrong.  (Women= bad)

I was watching a cartoon with my kids the other day, and the leads were 2 boys and 1 girl. I thought, if this were 3 girls, it would be a “girls show,” and boys wouldn’t be expected to watch. But my daughter watches all kinds of shows where is pretty much all dudes, and no one things about it, because dudes are kids. But she makes me aware of it, because she seeks shows with girls and women in them. She wants to see people who are like her. And, thank little baby Jesus, there are strong ass princesses and girls who are veterinarians and paleontologists, and animal rights  activists and doctors and queens….so we can dig it.

We don’t realize how sexist we are, universally, because it’s all we know. And we’re all sexist. ALL OF US. Men and women, it’s what we’ve been raised to understand how the world works. It’s integrated into everything.

Last week, a (female) nurse anesthetist and I expertly maneuvered a patient’s hospital bed into a tight corner in the recovery room. We didn’t think about it, we just did it, until we DID think about it, because a (male) aid said, “Look at that! Who says women can’t drive?” The recovery room (female) nurse stared daggers at him, and it got all quiet. I, of course, wanted to make nice (fingers in ears, LA LA LA)  touched the nurse’s arm to offer peace and togetherness, and made a joke about how I’d never heard that assumption before.

But, of course I have. “Everyone knows” women can’t drive. It’s just a deep seated stereotype, comedians have almost stopped making jokes about it bc it’s so played out. It’s a stereotype, but let’s even consider the nature of it. Driving is a goal-oriented task. It requires precision, skill, attention, and confidence. If you are the driver, you are in charge of the vehicle and the folks/cargo inside it. You are the leader. Another driving-related stereotype is “Men never ask for directions.” But…you see how those two insults don’t have the same sting? Men are stubborn, in charge, and arrogant (confident?). Women are incapable, distractible, bad decision makers. See it? Why does men’s car insurance cost more then?

What about where women belong? Hillary Clinton was told she shouldn’t try to get into law school because if she did, she would be “taking the spot of a man” and he might then have to go to war, and might die. (Here’s an article referencing the original, and also evaluates critique of her claim- it stands). Sounds like a problem, but not her problem. What about women in leadership? The Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg gets asked how many women she wants to see on the Supreme Court and when she says “9” (there are 9 justice positions) people think that’s absurd! Laughable! Pushing an agenda! Come on, lady! You should be grateful for what you got! But, why? It’s not weird at all to see a room full of only men making all the decisions for us. Obviously here I’m linking to almost any picture of this ridiculous president’s ridiculous cabinet. 

So. We are a sexist society. Also very racist! There’s so much more to say! Please don’t stop reading.

 

2.

(I’m not the best expert on any of this. I’m learning, but I would appreciate any insights you can offer me. Who/what should I read? Also, those interested in promoting women, need to promote other ‘other’d’ people. Intersectionality.)

We are built on keeping people of color and women down, and white men up. Please reflect on our history with me.  I found it useful, and painful, to read this timeline because it helps you say laid out that slavery lasted FOREVER, and women didn’t get rights until waaaaaay late into our country’s establishment. It is all just as horrifying as we wish it wasn’t. This is regarding African American women. There is history of dismissal and abuse for women of color from all nationalities, cultures, and religions.

Late 1400’s: White people arrived and enslaved and abused the Native Americans living here. White men started their government, spread across the land, divided it up, set the tone, made the rules, started commerce and set our identity as a community. Almost immediately, they starting stealing Africans, and torturing/murdering them into working without pay to build the country.

1600’s: Laws to establish slavery as normal were set in place. Abolitionists were working from the beginning, especially free Africans in the north, often led by women, but slavery wasn’t officially ended until…

1865: with the 13th amendment.

1868 the 14th amendment makes Africans….African Americans. Citizens.

1870: African American men have the right to vote, per the 15th amendment. (“Prohibits the denial of suffrage because of race”…but not sex)

(1870-1920- Bad stuff, bad stuff, bad stuff….lynching, KKK, murders, torture, homes and churches being burned, children being attacked by grown adults for trying to do things like go to school and safely walk down the street. Civil rights heroes keep working despite dangers)

1920: Women’s right to vote, per the 19th amendment (working on this since at least mid 1800s). Severe penalties and obstacles to voting still endure, especially for African American women, especially in the south.

1960’s: The last states finally ratified 19th amendment. (Separate Wikipedia page for African American’s Women Suffrage Movement, because they were up against that much more)

So….400 years after country formed, Africans were freed and the men were given right to vote. NOT THE WOMEN. That took another 40-80 years for all women to have safe, reliable access to voting. So, closer to 500 years after the country was formed were all women given the right to vote.

So, think about this. African slaves, that were (horrifyingly) considered like property, like stock, like machines for building and running farms, tools for making money….they were given voting rights before the wives of the farm owners, and before the wives of the slaves. Obviously, any man living in this country should always have been free and voting to represent his own interests. But, that’s not how it went down.

And, still, the women did not count.

Well, shit. Look how much I wrote again. This keeps happening. I have much more to say.

Guess, they’ll be a part IV, in which I discuss Women aren’t here for your penises, and the concept of “Men are Pigs.” 

Thank you for hanging with me. Again, please comment or message me if I’m getting anything totally wrong, or if you have ideas to share, help for my path of understanding all of this.

 

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