THE RE-DESCENT ? OF WOMAN
For some years now, the terrorism encouraged by political religious groups against Women's Clinics has been a real and constant threat for women and the men that aid them.
It has prevented many women from receiving medical treatment when the clinics in their area were forced to close. Our clinics have been bombed, our sisters and brothers killed and our constitutional right to assemble trampled upon.
New laws governing terrorist acts have helped but have not reduced the danger. As women are bonding more than ever through cyberspace, the same kind of violence is directed against them by the same groups that encourage the destruction of women's reproductive rights, and their clinics.
In addition to these real threats, we are constantly assailed by the stepford wives who write books for the hegemony.
These are women whose books are reviewed and admired by the mainstream media. They tell how women are hurt by our movement; how women are to blame for being raped or harassed. They urge us to return to the way things used to be in the past. They dictate the re-DESCENT OF WOMEN --for her own good!
"We have won," they chirp gaily to us through the media.
"Women now are paid equally to men; we have laws to protect us; women really want to stop working and stay at home and have babies; abortion causes breast cancer; any person who complains is just trying to cause trouble between the genders; women have become over stressed by working outside of the home because women and men come from different planets; women are needed to stay home and replenish the family values and then everything will be all right in the world. Crime will stop. Rape will stop. Children will be safe and carefree, etc."
Who are these authors who attempt to undercut our movement to parity, and who attack us? They are psychologists (trained by our paternalistic society); they are teachers, sometimes they are Women's Studies Teachers!
They may even be spokespersons in so-called feminist organizations such as "Feminists For Life" and "Women's American Renewal Groups." There are others and you can always find the political religious driving force of the patriarchy backing them.
(There are, of course, many competent women writers but you will seldom see them celebrated by the media. Two of them, that have been brought to our attention, are listed at the end of this article.)
There have always been women that catered to the paternal establishment in the hope of gaining favorable positions. Now they get book tours and a kind of cheap fame along with the illusion of power while they undercut women's ascent.
Sadly, the media barrage touting these books has had some effect. Some women are very tired, confused and unhappy. They not only support their families by working for less that a man in a comparable position, but afterwards, they must come home to a second job.
However, most of us know the media hype for the excrement it is -- certainly the GenderGappers do.
The much lauded "home and family values" hegemony still protects the batterer, the marital rapist, the child molester. Despite nearly 2,000 years of Christianity, it was only last year that RAPE was made a war crime. Only last year -- 1996!
RAPE is not even a federal crime in the land of the free and the home of the brave! Many of the judges in our courts consider rape to be natural. They say things like, "women are made for it and rape won't hurt them," "they'll get over it," and recently a U.S. senator denied that rape can lead to a pregnancy ..."because the juices aren't flowing."
We live in a world where the use of racial slurs can bring about riots. We hear the media tiptoeing around saying "the N - WORD," for example. They all use great care not to use other racial pejoratives, but we hear our First Woman called a bitch because she is intelligent, able and -- a woman!
We hear women in public offices criticized for their appearance rather than their issues. We commonly hear women being called bitch, cunt, slut etc., and read similar labels posted by males to women's lists.
AND TO OUR EVERLASTING SHAME MANY OF US USE THESE PEJORATIVE LABELS ON OURSELVES AND OTHER WOMEN.
We have to ask this question: if it is really so important that women stay at home and care for men and family, as in the past, then why has this task been given, and is still given, such low value? Why was and are woman denigrated and considered inferior?
One would think that if motherhood and homemaker were of such great value to society, that the woman-mother-homemaker would be valued, not constantly trashed and dehumanized.
Copyright 1997 Renee T. Louise and Ruth M. Sprague, Ph.D. These articles may be republished for noncommercial use only, provided that they are copied intact, and that this copyright notice is attached. Address all queries to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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