"RUSH"ED TO JUDGMENT?
What a spectacle! Our Woman's Movement leaders all lining up beside conservative women's groups backed by the Falwell right wingnuts and the rest of the wellheeled, good ol' boys and their mouthpiece, Limbaugh.
Why? Well after being harassed by conservative women and the media for "not taking a stand for women" they threw themselves off the mountaintop on hearing Kathleen Willey.
Yes they had the high ground and rightly so. The evidence was not in on Paula Corbin Jones. It was not in on Monica Lewinsky. It was not in on Clinton. And, it is still not in on Willey!!!
What they and we all knew for sure was that Ken Starr was trampling all over the constitution and was hell bent to breakfast on GETTING PRESIDENT CLINTON. And they knew of the big money conspiracy to help him do it.
Ironic, isn't it, that these very "leaders" would insist that they are working for equality for women and yet they insist that women be treated "special."
We've been told for eons that nature (biology) has determined that men do and women are done to. Men are active; women are passive. That's why we've had to fight for our rights for equal jobs, pay, reproductive rights etc. Isn't it? To show that we aren't amoebas?
Yet now it seems that besides equality, we demand "special privileges." HER past sexual history cannot be examined -- HIS can. And guess who signed that special privilege into law -- for us?
When Willey gave her well prepared interview, which these so-called "leaders" call creditable, she is deemed blameless in the encounter because of another special privilege. Even though she was not then an employee of Clinton, the media and "leaders" are calling this harassment and worse. They are parroting the right wing, comparing it to Anita Hill vs. Clarence Thomas. Talk about twisting the facts -- whatta spin!
Give us a break! We can and must wait for the evidence. We don't think either party is telling ALL the truth.
On 60 Minutes, we saw a woman, who by her own admission, went to see a friend, fully cognizant of his intentions toward her (remember the chicken soup?) Did she go with the intention of using those feelings to get a job? We don't know.
Adrienne Rich wrote in WOMEN AND HONOR: SOME NOTES ON LYING (1977): "Honesty in women has not been considered important. We have been depicted as generically whimsical, deceitful, subtle, vacillating. AND WE HAVE BEEN REWARDED FOR LYING" (my emphasis.)
We believe it is significant that Willey's revelations portrayed Clinton as active and her as passive. She did admit to "thinking something" every now and then. Why could she not put her activities into the picture for us? Did you EVER hear her say that she said, "NO!"
She told us her feelings. She was sad and troubled and nearly destitute. She was there to ask for a job.
We all know that the surest way to turn most males into silly putty is with tales of woe and tears. Few men can resist offering comfort and this usually means putting his arms around the woman and her snuggling into their protection. Quite often, this is how hair gets mussed and lipstick gets on collars for wives to discover.
What happened between them? WE DON'T KNOW.
After this incident, Willey certainly did not act afraid of or angry at Clinton, indeed, quite the contrary. She called Ann Lewis, Deputy Campaign Manager for Clinton-Gore campaign, to tell her how much she admired the President and how much she wanted to work for his reelection. We have since seen letters and phone call messages she sent to Clinton AFTER the incident. How does that jibe with "shocked, dismayed and overpowered"?
Oh, well, this is another of those "special privileges" women leaders appear to demand. You see, women stay in a bad relationship long after etc. etc. etc. Remember Anita Hill? Women are passive, powerless.
And what happened when Willey finally decided, as she revealed in her interview, "to get the hell out of there." Nothing. She didn't tell us he wouldn't let go of her. She didn't say he wouldn't let her out. Nosireebob! She told us she left. Where is the proof of harassment? Where is Ireland's "criminal behavior?"
Should any man be allowed to do what Willey alleges? Emphatically, no! But where is the proof that he did?
Put yourself in this situation. He is holding you to comfort you and then his hand goes where it should not. Do YOU just stay there thinking? Do YOU? We bet NOT!
We bet you would elbow or knee or whatever the hell you could do to get out of this sort of dilemma damn fast.
We believe that Willey, facing Ken Starr's threat of "say what I tell you to or you go to jail" chose to obey him and the FBI he controls. Who can blame her? We don't, but we don't admire or believe her either.
We do admire and believe Susan McDougal. She chose honor over personal safety and comfort.
We women will never get anywhere with our struggle for equality until we take responsibility for our own actions. How are we ever going to have parity if we keep making excuses and demanding "special privileges" that keep our gender in the bondage of the 19th Century -- always the innocent, always the victim, always the excuses, always the "special privileges."
Copyright 1998 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: TWANDA@ConnRiver.net.
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