Most of you are aware that the Woman's Movement, which made such great strides in the last century, has splintered into several groups. Poles apart are those who say the battle is won, disarm and enjoy -- our cup is nearly full; and those who say that we have much more to do and -- OUR CUP IS LEAKING.
The former tell us, "So we haven't got it all, so what? It's enough. Women are getting all kinds of good jobs with great pay and recognition. More areas of parity will be coming our way as we work to show that we are worthy." They urge women to suck it up and stop bellyaching about everything. Since they have "made it" themselves, they postulate that everyone can and should do the same. http://www.alternet.org/PublicArchive/Pozner022500.html
At the other end of the scale are women for whom life is a constant struggle just to keep their home and make sure their children are fed and clothed. Many, but not all, are stuck in low paying, low esteem positions. Some may look to activism of the women's movement to help them but most see women and their organizations as powerless to help.
Those in the employment sub-basement bear the brunt of sexual and/or emotional harassment, as well as an inability to feel that anything can be done about it. For this reason they mostly "go along," and accept inappropriate treatment just to "get along," and keep their job.
These are the women who desperately need the outreach of Women's Groups. Culturally, they are conditioned to live out their lives in the same pattern as their mothers. Some unions have undertaken to assist these women with childcare, for example, but what they really need is to have their CONSCIOUSNESS RAISED and start feeling EMPOWERED as women.
Can you remember back when we used to have CONSCIOUSNESS RAISING meetings? We heard things that excited and thrilled and encouraged us to stand up and demand our rights as human beings. One thing that the leaders of these groups would do was read a story where the world, our institutions and all the pronouns were FEMALE!
For the first time in our lives, many of us actually heard that WE, WOMANKIND, existed. Somewhere along the line, we've lost that sharing with other women -- especially those who weren't carried UP by the Movement. Perhaps we need to take a good hard look at the part of the cup that is still empty and slowly leaking out women's civil and reproductive rights.
GenderGappers gets quite a bit of mail commenting on our articles. A recent post focused on those empty parts in our cup of success and self-realization, so we contacted the writer for permission to share his thoughts in this article. We append them in toto below with our thanks to M.
wife and I read your column every week. Last week, after I said for
the umpteenth time that I often (but not always) agree with the column
but believe it to be too strident, she pointed out that it is society,
not your column, that is skewed.
"How would you feel and what would you write," she asked, if men had to put up with what we do?"
So I contemplated a world in which
politics was dominated by women, in which every President had been a woman and all major candidates this year are; the most famous man in politics was a 23-year-old intern who had performed oral sex on the President and then became the butt of every late-night talk-show host for two years
millions of men are afraid to go out alone each night for fear of being raped and killed by women
men are expected to be fully responsible for birth control and family planning
men are expected to sacrifice for their wife's career and to take care of children
men, not women, are the sex objects who adorn billboards and magazine covers, who must live up to impossible standards of appearance, and who can expect to be judged by their butts, balls and bedroom performance rather than their brains
in prestigious occupations, 90% of the power positions are held by women and 99% of the clerical positions are held by men
religions are, always have been, and apparently always will be, dominated by women
despite the efforts of progressive women and men, most men (even Gen-Xers) would still prefer to settle down with a wife who's a good provider, and handle domestic duties with the kids, and view their own jobs as supplemental
(and on a personal note) when we traveled to New York last summer, I, not my wife, was groped on the subway
the above items are only a beginning of the list
Thinking about these and other things gave me a different perspective. The "extreme" points in your column are so mostly because society is so extremely skewed.
Keep making us think.
We agree that this is "only a beginning of a list" and hope that it encourages all of you to add to the items listed above. We hope that when you do you will share them with others and with us at GenderGappers. Here is our addition to the list:
-- Because all doctors and medical researchers have always been women, early breast cancer detection is made with a simple blood test. Men, however, must submit to multiple screenings for testicular cancer that involves the crushing of their testicles between two rigid plates while x-rays are beamed at this delicate, glandular tissue -- this process is called a TESTIGRAM. MIRROR IMAGERY
Copyright 2000 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: email@example.com.
G e n d e r G a p p e r s T M