Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Sexism and History of American Women

     Did you know most women wont consider themselves feminists? Let me back up. . . Most people when they think of feminism, they think of the radical feminists who (a) chain themselves to things and (b) don't let men open doors for them and/or (c) never shave their legs/armpits or wear deodorant. No. Just no.
     Feminism is simply believing you have rights as a woman. Which, in my opinion should be all women, right? Whenever I'd have a female friend that would say "I'm not a feminist." I'd pipe in and say, "Really? You don't think you should have rights?!?"
   History of early American woman had the ideology of the woman staying in the home, raising the children while the men went to work. A side note to this way of life is that women also wore corsets. Think about that small detail. They willingly wrapped a steel cage around their rib cages, reshaping the bones, squeezing their lungs, organs and stomach into an inverted pyramid. This was why women were ultimately referred to as the weaker sex. They fainted and couldn't run around because of the lack of oxygen was able to reach their brains because their lungs were bound by a steel cage!
     Women's suffrage, is appropriately named. It used to be illegal for women to vote, we had no say in politics. Brave women who protested equal voting rights were arrested for "obstructing traffic" and when jail life proved horrendous for them, they went on a hunger strikes.  Officials force fed them by shoving tubes up her noses and down their throats.  Rose Winslow, one of the women, recorded that the she had "vomitt[ed] continually during the process. The tube [had] developed an irritation somewhere that [was] painful... God knows we don't want other women ever to have to do this over again." *(Woman Suffrage Statue, p. 59)
     Fast forward to the 1940s, WWII came and all the able bodied men went off to war. Women then had to step out of their traditional roles and go to work to support the troops and support their families. Women's professional baseball began, and crowds would flock baffled that a woman could run, let alone hit the ball, AND slide into the bases all while wearing a mini-skirt.
     Rosie the Riveter was invented to idealize that the modern woman now had muscles and went to work. Women built tanks, planes and Ducks (yes, those tourist rides where you get carted around on land AND water). And these Ducks still run smoothly 70+ years later (I can't get my imported Japanese car to last that long!). Things were going great. Then the war ended, the men came home, and women were no longer needed to step out of the home to serve their country and support the war.
     Fast forward to today.  Women get paid around 70% less than men, for doing the same job. It's still unusual to find a family woman who is the sole provider, while the husband happily stays at home with the kids.  I still get funny looks (mostly from other women) when they find out I work full-time when I have young children at home. A look of concern crosses their faces and they ask "who watches your kids?" Even complete strangers ask me this. And even if dad isn't staying at home with them, there is such thing as babysitters and daycare. . .
     We still live in a man's world, because in a woman's world: maternity leave would be for 6 - 8 months; well, not really, but it would be a nice option!  Most women by nature, are self-sacrificing and flexible, so we'd probably only take the standard 6 weeks before returning back to work. Women have the natural ability to juggle things, not even the best acrobat can juggle.  We can (and have multiple times) stayed up all night with a sick child, and still go do everything we needed to the next day.  We aren't happy about it, but we do it.
     In a woman's world there'd be a cure for stretch marks, because there's already a cure to re-grow men's hair, why not fix those unsightly marks on our body we chose to sacrifice to have children?  There'd be way better options for contraceptives as well as birthing pain management. We'd get paid the same (if not more), than men, cuz lets face it ladies, we can get way more done in a day.  My own mother used to call me, when I was away at college, to brag about how much she got done before I woke up that day.
     If given the chance to recreate our own rules, that we are strong, independent, and don't back down on things that matter. If we could rid the stereotype that we are weaker, can't play sports as good, and should stay in the kitchen, these stereotypes that, mind you, were established by men. If we could do that, women would rule this world. But we're so focused to prove this stereotype wrong, that we don't realize we're still playing by their rules.
     In my experience I've never been able to use maternity leave. It doesn't play out well with employers who you've been working for only a short time.  Pregnant women can't get real jobs, especially if they can no longer conceal it.  My point is, we've come a long way, but still have a long ways left to go. It was only recently in 2010 that the first woman director won an Oscar for pete's sake! We're still playing by their rules.  We still live in a man's world, and the silent battle between the sexes (and sometime same gender battles) still rages on.
     I'm not referring to the value of a woman, I'm referring to social expectations society still has on women. If society saw women based on their value, we'd be deemed better than men, and we'd probably all be millionaires!  There's a reason most escrow officers are women, its because we're expert jugglers and our attention to detail is off the charts! Same goes for Housing Authority officials. Complex juggling is our thing.  I know there's all different kinds of woman with all different talents out there, but even then, whatever that woman can do best, I bet she can find a man who she beat fair and square.  I'm not even going to get into how if a man is beaten by a woman at something, how embarrassed they are. There's just not enough internet in the world to dispute why thats ridiculous.
    Since most my blogs usually end on a happy note, here's a clip from Ellen who has summed this all up nicely in her mockery of BIC's latest tribute to women: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCyw3prIWhc
*The Woman Suffrage Statue: A History of Adelaide Johnson's Portrait Monument at the Capitol of the United States. 1921

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