International Women’s Day

In the wake of International Women’s Day, I am left with a flood of emotions.  I want to laugh.  I want to cry.  I want to scream.  I am completely beside myself trying to make sense of all that I have seen and heard.  It’s taken me a bit to calm my emotions and organize my thoughts, but I think I am finally ready to put them into words.

I am shocked to hear that women in the United States are not equal to men!  How can this be true?  Well, the short answer is – it’s NOT true.  The notion is absurd.  I don’t understand how people can make such accusations with a straight face.  There is no country in the world where women have more rights and opportunities.  The examples offered up to prove this “inequality” range from misguided to comical.

One such example that shattered my soul – is having to pay sales tax on tampons.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Apparently, this is somehow an egregious assault against women – though for the life of me, I don’t understand how.  In most states, sales tax is only exempt on essential items; such as unprepared food (that you would starve to death without) – Or clothing that protects you from the elements (helping to keep you from becoming ill or even dying from exposure).

In order to give credence to the theory that this is a form of inequality and sexism, many 3rd generation “feminists” have started to claim that tampons are “essential” to women.  I must have missed the course in biology that explains how a lack of tampons could cause physical harm or even death.  The vital truth that is being glossed over is that tampons are a HYGIENE product!  And hygiene products are NOT essential, just highly desired and recommended – particularly in first world countries like ours.

What would the outcome be if a woman was deprived of tampons or sanitary napkins?  Well, once a month she would stain her clothing and linens with menstrual blood.  Would these stains cause her clothing or bedding to stop functioning?  Of course not.  It would simply be embarrassing.  Is that not the same outcome as failing to use most hygiene products?

Lack of deodorant would leave you smelling of B.O.  Embarrassing.  Lack of toothpaste would leave you with stained teeth and bad breath.  Embarrassing.  Lack of shampoo would leave you with greasy, limp hair.  Embarrassing.  Are you noticing a trend here?  Because I could go on…

There are some states that do grant exemption for the sales tax on tampons – but it is NOT because those states consider tampons essential.  Those states simply grant exceptions for many personal hygiene products.  And as tampons are included in that list, there are no injustices being done to the female population.

Tragically, the logic gets stretched even thinner from there.  I came across a very informative “article” on the subject that I would like to examine.

32 Everyday Things Women Do That Men Don’t Have To Worry About – Tell us again how women are equal?” (find the article here: https://www.buzzfeed.com/jennaguillaume/everyday-things-women-do-that-men-dont-have-to-worry-about?utm_term=.tmRvxaw2J#.mkqrKQeRd  )

The prevailing theme is almost exclusively fears and insecurities.  It attempts to prove that women are not equal to men by citing specific examples of things that “women do” out of fear and insecurity, that supposedly “men don’t have to worry about”.  I hate to break it to you, but women do NOT have a monopoly on fears and insecurities.  It’s incredibly sexist and self-absorbed to assume that these are problems faced exclusively by women.

Perhaps the specific methods of dealing with their fears and insecurities take a slightly different form – but do you really think that a man walking through the city by himself doesn’t subtly look over his shoulder to see if he’s being followed?  Do you really think that his stomach doesn’t tense up if he notices someone intimidating walking behind him?  Do you really think he doesn’t start trying to prepare himself in case something bad happens?  Maybe the reason you don’t think that men do these things is because you think men are “supposed to be tough”.  It’s not socially acceptable for a man to show his fears and insecurities.  And HIDING those fears and insecurities is something that men do that women don’t have to worry about.

Granted, he is probably not nearly as worried about getting raped as most women (although not as often, men DO get raped) – but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t fear for his safety or his life.  Often times he also fears for the safety of his loved ones.  Society tells him that he is supposed to “be the man” and protect his significant other and family members; and he worries constantly that he may not be strong enough to do so (another thing that men do that women don’t have to worry about).  Brutal crimes happen every day and ALL people, regardless of gender, are potential victims.

Many of the other examples in that “article” are fears about things like speaking up at work or not being taken seriously.  Again, this is not exclusive to women.  This is a problem faced by all people who suffer from insecurity.  There are many confident, strong-willed women out there – and there are many insecure and timid men.  Anyone who doesn’t see that isn’t paying very close attention.

There is also talk about the wage gap – which on the surface seems like a very legitimate concern. But if you dig a little deeper, you will discover that it is a complete misrepresentation of statistics.  It’s not comparing apples to apples.  It does not directly compare how much women are being paid for the same job/position as men.  It is the overall average that women in general make compared to the overall average that men in general make – and it leaves out a lot of relevant factors.  (If you do a google search for “wage gap myth”, you will get hits from many reputable news sources explaining these factors.  Personally, I think that Christina Hoff Sommers explains it best in this video: https://youtu.be/1oqyrflOQFc )

One thing that this “article” gets right is the societal pressure women feel to shave their legs and their armpits, to wear makeup and do their hair, to be beautiful and put together to be seen as a worthwhile person.  Although, to be fair, a lot of that pressure actually comes from other women. I’m really not sure why, but as a whole, women have the tendency to be harder on other women than men are on other men.  I believe it’s mostly born out of jealously and the misguided belief that tearing down someone else will make you feel better about yourself.  But men DO experience these problems as well.  Mostly over how “manly” and sexually prolific they are.

And the reverse side if this coin is quite an interesting phenomenon.  Men are expected NOT to “primp” and take care of themselves the way that women do.  Just think about it – what do people think and say about a man who shaves his legs or armpits?  Who spends too much time doing his hair or who wears makeup?  Who gets a manicure or who goes to a spa?  These are things that a heterosexual man simply cannot do in our society. It becomes a lot trickier to place blame on men over the societal pressures women face once you take into account the societal pressures that men also face.

The thing that we all need to understand is that while there are many problems and situations that women typically face that men typically don’t (and we SHOULD be talking about those things and trying to fix them) – there are just as many problems and situations that men typically face that women typically don’t (and we should be talking about and trying to fix THOSE things as well).  It’s called being DIFFERENT.  And different is NOT the same as unequal.

This attitude being cultivated, that these differences are proof that women in this country are still so oppressed, has led to outright misandry.  Men are being viewed as the ENEMY of women.  People are even calling for stripping men of rights and privileges in the interest of making things “equal”.  But if you push someone else down, you will be pulled down right along with them.  Then you’ll both end up drowning.  No good can ever come out of it.

There is a level of willful ignorance at work here.  Many people don’t seem to understand that you will never convince someone to take your side by insulting them.  You will never earn someone else’s respect by disrespecting them.  You will never come across as strong by whining and complaining.  You will never feel like someone’s equal if you treat them like they are inferior to you or owe you something.  But those are the tactics being employed by this so-called “women’s movement” – and it has backfired horribly.

Instead of helping women, it is hurting them.  Keep in mind, it’s not going to make men who already respect women start respecting them more.  But it is going to make men who don’t respect women, respect them less.  It has made women appear fragile, weak, and irrational.  It has turned women against other women who disagree with the sentiments and/or tactics.  And it has seriously contributed to the polarization of our country.

So, what exactly IS the intended goal of this “movement”? Are you hoping that the government will step in and dictate the thoughts and opinions of everyone?  The government does not have the power to FORCE someone to respect you or consider you their equal. That is NOT something any of us are entitled to.  A person’s OPINION of you has NOTHING to do with equal RIGHTS under the law.  (A government trying to force peoples’ thoughts and opinions is fascism, BTW.)

If you want to change someone’s opinion about you for the better, you need to find a different tactic.  You need to SHOW people you are strong.  You need to have confidence in yourself and treat others with kindness and respect.  As we all learned in kindergarten, you need to treat others as you want to be treated.  You can only get what you give.  And you also only deserve what you give.

Don’t get me wrong, there most assuredly are men in this country who do not view or treat women as their equals.  They dismiss women.  They disrespect them.  They sexualize them.  They demoralize them.  It’s repugnant.  These men do not deserve a women’s respect and a woman will probably never be able to gain theirs.  Some people are just assholes who will disrespect you no matter what you do or say – and this applies to BOTH genders.  This is not a matter of inequality, but rather a matter of human nature.

So, what can we do about all these problems that BOTH men and women face?  The only things we can do is lead by example and try to teach the next generation to do better.  And we can use International Women’s Day and International Men’s Day to help us do that.  But it only works if we are all on the same team.

 

 

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There was SO MUCH more I was going to say in this post.  I was going to talk about the inequality and oppression of women all over the world as well as everyday circumstances that could be negative influences on young girls and what we can do about it… but this was so long already and I would have doubled it.  Perhaps another post for another day.

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Birth Rape

I recently learned a new term.  Apparently, it’s been tossed around for several years now, but it’s starting to gain more momentum.  Birth Rape.  What is “birth rape” you may ask?  Probably not what you are expecting it to be…

‘Birth rape happens when any medical doctor, nurse or other personnel insert anything into or cut into any part of women in labor, delivering a baby, or after birth against her wishes. Even administering an enema to a laboring mother against her will can be birth rape. Birth rape happens when mothers are laboring and weak and either not able to say “NO,” or sometimes even when she says “Don’t!”

Ignoring the mother’s resistance to or rejection of a method of penetration: injection, enema, forceps, incision, suction, etc. is a crime against a woman’s civil rights of peace, equality and privacy inside the body. Even the medical extraction of placenta after birth is often unnecessary because the nutrient-rich placenta is naturally and spontaneously expelled after the birth, and no hurry is necessary in a normal delivery.

Of course, the well trained medic has “their good reason,” citing the “need” of the patient, all the while causing pain, shock and suffering with their attacks into the body. Medical birth rape is rationalized as “for her own good” and these body invasions can cause painful trauma and long lasting harm to both mother and child.’

source – http://www.naturalnews.com/037357_birth_rape_childbirth_assault.html

Tell me I am misreading this.  Tell me this is not a real thing.  Tell me this is just satire.  Tell me no one actually believes this NONSENSE!  Sadly, it is all too real…

I’m at a loss on this one.  Starting an open discourse on this subject is an utterly daunting task.  I normally like to try to keep my words a bit less mocking and a bit more impartial than I am now; focusing instead on facts and logic to help my readers form their own opinions.  But under the circumstances I just plain don’t know how.  I think this is the best I can muster…

Really?  REALLY???  Is this what we’ve come to now?  Is this really the next wave of politically correct misandry that has been wrapped up with a bow in a neat little package labeled “feminism”?  Forget about true abominations against women (such as young girls being maimed and dying from being forced to undergo “female circumcision” – http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs241/en/).  Why campaign and fight against such horrors when it’s clearly far more important to focus on making it harder for OB-GYNs (doctors who YOU went to for help) to do their job and safely deliver your baby(ies).  (Note the extreme sarcasm.)

Can we just completely forget about the modifier “birth” for a moment and concentrate on the word “rape”?

Merriam-Webster defines rape as: unlawful sexual activity and usually sexual intercourse carried out forcibly or under threat of injury against the will usually of a female or with a person who is beneath a certain age or incapable of valid consent because of mental illness, mental deficiency, intoxication, unconciousness, or deception.”

That sounds pretty cut and dry to me.  That’s certainly how I have always defined rape.  A doctor or medical professional (one that you sought out for treatment and care, no less) performing a standard medical procedure surely does not fit those parameters.  How could it possibly be considered rape unless the doctor touched you in a sexual way that has no medical purpose?

Doesn’t the overt act of going to the hospital to give birth grant your doctors permission to treat you as they deem necessary?  Isn’t that the ENTIRE reason you went to them (as opposed to giving birth at home)!?  Shouldn’t only unnecessary procedures (such as an epidural) supersede the doctor’s judgement?  Are these REALLY questions that need asked?

Even Natural News says:

The best way to avoid birth rape, medical birthing procedures and unnecessary C-sections, is to avoid hospitals for the event of childbirth. Seek out a reputable natural birthing center and experienced midwife. Better yet, have that childbirth at home and invite your midwife to attend.” 

Those words suggest to me that they expect all hospitals to perform standard medical procedures.  They seem to be implying that these procedures not only aren’t medically necessary, but are even harmful to you in some way.  They are basically telling you to trust their medical opinion over the opinion of board certified doctors.

Either that or they are “victim shaming”.  (Isn’t that the popular “feminist” outcry. That it’s “victim shaming” to teach girls how to avoid dangerous situations that increase their odds of getting raped.  That instead we should be teaching boys not to rape.  – Personally, I think we should be teaching BOTH of those things, but what do I know.)

Don’t get me wrong, there are sets of circumstances where a doctor ignoring your wishes are not lawful.  Such as if you DECLINE to be treated by the doctor/hospital (typically a situation caused by someone else bringing you to the hospital when you did not want to go).  Such as forcibly giving you medication that you have indicated you do not want to take.  Such as ignoring a DNR.

Such acts on the doctor’s part could range anywhere from malpractice to assault.  But RAPE!?

It’s ludicrous!  Outrageous!  HARMFUL!!

It demeans and minimizes the trauma and suffering of every woman who has ever legitimately been raped or sexually assaulted.  It desensitizes the word.  Waters it down.  The broader the meaning attached to it, the less seriously people will view it.  Women will become ashamed to open up about their assaults for fear of being judged by these unrealistic standards.

And what a horrible thing to wrongly accuse someone!  It ruins lives.  A person can never fully bounce back from a rape allegation.  Regardless of their conviction status, if follows them for the rest of their life.  And a doctor convicted of this “birth rape” would not only carry the stigma and face jail time… they would NEVER be able to practice medicine again.  One less doctor in the world.

Not to mention, why would ANYONE even want to become a doctor if they are afraid to treat their patients?!  And what would you do without them?  Do you really want to live in a world without doctors?

A Lesson in Tolerance

I’ve spent some time hating.  I’ve spent some time complaining.  And I’ve spent some time questioning.  I’ve searched my soul… and something unexpected occurred to me.  Something I would like to share with the world.  Or at least as much of it as I have the power to reach.

I’m going to break down some seemingly common misconceptions about what it means to be tolerant… and what it means to be intolerant.  I’m going to do this because I’m starting to think that maybe, just maybe… there are people who genuinely don’t understand the difference.  That at least some of this swirling hatred might be coming out of a simple misunderstanding.

I’d like to paint a picture for you in a way that I hope will be easy to understand and follow.  To accomplish this, I’m going to use an example of a situation that is widely considered a “hot button” subject – a situation that I expect everyone to have some level of familiarity with.

Imagine a religious person who believes that homosexuality is morally wrong.  We’ve probably all known someone who feels this way.  You might even be one of them.  But your personal views on the matter aren’t what’s important in this analogy.  What I have to say applies to all sides of the fence.

First I’d like to ask you: What opinion have you formed of our example religious person?  Do you think they are intolerant?  Closed-minded?  Homophobic?  Hateful?

Would it surprise you if I were to say that it’s not intolerant to believe homosexuality is morally wrong?  Because, despite popular opinion – it’s NOT intolerant to believe homosexuality is morally wrong.  I’m going to repeat that.  It’s not intolerant to believe homosexuality is morally wrong.  It truly isn’t.  At least not on the face of it.

Please understand that I am not saying I personally believe that homosexuality is morally wrong – because nothing could be further from the truth.  I am merely saying that a person having that belief alone is not sufficient to label them as intolerant.  So, before you write me off as being intolerant and homophobic – please allow me to explain WHY.

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, tolerance is defined as “willingness to accept behavior and beliefs that are different from your own, even if you disagree or disapprove of them.”

What that basically means is, you can disagree with and even DISAPPROVE of a person’s behavior or beliefs and still be tolerant.  Because it’s not one’s personal feelings on the matter that determines their tolerance; but rather their ACTIONS towards the person they disagree with.

So, let’s take this information back to our example.  If the religious person in question accepts and respects a person who is homosexual, even though it goes against their personal morals and beliefs (e.g. “love the sinner, hate the sin”), then that person IS tolerant.  They are THE VERY DEFINITION of tolerant.

Now, if our example religious person refuses to accept and respect people solely for their sexuality, that is an entirely different scenario.  In that instance, they ARE intolerant.  Possibly even hateful.

But here’s where it REALLY gets interesting.  Did you judge our example religious person without taking the time to get to know them?  Did you write them off solely for their beliefs about homosexuality?  Do you refuse to accept and respect them because of those beliefs?  Maybe even hate them over it?

Would it surprise you if I were to say that anyone who answered “yes” to those questions is intolerant?  Because, anyone who answered yes to those questions IS intolerant.  I’m going to repeat that.  Anyone who hates a person, solely because they believe homosexuality is wrong, is intolerant. They are THE VERY DEFINITION of intolerant.  (Which, according to the Cambridge Dictionary is defined as “refusing to accept ideas, beliefs, or behavior that are different from our own.”)

If you alienate or treat a person disrespectfully because you disagree with their views and opinions, there is no “pass” that will magically make your behavior become tolerant.  Claiming that your actions aren’t intolerant because “they” are intolerant is NOT a valid argument.  Trying to excuse your behavior will likely only make you MORE intolerant.  It can turn into a vicious cycle if you let it.

That doesn’t mean you aren’t entitled to alienate or treat a person disrespectfully when you disagree with their views and opinions.  You have a right to your opinion even when it is intolerant, hateful, or disrespectful..  As does everyone else, no matter how much you disagree with them!  As long as you do not HARM the person you hate, then you have the right to hate them for any reason.  But keep in mind, they have just as much right to hate YOU!

So, ask yourself what kind of person you want to be.  Do you want to be tolerant?  Or do you want to be intolerant?  Do you want to be accepting of people with different backgrounds and beliefs?  Or do you want to be closed-minded?

If you think it’s ok to hate and lash out at people whose views you have deemed intolerant, you may want to give yourself a hard look in the mirror.

My Thoughts, My Opinions, Mine.

You do not have the right or power to invalidate my thoughts or opinions; because I am the sole owner of them. They are my personal property. Only I have the rights to them. They are MINE.

You do not have to like them or agree – your thoughts and opinions are your own. But you don’t have the right to decide mine for me. And if you try, you will not be happy with the result.

Hatred.

Never in my lifetime have I witnessed such blind hatred.  Never in my lifetime have I seen hatred so freely and openly expressed.  Never in my lifetime have I witnessed hatred shared by SO MANY people.  Never in my lifetime have I seen hatred so widely considered socially acceptable.

My only experience with hatred of this magnitude comes from history books and news reports on countries that lack our freedoms and comforts.  I never thought I would personally experience it.  I never thought it would be in my own backyard.  I never thought I would feel so powerless to stand up to it.  I never thought I would feel so frightened for my future…  For OUR future.

Hatred disguised as tolerance.  Except I am not seeing or hearing any tolerance.  All I see and hear are people with differing viewpoints being verbally assaulted and labeled with the word “intolerant” before they have even had the opportunity to speak.  To explain their point of view.  To even HAVE their own point of view.

Because why should you be given that opportunity when merely knowing it slightly deviates from their own is enough to know that it is WRONG?  That YOU are wrong.  Because if you DARE to question or disagree it means that you are racist/sexist/homophobic/xenophobic, etc.  It’s just your “privilege” talking.  Apparently, this “privilege” makes it socially acceptable to degrade and oppress you.  Makes it ok to judge you before a word even leaves your mouth.

Whatever happened to the free exchange of ideas?  Whatever happened to trying to see things from someone else’s perspective?  Whatever happened to getting to know a person before judging them?  Whatever happened to agree to disagree?  Whatever happened to live and let live?  Whatever happened to LISTENING to each other?

I keep seeing the phrase “social justice warrior” thrown around… but as far as I can tell, it’s just a fancy new term for a bully.  A “politically correct” way of justifying intolerance.  A badge to render anyone they disagree with as “the enemy”.  A way to always be “right” even when they are completely in the wrong.

I wish I could fix the world, but it doesn’t work like that.  All I can do is live true to my ideals and morals and hope the idea catches on.

 

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Tolerance – “The ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with.

Intolerance –
“Unwillingness to accept views, beliefs, or behavior that differ from one’s own.”