A discussion on equality and women’s rights

Normally, I try really hard not to put my foot in it, but something about the vibe today had me itching for some kind of intensive discussion.  So much has been on my mind concerning equality, women’s rights, and how we are such a divided species, this particular image – and the ensuing comments – just kind of… happened.

I’m attaching the whole conversation in this text file.  I’ve tidied a lot of the “filler text” and changed the names to protest the ignorant, but the majority of it is left as it was written, including the misspellings.  I have left the “Likes” for the comments that were thumbs-upped.  (Yes, it’s long – over 110 comments by the end of it – but if you can bear with me, you’ll find something amazing.)

Here’s the long and short of it, though (and some of the funnier quotes):

JS starts the whole thing off by accusing the original poster (LV) of “painting all men with the same brush” and “reverse sexism”.  I pointed out that all of the statements from the meme are derived from current GOP rhetoric and standard attitudes towards women in “most non-personal social situations”.  JS accused it of being a manifestation of ego and suggested that women stop playing the “blame game”.  (Yes, that was the sound of my safety coming off.)

I said:

Are you unaware of where the original context is derived? And that’s an honest question, not sarcastic, given that you do not appear to have either a vagina or breasts. I’m sorry you’ve been trained to think that calling something the “blame game” somehow refuses a person the right to point out a true injustice, which is what the image is doing. If you are uncomfortable with the statement of the original image, then perhaps you need to examine your own ego and ferret out where that sense of guilt comes from. If you were emotionally unaffected by it, you wouldn’t feel the need to deride a contextually legitimate statement.

JS replied that we are all victims on some level and deserve compassion (JS’s Facebook profile is heavily littered with Buddhist imagery, though not a lot of original Buddhist thought.)  Be aware that he made statements like “All ur referring 2 comes from the nanifestation of ego” (sic) and “It takes 2 2 tango baby :)”.  I replied:

We also deserve proper spelling and punctuation, but we’ll not hold that against you, either. You appear to be someone deeply concerned with compassion, so let me assist you in this: telling someone who is identifying an injustice that, basically, they have no right to do so is the OPPOSITE of compassion. Your “It takes 2 2 tango baby :)” statement blames the victim of the injustice, which is really, REALLY not compassionate. If this is truly your path, please retreat and contemplate, because you missed a big lesson in there.

Somehow or another, it became a discussion about how unfair it is for “everyone else” to pay for the contraception of women in college – and how the numbers are inflated, it’s not that expensive.  “Condoms are free” was even uttered (and I’m not taking that out of context, he did not say “Condoms are free at Planned Parenthood.”)  Naturally, the implied promiscuity launched into a back-and-forth about the alleged sexual behaviors of politicians, and my words were specifically skewed to imply that “GOP rhetoric” is the same as “all Republicans”, to which I said:

I said specifically “GOP rhetoric”, which I’d assume we know does not reflect the attitudes of most Republicans, and “most non-personal social situations”.

I’m fascinated that you assume “womanizer” is somehow equal with “treats women like trash” even though it really only means “likes to sleep with women without commitment”. If we go by popular media, we can really only be led to assume that all Democrats are passionately fond of a wide variety of pussy while Republicans are all very, very gay. 😉

I am assuming neither, merely pointing out that the original image is derived from a collection of popular social points right now – and since you, Tom and Jarrod, also do not appear to possess bodily either vaginas or breasts, it should be taken as a communication of how your female friends and relatives and lovers are made to feel sometimes.

Then it turned into a “battle of the sexes” instead of what it really is – a debate about what constitutes human rights and equality for women – and from here, I’ll let you read the text at your own leisure.  The main reason I brought all of this up was to put into context several statements I made throughout the course of this discussion (found here if you want to read the original ORIGINAL text, and there might even be more after I post this) that I thought illustrated well some of the rights issues we are still facing as women and as humans:

?@TD, that’s a pretty massive statement, don’t you think? Right up there with “Democrats are pussy-mongers and Republicans are gay”? I think maybe a more accurate statement might be, Liberals expect the government to take care of the infrastructure and social needs that it’s *supposed* to, by virtue of being a *government*, and when it doesn’t work that way, it’s frustrating that private institutions have to step up to fill in the gap – which also does not always work well.

To all of our gentlemen-readers, please grok this: The issue is not about Fluke or contraception or condoms or Planned Parenthood or private vs public education. It is about the persistent and constant demeaning of a woman’s self-worth and control of her own body through a social environment of “absolutely no win” situations as described in the graphic. To imagine that it is anything less pervasive ultimately contributes to the overall problem.

Ironically, in an overwhelmingly patriarchal society, it’s the men who suffer the worst for not having access to the proper and complete affections of women. :-/

And

When you take a woman’s right and access to her own fertility away from her – access to contraception and legal, safe abortion – you are handing the worst types of men a loaded gun to control those women through rape and forced procreation. You talk about the life-long guilt of an abortion, but I don’t think you can fairly state that, either.

The bottom line is that each person’s experience with fertility control – and human rights in general – is individuated, that any given person has their choice to avail themselves of contraception, abortion, safe health care, mental health support, etc, and that the process of removing those rights for even a small portion of the population is a violation of human rights as a whole.

And

Condoms are not free, TD. They are covered from Planned Parenthood either by government grants or by private donations. If condoms were free, Trojan wouldn’t have a business at all!

And your wife is lucky if SHE never felt that she was discriminated against. See, if YOU feel like your wife was *never* discriminated against for her gender… does that really count for her? And would you recognize it if it happened, given that you were not raised a girl? That is the upshot of the original graphic – that THIS is what women seriously have to deal with. No matter WHAT we choose to do with our sexuality, someone somewhere is going to be offended by it, and because we are not in a place of power, we can easily be victimized by it…

Also, I’m sure your insurance DID cover well-woman exams and other gynecological services even if they didn’t pay for birth control pills, which is where the majority of the costs come from when people try to scare folks away from taking responsibility for the medical side of it. The US, as is pointed out in other threads, has the most expensive healthcare and also the least effective.

TD, by the way, is also “offended” (his word) that women live seven years longer than men, that no one is out to figure out WHY they generally live longer, that there’s seven times more research into breast cancer than into prostate cancer (even though the prognosis for each of those conditions is about the same), and that women are the only ones who decide how and when to have sex.  Apparently, in TD’s world, the only scenario that happens outside of the “woman say yes, man get laid” scenario is rape, but I was already starting to feel bad for him, so I didn’t launch into the explanations of coercive intimidation or the wide varieties of other not-perfectly-consentual sex that does not happen in TD’s world.  I did, however, point out that sex was merely a symbol of the power of the woman, and that most discrimination happens in the work place, in the pay check, and now even more in the medical clinic.

I brought up the case of the woman who filed a discrimination suit against the fire department:

Me: There’s an interesting aspect to that that you are missing, TD: Some years ago, there was a discrimination suit against a fire department for not hiring women. They said that they were completely open to hiring women IF those women could pass the same physical requirements as men in terms of strength and capacity. One woman took the challenge, went through the trials, and *failed*. Later on, other women tried and *passed*. And honestly, as a woman, I’m proud of that – and as a mother, relieved, because if I were relying on someone to rescue my children from a burning building who did NOT have the physical requirements to take on that job, my children could die.

Equality is not about every person being required to do the exact same jobs as every other person: it’s about every person having ACCESS to the same resources. THAT is the issue. And when women are made to feel “no win” – just as you present that men are made to feel “no win” – equality cannot and does not happen.
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Me: Women must adhere to a social standard of beauty and attractiveness in order to find a mate suitable to her tastes – and men do, too. If men are not aware of what those standards are, it’s up to women to define that for them. At the top of the list might be something like “honor me as an equal, and if you don’t like me for who I am, don’t f**k me anyway just because you want some tail!”
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TD: When they lowered the lifting standard for women as firefighters, that was just stupid. Men were required to carry 150 pounds down a ladder, while women were only required to carry 75. Why not just lower the standard to 75 for men as well? If your house was burning, and the female fire fighter couldn’t carry your 100 pound child down the ladder, and she died in the fire, would you say, “Oh that’s ok, At least the woman got the job?” That’s ridiculous. And I agree with your second post. Like I have said several times, if a man doesn’t present himself in the manner that the woman likes, it is her choice to tell him to go away. There are plenty of things that are not fair, but you deal with it. Is it fair that businesses can off “Ladies’ Night” where women don’t pay, but men do? I hardly think that would stand up to a court challenge, but you and I know it will never go to court, because sometimes you just have to accept things the way they are.

Me: I did not support lowering the standard at all.

And here was the final statement that I made here, and I must say, I’m still pretty proud of it:

And that’s really the absolute best statement I can make about this entire discussion: I DO NOT SUPPORT LOWERING THE STANDARDS. I mentioned before that men are victimized by the patriarchal society as much if not more than women (mostly because women are better at keeping secret societies to themselves – we find ways to survive in small parts under duress).

On the whole, please check your sources. The “why” of how expensive health care is in the US, the many studies done on the *average* life expectancy of men, the reasons behind the drop-out rates – and *where* they come from… these are all parts of a much larger picture.

If women cannot lift and carry a 100-pound person, then they should not be firefighters. If a man can’t fight to kill in order to protect his interests (military or family), he should not be given a gun. If a *person* cannot do a task effectively and safely, they should be given a different task that they *can* do effectively and safely. THAT is not the question.

Discrimination happens when people in groups (gender, creed, color, etc) who are otherwise equal as humans are prevented from access to employment, health care, education, transportation, etc. by other groups who diminish and demean the first groups for whatever reason. A white male claiming society discrimination is as absurd as a Christian claiming that their religion is being persecuted in the United States – a perpetrator blaming the victim stance.

If you agree that the original image is deplorable, unacceptable, and demeaning (which you have stated), then do not try to tell me – a single mother with special needs kids who has lost jobs and job opportunities due to my gender, creed, and circumstance – how I somehow have the power. Sometimes “NO” is answered with a heftier blow against, and then you just have to find a way around it.

Women are perceived as the weaker gender, and so we are manipulated by people who do not include us in their proceedings – like the GOP discussion on access to women’s health care, including contraception and abortion, that included *NO WOMEN*. We are taking that back, day by day, through education (such as this discussion following the image above), through debate, through protest, and through stubbornness…

And while we could technically do it without your help, we’d rather than compassionate men were on our side, to walk with us and gain access to what it is they *really* want – the love and affection of a woman that has found them worthy and equal.

Until we win our place back in the world, hardly anyone will receive that, and that is truly tragic.

I know that the original JS was really just trying to troll, but I just couldn’t resist the opportunity to make something positive come out of it.  So, that’s what I did today.  I think I’ll go make a pi now.  With shoes on.  For my kids.  That I raise and support myself.

Despite the discrimination.

 

One Reply to “A discussion on equality and women’s rights”

  1. I am confused. I don’t know why you would want to waste your time discussing these matters with those people. One of them writes so poorly and one-sidedly, I could not understand his points. The other one seems not to be interested in anything other than complaining. Neither wrote anything I would accept from my 8th graders. :-/

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