Friday, December 2, 2016

Not There Yet

1980s Virginia Slims
April Fools Day Magazine Ad

Of course, there is the irony, unintended at the time, of equating cigarettes with liberation! I happened to think of this vintage advertisement (yes, I saved a paper copy in my Women's Studies Notebook) in conjunction with a recent discussion of both smoking and feminism, though not combined Virginia Slims - style, but as two separate topics.

Here's an excerpt (click for more):

~~ Carriker Barrel ~~

@ The Fortnightly Kitti Carriker:
A Fortnightly [every 14th & 28th] Literary Blog of
Connection & Coincidence; Custom & Ceremony

Concerning gender issues, you ask, "What's left? Aren't we pretty much there? What do women want / expect? What are the limitations?"

First, I worry about the role of women in a country soon to be led by a man who feels entitled to leer sexually, even at his own daughters. Despite all the men in America and in my family who love and respect the women in their lives, the acceptance of such lascivious public discourse defies belief and damages the position of all women. Until this kind of callous objectification is eliminated, we are not "there" yet.

Second, we are not "there" yet, as long as I can still attend a formal event and hear a speaker (male) begin his keynote address with a tired old sexist cliche --
“A good speech should be like a woman's skirt; long enough
to cover the subject and short enough to create interest.”

-- that relies solely on the assumption that women are for gawking at. I don't care if it is attributed to Winston Churchill, it is not funny; it's embarrassing. And I'm not talking decades ago at a bachelor party but recently at a holiday dinner on a university campus, where half of the guests were women.

This kind of so - called humor gives women in the audience three choices:
1. be one of the guys, guffaw guffaw

2. assume that you too are a sex object, valued for your legs, for your skirt, and for being stared at

3. know that you are in a some other sub - category of women who are no longer -- or have never been -- considered sexually desirable -- so no worries, right?
For any self - respecting woman in the audience these are three equally uncomfortable and insulting options.

Third, religion, has a long way to go before it is part of the solution rather than part of the problem. My son Ben has predicted the demise of religion (see below), but lets say that it stays around, then one of my required targets for gender equity would be to see the Catholic Church relinquish its opposition to female priests. I rank this as important whether or not I'm a Catholic because the Catholic Church has over a billion adherents worldwide and a great sphere of influence. Why not use that massive influence in the interest of including women rather than excluding?

Here's Jimmy Carter's opinion on how the role of women in the church informs their role in society at large:

Thank you President Jimmy Carter!
Jimmy Carter: "At its most repugnant, the belief that women must be subjugated to the wishes of men excuses slavery, violence, forced prostitution, genital mutilation and national laws that omit rape as a crime. But it also costs many millions of girls and women control over their own bodies and lives, and continues to deny them fair access to education, health, employment and influence within their own communities. . . .
The truth is that male religious leaders have had -- and still have -- an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter. Their continuing choice provides the foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world."

Take Back the Day!
Remember the Take Back the Night rallies and marches
and candlelight vigils that began back in the 70s?
As I've mentioned elsewhere & many times before,
Take Back the Night is a noble sentiment . . .
but first things first! Let's begin by making
it safe to walk around in broad daylight!

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