November 5, 2007 § Leave a comment
But I do on occasion blog about gender issues. There are three posts at the Anchoress that are well worth reading this morning. Read “Mean Reporters dare ask Hillary real questions“, “Stupid Men, Stupid Parents, Stupid Madison Avenue” and the most recent “Tony Snow make some great points“.
I have never, not ever understood the whole “gender” issue thing. Probably because I grew up with parents, especially a father, who never treated me like an incompetent. But even as I stepped out into the world I “missed” all this horrible bias against women. I work in a very male heavy field (by profession I am a programmer), I am a proud member of the Roman Catholic church — a patriarchic hierarchy, I went to college, I worked low income jobs.. and honestly in all that time I have never felt discriminated against. Occasionally “harassed” by some guy or other who didn’t understand the meaning of “No, I am busy Friday night” but I always chalked that up to their inability to understand English and my naturally irresistible good looks (yes that is a bit tongue in cheek) and the situation was always resolved with “I wouldn’t date you if you were the last man on Earth” .
So this thing with Mrs. Clinton bugged me, like it bugged a lot of women. What on Earth is she doing pointing out the obvious fact that she is a woman? Oh, I get it she thinks women will vote for her becauseshe is a woman. To which I say “Give me a break”, really. It is every bit as sexist to expect me to vote for her because she is a woman as it would be to NOT vote for her because she is a woman. There is no ( or at least shouldn’t be) any kind of sisterly solidarity when it comes to politics. Mrs. Clinton supports the murder of unborn children she does NOT get my vote. I don’t care if she is female or not. Because guess what? I don’t care if she is a woman or not. All I care about are the issues and the confidence that I have that a candidate will serve the country well. The sad thing is that she is right in her assumption that some women will vote on gender. This is true in main part because media and the educational system have worked very hard the last thirty years making sure that women are gender biased.
As the Anchoress points out: “I was raised to see people as people first, not as genders, and I have long, long since grown weary of being preached to about it.” So what was all this indoctrination about? Why does every kids show blare about “Girls can do anything no matter what the boys might think” and why do so many commercials feature the “Dumb Male” and why does every college freshman have to sit through “orientation” which is bound to include a whole speech about date-rape, gender sensitivity and the classic “good woman/bad men” talk. The reality is that women are by nature (yes, by nature) the gathers and men can be dangerous.
Women gather, they shop, they talk, they make community. They raise the children, decorate the home, decide on major purchases, they dress their households, they spend the money in most homes. (yes, sweeping generalisations but ones that Madison avenue counts on when they market just about anything from laundry detergent to automobiles). Women have power and they always — have it just looks a little different then men. Men display more, they fight more, they look at conquering something as a good thing. In order to keep men from asserting any kind of influence they have to be cowed. And they are. I really don’t think all these pro-girl messages have helped girls, but they have cowed boys. Boy like to brag, compete, show one another up. That isn’t allowed now. Everyone has to win and excellence in anything is all too often squashed on the alter of “self-esteem”. Boys don’t gain self-esteem by being toldthey are great. They gain it by finishing first, building something higher, throwing something farther than they did last time or the last kid did. By whacking the competition out of public schools we are in a sense castrating our sons… which is exactly what some gender-sensitive feminist think is a good idea. Enter a presidential candidate who thinks attending an all girl college is good experience for dealing with an all male political field.
I loved this quote “There are questions some media organizations simply don’t ask. For instance, is racism as bad as it was two decades ago? The answer is no(sic) If you doubt it, check out your kids. They’re refreshingly devoid of the bigotry and self-consciousness that characterized our youth. ” I have to remark on this. About a week ago I was talking to my husband about our children. There is a real and marked difference between our oldest, Ashley (15) and Christopher (8). Ashley is much more racially conscience than Christopher who isn’t at all.
This summer Christopher was at the pool and he made a new friend. They were the same height, the same age, they both loved swimming and they both were named Christopher. My son talked about how much they had in common, how cool it was that they were so alike, same name and everything. I laughed when I was talking to my husband about it. Our son is the palest little boy, his friend was about as dark as you could hope to meet. This little skin color thing was so unremarkable to them that they mention it at all… there was no “We are so alike — except the skin color” It just didn’t come up. My older daughter is very aware or color. But not because of us. The big difference is this: Christopher has been homeschooled. He doesn’t learn about racial “issues” they way Ashley did. When Ashley was 7 she came home crying one day. Her class had been studying the civil rights movement as part of “Black History Month”. What Ashley got out of the little indoctrination session was this “Why are white people so mean to black people?” with tears and guilt that she was born the color of oppression. It has stuck with her, it changed her. No matter that we have friends with every pan-tone that human skin comes in. No matter that her family’s entire experience with racial bigotry has been on the receiving end (Irish and Jewish) but she is supposed to be apologetic for wrongs committed by others with whom she has no connection because the powers that be benefit from a society where the populace is divided and controlled.
And that is what burns me. No matter the rhetoric the real root of the gender and racial divide has so little to do with real bigotry. It has so much to do with keeping vested political and commercial interests in their cozy spots and keeping the attention away from real issues. Sad, true and frightening.