OK, that title is misleading, because I don’t really believe this is a men’s world. The problem is that way too many men, and their women, believe it is. So I’m going to vent some peeves today.
Let’s go back to the beginning – oh, not all the way back to Eve. Eve was framed by the Catholic Church and made the scapegoat for all the ills of the world. But as a defender of Eve, I so disagree with the whole concept. Just remember, the Bible as we read it today, and back through the centuries, was written by men, priests of the Catholic Church, back in 325 AD, a time when Christianity was competing with paganism, and the old religions, and the Catholic Church wanted to get rid of the sacred feminine, and make Jesus a divine character, and relegate women to the bottom of the food chain (as long as they stayed in the kitchen and did the cooking, that is).
But think about Sarah for a few minutes. Do you really believe, first of all, in a god that would tell Abraham to sacrifice his son, the one born of his marriage to Sarah, the one promised to be the leader into a better world? If you do, how then do you think Sarah reacted to the thought that her son Isaac was to be made a sacrifice, just to please a god who was supposed to be kind and loving? Do you think Abraham even told Sarah he was going to kill their boy? I think it is a myth, written to put fear into men for not doing exactly what this mean god wanted. And besides, didn’t Abraham have another son? Oh, but it was through Sarah’s maidservant, Hagar, and Ishmael was to be the father of the Arabic tribes – father of Islam. And, I guess, illegitimate?
Then let’s think about Jacob. He works seven years for Laban to win the hand of Rachel. But at the end of the seven years, Laban gives him Leah. Now how did Rachel and Leah feel about that? Was that okay with them? Did they have any say? But Jacob then worked another seven years just to get Rachel. But his 12 sons were spread between Leah, Rachel, and two maid servants. Rubbish. Is this really how god wants to see the women he supposedly created.
Let’s move forward a few years to early England. Never mind the four or five years of war because men changed their minds over accepting Maud as their queen, the promise they made to her father Henry II, when he lost his son. When a cousin Stephen decided he wanted the throne, they turned their backs on Maud and backed Stephen, because he was a man and she was a woman. Or how about Henry VIII, who killed off or divorced five wives (well, Jane died in childbirth, giving him his only son) because they wouldn’t give him a son. The male y chromosome is the one that determines the sex of the child. No, they didn’t know that in the mid-1500s, but still, to blame it on the woman because she didn’t give birth to a son? Do you really think this is what the christian god intended? Wars? Or how about that Henry VIII caused England’s split with the catholic church because he wanted to divorce Catherine of Aragon so he could marry Nan Bullen (Anne Boleyn).
There have been so many incidents throughout history where the woman was put down as trash – the early times when the lairds were allowed to take a woman’s virginity before she could sleep with her new, but peasant, husband. And this carried all the way up through America’s early days when masters had sex with their black female slaves and created half-blood babies, which were then shunned, even by their own race.
Or how about those women who, beginning in the mid-1800s, started clamoring for the right to vote. I didn’t know until recently that Susan B. Anthony went back that far. But it took another 80 years before women got the right to vote. And let’s look at women’s roles while men went off to war – yes, even back to the Civil War. Men thought nothing of leaving their women-folk behind while they went out to fight for glory. Who ran the plantations then? Women, frankly, were not really ready to do that because they hadn’t had to learn how to do anything, except sit around and look pretty, then marry and have babies. But frontier women were not in that category. And women who went with their men into the west were strong and hardy and had babies and if they lived, were kept taken care of while the women built campfires and cooked their coffee and beans and potatoes over these camp fires. And slept, and submitted to sex, on the hard boards of their prairie wagons, or the ground. Women were strong, and useful to men, but still relegated to second-class citizens (or maybe even third-class, since the horses were considered of more importance).
World War I; World War II: Who kept the home fires burning? Women, of course. I think especially of WW II, which I was born during, and remember all of the Rosie the Riveters, the women who built the planes and made the ammunition, and did without gasoline and meat and sugar so it could be saved for the men who were actually fighting the war. Obviously way too many of them were left widows, some with children, or unmarried because their men were killed, or taken prisoner, and made useless. And when the men did come home, what happened to the women who had struggled on the home front? Well, they were not generally thanked, but simply stuck back into the kitchens and the homes and relegated to cooking and dusting, and even trying to keep the children quiet in small trailers while their men studied with their free education grants so they could rebuild a world they helped destroy.
This is not even talking about Korea and Vietnam and every other war men have fought alone, until women started getting into the military services. And what awaited many women when they did this? They were open to rape, and put in fear to say anything so they wouldn’t lose their chance to do what they wanted in the military. Young women who finally were allowed into the schools like the Citadel left in tears and shame because of the treatment they got from the men.
Don’t get me wrong, I like men, I always have. But I never wanted to be married to one because I was not going to take a back seat to any man in existence (and believe me, I tried, but when I had my second divorce before I was 24, I knew this was not the right path for me). I did believe in free love, as a young woman of the 60s, and gave birth to three children, one of them in wedlock. But did I get any man claiming responsibility, and offering to help with the care and feeding of them? Of course not. I was the bad woman, and if I gave birth to a child out of wedlock, or in a state of separation from a husband, then it was my problem. Please note – I did not have an abortion, though I could have, even illegally then, but gave up my children for adoption. One of them calls me mama Carol, one of them hates me absolutely, but gave up her own two children, and one of them I have no idea of where she is. I sometimes wonder how it would have turned out had the males involved taken any responsibility for their having been born – after all, they were perfectly happy to help make them.
But since marriage was out of the question, there may have never been any other way for it to happen. Instead, I spent the 70s on up until I retired in 2003 (and quit working temp jobs in 2006) fighting for women’s rights in the workforce. Most women appreciate what I and others like me did for them – they got into the boardrooms and the top floors of the big corporations, even though I never made more than $25,000/yr in my life. Even the women of today’s tea party coalitions have benefited from the hard work and tears I’ve done and shed on the way up.
So now, in these enlightened 2000s, what are some of these women doing? Trying to take us all back to the mid-1800s and prior, and the Boehners, Kyles, McConnells, Romneys, Gingriches, Cantors, Santorums, ad nauseum are willing to help them. Even of my own party, the John Edwardses and his ilk. They are all trying to get into my bedroom, into my kitchen, into my private life, and trying to stop me from taking responsibility for myself. (Well, since I am now 71, and in the last years of my life, the “my” and “myself” are allegorical – but you know what I mean.) They are not out there trying to help us become better suited to take care of ourselves. Hell, even Romney, though I suppose he has only Sue, belongs to a religion where if a man lusts after a women, he often just takes her on as another wife, relegating her to the kitchen and the bedroom where she is expected to get along with all the other wives. How many of you deeply religious so-called christian women would put up with that? Are you willing to get rid of the vote? How about stopping education because you really don’t need to read or write – your husband/master can do all that for you? Balance the budget? Hell, you shouldn’t even need anything but an allowance for the household and the children, and god forbid you should want something new, like a dress, because if we lived in the world you seem to want, you won’t need it. And for god’s sake, give up your jobs – you don’t need three cars and private schools and swimming pools – actually, you should not be baring any part of your body in public anyway – and let the men who are out of work have your job.
Does that sound pretty horrific to you? Well, then, if you aren’t willing to give up any of that, why are you so intent on taking away any other liberties from other women who have fought so hard to get where they are? And yes, this rant is leading directly to the fight over abortion and planned parenthood and Susan G. Komen and doctor’s rights to perform abortions. I know very few women who really like abortion, who support it. I don’t. But I do support the woman’s right to choose. What she chooses to do is between her and her God/dess. It is no-one else’s business, and even the man has no right to say anything to her unless he has proven that he is willing to nourish and pay for and care for that child that he helped make. And her while she is carrying it. And if she has the child, she may not want to take responsibility beyond the giving of birth, and is that man going to step up and say “I’ll take it, and take care of it, and nourish it, and make sure it gets a good education? And oh yes, I’ll teach it to respect women and treat them as equals”.?
So men and women, if any of this had gotten through to you, if you want to see women keep the advantages they have earned through the years (or received through other women’s, and some men’s, efforts), then allow them to make choices in every area of their lives. Men, if you want to keep f**king women at random, then let them make the choice if there is a child, and you don’t want anything to do with it because all you wanted was a f**k.
And to you women who want to be Stepford Wives, and kowtow to your men, and have all the babies he wants to make, then get ye to a place where everyone of the dolls walking around with you want the same thing. Just get out of the educated woman’s way and let us help those who have had no choice about what has happened to them (rape, mostly). And especially those women who know what they are doing, and want to do it anyway. It is none of your business. And, I repeat, for god’s sake, if you want all that, to be taken care of cherished in your own home, and live as women used to live, then get out of the work place and let the men have your jobs – or the women who want to work and don’t want the chains of a home and husband.
Carol Stepp, Austin, TX