The Last Frontier in Discrimination

I wasn’t taught to feel this way.  The concept of sexism wasn’t even really an issue in my household back in the 1960’s and ’70’s when I grew up.  Mom worked outside the home part-time.  Dad could cook.  There generally wasn’t a lot of stress over household chores because my beautiful saintly little Italian grandma came over every day while mom worked and gladly did most of the day-to-day chores and got dinner started.  She spoiled us with popsicles and nickles for penny candy.

The sense of unfairness started to build about the time that my younger brother got out of weekend dish duties once he was old enough to cut our small lawn with the push mower.  Dad said that was only fair.  But it wasn’t.  I would gladly have pushed that lawn mower out in the warm sunshine instead of spending all day Saturday cleaning up dishes after the never-done-eating brother and dad.  (Mom happily worked at the downtown department store on Saturdays).  I hate housework today for the same reason I hated it then.  It’s tedious, thankless, and endless.  At least if I had to cut the grass, it would be noticeable and it wouldn’t need done again for a few days.  I remember being so riled up about the unfairness of it all that one day I just grabbed the kitchen faucet and yanked it from side to side in anger.  My dad thought it was quite amusing.

As I got older, the women’s movement for equal rights affected me deeply.  I subscribed to Ms. magazine.  I fumed over the way women were marginalized and treated unfairly.  I know for a fact that I’m every bit as good and smart and important as anyone else in this world.  My gender certainly doesn’t make me less so.  Yet, women are still treated differently.  We’re very often paid less than men for the same work, passed over for promotions we deserve, and still end up doing most of the crappy thankless housework.  Just because we’re female!sexistsuperman

In many circles, women are brainwashed to believe that their gender makes them subservient and relegated to a preordained role in life, whether or not that’s how they personally want to live their life.  They are taught to hide their talents and defer their dreams and submit to their man, whether he is right or clearly wrong.  Then, lest their true sense of fairness and justice allows them to question this, they are quoted excerpts written eons ago in various religious texts by men who lived when only the strong (or subservient) survived.

These books often talk about how all men are created equal, and to be kind to your brother.  They mention how to treat your slaves and your women.  Today, in the civilized world, we abhor slavery.  We don’t treat our slaves with kindness because we understand that slavery is wrong.  And we don’t have them.  But women are still supposed to submit to their husbands, just like they were instructed to thousands of years ago.

Thankfully, in most civilized cultures, we recognize that discrimination is evil and insidious.  A person’s worth is not determined by the color of his or her skin or the religion they grew up with.  How crazy is it that it’s still acceptable to treat our very own mothers, sisters, daughters and wives as something slightly less important than the men in our world?  How can anything rationalize this discrimination?

22 Responses to “The Last Frontier in Discrimination”

  1. 1 Cyndi October 4, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    I’m as angered by this as you. Love the comic BTW!

    I have (had?) a friend, who is the inspiration for many of my recent posts pertaining to abuse whose narcissistic abusive husband actually did start quoting scripture when she dared to stand up to his antiquated view of women and their roles in the family. He is about as far from a good husband and father as you can possibly get but had no qualms about “putting her in her place” every chance he got. The sad part…she buys into it. He went the other direction too, calling his 13 year old son a “pussy” for not being “man enough” whenever he disappointed his asshole of a father. In the 10 years or so that I’ve know them, he has not once stepped foot in a church, although he is well-read on many religions.

    I have another female friend whose dream was to be a police officer. When she met her husband he said she had to choose. He wanted a wife, not a partner on the police force. So, she gave up her dreams to defer to his picture of what a good little wifey should be.

    It pisses me off that we (women in general) let men like this get away with this bullshit. We all know that we are truly the stronger sex and need to embrace the power we deserve.

    • 2 les@mamaneeds2rant October 4, 2009 at 10:43 pm

      Thanks, Cyndi. I stole the comic from my son’s Facebook page. I have no idea where he got it or I would have given credit to them.

      I’ve noticed that truly strong confident men don’t need to spout this drivel. They are not afraid of having a strong confident woman as a wife and partner. They are not big babies who can’t stand not getting their own way. Like your poor friend’s husband, quite often it is the least “godly” and most narcissistic of men that resorts to using these arguments.

      It still disgusts me on many levels, but I don’t get as infuriated by others’ lifestyles as I used to. I feel sorry for the innocent victims, like the young sons and daughters growing up to be misled, but I mostly feel sorry for these poor sad women and even a little for some of the men who are too weak to grow from learning to compromise and will never know the joy of sharing their life with an equal partner and friend.

  2. 3 robinaltman October 4, 2009 at 10:29 pm

    Amen, Sister! I consider my husband and I to have a pretty “equal” marriage, but there are still inequalities that piss me off. For example, somehow my x chromosome means that I’m the one who has to keep track of how much paper towels, toilet paper, and toothpaste we have. My husband cooks about half the time, but he doesn’t clean up after himself at all while he cooks, and he uses every friggin’ pot in the house. But I’m supposed to be grateful he cooks at all, because he’s a man. Grrrrr….

    • 4 les@mamaneeds2rant October 4, 2009 at 10:47 pm

      Haha. I know, Robin. I have a pretty good hubby, too, but somehow, it’s automatically assumed that I will know where everyone’s things are at all times. And for some reason I am the keeper of schedules and appointments, even though I quite likely have ADD. But he does a lot of really hard crappy stuff, too, so I won’t complain too much!

  3. 5 lynette October 5, 2009 at 12:23 am

    it is crazy, isn’t it, that these stereotypes still prevail. i grew up with a spanish dad, and my mom was 10 years younger than my dad, and having grown up without a father herself, she simply followed his lead. she created the home, he made the money.

    it used to make me nuts as a kid. my mom is a truly smart lady who never had the chance to go to college because she was poor. my father did not suggest it. he liked being the one she leaned on — it made him feel important and successful and “manly”.

    funny though, because my dad was surrounded by females. i have no brothers, and even our pets were female. my father’s hopes and dreams were kind of geared towards the shadow men that my sister and i might marry. i set out to prove him wrong, and got an education that surpassed his, in a field he knew nothing about. i know i earned his respect.

    but he was still afraid for me when i got divorced from my ex, that i was “on my own”. and i still am responsible for everything at home even though married again.

    but i keep this in my mind — my kids have seen me called “Dr”, they have seen me serve in elected office, and my son has told me that i am “the boss” of the house. despite many of the things i have blogged about, my kids do see me as strong and in charge and capable and nurturing.

    shaking up the stereotypes. now i just need a cleaning person 🙂

    • 6 les@mamaneeds2rant October 5, 2009 at 12:45 am

      If your mom was happy making a home, Lynette, then there is nothing wrong with that. I truly hope she did not feel deprived. Women should be allowed to choose the path that THEY need to follow for their own personal growth and development. I’m glad that there are enough successful career women out there that today’s girls know they can do anything. But it’s just as important for them to know that if they choose to stay home and raise their children, this is an acceptable option also. And it’s their own choice. Not what someone else expects them to do!

  4. 7 lynette October 5, 2009 at 6:05 am

    i absolutely agree with you, les, the whole idea of choice should be that women should not have to all do the same thing — and we should stop harping on each other about it too. but my dad did treat my mom pretty crummy for a good many years — really tried to keep her a child, and be in control.

    when i was in my teens, she was really struggling with her marriage (or shall we say lack thereof). but in the end, she chose to stay, several times over, despite his betrayals.

    now that she is on her own, she looks back and is proud of where she has been. the last ten years of her marriage before my dad died, my parents had come full-circle and treated one another with kindness and respect and affection. i too am proud of the home my mom created — we moved a lot and it always felt like home to me.

    • 8 les@mamaneeds2rant October 5, 2009 at 9:13 am

      Wow, Lynette. No wonder you were able to achieve all the things you did–having a loving supportive mom who provided a stable home life for you–even though she had to deal with her own personal disappointments.

  5. 9 Nicole October 5, 2009 at 8:06 am

    It amazes me that some guys think women are weaker. There was a guy at my last job that though women were incapable of using a pallet jack and would constantly ask us “are you okay doing that.” He also didn’t think I was capable of assembling some lawn and garden tools and asked me the same question in the same demeaning tone. Being that our group was mostly female, he ticked us all off on a daily basis. Wouldn’t you know, any time he had a question, I was the first person he came to before the manager.

    I have also found that many guys are intimidated by me in the work place because I refuse to let anything stop me from achieving my goals… especially stereotypes. An independent, smart woman that can make her way in the world without a man behind her just isn’t acceptable, even to younger generations.

  6. 11 Consuella Banana Hammock October 5, 2009 at 11:36 am

    well you already know how i feel about this post…i ask the same questions…wonder and shake my head all the time.

  7. 13 Tammy October 5, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    …and why is it if a woman is assertive and driven to succeed she is a bitch – while a man is considered a leader?

  8. 15 lynette October 5, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    i take great pride in being called a bitch under certain circumstances — usually it is when i am not willing to go along with what the guy wants.

    and there is great pleasure in formal letters addressed to me and my husband that read “Dr. B. and Mr. C.” 😀

    our sons will change the world i have no doubt…

  9. 17 lynette October 5, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    it would be classic, wouldn’t it, les? but i don’t think it is specific to me, and he was crappiest when i wasn’t yet embarked on my career. he is like that with everyone (except to his parents — maybe that says something). but he has been living larger thanks to my achievements, right?

    he does totally lack self-esteem in a big way, and i think that is the root of his problems — but only he can work on that, that’s a from-the-inside-out kind of thing.

  10. 18 Dawn October 5, 2009 at 10:02 pm

    Mens instincts for creating mythical notions about women, and preserving them at all cost, are amusing. Naively bullish and brittle egos are easy to spot.

    I shudder to think what the world would be like without women. Our families and the future of our nation may very well rest in the hands of women embracing all of the divine talents and gifts we were given 😉

    I have a great hope we’ll make a difference for our sons and daughters being the best at who we can be.

  11. 20 Peldyn October 8, 2009 at 12:18 am

    Great post! I am married to a feminist husband so he happily cleans house after working all day and and loves to do all kinds of things with me. Of course it took me years of training him *grin* but his mom also did a wonderful job of raising him.

  12. 22 Peldyn October 8, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    Our guys are one in a million!

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October 2009

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