Just last night I was lamenting what I see as an largely unseen and undocumented assault on women in this country. Women, as a group, are being fucked by our legal system. A judge over this last year, for instance, ruled that it cant be rape if a woman changes her mind after (penetrative?) sex has begun. So, in theory, women are beholden to sex for however long the partner wants. Its all about what [he] wants.
That just sets the stage. You hear about the bullshit in Nebraska? Rape case. Judge said you can’t use these words: ape, sexual assault, victim, assailant, and sexual assault kit. The woman testified for 13, yes THIRTEEN hours without using any of them. As she remarked, and I agree, its a form of assault itself. Disgusting. Sick yet? The judge called a mistrial because he felt the media attention on the case had harmed the juror’s impartiality. He may not be guilty. He hasn’t been found guilty. The first go was a hung jury. But, where is the attempt at justice here? I can taste the misogyny. Putrid.
That all revolts me. Seriously. If I think about it, I start getting queasy and have to stop. What really pisses me off this the state of political commentary on such issues. Why this diatribe? Because I implore all ya all to consider more domestic issues in your work. Its like Iraq is being used as a diversion for the more sinister plan of undermining the rights of women in the country. Match this up our cultural trends toward a faux feminist body empowerment sold by the media, and hyper masculinity all around… Ugh.
But, in case you need something to help hook into the safer material of Iraq — In 2006, sexual assault of women in the military has gone up 26%. Think about that. 26%. And that’s what is known. Where is that in the speeches about supporting the troops? 3000+ women in the military. Who reported. Assaulted by fellow soldiers. There is now a clear line in the troops I can support. Anyone know the military size or the # of women in it? I wonder the percentage of whole on that.
Oh… Did I mention the fellow who assaulted 20 Latino women in MD? They think the # is higher, but immigration stuff is scaring women into not reporting. Personally, I’d like to see tighter immigration controls, but, then, I’d like for my countryMEN not to be able to rape with impunity a whole lot more.
It leads me to think about so many poems I have heard, where the same gender stereotypes are used again and again to plead for peace. Mamma earth. So warm, so comforting. The idealization of the idea of matriarchy. Somehow women are more naturally pure – why, its amazing we (men, of course) don’t seek to protect such… wait a minute…. I see these concepts of indicative of the way most folks think about gender, and it troubles me. I feel like its part of a feedback loop. Part of patriarchy, and matriarchy, is the opposed dichotomy of attributes and values. We pretend to decry the patriarchy, and the war patriarchy has created for us, and yet time and time again we feed it by honoring the same debilitating stereotypes it provides us.
That said, I suppose you could say Mother Earth is an apt metaphor, though damaging. Look at the way our world treats women, and its no shock we treat a feminine planet the same way. That further forces us to rely on gendered stereotypes as calls to action. This anthropomorphism also allows us to externalize the imminent. Its not suicide of the humans. Its hurting Earth. Like earth cares. By my estimation, if we hose it next week with nukes, the earth can try again at least once before the sun consumes it.
But I digress. My point is the accepting of such gender roles only contributes to the growing overt misogyny I see. How long before the media and political scape has completely reworked the language of that debate. We won’t get to hear about the growing violence among and upon women, we’ll get to hear about if certain words are acceptable. Its already started in ‘our’ own movement. I am supposed to support some culture through cultural relativism and some mind numbing version of togetherness even though their practices or beliefs are more misogynistic than our own. Our reckless desire to be open and desperation for allies has sold out women from other cultures. And yet, we claim to be about peace and love. And as our country teaches us, love turns a blind eye towards abuse.
This blind eye isolates people. It makes the problem worse.
That’s fucked up.
And frankly, it pisses me off.