Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Women Are Our Best Line of Defense

I am going to preface this post by noting that I do not call myself a feminist, because I don't believe it is a title that one can claim, but a title that has to be earned. Similarly, I avoid saying 'I am not a racist', because the phrase invariably prefaces some seriously racist shit. Suffice it to say that I endeavor not to act in a sexist or racist manner, and I hope that I generally succeed. That being said, today was International Women's Day, and the Day Without a Woman action for economic justice.

Besides the gender pay gap, women tend to do a lot of dangerous jobs that aren't recognized as such by many people- nursing assistants (91% of whom are women) and hotel housekeepers lift heavy objects (in the case of CNA's, individuals) and are exposed to pathogens and potentially dangerous chemicals. Forty percent of women working in the fast food industry experience sexual harassment in addition to working in dangerous conditions. Low-wage women perform much of the necessary work that keeps the economy running, and they are typically the scapegoats of misogynistic public figures, especially if they have the temerity to be single mothers.

Watching the Women's March on Washington in January, I noted that the longer-term goal of any political movement should be electing women to political office. The percentage of congressional seats held by women is an abysmal twenty-percent. One of the best rallying cries of the new women's movement is: 'Women are the wall and Trump will pay for it.' In our society, women and girls are forced to deal with the consequences of their choices (and the bad choices of the men in their lives) while men often skate out of them- 'boys will be boys' is still used as a cover for bad behavior by men, and middle aged men's adultery can be dismissed as 'youthful indiscretion' as long as those men are God-fearing conservatives. Misogynists are overly represented in our government, media, and industry. It's long-past time to get some parity in representation- we need women to save us from bad policies, they really are our best line of defense against ourselves.

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