Women were, are and will always be our equal. Or at least they should have been treated that way from the beginning of time. The XIVth amendment of the Constitution was written in an attempt to bring rights and protections to more people. And still, Congress didn’t see a problem in writing “But when the right to vote […] is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State”. None of the Representatives wondered why there was a need for the addition of “male”? None of the Senators cared that they were purposefully denying a right to women while supposedly giving a right to all the citizens of this land? How has it ever been possible to forbid women to vote? I can “understand” the distorted idea behind taking this right to people you don’t know or are scared of, or judge inferior. But How in the world, would you deliberately forbid the person with whom you live to participate in the life of your city, state or country? You listen to this person, you talk about everything with this person, you obey this person, you play with this person, you fight with this person, you have kids with this person, you teach your experience to this person. This person can be your mother, your wife, your daughter. And still, you consider her to be so unfit of a good judgment that you have to explicitly take away her right to vote. You think that she needs your authorization to choose a job, open a bank account or drive a car. Can you believe that in the country of “liberty, equality and other bullshit”, France, married French women obtained the right to work without their husband’s consent – only – in 1965. In England, they were accepting to be ruled by a Queen since the 16th century but didn’t even offer women the right to vote or to participate in politics until the first half of the 20th. In New Jersey, women were allowed to vote until 1807. But then, the State took the deliberate act to deny this right to everybody but white male citizens who paid taxes. Our society has been created around the idea that women were inferior, less deserving and should just sit back and listen to the men in charge. After centuries of being undermined and oppressed by a completely male-based society, we finally have seen some efforts in attempt to set the balance straight. We finally decided that it was time to respect women and to make them feel like they can do at least as much as their male counterparts. Women were, are and always will be our equal. Or at least we should finally start to treat them that way.
When Hilary became the Democratic candidate, she was the first woman to be a presidential nominee, and this success brought such a fervour. This was a great thing for America to reach this step, but this was a late one. The USA wants to think that they are first at everything, but there were queens, prime ministers and other important leading roles given to women for ages in other countries. Iceland democratically elected the first woman president in 1980. Pakistan, a muslim country, had a woman Prime Minister in 1990! It might be incredible for the islamophobes out there that the muslim world put a woman in power long before many other Western countries. It doesn’t mean that the Muslim world is embracing women though. Saudi Arabia finally decided to let women drive and the whole world imagined that finally they would embrace women’s rights. But women are still discriminated against in most of their everyday life there and in many other middle eastern countries as well. However, the Western world isn’t completely doing the right thing neither. The old Testament says “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” Women in most of Europe’s “civilized” history have only been chess pieces used to get two countries linked by blood. Today, women are still not allowed to participate in 100% of all the military jobs. What justifications are there to forbid women to be in the military? I thought what mattered was the love of country and the physical abilities. If you forbid women to be part of this without even giving them the chance to try out, what signs do you give to a whole gender? The new Pope, Francis, who is thought to be a liberal one, is against contraception and priesthood for women. Why is it that only men can be Catholic priests? Is God only talking to the ears of men? And the ones ordained by Protestant or Anglican churches have to preach a book that keeps remaining their gender throughout their Holy book. If it were any other institution there would be an outrage.
I believe in a strict equality of all genders. I think this equality should exist in every aspect of our social and cultural life. Sports, arts (i.e. oscars: a leading role is a leading role, no need to make a gender distinction), etc. We encourage women to get into fields that were considered men only – i.e. engineering, computer sciences, etc. – why shouldn’t we encourage a woman to fight a man in a boxing match? Only weight should matter. Of course it will take some time for women to get out of the cultural engineering that we made by asking them not to be strong physically anymore. But they can make it. There was a time when we were physically equal. And turning things around, why don’t we ask men to go into fields considered women only?
Women need equal pay too. But this issue is a lot more complex than just saying “CEOs should be forced to pay women the same as men”. Pay inequalities is not the fault of a misogynistic boss. Society and nature – women have to bear the children – still ask women to do more on the family side of life. So bosses would hesitate to give them important jobs as it is still believed that women will be more family focused than men. I don’t see anything wrong in the idea of women being more preoccupied by family. But maybe it’s time for society to change and put this on men? Or at least have the couple choose who has to support this “burden”. In the end, I think that Women have to “thank” war and the economy for letting the whole world notice that they are good at something else than taking care of the kins. Even the Nazis, who wanted to bring back the idea of the “good Aryan” family, where the wife was supposed to be a good stay at home mom, changed when they needed these same women for the war effort. And in the mean time, children were finally forced to go to school, so who could take their place in the workforce? Women should be considered as good as men in any discipline and we as a society should stop considering women as the one who has to be the family caregiver.
Women bear children and men don’t. That’s the only difference we should acknowledge. Even though I could never see myself saying that I am for abortion. I am for the right of women to choose. I personally hate the idea of abortion. But if we are honest to ourselves, what is the difference between a foetus and one of the millions of spermatozoids that are not lucky enough the get into the egg? If we want to put in jail a woman for aborting, shouldn’t we put in jail all the women in this country who dare menstruating and losing fertilizable eggs every months? Abortion is a right that needs to be protected without forgetting some restrictions too. I think abortion should only be allowed for women who do not want a child for any reason they deem fair. But I do not think it should be legal to abort a fetus due to the gender it will have, or its future eye colour. With the improvements in DNA sequencing, we can be sure that there will be a time when we will be able to know most attributes of a fetus before birth. How to regulate all that? I have no idea, but it is something that needs to be thought of.
If feminism is fighting for equality for women, count me in. If it is the destruction of the paternalistic world, count me in. But if it’s goal is to demean men in general just because they are men and becoming “menophobes”, I am out. The “me too” movement is a great thing that finally empowered women to fight the pigs that were out there doing horrible things without the fear of crashing down. The whole system was protecting them from any consequences, a system supported by men and women. Hilary, supposedly the champion of the women cause didn’t really care to bring to justice some people close to her assaulting other women. Just like Ivanka Trump being the White House champion for women but letting them down when it comes down to her Dad’s own issues. Congress has spent 17 million US dollars of tax payer money since 1997 in secret deals to avoid public knowledge of sexual assault cases… and women in both chambers voted on the law that let Congress do that. Let’s also avoid having this movement turn into a mob destroying any man who has ever smiled at a woman. Men are not the enemy in the fight for women’s rights and gender equality. But men are not perfect. The same way you can go grind on a degrading rap music on Saturday night and then go march for women’s rights on Sunday, you have to understand that not all men are horrible people, and they are complex beings just like you. Women also want to defend the right to choose and do as they please. Which is a fight that should have been won a long time ago if not for men wanting to keep power. But when some choose to wear a scarf because of their religion, we say that they are forced by men to do so. No doubt that some are, but isn’t society kinda forcing women to wear nice dresses and thongs? Instead of shaming women for doing what they think is required by their religion, let’s show them that their religion is sexist – just like the two other ones. Let’s not turn this into a fight only for white christian women. I cannot imagine the feeling of black women in 1860 (or before… or after…). They were fighting for the end of slavery and the respect that her “race” deserved. But even with that accomplished, they still had to fight for the end of misogyny and getting the respect their gender deserved.
The fight for women equality can also be antagonistic on some points. It is hard to both want equality and still want to be courted, expect gallantry and a charming prince. Valentine’s Day is everything but a step towards equality. Society won’t change until people understand that the culture that they claim their own is flawed. When you face the reality that your religion, your democratic country, your relationship to others are based on the original idea that men are superior to women, you should want to change this base instantly. How can any woman want to elect a Congressman who is against abortion? How can we give a free pass to the 14 States who never enacted the ERA? How can we be surprised that the Evangelicals, who praise a Holy Book that promotes Rape still support a publicly misogynistic president? Change is hard and this is why we all need to share our support to a more equal society and convince everybody who is not yet ready to get on this train.