Donald Trump had a pitifully small crowd at his inauguration, which was dwarfed by Women’s March protests the following day, not only in D.C., but in cities around the country and world. Irked at the global show of defiance to their Dear Leader, Trumpistas have taken to social media with memes of befuddlement about with what these tens of millions of women could possibly be upset. Well, it was overall an anti-Trump movement, but, being a Women’s March, there were protesters and marchers with myriad focuses. Some were there for reproductive rights, some for gender equality, for lgbtq rights, immigrant rights, religious freedom, economic justice, climate change, education…
Skeptical memes have boiled down to two things: get over it, and what rights do men have that women do not? As for the request to lie down and allow Emperor Trump to run amok: denied. As for the question of women’s rights:
Free the nipple. Now, it may seem like a trivial thing, but the fact that men have the right to go topless and women do not speaks to an overall theme of power and control over women’s bodies. Female breasts are not to remain hidden because they are different than those of men, but simply because they belong to women. It’s not about shape; plenty of men have relatively large chests, and vice versa with women. The main difference between the chests of women and men is function. The fact that breast feeding is not at all a sexual act does not, however, prevent men from being sexually attracted. We’re attracted to feet and thick lips and all sorts of things that do not require covering. We single out female breasts because the straight white men who’ve been in charge are sexually attracted to them, and want them to remain sexualized, no matter the hypocritical violation of equal protection that it creates for women.
Speaking of unwanted over-sexualization; in the rare instance when we admit that it might have actually occurred, we blame survivors of sexual assault for having the temerity to consume alcohol in the general proximity of preying men, or for being too scantily clad for our puritanical sensibilities. We give women and girls instructions on how to not get raped; rather than give boys firm guidelines regarding consent. We have hundreds of thousands of untested rape kids, for god’s sake.
This attitude even seeps its way into the treatment of children, as every year there are numerous stories of crusty old men being overcome by arousal at the sight of students in their prom dresses, and teachers feeling compelled into action by young girls in class with tight pants. Just because you cannot control your perverted old man boner does not give you the right to single out, reprimand, and body-shame a child.
We’re all about shaming, though. While men are generally celebrated for sexual conquests, abstinence-only sex-ed has taught impressionable young girls that they are chewed up pieces of gum if they dare engage in sexual relations outside of marriage.
We have sharia law theocrats in government that want to not only slut-shame women and girls, but actually punish them for having sex for pleasure by any means necessary. They don’t want the youth to have the knowledge to keep from getting pregnant, or access to birth control without parental permission. They don’t want health insurance to guarantee birth control; they refuse to allow any federal funds to pay for abortion.
They fight existing social insurance like Medicaid, food stamps (SNAP), and welfare (TANF); and against proposed programs such as mandatory paid maternity leave and universal pre-k.
/Bodily autonomy is as fundamental a right as a person can have, and countless women, especially in conservative states, are denied this fundamental right in America. Clumps of cells are not living, breathing human beings. They just aren’t. We can have a conversation about the stage in pregnancy at which a fetus becomes viable (SCOTUS says 20 weeks, currently). But that is aside from the point, since late-term abortions are extremely rare, and only occur in cases when the health of the mother is in danger, or fetal abnormalities which won’t allow it to survive.
Besides, abortion bans do not prevent the need for abortion; they only block access of poor women to safe, regulated abortion, and force them into dangerous, back alley, Kermit Gosling with a coat hanger situations. Wealthy women don’t need family planning clinics when they can go their ob-gyn; and can afford to travel if local laws are too strict.
Lean in. Men have the right to be successful career-men without having their parenting skills and love for their children thrown into question. While men face the same work/life balance as women, there is entire cottage industry of books on the topic as it pertains to women. Female politicians are repeatedly pressed on the issue while men are not judged as a failure of a parent simply for having career success.
I am perfectly willing to admit that we have laws which favor women in regards to domestic violence calls and alimony; but what MRA Neanderthals and the very few with daddy issues bad enough to briefly date them need to admit: whether codified into law or simply in practice, women are at a disadvantage in practically every other area of American society. While we avoid some of the worse forms of misogyny such as female genital mutilation, honor killings, and femicide…
Females are 51% of the population, and earn 60% of college degrees, yet represent less than 20% of congress. They are underrepresented in areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. They are underrepresented in board rooms and executive suites.
Women with kids are paid less than those without; while men with kids are paid more than men without. And whatever the exact number is, women are paid less than men. Even when they do they same job, even when adjusting for maternity leave, the wage gap persists.
Successful women like Oprah Winfrey, Madeleine Albright, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Serena Williams, Meryl Streep, and Sally Ride prove than women are easily as capable as men, if not more so. They are the exceptions that prove the rule.
No matter. Men want to punish, shame, and suppress women; and craft public policy to make them financially dependent. Simply put, men have more rights than women, and hoard power in industry and politics in order to maintain their status in the American patriarchy.