For The Women’s March

I confirmed all of his worst fears.  Because even though he was an atheist, he still believed women came from the devil.  My unwillingness to sacrifice my life on the altar of our relationship was the first hint that something was horribly wrong.

And something was wrong.  I committed one mortal sin after another.  Laughing too loudly.  Going out too often.  Writing too much.  Refusing to hide my weirdness.  Refusing to live like the saintly women I knew–starving themselves until they fainted, inspiring their men with their very presence, full of gratitude and grace.

Never satisfied, angry and opinionated.  The serpent from hell had once come to chat with a woman just like me, or so I’ve been told.

Well, you can have your devil.  He crumbles before my Kali–She who can destroy the universe you’ve built with one touch.  Fear of Her is the reason you’ve tied us down and locked us away for all these centuries.

But even when we’ve been tied down with velvet ribbons and smothered in lace, She never really goes away.  At night, when I’m curled up next to him, breathing into his ear, She’s there.  Silent, but breathing with me.

Are You still asleep, my love?

 

So just as I decided to be whiny about it, I’ve been given a good reminder of why I should be grateful to live in Portland.  The entire Internet has been mocking the Idaho gubernatorial debate today, with its wacky Bible-quotin’ conspiracy-theory-spoutin’ candidates.  This brings back lovely memories, as I used to live in Idaho.  Only for a short time, but still, wow.

The Idaho of today seems at least slightly less homophobic, as one of the debaters opined that gay people love each other more than he does his motorcycle.  I can still remember the guy at my Boise school who told me that if he found out a person was gay, he would have no problem whatsoever with killing them (shudder).  Then there were the male students in my college class (a college class!) responding to a female professor’s lecture by saying that yes, in fact, women should be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen.  While the boys were a bit more rude about it, the girls explained to me in a nice and polite way that they were going to submit to their husbands when they got married.  I think my jaw dropped to the ground and stayed there for the entire five years I lived in that state. 

In the end, it was too much for us.  We couldn’t handle Idaho.  Having just come from a stint in Holland and New York, the culture shock was too extreme to overcome.  We were singing on the day we packed up our U-Haul to leave.  And then it was time for our romance with Portland to begin.

I would like to add that there were a few wonderful and open-minded people I met in Idaho as well.  I feel for them–it’s not an easy life for those brave individuals.

Interesting quote from David French, director of “How to Survive a Plague”, commenting on why today’s LGBT generation might be less radical about their political fight:  “Hasn’t all identity politics hit a wall?  Feminism as identity politics is nothing like it was in the ’70s and ’80s, the way we talk about race is all kind of blurred now.  I don’t know how to describe the period we’re in, but it’s post-identity politics.”

Post-identity politics.  As a woman, I would agree with this statement, especially the part referring to feminism.  My question is, would this be a positive development–a sign that there is less discrimination for these various groups to worry about?  Or does it simply mean that people are not speaking out as much about the problems which are still in existence?  After all, these days when you draw attention to racist innuendo against the President you’re playing the “race card”.  If you argue too loudly for women’s rights, you are an angry feminist requesting special birth control perks from the government.

I think it’s obvious that the undercurrent of bigotry is still there.  Witness the 2012 election, with its food stamps race-baiting and the male politicians fixating on women’s health, the angry red staters arming themselves to the teeth because that African guy got re-elected.  Perhaps the real issue is that the way talk about all this is, as French said, “blurred”.  Maybe we shouldn’t be afraid of playing our cards and stating our identities, and shouldn’t be in such a hurry to be post-everything.

Don’t mean to harp on this subject, but it feels like I’m having a new WTF moment every day:

 

*Republicans still divided on the Violence Against Women Act.  It looks like the re-authorization will just barely squeak by in the Senate, but with a lot of opposition from the Rs…because it’s going to extend protections to Indian tribes and same sex couples.  Really??  Mitt is now trying to send an anxious message out to his party:  “Please support this bill.  I want to have a chance in the general election…”

*Women’s wages are still about 77% of men’s wages, and this gap has not budged at all since 2001. 

*The Vatican is reprimanding American nuns for making statements which “disagree with or challenge the bishops”.  Oh noes!  The nuns in question are members of the Leadership Conference, an organization which supported the President’s health care law.  The Vatican has also criticized this group for focusing too much on poverty and economic injustice, and not enough on abortion and gay marriage. (The issues we all really care about…) 

*We now get to read lovely opinion columns like the one from SE Cupp in the New York Daily News (and she’s a Glenn Beck minion, so I should know better, but still) lecturing us about how the best choice Ann Romney ever made was marrying well.  According to SE, if we’re smart enough to find a good, rich husband, we’ll be able to afford health care and won’t have to go on welfare!  Now I know for sure that I’ve been teleported into the 1950’s.  (Or is it the 1850’s?)

*And to finish on a depressing note, a quote from one of the women in Colombia who allegedly had a good time with our Secret Service agents, arguing that she is an escort and not a prostitute:  “It’s the same, but it’s different…It’s like when you buy a fine rum or a BlackBerry or an iPhone.  They have a different price.”  Please, ladies, don’t think of yourselves as a phone or a bottle of alcohol.  We already get objectified.  Let’s not objectify ourselves.

But hey, I’m hallucinating this imaginary “war on women”, right?  Just another hysterical feminist.  Silver lining time:  I know there are other women out there getting as pissed off about this onslaught as I am.  Let’s see how far the misogynists can get without our votes…