Long live feminism...
IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m so, so tired of reading about the death of feminism, the death of equality, the long slow death of whatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Right and Good. Tired of reading about men not wanting to marry smart, ambitious women. Tired of the BS statistics about female childlessness after age 35, and how most men will end up marrying their secretaries but would never even imagine smooching their boss.
Maureen DowdÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s recent and controversial New York Times magazine piece, WhatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s A Modern Girl to Do? didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t answer any of feminismÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Big, Important questions. It was a personal essay Ã¢â‚¬â€ an op-ed with a few very debatable stats thrown in. Dowd mainly conceded that not a whole helluva lot has changed for American women since the inception of "womenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s lib" Ã¢â‚¬â€ despite feminism's best intentions:
Despite the best efforts of philosophers, politicians, historians, novelists, screenwriters, linguists, therapists, anthropologists and facilitators, men and women are still in a muddle in the boardroom, the bedroom and the Situation Room.And when I read horrifying news stories like this, I'm shocked into reluctantly agreeing with her.
HereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the short version of that Washington Post story: A female victim of domestic abuse -- Yvette Cade, 31, of Maryland -- receives an "order of protection" (also dubbed a "stay-away order") against her threatening, estranged husband. It's meant to prevent any sort of contact from her husband; but he breaks the protective order by calling and "intimidating" Cade's daughter, so she calls the judge back and explains that she needs a divorce. The judge essentially laughs in her face, says heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s "not a divorce lawyer" and he's not 6'4 and that if she wants a divorce, too bad -- look elsewhere.
Cade's order of protection is dropped Ã¢â‚¬â€ allegedly because of a "clerical error" Ã¢â‚¬â€ and her estranged husband tracks her down in a cell phone store, douses her with gasoline, and sets her on fire. Cade is now recovering -- "breathing through a tube and blinking her eyes to communicate" -- in a Maryland hospital, with third-degree burns covering most of her face and upper body.
It makes me feel sick, literally, each time I realize Ã¢â‚¬â€ again Ã¢â‚¬â€ that no matter how far we've come, no matter how far women have advanced in the workplace and in the world, we haven't gained much at all when it comes to relationships with the people, partners, men who are supposed to love us as their equals. Feminism's job wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be finished until men stop denying their role Ã¢â‚¬â€ and their responsibility Ã¢â‚¬â€ to prevent and fight this type of violence.
As one of my personal heroes, Kathleen Hanna, once wrote/sang (as alter-ego Julie Ruin):
How many girls stay awake all night
Too scared to sleep and too scared to fight back
I know you know what I'm talking about
Another woman killed and hardly a pout about it
Green River killer my fucking ass
The cops have gotta be deaf, dumb, and spastic
To not catch the killer of a hundred women
I guess it'd be different if they thought we were human...