5 April, 2008

Gender Fender Bender

Posted in Feminism, legislature tagged , , , , at 11:27 am by breathingbullets

I’m really sorry, but…I fail at keeping my head on the task at hand. I spent, say, forty minutes trying to figure out the exact federal funding for Viagra (and wow, I found some crazy shite to write about) as compared with federal funding for breast cancer research. So I decided to peruse WebMD, and I couldn’t find actual numbers there. I started flipping through articles, hoping to come across something that would help me figure out the alleged Viagra/breast cancer research disparity.

I don’t know whether or not I noted this, but I am a pretty militant feminist. That doesn’t mean every prostate coming my way is going to the chopping block; I just believe men and women should be treated as equals. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. However, unlike Summers, the former president of Harvard University, I don’t believe that my gender is confined to linguistic arts.

Anyhow, I click on an article called, “11 ‘Don’t-Tell-the-Wife’ Secrets All Men Keep. We’ll just say it aroused my curiosity. At first it was the normal, “He’s not going to tell you that he saw a really hot girl and his eyes magically got glued to her cleavage,” but then I stumbled across, “Earning money makes us feel important.” My first reaction was, “eh…that’s fine and dandy. I liked earning money, too.” But then, naturally, men feel the need to bury themselves in complete egomaniacal bull: “‘My wife and I are both reporters at the same newspaper,’ says Jeffrey Newton, 33, of Fayetteville, South Carolina. ‘Five years into our marriage I still check her pay stub to see how much more an hour I make than she does. And because she works harder, she keeps closing the gap.’”

I’m not concerned with the fact that he’s too insecure to just be content with the fact that they’re both talented reporters. I am bothered by the fact that he’s conscious of the fact that she works harder than he does, but is happy to know that the company is paying her less. If there’s anything I hate about American society, it’s that progress is so slow in this “land of opportunity.” The Equal Rights Amendment was first proposed to Congress in 1923. Eighty-four years later, only thirty-five states have ratified it.

The ERA states this:

Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Section 3. This article shall take effect 2 years after the date of ratification.

Does that really seem so hard? At the moment, women earn 76.5% of a man’s earnings and they may very well be doing the same work. And if we want to pull the race card, and today I do, Hispanic and African American women earn between 58.8% and 70.8% of their male counterparts earnings. Asian women close the gap amongst all American men with an astounding 86%. But in comparison to Asian men, they’re right back down to about 76.4% of the earnings. Is equal pay really so bad? Why is the Equal Rights Amendment so objectionable that it’s taken over eighty years to become three states away from ratification?

I wonder how far the Women’s Rights Movement has really gone. Beyond female suffrage…what did we honestly get? The American government couldn’t make it any clearer—power wrests in stupid pieces of green paper marked up with dead men’s faces, phrases of false patriotism, and the misleading belief in a righteous god. To my understanding, the mystic powers of the green paper are not meant to be equally distributed amongst all people.

What does it take to get stuff done in the legislature? The country was founded in, say, 1776. The Civil War ended around 1865. So it took one hundred years for slaves to be free. Hmm…But then, as I recall, it wasn’t really freedom because Jim Crow came to play, and he was pretty good at fucking people over. Female suffrage was won after World War I, so around 1918. Then the Civil Rights Movement blasted through the 60’s…So about two hundred years to get things really rolling. I, personally, can’t wait another 200 years for some startling change. I have something called a limited lifespan. Worse still, I’m not that patient. Sometimes, I really think that if it were possible, some faux-Gilead society would be created. Want to know the most disgusting part of that statement? Everything in that book—The Handmaid’s Tale (if you didn’t catch the reference)—is perfectly plausible.

-*- C.K.

Sources:

WebMD article by Ty Wenger from Redbook Magazine

Department for Professional Employees (for statistics)

Equal Rights Amendment

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c110:S.J.RES.10:

http://www.equalrightsamendment.org/

The Handmaid’s Tale

Response to Summers Speech (U.K. perspective)

Awesome movie that needs to be watched by anyone who considers themselves a feminist:

Iron-Jawed Angels

Depiction of Jim Crow

Jim Crow

http://www.jimcrowhistory.org/