Sunday, June 23, 2024

Repression and Misogyny

Every morning, I pick up my trusty iPad and tap on the CNN app to see if anything of the moment happened overnight. Often, there are innocuous stories, so I look at the fashions or, more often, bizarre costumes worn at some event or other by folks whose names I don’t know and whose taste is questionable. 

Today was different. There was a story about counter-protesters at UCLA. One lovely young Jewish man was celebrated on his mother’s social media for beating down folks supporting Gazans. She was proud of him. This reminded me of a story the other day about a Palestinian town in the West Bank that was so often ravaged by Jewish “settlers” that they up and decamped. Shortly thereafter, the town was bulldozed and declared on a sign to be Jewish territory. Now, one does not have to hate Jews or Israel to recognize that someone should have stepped in to stop the predation of the Palestinian families, but, as it apparently often happens, the Israeli soldiers did nothing. As I have noted before, the “From the River to the Sea” chant is aspirational for the Palestinians. It is strategic for Israel. 

Another story also vexed me. Some kid who kicks balls for a living chose to lecture students at a graduation. His thesis was directed at females. He pointed out that their highest and best use was to clean houses and make babies. That, he suggested, would make them happy, and he pointed out that his resident servant, I mean wife, was satisfied with doing that. So, therefore, every other woman should be too. Of course, most women aren’t married to men who make lots of money kicking balls. His mother is a highly successful professional whom, I imagine, he thinks should have always been home to tend to the needs of her family and provide transportation or other services, and thus, he feels deprived. 

In surveys of relative happiness, married men report the most happiness while married women report the least. Being relegated to tend to some men’s needs is, surprisingly, not the road to bliss for many women. Because women have the means to support themselves, unlike in times past, they are not forced to marry to find support. Because women have the means to support themselves, they aren’t forced into poverty when their husbands decide they want a different servant. Because women are able to support themselves, they don’t need to stay with someone who hurts them or their children. 

Men conveniently forget the past, but women, one hopes, do not. Education and out-of-home opportunities have greatly enriched women’s lives. Motherhood is often a joyful experience, and marriage can be great, but when it isn’t, it is misery. 

I have watched commercials on tv wherein a young woman is sitting on a toilet saying that girls poop too. I have seen a woman, declaring herself to be a gynecologist, standing in a bathroom wearing what appears to be her nightwear, talking about how women stink and need whatever she is flogging so their pits, feet, and, of course, their offending vaginas smell nice. I have never seen a man sitting on a toilet saying he poops, bears yes, men no,  or a man posing as a doctor in anything but a white coat or suit unless he’s on a golf course.

Women are being subjected to an onslaught of attacks. We stink, we poop, and we need men to explain that we should be barefoot and pregnant while cooking, cleaning, and catering to our overlords. We are too stupid, selfish, or ignorant to be allowed to make decisions about our own bodies. We are deficient, so we should not be paid for our labor as men are. In fact, we are stealing jobs that men ought to have and places in Universities that men should be given. We need to smell nice, be subservient, and always accept that any man, anywhere, is better than we are. Women need to stay in their place, which apparently is any place some man or other thinks it is. 

We are, as a world community, seeing vicious and often violent efforts to roll back rights, to destroy whole peoples, to repress and regress on the basis of gender, faith, ethnicity, or race. I am reminded of a notion voiced after WWII. Once the powers of darkness come for one group or another, eventually, they will come for you. 

Heads up, folks.

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M.A. Callahan
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