IWD thread: an update

7 Apr

(Originally posted to the Community section of MyMedia)

For those who read this thread, I offer an apology.

It’s very difficult for me, given current events, to find motivation to continue talking about the need for everyone–including women–to see everyone else–particularly women, both cis and trans, and gender fluid/gender queer people–as equals.

The current administration has declared April to be “Sexual Assault Awareness Month.”

Irony has died.

The person signing this was caught on tape bragging about how he can “grab women by the genitals” and how “they let you do it when you are a celebrity.” At the time, he was almost 60 years old, and his third wife was pregnant with his fifth child. He was making these remarks to a man on his mid thirties, in front of a crew of adult men.

And this behaviour was defended as “locker room talk”–as if the venue made it less demeaning to women–or dismissed as “boys will be boys”–as if grown ass men cannot be expected to behave like grown ass men if there are no women present.

This same person also signed a document just days earlier, eliminating protections for women in the workplace. Those arbitration clauses that allow companies to keep all sexual harassment complaints within the company’s HR department, and forbid women employees from making these allegations public? Yeah, they are back in force.

The gender wage gap? Well, with that same signature on late March, this administration has made sure that companies and corporations do not have to disclose their pay rates to the government–which means, there will be no way to track the disparities in salaries and wages between men and women.

Yesterday was Equal Pay Day, which is the day when women, on average, would have made about the same money as men made, on average, the previous year. Three full months. Count them.

Women, on average, must work THREE more months than men, to make the same amount. Translated: women, on average, make 80 cents to the dollar what men, on average, make, for the same work, on the same positions.

This disparity is even more notable for certain groups, such as Latinx and black women, and a bit less for Asian American women–but it exists.

Women continue to be penalized for being women–maternity leave? child care costs? personal days for a child illness or a special event? How many companies are okay with this? Beyond the corporate level, how many bosses–both male and female–make women pay (in stress, discomfort, derision) for being mothers?

Last month, Congress came close to hold a vote to eliminate Essential Health Benefits from health insurance coverage. Preventative care, such as yearly mammograms, is one of those benefits. When asked about this, Senator Patrick Roberts sneered, “I wouldn’t want to lose my mammogram coverage.” Representative John Shimkus argues that men shouldn’t have to pay for maternity coverage.

Do you see the pattern here?

We see ads for viagra and other erectile dysfunction meds all the time, and I can’t recall many women complaining that they shouldn’t pay for men to get prostrate exams as part of preventative care–but care for women is fair game.

It is exhausting to think about all of these things, and to know that many, if not most, of the men in our lives believe we, women, have it so good., that we live in a “post-sexism” age.

To have them dispute that workplace harassment is a real thing (instead of having them ask about our behaviour or wardrobe).

That sexism is the main reason we don’t get that promotion (instead of having them tell us why we should just work harder, smarter, better).

If the people at the highest levels of public life are openly misogynistic, with little to none real, actual, tangible consequences*, it’s incredibly difficult to hope that change will happen elsewhere.

And yet.

And yet, here I am still. Still writing about this. Still hoping that at least one person will read these and learn something.

* Being criticized in the press or social media, yet continue to hold office, means that there have been no consequences for this behaviour.

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4 Responses to “IWD thread: an update”

  1. Lori 13/04/2017 at 3:54 AM #

    I’m so stymied by this. The beginning of Black History Month, praise for Frederick Douglass who is doing amazing things. On the first night of Passover, concentration camps get renamed Holocaust Centers and apparently Jews killed there weren’t Germans, weren’t gassed and Hitler wasn’t such a bad guy after all.

    This is like a parody presidency. We’re being punked as a nation.

    I don’t know if I should be crying in fear and desperation or applauding the best alternate theater performance to ever happen.

    • azteclady 13/04/2017 at 3:07 PM #

      I’m terrified myself.

      Asking citizens of France and the UK to hand over their social media passwords? Is he an idiot or a fucking idiot? Dropping bombs wherever, every other day, because…?

  2. Lori 14/04/2017 at 4:17 PM #

    I don’t feel safe. Every day I’m scared that he’s going to start a war with N. Korea and kill us all. I never knew this level of fear.

    • azteclady 14/04/2017 at 7:24 PM #

      It’s like living the Cuban Missile Crisis over and over and over and…

      And even if, by some miracle, he doesn’t start WWIII, what he’s doing to the country’s institutions will last for years and years.

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