Quote of the day: "Since the American broadcasting system has more restrictions against sexuality, you can get away more with amplifying violence than you can with amplifying sexuality. It results in this weird sadistic element. Putting women in these sexual situations is a backdoor way of getting more flesh in." Jeffrey Sconce, associate professor at Northwestern University
I read this quote in Entertainment Weekly. It triggered a few thoughts that I would like to share with you. This quote, along with the larger article about violence toward women appears to be a theme that is being played out in much of my reading lately. I am currently reading this book called, "Because I Remember Terror, Father I Remember You" by Sue William Silverman. By far, this book has been one of the most unsettling books that I have read in a long time. It is the autobiography of a woman who survived sexual abuse. It is a tough book to stomach, not because of overly graphic details, but because of the nature of the material. And if the material were not enough, add Saskia, my daughter, into the equation. It's hard to comprehend how or why a father would invade, dismantle a life he partly created, yet it happens too frequently, and girls are the overwhelming target of this tragedy. Humph!
Why so much violence toward the female gender? Why does this hunger for power over girls and women exist in so many boys and men? The networks are increasingly having story lines where women are raped or tortured. Why? Is there an unspeakable sexiness about putting women "in their place," by any means necessary? Even in the most purest and noblest forms of our society -- RELIGION -- we are besieged by the overt sexism and patriarchy that exists in the texts. Look at Christianity, Judaism, and Islam -- look at their texts: the Bible, Torah, and Qur'an -- all subtly and overtly make harsh distinctions between men and women, with women on the losing end most of the time. If the holy books do not bring about true equality amongst gender, what's that to say for everyone and everything else?
I listen to bar talk from men about women. I have heard sermons preached about women submitting themselves to their husbands. I have seen female friends stay in abusive relationships because they justify their man's behavior. I know of a guy who spoke openly of his fantasy of tying a woman up . . . then putting her in the trunk of his car -- (and this is the fantasy that I can actually mention in my public blog; there are more disturbing ones than this one). I watched my parents embrace this gender atrocity. Growing up, I benefited by having a later curfew than my sister, strictly because I was a male.
I get tired of men, of me, being male. I hate the fear in a woman's eye when I walk past her during night time, if she is alone. I'm tired of the women who don't have the strength to leave when they are being abused -- because of commitment, or love, or religion. I understand fear. I know women who stay because they fear for their lives. I understand this. I am not tired of these women who stay for this reason, but I am sickened by the men who make these women feel this way; who threaten out of their own illness and weakness. I'm tired of men making women feel less than what they are. I'm tired of my own voicelessness, my own loud silence.
O, men! We are so pathetic, so pitiful. We believe we are greater because of physical ability. We believe we are greater because we are ordained to be the head. We are nothing but a pathetic lot.
I pray for women around this world. I pray that you will be able to stand against us; fight back, and like Sojourner Truth speak it with passion. "Sojourner Truth: ex-slave and fiery abolitionist, figure of imposing physique, riveting preacher and spellbinding singer who dazzled listeners with her wit and originality. Straight-talking and unsentimental, Truth became a national symbol for strong black women--indeed, for all strong women." She once addressed a man who was trying to put women in their place by saying: "That little man in black there! He says women can't have as much rights as men: 'Cause Christ wasn't a woman.' [Sojourner] stood with outstretched arms and eyes of fire. "Where did your Christ come from?"
"Where did your Christ come from?", she thundered again. "From God and a Woman! Man had nothing to do with him!"
To all my friends and family who are girls or women, I say -- Stand up to the fathers and brothers, the uncles and bosses, the boyfriends and husbands, the religions and governments who have tried to steal your souls, who have tried to make you less than what you are: a Princess, a Queen, a Brain, an equal, a Goddess.