Progress? What Progress?

Yet again, Time Magazine has something interesting to read. This time out, I guess in observation of “International Womens Day” (who comes UP with these holidays?), Jessica Winter wrote a fabulously funny commentary asking that most obvious of all questions these days: “Are Women People?”

The answer is, sadly, no. We’re just about everything BUT people. Of course, according to former Massachusetts Governor and eternally animatronic GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, “Corporations are people, my friend!” Yes, dear, of course they are. And the first day that a corporation shows up asking to date dd, I will drive to BassPro and buy the biggest shotgun I can get my hands on.

I also found it quite amusing that Winter came to the same conclusion I was discussing with a co-worker just yesterday: the lack of a Y chromosome is NOT a disability. Women can do all kinds of amazing things, excepting that whole (reliably) peeing standing up thing, and yet we’re still treated as second-class citizens. Even now, it still seems highly unlikely that this country is ready to elect a woman President – although I really did think Hilary had a good shot at it. The only female brought up to the podium on the GOP debate stage this cycle was just Rick Santorum in bad drag.

I feel like women are just under attack lately. Maybe it’s not lately – maybe it’s been a lot longer than that with seemingly no end in sight – but it seems like any lull has certainly been broken by just a spate of really horrifically anti-woman statements and actions that managed to make it to the news. Whether it’s being called “sluts” for using contraception, being threatened with transvaginal ultrasounds when deciding to have an abortion (I’ve had a transvag ultrasound – NOT comfortable) or just about any of the other WTF-inducing moments, I can’t decide whether I should strap my breasts down or whip ’em out and stand in the middle of an intersection.

Part of what frustrates me is that things continue to move backwards, even as we move forward in time. I’m a statistic, many times over, whether we’re counting the times I was sexually harassed at a workplace (years ago) or when I fended off a sexual assault so that it could stay in the “attempted” category. I probably know lots of other women who are statistics, too. I would like to think that all the complete tools that are out there trying to degrade the public standing of women, like the Limbaughs and the Santorums of the world, will one day WAKE THE F*%K UP and realize that they know women. The women they know deserve better than what they’re trying to do to all the women that they don’t know.

The other part is that I can’t protect dd from all of it. When I was a little kid, Gloria Steinem was always in the news, and Ms. was a title that working women were proud to use as a symbol of their independence from a male-dominated hierarchy. Now, I wonder how many women below the age of 30 could even pick Gloria out of a lineup, would even know what she went through to help get it to the point where it could be commonplace for women to be in roles other than steno pool, waitress, or on our backs. I want things to be better for dd than they were for me, as they were better for me than they were for my mom. That’s how it’s supposed to be, right?

There’s no reason to have to accept a male-dominated dialogue that favors mean soundbites over sound reasoning. There’s no reason to have to accept being treated like a walking incubator instead of a thinking, feeling person with an ability to make rational decisions about my own health care. And there’s just never a reason to listen to a hate-filled windbag from either extreme end of the partisan scale. Extreme views may win ratings, but they rarely win arguments.

When I go into the voting booth this November, I plan to fill in the oval for the candidates I believe to be least detrimental to women. None of them are really pro-woman (excepting maybe someone like Elizabeth Warren, who seems to be fairly self-aware about her whole XX chromosome situation). See, I don’t just owe it to dd to make things better…I owe it to myself.

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