Friday, April 13, 2012

Lets talk about the War on Women a minute...

Sometimes it feels like from the time we are little girls, we are programmed to despise one another simply because, well, for no reason at all really. Girls/women are being pitted against each other and this, dear reader, is not a new concept.

I would like to point out that I put "War on Women" in quotes because, while I do think gender discrimination is a real thing in the US, I also believe that the true War on Women is happening in other aspects--like Sex-selective abortions and female infanticide; like Genital mutilation such as circumcising females (nothing to do with hygiene) or sewing vaginas shut; like murdering or imprisoning women who have been raped or try to run away from their abusive husbands; like the estimated 45,000 to 50,000 women and children who are trafficked annually around the globe, including the United States. With that perspective, I think we can agree that we are currently playing pretty fast and loose with the phrase here in the US.

The phrase "War on Women" seems to have permeated our society following a certain incident in which a certain radio host--who is known for controversy, by the way--said something he shouldn't have. Something I would like to point out has been said by people of both parties about women of both parties. Full disclosure here: I am a Republican and while I tend to agree with some of Mr. Limbaugh's beliefs, I absolutely do NOT agree with the way he chooses to express himself. I do not think that calling Ms. Fluke a slut is appropriate, no to my knowledge, think it is accurate. (I also don't think Mr. Limbaugh understands how birth control works; you take the pill everyday regardless of how much sex you are having. But I digress....) I don't think Ms. Fluke is a slut, but I also don't think I should have to pay for her birth control either. I already pay for my own at a measly $10 a month. But to me, those are two entirely different issues.

In an admittingly round-about way, that brings me to my first point. I don't agree that Limbaugh calling Fluke was an "Act of War" but I do think it's symptomatic of a larger problem. Words like "slut" and "bitch" among countless others are used to put women down, demean them, make them inferior to others. Unfortunately, these words are often said by other women. By calling each other and even ourselves words like that, we are fanning the flames. We are feeding the monster that seeks only to tear us down and watch us self-destruct.

I'm not claiming to have never called someone a bitch, but when we use it so flippantly, we become desensitized to what we are really saying and that's when it arguably becomes the most powerful.

During the most recent season of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, during the infamous "Game Night" episode, a fight broke out between Kim & Kyle Richards and Brandi Glanville (shocking, I know). During the scenes, the show is structured with frequent break-aways for commentary by the girls. Well, during Brandi's break-away, she says "If she wants to be a bitch, I can be a bigger one." Seriously Brandi? Why? Why do you WANT to be a bitch? Why wouldn't you want to be a nice person? Take the high road. You don't have to be friends with everyone, but c'mon, are we really fighting over who is bitchier now?

This isn't even the first time I've seen or heard something like that either. It happens all the time. I heard a quote recently: "Women are angels and when someone breaks our wings we simply continue to fly... on broomsticks. We're flexible like that." Oh, I get it, women are inherently witches too? Is this really what we want to be? Is this how you would want to be known by other people? I'm not saying there is anything wrong with being a strong, confident woman, but why does a bitch stigma have to tag along with that?

The "War on Women" is fabricated in the US. Conservatives say it's a Liberal war and Liberals say it's a Conservative war. Either way, it rages on because we allow it to. From the time we're young, we fight amongst each other. Perceptions of jealousy quickly become real. We watch reality shows full of women, claws out, just waiting to start a fight. We have women like Samantha Brick fueling the fire with articles about her assumptions that women hate her because she's "so beautiful" and others like her. How many times have you heard that? "Oh she doesn't like me because she's just jealous." We are the ones judging by looks and determining what is 'beautiful.' We are constantly pitted against each other when we should be standing side-by-side.

We don't all have to be best friends or agree on all politics or religion or whatever, but I think we should all agree on one thing and that is that we all matter. We all need to stop fighting and support each other. Maybe we can set an example for everyone else and we can make an effort to extinguish the fire of hate that seems so strong in society today. It starts now, simple as that.