“The War on Women” is big news these days. It’s “election cycle news.” It’s a tool used by the powerful people to herd us all emotionally in one direction or the other but that does not mean it isn’t real.
I feel it. I have always felt the war because the war is always present in a society which does not yet understand how to handle the fairer sex. The society does not know how to handle the fairer sex because we simply do not wish to be “handled” anymore. The fairer sex never really cared for the “handling” it’s only now, in this century, that we’re articulating it without being thrown in the stocks.
Or maybe we are still being thrown in the stocks after all.
If the Sandra Fluke incident illustrates anything at all it is just that Rush Limbaugh is an asshole. This should really come as no surprise to anyone. Even Rush Limbaugh would admit that he’s an asshole, I’d wager. The danger of Rush Limbaugh isn’t that he’ll inform policy making because I doubt he influences Capitol Hill. I imagine that the people the powers that be hope he influences more are the men and women who would find his brand of humor funny. They find his humor funny because they agree with it. We don’t find things funny if we disagree with them.
Those people who agree with Rush Limbaugh are a danger to us not because they make policy, but because they vote, in blocks, for people who would seek to limit the freedoms of women. They may couch it in fuzzy terms about protecting women and keeping the balance of things and the sanctity of life but truly these people, men and women, are afraid of what the world might look in the future. I’d say that probably they are most afraid of where they might fit in a world in which women garner equal pay for equal work and have the right to choose their own medical care at the very least. Change is hard and scary. I get that.
The latest kerfuffle in the “war on women” media frenzy centers around a tweet made by Democratic strategist, Hilary Rosen stating that Ann Romney “never worked a day in her life.” The resulting uproar from all sides of the political circus was a steady chant of “war, war, war” and they are not completely incorrect. As a woman who chose to “stay home” myself with my four children I can tell you that this “working mom” vs “stay at home mom” tension is real. In truth, none of us women, working outside the home or not, know just how to engage it. Women with children, without children, working with children, working outside the home, single, unemployed, struggling with fertility, struggling with abuse…all of us are navigating this particular war. It’s a private affair between sisters who are trying to find themselves in a world traditionally run by men. We will work this out. I believe that. In time, we women will discover how to find ourselves in each other. We are already doing that on our own. When the dust settles around these media inflated arguments we come to our senses and we remember who we are. I believe this.
The real trouble here isn’t the comment by Hilary Rosen and I think we, as women, know this. The real trouble is that there are those people in power who would seek to use this sister feud for their own purposes, to advance their own agenda, to limit the choices we can make with our bodies, to limit our ability to earn equal pay for equal work and to silence our voice in the things that matter most to the fairer sex, all of us. Men don’t seek to limit women because they think they’re better than women, they do so because they are afraid of our power. Men who have no idea how to be a man in the midst of a powerful woman will always try to limit her power instead of reaching for becoming a better version of himself.
The real “war on women” where politics is concerned has nothing to do with Rush Limbaugh or Hilary Rosen so let’s not let ourselves be distracted. The war comes in the form of policy making so let’s be clear about where we should place our moral outrage today. It’s ineffective and downright stupid for us to take our eye off the proverbial ball as it were. If we want to operate within our real and true power as women we won’t be drawn into the fray here and allow ourselves to be distracted by the shiny news stories in the left hand about which pundit said what and instead keep our attentions rooted firmly in what the right hand is doing.
This is part 1 of a 2 part discussion on this issue. Look for part 2 to come this week…