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In The Card Game of Gender Her Admitted Lack of Courage Somehow Left Him with Fleas…

Sexism is an intriguing thing in our current society. You can see this in the way many people responded to ex Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, and are now responding to Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann. Both of these women are often mocked as intellectual lightweights, as if all men who are seeking forms of higher office are intellectual giants. Somehow Hillary Clinton avoided the complex criticism of her aptitude to do the job that both of her female Republican counterparts couldn’t avoid. It could be related to her ability to answer both complex and simple questions with a level of clarity that the others often appear to struggle with. However, no matter how you see what should not be seen as the phenomenon of women in politics, the evaluation of a female candidate will always require teasing out sexist’s views. But a question that might be quite intriguing for you to consider is exactly to what extent does this work both ways in our society?

For example, New York State has a female politician that appears to be so invested in entering the good-old boys club that she continues to throw a disenfranchised group under the bus in terms of their civil rights to marry the one they love, even though she herself belongs to a group (women) whose civil rights were denied along similar rationale (it’s always been this way). Another example is how some feminists with scars from their interactions with some men (not all) still default to seeing most men (if not all) as overtly oppressive/sexist while they try to convince themselves they can’t be racist, classist, etc. because of their level of sophistication/expertise with one “ism.” Is this just an instance of the pot calling the kettle black? Regardless, the sexism card, like a similarly powerful card—the race card—often is played as a wild card when it serves the purpose.

Some time ago a friend of mine mentioned he was dating a woman who was quite brilliant. Foreign born and reared, she was one of the best communicators he had ever met, actually quite a linguist, having literally mastered five languages (German, French, English, Italian, and Spanish). Seldom was there a joke, quip, conundrum, or display of wit from anyone within her range of hearing that she didn’t totally understand and/or have a response to. This woman was quite the social commentator having a familiarity with so many cultures she could easily juxtapose the best/worst of any culture with another. As a result, her depth was unparalleled relative to the people that he said he had met in his lifetime. But she was still a woman in contemporary society who carried scars that were quite surprising to witness, admittedly, even to her. Case in point, once when he traveled to Quebec to see her they spent an evening together. They had wine at her place, then went out to a very nice dinner and practically closed the restaurant they stayed there so long, chatting one another up in a dark corner. The next morning he left her place early to return home to attend to some time-sensitive family commitments. It turns out that they didn’t talk that day at all, nor the next day, or the next. He said he did however, text her once during that period to wish her well on her son’s first communion. She responded with a thank you, and nothing more. He said he should have recognized her very brief reply as a harbinger of things to come. He said he actually thought about calling her many times, but also thought she could have taken the initiative to contact him just as much as he could her. Up to that point, he had seen her twice and both times he had made the effort of driving to her town. Both times he had picked up the tab. And after the first meeting he claimed he had called her afterwards. So, he said he wanted to see if she would take some initiative to acknowledge their evening. Well, after a few days she finally broke the ice and sent him a text message that had no amicable salutation within it. It simply requested that he return a film to her that she had loaned him. He then responded to her that he was curious about her tone and wondered if the undertone was in response to their lack of conversation after a very romantic evening. She acknowledged that she was perturbed from his lack of contact with her immediately after such a great evening. He then asked her was it not the case that he had driven over an hour to see her including border crossing drama, brought her a bottle of wine as a gift, took her out to an expensive dinner and picked up the entire bill. With that effort, was he still obligated to also be the one to make the “morning after” phone call? If so, why? Her response was that her visceral reaction was inexplicable to her, she actually owned the fact that she didn’t know why. She honestly stated she just felt bad having shared an intimate evening with him and not received a call from him for closure on that evening. After pressing her a bit further, she admitted she was a bit nervous about contacting him afterwards, a bit uncertain about how he would process the romance that had occurred that evening. They eventually laughed it off because they were both cool with the fact that they were finally at least talking, but he later admitted to me that he couldn’t get past the fact that somehow, in her mind when she hadn’t heard from him, he had become a “dog,” the stereotypical designation many men receive when they don’t conform to some women’s expectations. He had become just another typical male whom after the so-called conquest that had taken place in her mind was done with her. At that point I weighed in, saying to him, “So somehow, due to her lack of courage, you had acquired fleas.” We then both pondered what dysfunctional amorphous stereotype could be affixed to women who also don’t acknowledge an exhilarating evening with a man, and then label that man something that they themselves might aptly resemble. We mutually agreed that the wisest course of action was to just leave that thought alone!

At what point will women—claiming to want equality long denied them—put away the “gender card” and step into that equality by moving beyond the hypocrisy of certain realities that continue to undercut their movement. Or is it okay for a woman in today’s society to continue to believe it is okay for her to be the victim when it serves her purpose. While Palin and Bachmann should not be held to a higher standard, they should not be held to a lower one either. Neither should my friend's engaging companion be able to suggest that he's carrying fleas that she isn’t.

Ultimately, or perhaps even more so, ironically, if the deck of cards that represent life is stocked with an array of cards in it that one must play, if we don’t play the ones we are fortunate enough to have been dealt, do we have any chance of winning? After all, how many of us are ever truly in the position to deal, or even cut the cards?

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Comments

Every group with a card, sexism, racism, reverse racism, will always pull it out when it behooves them to so do. I don't think that will ever change.

JW,

I'm going to veer off course here...but just a "Little."

The fact that our esteemed Senator is unable to recognize her hand in repressing a group despite the struggles predecessor's of her OWN group have been through is not all that surprising to me. She is a politician making a decision not based on what is right, but on what she thinks is most beneficial to her career.

She would obviously dispute that characterization...but that's how I see it. Where I want to take a tangent is...Why does Obama get a pass on his woefully inadequate position on gay marriage. His position and our Senator's are essentially the same. Both support equal rights, but not under the name of marriage.

A Black man and a woman each promoting a "seperate but equal" agenda...it seems to me the lessons of history take a backseat to the stepping stones of the present.

*** Whaler, it is sad but true that the Senator is probably not doing what is right, but beneficial to her career. Obama is also doing it as well and shouldn't get a pass, though I see them in possibly different lights. I don't know the Senator, but nothing she has said/done has given me the impression that she has any interests in anything beyond not losing her hard earned membership in the "good ol boys" club. Obama is also being a politician, but has made enough moves to support the socially marginalized to at least make me believe that his actions, which are slow to come, are still forthcoming in terms of supporting the rights of certain disenfranchised Americans denied the right to celebrate their love as others do. Again, I don't know the Senator's record that well and normally I'm only framing her position as problematic using her own words. You, are someone might have more insight into her position which could illuminate my terrain. *** -- J.W.

This is difficult. I want to write something that doesn’t sound like a bratty, angsty girl trying to be defiant. But, well, maybe I don’t have to be…
Please, as Mr. Diversity/Social Justice man, please tell us that these feminists that have been “scarred by their interaction with some men” are not a delicately constructed euphemism for MAN HATING FEMINAZIS. Please. Please do not perpetuate a stereotype of something society won’t desire and is frightened of, not to mention it is a term that is contradictory in name (dictionary says feminism = belief that BOTH sexes are equal). I’m a feminist, sir, and I love men. We don’t need any more slander.
But if that wasn’t a ruse in words, I apologize and, honestly, am relieved.
But to the main point…
I really wish that before I began writing this I read through your old posts to see your views on other issues that could relate. I’m just gonna mention this quickly then digress. Affirmative Action and Reparations. Okay, seriously, I’m so tired of these issues constantly mid-fire. But, really, right now – and I am so mad at myself for it – I can’t think of better examples. Personally, I donno, it’s not that I’m apathetic, I’m just really over the discussion.
Anyway, as you are a black man, I wonder how you feel about these issues. And truthfully I don’t know. In past lectures of yours I can’t recall and I didn’t do my PR research, so basically, that was not a rhetorical question. Now if you say Black Americans deserve special treatment because of history then like you just went on about, you don’t consider yourself equal.
Not gonna lie, writing that paragraph made me nauseated.
And really I guess I could go on about Native Americans. I could go on about…I donno…groups who don’t want to share their culture…
Did that last sentence even make sense? No! Because I was trying to control an aneurism while writing it.
Here’s the thing. We are not equal. We all have different pasts, futures, strengths, weaknesses and whatever other cheesey nonsense you wanna throw in there. And sometimes we genuinely need help while other times we’re complacent being held back just for the easy ride. Both parts of that system scream welfare system to me.
So this lady made an assumption about sketchy men because of her bad experiences thus all women hold themselves back out of tradition?
Okay, bad paraphrasing. Do you personally know what happened to this woman? I mean, you can only get burned so many times before you stop dealing with it.
And the politicians? Politics is not about strong, positive moral change. Those are advocates and progressives. Politicians wanna win. If gay marriage will make you lose votes (I say votes for the sake of simplicity), why outwardly support it when you’ll just lose the election? And if you lose, you don’t even get the chance to make a change.
In truth, I think that’s all messed up and politicians should fight for what they believe, but they don’t. That’s it.
Sarah Palin? Bad example, man. She made a mockery of herself. SHE HAS A REALITY SHOW HOW CAN SHE BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY??? Okay, just kidding. No woman can be taken seriously in a position of authority. It’s not even about proving intellect anymore – or as much, at least. It’s about respect. There’s no balance either. If a woman is too nice, she’s a pushover, weak-willed, easy to walk over. If she’s assertive and take-charge, she’s a man hating, hairy-legged lesbian who’s bitter and vindictive. If anyone can find the middle-ground, please let me know, it’s be pretty neat.
Please keep in mind, a lot of the times it’s the “gender card.” I’ll admit it. But more often it’s life. It’s the things you don’t realize the most even. To get respect, I have to be assertive, but keep it in check. I go to the gas station to buy a soda and a complete stranger (man) thinks it’s okay to touch my back and verbally degrade me. And what’s really frightening? You have a doctorate, correct? You take a woman with the same credentials as you, same education and you both do the same job. You realize how much more money you’re making than her? Maternity leave is a part of it, I know. But does pregnancy become more expensive the more educated you are? Because I know the male vs. female income gap certainly gets bigger.
So this lady is holding back women by acting inferior because she didn’t trust some dude? Wow. Shocking.
And Clinton is well-respected? She’s proven herself? She can handle pressure? Yeah…until she gets her period! Then she’s gonna be soooo crazy!
Menopause aside, real people believe that. No matter how much she tries to be like the men in the game. Biology is disenchanting sometimes.

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