Rebecca Solnit is my new BFF

RS

Mansplaining is genius.  I love her writing – her focus.  Since my blog is Mindfulness at 70, I find her commitment to mindfulness exemplary.  She is always looking and listening and monitoring how she really feels about what she sees and hears.  She is a watchdog for feminists and environmentalists; she is a very interesting person.

She is, of course, not my real BFF.  I just wish I could spend some time with her.  I read her current posts and have read some of her books.  I don’t agree with everything, but her opinions are always thoughtful and grounded in fact and observation.  She seems to have lived an interesting life full of unique and common experiences.  She’s an intellectual with a lot of street cred.

I really got into Ms Solnit when I stumbled across “mansplaining”.  I’ve been railing against it since I was 10 years old and now I had a great name for it.  Men always taking the floor and explaining (in many wrong ways) to women in all aspects of life.  Hogging all the comments in a meeting, forcing Elizabeth Warren to shut-up in the US Senate, interrupting women.  The list goes on and on.

This “mansplaining” is, of course another embodiment of aggression against women.  It is not physical and it does not involve sexual violation — yet it is part of the culture’s categorization of women.  We are second.  The man needs the job more than you.  She would not shut up and listen.  She was asking for it.  All part of the on-going war to keep women in their place.

Can “mansplaining” be that much of a problem when we have so many incidents of sexually inappropriate behavior and sexual violence?  Yes, it all comes from the same place.  Men are entitled to behave this way.  To speak this way, to touch this way.  To demand they remain in charge. To hang onto power.

Solnit states,  Are people finally making the connection between sexual misconduct and men’s perpetual domination of most professional spaces. I do hope that sometime someone who’s having a high-profile creep masturbate at her takes out her camera-phone and makes the career-killing humiliating video or even livestreams it. The perps do this to prove that they’re powerful and she’s powerless, powerless too often even to get people to listen and believe. That they are invulnerable and beyond accountability, and too often they have been right.

I hope we are making the connection and that we concentrate on overall equality rather than punishing individual “famous” men who transgress.  We need , we must, do better.

 

 

 

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WE SHOULD HAVE SEEN IT COMING — Women and the Election of Donald Trump

Donald Trump’s election to President of the United States has many demographic lessons that we need to learn.  But I think many, seemingly liberated women were blindsided by the number of their “sisters” who publicly criticized Trump but knew they would and DID  vote for him.

Women who read Romance novels and the most popular recently – 50 Shades of Gray and The Twilight Series  – BDSM and Vampires – are probably not wanting equality.  Those minimally educated (a Bachelor’s in something but I can’t remember exactly what, or a lot less), sweet, white girls 20’s – 30’s and their Moms who have made scrapbooking a zillion dollar faux creative industry are not about to accept the responsibility for freedom of choice.

They would rather let Daddy or Hubby tell them about those nasty political things.   And worry not, if I need an abortion, I’m sure I can get a quiet D & C from my family Dr.  No need for public programs here.  Besides I love babies and a few more will be fun.

The air heads won this election.  Air head women seem to always win with cleavage and giggles and short cheerleader skirts.  Some really savy women – like the foxes on FOX — manage to use all their assets, brains and subservience to get ahead.

I was raised without a father or even a father figure.  My dad died when I was 5.  I bemoaned this fact and whined about it in therapy for many years.  I thought that if I had had a big strong father who protected me, I would have been free to accomplish everything.  But really what happened was I did not learn to defer to a male authority figure.  Little did I know that never having that mythical safety net, I had learned to soar on my own.  Personal responsibility  equals personal freedom.

Poor Hillary Clinton, a work horse of a politician, a forgiving and loving wife and mother, a serious person who cares about the course of history.  All those girls from high school and college who said she was a nerd and a wonk got her but good!  How dare you not punish Bill for his infidelities!  How dare you call me deplorable (figured it out after looking it up).  Hillary wants to make everyone’s lives better – better health care- better work opportunities – better education – more money through less middle class taxes.  She has many specific ways she wants to do this.  She really is a dedicated public servant.

Trump is a blow-hard and not even a real politician.  He is a philanderer and denigrates women.  He is dishonest about his business dealings.  He’s a bully with major overtones of racism and sexism.  He wants to Make America Great Again.  No specifics.  He just does .  And this seems more real to the populace than all the policies of Clinton.  Pie-in-the-Sky grandiose beats practical and detailed every time.

Women didn’t get the vote in the United States until 1920.  We thought ice would have a female president after almost 100 years.  Guess we were wrong.  We underestimated our own power – AGAIN.  Really, we threw our power away.  AGAIN.

My heart breaks for lost opportunities.  When my daughter asked for a quote to tell her posse of girls she has known since middle school (They seem to think of me as always having something pithy to say.)  I said “Well, since I’m age 70, I guess I won’t mind dying so much if this is what I will miss.”

I still have hopes that I will see real change for women and see real women change.  Throw off the chains of patriarchy and join all humanity in equality and responsibility.  Democracy demands this of all women — of all persons.

The women of ancient Greece had it right. Aristophanes in Lysistrata had insight into the gender wars in 411 BC.  No grabbing of pussy or getting any pussy at all unless you treat us — all of us — with respect.  His play was a comedy; time to get real girls!!