Thursday, July 4, 2013


     So I've been thinking about freedom today, and specifically freedom as it relates to women and girls. Despite regressive setbacks - and there are many - it's an undeniable fact that women of some means who live in developed countries in this 21st century have more freedom to make decisions about their own lives than their counterparts have had at any time in history. Today, I'll focus on them, not on all the other women on our planet who lack what they need for basic subsistence or basic self-protection.
    Today, it's those more fortunate women I'm thinking about when I wonder: how much of their one and only lives do they spend worrying about whether or not others find them attractive?  How much of their time and energy and income do they devote to trying to ensure that they do?  And then I wonder the same things about their relationships with their children, with their homes, with their cars, with the voices in their heads telling them they, as women, are not good enough.  And then I think that whatever their answers might be, their male counterparts' answers would amount to less than half of those numbers.  And then I think how twisted that is.
     Why do we let our societies tell us that women, but not men, should be embarrassed to leave their houses without first putting makeup on their faces?  (And just think about that word, makeup. What is it that we feel we have to make up for? Our imperfections? Our aging process? Why aren't those our badges of honor?) That women, but not men, are only well-dressed if they're wearing shoes that will ultimately deform their feet and wreck their backs, because those are what the opposite sex finds attractive?  That the physical appearances of women, but not men, are fair game for commentary by any stranger passing them on the street?  That large-boned girls, but not boys, are destined to live their lives as losers?  That women, but not men, can and should be judged by the magazine-worthiness of their homes, no matter how important their roles are in the real world?
     Republicans (embodied by the eternally youthful Mitch McConnell) have discovered a brilliant new strategy to attack Hillary Clinton preemptively so that she won't sweep into the White House in 2016 virtually unopposed.  They're telling voters that they can't vote for Hillary in 2016 because she'll be too OLD to be President.  Because her face will be lined, and she'll be carrying around a few extra menopausal pounds, and plastic surgery isn't her style.  She won't be able to serve as President, the not-very-subliminal message goes, because at 67, she'll have lost her value as a woman.  If comments like that are considered valid political discourse in this country, I ask you: how free are women?  Any of us?
     I thought I'd end by linking to an article my sister-in-law Peg posted on Facebook.  It kind of sums up some of the things I've decided to rant about today.
     Hope you're having a happy Fourth of July.  Let's celebrate living in a country where women like Hillary Clinton can, and will, become President.  But please remember: none of us are free until we're all free.

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