No matter how many times one hears about these statistics and these anecdotes about what it’s like to be a woman, the issue doesn’t become less real. These issues didn’t become a thing all of a sudden. It only seems so overstated because it wasn’t even deemed a real problem and ignored. When you hear so many of the same things from over half of our population, you’d think people would pay attention and see things for what it is but the same machinations that prevented 1992’s Year of Woman from coming to fruition is also at work now, once again, pushing back against a wave of voices that demand change. Our generation isn’t as idealistic or as naive as those before us. We know what’s up. This upcoming election is critical. Either way, we will break ground or live to see the old ways buried.
In that same Atlantic Article, Fear of a Female President, I’d sent my father, author Peter Beinart makes the case that there is a clear link between how women are viewed and how they are treated. Hillary was hated—in large part because women are hated.
In 2010, researchers Victoria L. Brescoll and Tyler G. Okimoto conducted a study in which they asked respondents about a fictional male state senator and a fictional female state senator. They described both as “ambitious” and found that the respondents’ views of the male senator did not change when they described him as such, but, when thinking about the female state senator, both men and women “experienced feelings of moral outrage.”
In 2008 Psychologists Jennifer K. Bosson and Joseph Vandello coined the term “precarious manhood.” Their body of research posits that manhood is something to be earned—a status that must continuously be asserted for fear of losing it. While womanhood is perceived as biological, manhood is determined by social achievements, power, status, and aggression. And men are keenly aware of this.
While womanhood is perceived as biological, manhood is determined by social achievements, power, status, and aggression. And men are keenly aware of this.
Merchandise sold in and around the arenas where Trump hosted his rallies read: Don’t be a pussy. Vote for Trump; Finally, someone with balls; and Life’s a bitch: don’t vote for one. And of course, the rallying cry of the right: Lock her up.
We assumed the “her” meant Hillary. But now the chants continue, some two years later. Over the summer, a group of high school students began chanting “Lock her up” at a leadership conference for young conservatives while Attorney General Jeff Sessions addressed the crowd. He laughed and repeated the words back. Call me crazy (and some will), but the “her” feels bigger than one woman. The “her” seems to refer to female ambition, female autonomy, female power.
If manhood is something men must constantly prove, the policies men shape cannot possibly be immune to their need to exert dominance and power. To codify that dominance into law.
Link to full article here.
Some time ago, we documented how reactionaries have a habit of redefining incivility (and civility) to suit their purposes, making huge shifts of the goalposts as it suits their needs. In recent days, there have been two well-publicized incidents that have made this tendency painfully apparent: the Red Hen affair, and the Maryland newsroom shooting. […]