Originally posted by Jenna
There seems to be a persistent belief that women are somehow incapable of understanding some issues or that they should essentially know their place.
Welcome to the reason for feminism.
What you have here is a cultural "meme" that has been developing in the Western culture over the past 2 millennia. In patriarchial societies where
polygamy exists (the foundation of Western culture, some 4,000 years and more ago) it is the son who is valued and given all the property and the
daughter who exists to become a wife of a wealthy man. In this power exchange, men are scorned who "can't control their wives". In this kind of
culture, wives are essentially oversized children who can have sons for the man and can be killed/divorced if they don't have any sons.
(Flip through the Bible and notice how often the names of daughters are given. Now notice how many times the names of sons are given. Prime
Women were given power in the old days to run a business for the family while the man was away. But laws became more restrictive about what they
could do (the upper class women -- nobody cared what the daughter of a poor family did (and it wasn't unusual for them to be sold into slavery at a
During the great class divides after the Dark Ages, the role of upper class women became increasingly limited (lower class women actually had more
freedom and could do things that the upper class couldn't, like own a shop or make and sell products from the farm (like cheese.)) They were
expected to be a sort of "yes man" to the husbands, take care of the kids (and eventually this was taken from them) and look beautiful. If they
failed as "yes man" or stopped being beautiful, they were frequently set aside and ignored or sent to a convent or "met with an accident" or
simply had to sit around and watch as the man paraded around with his mistresses.
Laws (and religion) were used to enforce this.
Cut to the Victorian era and the widening of the middle classes. They all emulated the upper class (wife is obedient, stays at home, works on the
wifely arts, does NOT get educated or write books or paint professionally and so forth.) She does, however, manage the servants. This model
persisted through the 1950's, when (in America) Black women were the ones who raised kids and held down jobs and so forth while the White women were
expected to stay home and play cards with the women's club and learn to sew and so forth. Education beyond high school was STRONGLY discouraged (I
grew up in those days) and I experienced bullying and taunts of "no guy will ever want you" because I was intelligent. Other women fared worse,
having their research stolen and published under their male colleagues' names.
And romance novels (designed for women's reading) were written by men under female pseudonyms. The only way a woman who wrote science fiction could
get published was to use a male pseudonym or use her initials (so the publisher would assume she was male.) Female artists found the same results.
So it's a holdover from those times. By the end of the 70's, I could buy a car for the family (without anyone asking where my husband was and
whether he wanted me to do this (this happened several times). By the end of the 80's I could walk into a trade show for computers and be treated as
someone who had as much knowledge of networks, routers, hard drives and hardware as any man there.
Conservatives didn't like it. What they wanted was society as it was in the 1940's (when the only women working were the poor Blacks, who were
maids and nannies to the middle and upper class and women couldn't threaten their perceived economic power or intellectual power.) Liberal and
progressive men loved it (particularly the intelligent ones) -- it meant they weren't saddled with some woman who couldn't hold a decent
conversation or understand family finances -- that the woman was an equal partner and could pull her weight as a team member instead of as an overaged
child whose only real purpose was breeding and being pretty enough that the other men would envy the husband for having a beautiful wife.
I don’t believe that women are oppressed (not any more anyway), that we are victimized or exploited by men daily, or that women are in any
way the superior sex.
I'll believe that when the pay for men and women is equal (for the same jobs, we earn 75% of what a man does), when the layoff axe hits men and women
equally (it doesn't), when juries don't excuse rapes with "well, the woman was just asking to be raped", and when they report on women in politics
without mentioning what she wore (honestly... can't you just see "Joe Lieberman showed up at the event wearing a conservatively tailored dark navy
colored suit and matching black patent shoes. His socks were black with a tiny pattern near the ankle and his tie was a soft shade of gold. He spoke
Literature, mythology, and folklore from virtually every part of the globe contains tales of women who were fierce in battle, leaders of
armies, revered leaders of their people, heroines, goddesses of war, etc.
Relatively rare examples, though. And you need to look at how the culture treated its usual female citizen... not the exceptions.
Anyway, been there, got the tee shirt, joined the feminists, married a guy who is a feminist and we've been happily married for the past 38 years
(compared to my FIRST marriage with a traditionalist who divorced me after 18 months because he couldn't stand being married to someone who didn't
understand Her Place In Society.)