It’s an election year. A year where candidates for President, and many other political positions, spew promises and platitudes to the general public with the hope that said candidate gets the most votes. Pandering and begging to win your hearts, your minds and, most importantly, your confidence. One of the largest groups, in general, the candidates try to woo is the female vote. Knowing that the female gender makes up half of the species, it’s a needed vote. Turn away women and it’s a hard, uphill climb.
But what exactly does “winning the female vote” look like? What do women really want in a leader? And for that matter, what do women really consider important in life?
All loaded questions, but questions that, at the moment, don’t really have answers. Add the fact that women are just as diverse as men and you will have as many answers as you have women. But there is one thing that remains true no matter who wins any election.
Women will never be equal until everything is equal. Just as men will never be equal until everything is equal. First of all, men are just as unequal as women, just in difference ways. Traditionally men have had more flexibility in job potential, in earning potential, in educational opportunities, in advancement opportunities. Until men are treated equal with women they will never know what women go through.
But the most important inequality that needs to change is how society, men and women included, view women as a whole. Women are as much to blame as men in this. It’s clearly evident by looking at any social media site that women, as a whole, do not like other women, do not trust other women, and women are being pitted against other women for the scraps society deems they are worthy of.
What does equality look like? I guess it depends on what you think is fair. I know, life isn’t fair. But that doesn’t mean that we, as humans, can’t be more compassionate and understanding. That is the “fair” I am talking about.
Century after century women have been given a monetary worth. Cows, grain, gems, land, dowries, contracts, et al, have been used to buy and sell women. Rarely did a woman have a choice, the decision being made by the male head of the household, benefiting the male head of the household. The women had to be worthy of the price. Virginity being the highest bargaining tool. If she wasn’t pure, she wasn’t worth it. Even now, that one item, virginity, seems to define a woman’s worth before marriage. If she isn’t pure, she’s tainted. There are still some cultures where the families want proof on the wedding night that the woman was a virgin, requesting or requiring the newly married couple to produce the bedsheet with the bloody proof of virginity.
As antiquated and humiliating as that may sound, there are other societal qualifiers to a woman’s worth. Namely, does the woman like sex and engage in sex with whomever she chooses whenever she chooses? There is a word (actually quite a few words) to describe a woman like that. Slut. And closely behind the woman who likes sex is the woman who has children with more than one man. Whore.
Until recently, a man who had many children by different women was a player. If he couldn’t support all of them he was considered a deadbeat dad but no real social stigma was applied. If a man liked sex and had lots of it with lots of different women he was a stud. Men wanted to be like him. They envied him. But women have never had the same consideration.
There was a time, a very long time ago, when women didn’t answer to men the way they are expected to now (and over the last five thousand years). Pre-history has uncovered cultures where the mother was the head of the household. Where daughters, not sons, inherited position and property. A time when it didn’t matter who the father was, only who the mother was – something that couldn’t be brought into question. No woman would be chastised or ostracized for having children with different fathers. No woman would have to worry about her worth other than her contribution to the community. She was worthy by being a woman. No justification needed.
But that isn’t the world we live in now. And even though many women have fought the fight to make the genders more equal, there is so much farther to go. So much farther. And most women today wouldn’t even know where to start. They give equality lip service. It’s not just about equal pay or job availability. It’s about equal across the board.
It’s about acknowledging that a woman is more than capable of making her own decisions about her education, career, living arrangements, partnerships, children, sex, her body, without condemning her actions. And it’s not just men who seem to want to judge and condemn. The worse critic now of female empowerment is other women.
Until women stop condemning and judging other women for their own choices how do we expect men to do the same? When women continue to call out other women because they don’t like how they dress, how they act, what job they have, how many people they have slept with, how many children they have had with how many men, et al, we can’t expect men not to follow suit.
When we have women who advocate with men that a woman’s body is not her own but just an incubator, how can we make men take seriously the fight that a woman has the inherent right and ability to choose for herself? When women betray other women by degrading, belittling, insulting, shaming, and harassing them for being themselves, how to we expect men to be any better?
Stop for a moment and look around yourself at all the women you see. You typically see every size, shape and age represented in any given day. Each woman is worthy of compassion and understanding. Of support and acceptance. No person, man or woman, should ever have to justify their existence, nor have a monetary value placed on it, except a living wage for honest work. No one should have to justify the choices they make in good conscious without ill intent.
Want to have fifteen, fifty, one hundred sex partners in your life? Be smart, be safe, have fun! Have three children, each with a different father, or different mother for that matter? Love your children, provide for your children, raise them with empathy, understanding and compassion, and that’s all I ask. Want purple hair, piercings and tattoos, and wear dark, PVC vinyl clothing everywhere? Awesome! Want to stay at home and read a book most nights, cuddling with your dog or cat, and enjoy the occasional television show alone? Not a damn thing wrong with it!
There are many obstacles along the path to equality. Women don’t need to get in their own way. And men need to understand that women, in general, don’t need them, just like men, really, don’t need women. But we are all really nice to have around.
So, before you jump on social media to post that picture of the woman dressed provocatively, or might be overweight but wearing clothing you wouldn’t wear but she decided to, or comment on an article that talks about how a woman has made the decision in her life, for her family, for her, that you don’t agree with, stop and realize that you are part of the problem with equality in this world. The more you feed it the more it grows. And until we all collectively STOP, it will never go away. Utopian maybe, but a better direction than the gladiator games we play now in the social arena that does nothing but make people angry and destroy more lives that it helps. If you aren’t part of the solution, you are part of the problem. Be the solution, one person at a time, each and every day.