Burning Bras and Throwing Rocks
Of the five trillion megabytes of data on the Internet, Twitter is one of the little corners of the World Wide Web capable of raising my blood pressure in 2.2 seconds. The ignorant and the stupid congregate to spout nonsense and have it co-signed by followers who are equally as vapid as themselves. Twitter, quite frankly, is a concentrated display of this generation’s idiocy. I had to make a conscious decision to stay the hell off Twitter between 7-10AM because I couldn’t handle being so frustrated before I’d even left the house. In a few keystrokes, a person I’d never met, halfway across the country, could have me downright furious. (Perhaps, I ought to choose who I follow more wisely or stay off Twitter altogether, but that’s another topic for another time.) It seems ignorance reigns at all hours of the day, because at 10:22 PM yesterday I scrolled past this:
“It's not that girls ain't shit, but being a girl ain't shit.You're the shit when you find out WHO you are, not use WHAT you are to get ahead.”
I came to a complete full stop. I stared and re-read to make sure I wasn’t misinterpreting, and then I went bananas. I will not call any names—who said it is not particularly relevant to the point I intend to make—I will only say it was a young male, with significant social status. It was not so much that he was wrong that pissed me off – to an extent I agreed with him. I don’t think women should use their sex as a means to get ahead (more on this later). What truly infuriated me was that he ignored the fact that men have been using their sex since the dawn of modern civilization to justify their actions and achieve their goals. Oh, and let’s not forget that those goals and actions, whether inadvertently or intentionally, oppressed women.
Search any culture you like, during any time period you want, and find me a time when women were not treated as the inferior sex. Let’s take a little trans-global journey through history. The women of Ancient Greece lived under similar conditions to the modern woman under Taliban rule in Afghanistan. Married off to a much older man before she could even understand her period, she was not allowed to leave the house alone, or partake in any business. English Common Law made a married woman her husband’s property. The 12th and 13th centuries introduced the chastity belt. In 1913, Henry Ford developed the ingenious concept of the assembly line, but his wife still didn’t have the right to vote (that right wasn't granted until 1947 in the United States). If you need more proof, there’s five trillion megabytes of data awaiting your search.
The argument I’m making is women have been handed the shitty end of the stick in a lot of cases and it took some vocal women with “radical” ideas to change that. Women had to fight for rights that men took for granted. Not just the right to vote, but to earn the same as a man who had equal qualifications, and that still doesn’t happen. (In 2008, in Canada, the gap between the median wages of men and women working full-time was $12, 000. That is a significant amount of money.) It seems men only want to treat women as equal when it conveniences them (like on the first date when the bill comes), but not at times when it might put their superiority in jeopardy (like when rank – be it military, corporate or social – comes into play). I can’t speak for other women, but I would gladly trade that “men pay for the first date” rule in favour of equality in the workplace.
So no, women should not use their biology to advance themselves, but before a man dares to condemn the woman in the low-cut blouse at the job interview for the corporate position with IBM, I’d like for him to acknowledge that he walked into that interview room with a distinct advantage – he has a penis. Women wake up and live every day at the back of the pack, fighting to be recognized for what we’re capable of and not what’s beneath our clothes. I think the fact that a bared breast will get a woman further than a Bachelor of Science would, says more about the morals of men than it does about the position of women. When male anatomy stops being an inherent advantage, then let men fire shots at women who use their anatomy as a means to get ahead. Stop throwing rocks whilst you still live in a glass house.
Ladies, while I will defend us and our rights til my last day, I have a serious word of caution for you. Know what your rights do and do not include. Under Equality rights in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, you are entitled to “equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.” This means your vagina does not, and should not, entitle you to the following:
- The right to verbally, physically, or emotionally attack others, men included, without consequence. Please make direct reference to the Bus Driver Uppercut video for an example of the type of consequences that may or may not come out of acting as an aggressor;
- The right to make demands of men simply because you are a woman. So yes, you may think he should pay for the first date, but no, you may not force said man to fork over significant amounts of cash to pay for the extravagant order you made;
- The right to claim better parenting skills, and therefore custody, simply because you are the mother. Sadly, the judicial system perpetuates this and a lot of unfit mothers end up depriving children of an opportunity to be raised by the more competent parent.
These are not rights; they are incredibly skewed social conventions that actually make it a lot harder for women to get true equal rights. Treating these conventions as rights only make men more averse to feminist ideas because they feel that we are trying to put them in the position of the oppressed—not that I don’t think they ought to know what the yoke feels like but in the interest of progression, let’s not flip the tables. Do not stand in the way of your own movement. Let’s not throw rocks at men.