This will be a rant. You have been warned.
When I saw this flag, I had one of those YES moments. It sums up so much using so little real estate, and yet, it reminds us that it represents the tip of the iceberg because it stands for a nation that still accepts sexism as normal. That is not to say we like it, or that we support extremist efforts to roll back women’s rights. But in a society that treats women as less in so many subtle ways, it’s difficult to avoid becoming a participant in the abuse.
Some well-meaning folks who believe they are feminist allies unfortunately aren’t self-aware enough to learn from criticism that tells them their behavior is part of the problem, so they perpetuate that behavior amongst their well-meaning, feminist-ally circles and make things worse. (Poster-child for Progressive Sexism: Bill Maher.) And even the best of us (and I’m far from that) find–when we’re honest–that we contribute now and then. In a climate like that, how much easier must it be for the true misogynists, the powerful men who fear powerful women, to propagate their ideologies?
It’s just a few wingnuts, some people say. Well, I call bullshit. When you’ve got Pat Robertson on national tv telling husbands to move to Saudi Arabia so they can beat their wives, when judges set rapists free and blame victims or claim that silence=consent, when advertising LITERALLY reduces women to their parts, when women can’t walk the streets and feel safe, when girls and women experience multiple assaults throughout their lifetimes and it’s not even uncommon…well, I just don’t see how anyone can deny that there is a deeper problem than a few extreme right-wing politicians and religious fanatics (not to be redundant).
What are we going to do about it? Here’s one suggestion:
And as long as we’re solving the country’s (and the world’s!) problems using only viral Internet images, here’s another:
Is it any wonder that we have right-wing politicians in every state trying to roll back women’s rights when a prominent “Christian” waxes nostalgic on national television about the days when a man could beat his wife and jokes that the husband of a wife who won’t behave should become a Muslim so he can beat her? (Hint: rhetorical question.)
Before I go any further, I’m not okay with abuse no matter who perpetrates it. If this woman is verbally and/or physically abusing her husband, then yes, he ought to do something. I don’t know the whole story, but as Michael says, his wife doesn’t respect him as head of the house, and it has crossed my mind that his problems start there and go downhill.
“Please tell me what I can do,” Michael begs of his spiritual leader. Who very thoughtfully answers,
“Well, you could become a Muslim and you could beat her.”
His (female) co-hose titters in the background as Robertson continues, musing that “I don’t think we condone wife-beating these days but something has got to be done.” His co-host asks why the woman wouldn’t want to talk with her husband about their problems, and Robertson explains.
“She’s a rebellious child and she doesn’t want to submit to any authority. And she probably had temper-tantrums when she was a kid, and…you know, the little girl, ‘I hate you, I hate you…’ …she doesn’t understand authority, when she was growing up nobody made her behave, and now you’ve got a 13-year-old in a 30-year-old woman’s body, and she is acting like a child. Now what do you do with that? You can’t divorce her, according to scripture, so I say…” and here Robertson looks straight at the camera…
“Move to Saudi Arabia.”
Watch the whole ugly mess here: