Our culture’s wholesale abuse and oppression of women is appalling. The sexual stereotypes they are forced to live up to, the unequal pay and disrespect they receive in the workplace, and the physical, sexual, verbal and mental abuse they receive from their husbands and on the streets are all examples of the deplorable state of women in contemporary America.
Those who would have us believe that feminists go too far in their “man hating” need only glance at the front page of the newspaper, the average TV commercial, or the demographic make-up of our government to see that women are still second-class citizens in our country.
Men frequently complain that women are too quick to cry foul play in today’s world — that sexual harassment lawsuits and allegations of rape and abuse are the extremes of a gender that is inherently insidious, underhanded and unappreciative. Still worse, too many men still believe they can spread their seed and leave women with “the consequences” in a country where male legislators are elected to fight to make abortion illegal.
Some men grow to hate and disrespect women because women don’t give them what they want. Many of these men eventually lash out against women in degrees of violence ranging from typical household beatings to rape and even to acts like those of Jeffrey Dahmer. Though Dahmer’s extreme evil may not seem congruous with a regular man’s aggression towards women, it is important to note that only a handful of women have abused men while women are regularly abused in our society by the thousands. Mass murder and sexual sadism are just the extremes of this abuse.
It is no wonder that men can so easily rationalize committing these acts against women when one considers the backdrop of contemporary American gender inequity. Gender inequity is not a problem that arose because of TV or the media — the purported spontaneous generators of most hard to solve problems in our society; rather, it is a problem borne of a rich historic and cultural tradition that states that woman should lie under man’s thumb.
The best solution to problems such as these is to release the stereotype from your own mind. It is easy to blame incorporeal concepts like “society,” “the media,” or “the government” for our communities’ problems. However, the real culprits of gender inequity are you and I with our own personal views of what the actions and treatment of women should be.
The solutions to the greater problem of gender inequity are myriad. Employers must hire women to important posts, and therefore, breaking the glass ceiling. Perpetrators of domestic violence must be sought out and punished just like the regular criminals they are instead of having their crimes overlooked and filed away. Women, and especially feminists, must be promoted in their pursuits of social change instead of being looked down upon and derided by insecure men.
Without gender equality, it is impossible for us to even attempt to solve our society’s ills. Problems ranging from rape to eating disorders to the “undeserving” poor all stem from the mistreatment of women. In the meantime, women must learn how to defend and respect themselves and support themselves physically, mentally, financially and legally. The greatest problem in our society is not poverty or homelessness, it is the continued abuse of our nation’s most precious resource: our women.