Women in the western world
Women and the State in the Western World:
I was raised by nuns in a Catholic boarding school. From first grade to eighth, there were 120 of us girls. I was taught that my body was something to be hidden. At some point, I perceived that nuns had an inordinate fear of matters concerning sex, libido. All forms of intimacy between girls were forbidden; we were not at liberty to touch, hold hands, hug, peck the cheek. The body was something one covered, even in the bathtub. I got the story at one point from a new girl who joined my table of 6 in the refectory. This girl spoke about sexual intercourse, demonstrating with the help of medicine bottles on the table, placing one bottle on top of the other, I remember the top one had a viscose yellow substance in it. Apparently, the stuff from the top bottle, the man, went into the bottom bottle, the woman during intercourse and that’s how babies were made. What I remember most vividly was her description of the size of a man’s penis that entered the woman. I was horrified. But I knew about the kingdom of sex even though I was ignorant of the mechanics. A child knows something is taking place in her body. When my first blood came, without any knowledge of what was happening to me, I understood sitting on that toilet with the black and white hexagonal tiled floor at my feet and the red splotches in my panties that something momentous was unfolding.
If some would say the nuns did me a disservice with their prudish teaching, I would offer the following story: My friend Carlene, a faster girl than I, was getting her second divorce when I was in my twenties and she asked me to be a witness for her at the trial. In the attorney’s office, she spoke to him about marriage and about how she looked for a man with money, able to take care of her, and the lawyer was acknowledging her statement, that’s how one chose a husband. Reader, I was shocked that someone would openly discuss bartering herself for money, and a man of the courts supported her!
The nuns might have been scrupulous, but they did teach self-respect, and personhood, integrity. One was not for sale. What does a person raised in such an atmosphere make of what is happening in the country? Some of it begins to feel like a witch hunt. Especially when the person accused is in a powerful position. Who among us would not want to bring down the son of a bitch who once made our lives miserable? Yet it is those very situations that bring on harassment and sexual abuse. No one listens when you accuse the big guy. Some of the women who spoke up had some responsibility to refuse in the incidents, but went along because they felt obliged. Many of Weinstein’s victims, I’m sure are keeping quiet also. There are no facile solutions to the current expose.
The feminist Gloria Steinem, said about women voting for candidate Sanders as opposed to Hillary that “When you’re young, you’re thinking: ‘Where are the boys? The boys are with Bernie,’ ” therefor they chose their boyfriend’s candidate. She assumed like my friend Carlene that a woman bent to a man’s will. That time has past. Most households in America cannot maintain without both partners holding full-time jobs, and both are equally responsible for the financial health and well-being of family members. Women are not the silly girls Steinem imagines.
Woman, like man, seeks power to determine her own destiny, to call the shots, to be free from oppression. Part of that power lies in her libido. It is what she brings to the table, and how we deal with it. Presently, not well. A number of laws have been formulated to deal with the situation, which have been ignored, or sabotaged.
It is up to women to resolve this situation. All of it must be exposed, with both sides accepting responsibility when called for. Women who go along with the power man to get the job need to own up to their culpability, even though they just did it to get the job, the career, the money. If you get dead drunk at the frat party you are opening the door to abuse. By your behavior, you are judged. The sexual revolution of the sixties has been a blessing and bane. There is little left to the imagination in women’s dress, the ass, the tits, even in the office, the court, the church, are exposed. Movies have reduced sex to an athletic exercise. We are robbed of the magic, the mystery, the beauty of intimacy. Once actresses agreed to open that door, they gave away their power. One’s body holds one’s person, for both men and women, to use it basely for cheap thrills, big and little ego boosts invites adversity. Inviting an unescorted person to your hotel room at 10 o’clock in the evening for a business meeting is wrong. Accepting such an invitation is asking for trouble, or for the job, a fact that will be known and used against you.