Skip to main content


SCOTUS, Hobby Lobby, and the Push for “Not My Boss’s Business” Act

Senators Mark Udall and Patty Murray’s bill, “The Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act,” clarifies that the law the Supreme Court based their decision on — The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) — cannot be used to allow for-profit corporations to limit any legal health care service.”

“The men and women who went to work for Hobby Lobby signed up to work at a craft store, not a religious organization,” Udall said.”
http://www.coloradoindependent.com/...

Senators Speak Out: Now Let’s Hope There’s Action

“It is a horrible decision,” Reid said, adding that he was “disappointed” in Chief Justice John Roberts and felt the justice had “misdirected” senators during his confirmation hearings about whether he supported constitutional privacy rights.”

“As the author of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, I can say with absolute certainty the Supreme Court got the Hobby Lobby case dead wrong,” said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY). The point of the law was to protect the religious freedoms of individuals from government interference, Schumer said, and people who are born into or convert to a religion are nothing like for-profit corporations that form voluntarily and benefit from the marketplace under U.S. laws.”

“Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) called Hobby Lobby a “direct violation” of the right to privacy granted by the Griswold v. Connecticut decision, which struck down laws prohibiting the sale of birth control.”
http://rhrealitycheck.org/...

All You Wish You Didn’t Need to Know about the Hobby Lobby Case

Think about It: “Until Hobby Lobby, religious liberty was a shield, not a sword. It protected minority religious practices from majority tyranny. Hobby Lobby, however, has opened the door to companies opting out of all kinds of laws: anti-discrimination laws, the Affordable Care Act, you name it.”
http://lilith.org/...

An HL Quote Roundup

Including: "Since the Supreme Court decided it will not protect women's access to health care, I will." -- Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) on the elegantly referred to “Not My Boss’s Business” Act
http://go.nationalpartnership.org/...

and that just gets us started recapping this never-ending War on Women

Continue Reading

Sat May 10, 2014 at 06:39 AM PDT

Talking to a Hair Brush

by Laura Wnderer

Apparently only men watch late night talk shows and satirical programs.

Out of Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show have come:
- The Colbert Report by Stephen Colbert
- Colbert is now moving on to replace Letterman
- The Colbert Report will be replaced by The Minority Report by Larry Willmore
- John Oliver has a weekly show, Last Week Tonight

Late Night Shows
- Letterman will be replaced by Colbert
- Leno has been replaced by Jimmy Fallon
- Jimmy Fallon has been replaced by Seth Meyers

I’d protest by not watching those shows, but I don’t watch them already because they’re too late, too much about promoting movies that I’ll never see, and too much talk by men. (Is there someplace where we're not inundated with men's perspectives?) Do the powers that be think that women are still sitting at home watching day time talk shows? It seems that women have a greater representation in Congress than we have on TV, and that is, surely, a very sad thing to say in 2014. Glass ceiling? We’re still talking into our hairbrushes.

Discuss

A WAY WITH WORDS (AND THOUGHTS)

They WON! Rand Paul Version
One of the first things that an English teacher tries to get her students to do when analyzing literature is to have her students understand that characters are not versions of themselves nor are they people to be judged against their/their parent’s moral base so that they can expand their understanding of the world. But, I guess, ophthalmologists don’t need to see into the heart the way, say, a cardiologist would. Thanks to Atticus, in To Kill a Mockingbird, for stating it so eloquently; “‘First of all,’ he said, ‘if you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you'll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view […] until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.’”

And now Rand Paul on The War on Women: “This whole sort of war on women thing, I’m scratching my head because if there was a war on women, I think they won,” the Tea Party Republican told Meet the Press, according to Think Progress. “You know, the women in my family are incredibly successful. I have a niece at Cornell vet school, and 85% of the young people there are women. Law school, 60% are women. In med school, 55%. My younger sister is an OB-GYN with six kids and doing great. I don’t see so much that women are downtrodden. I see women rising up and doing great things. In fact, I worry about our young men sometimes because I think the women are outcompeting the men in our world [...] The women in my family are doing great. That’s what I see in all the statistics coming out. I have, you know, young women in my office that are the leading intellectual lights of our office. So I don’t really see this, that there’s some sort of war on women that’s, you know, keeping women down.”

So there it is, a man who is supposed to represent the men and women of Kentucky, and the men and women of the United States is so insightful (or was that insular?) that he can base all his understanding on those supposedly downtrodden by looking at the wonderfully accomplished women in his family who, surely, had a hell of a time making ends meet and dealing with the snowball of racism. Yup. Rand knows.
http://www.care2.com/...

But he has more insights, this man who sees so very deeply, in the same interview he “suggested that President Bill Clinton was responsible for the “war on women” because he had an affair with an intern while he was in office during the 1990s.” Thankfully, I can’t really understand this for anything other than grabbing for words that can fill airtime and approximate thought, and to do a “I’m rubber, you’re glue, everything I say sticks to you” kind of deflection. You would think that a man who seems concerned about men violating women would surely have voted for the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA) of 2013. Alas, he didn’t.
http://www.rawstory.com/...

LIBIDO! LIBIDO! LIBIDO! Send them back to the kitchen. Huckabee Mumbles
I don’t think that we should forget Mr. Huckabee’s quote too quickly because he has now become the momentary Republican frontrunner for the 2016 presidential nominee and he has, apparently, made lots of money by being insulting, paternalistic, and downright thoughtfree—and proud of it. One more time:

"If the Democrats want to insult women by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it," he said. "Let us take this discussion all across America because women are far more than the Democrats have played them to be."

Apparently the ladies in red think that this makes sense.

“Wednesday's poll indicated that Republican women weren't bothered by what he said either. With 16 percent support, Huckabee was the top choice among female GOP voters.”
http://talkingpointsmemo.com/...

I’m trying to think about when my libido controlled my reproductive system, but I can’t. Oh, I don’t have sex. But wait, even when I did, did having a contraceptive control it? I don’t get it. Maybe I should consult Todd Akins’ Guide to Lady Parts. I really wish these women would reach into the intuition that we ladies are supposed to have and vote with it, and not the act-then-ask response that gentlemen are known for.

It is upsetting to learn that he is making money from being an old-school chauvinist who doesn’t even pretend that we are living in the 21st century. I guess us ladies really have won the War on Women and are retreating to the bedroom and kitchen, just like we should.
http://www.ibtimes.com/...

Continue Reading

This morning, while taking my dog for a leisurely half-hour walk, I listened to Weekend Edition on NPR. In that half hour, the only female voice I heard was the show’s host, Linda Wertheimer. Apparently there are no female writers, movie reviewers, or chefs who can talk about books to read over the holidays, new favorite movies to watch, or foods to eat on New Year’s Day to combat the impact of having imbibed too much the previous night. Which brings me to what I perceive as one of the worst things about the War on Women: the insidious nature of women being invisible. If we are not heard, we cannot be listened to, and things will not be changed.

I teach in a high school, and in the almost ten years I have been teaching, there have always been two male assistant principals and two female assistant principals, so why, have the three principals only been male? We can lean in so far that the Leaning Tower of Pisa looks straight, but it is not just on us to break those barriers. The ole boys’ club is not just about country club membership, it’s about being more comfortable with those like you and assumptions that die hard. (Why are tough women still considered Bs?)

The existence of the War on Women impacts all of us, and its end depends on all of us. One of the things that stands out to me in Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech is that he states that the oppressed are oppressed as well, and that “they [white people] have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.” This is about having a society that gives every one of us a chance, and not a society where we have to prove ourselves to the white men who hold all the keys.  

Continue Reading

Sat Dec 21, 2013 at 01:44 PM PST

Students of Today

by Laura Wnderer

Since school began in September, two of my students have had to leave to deal with their depression, and the parents of other students have emailed me about how stressed out their children are and if I could please be flexible with deadlines. Not long ago a student at my school died, and since the parents did not say what happened, my assumption is suicide. Most of these students are freshman, high school freshman, 14- and 15-year-olds.

You know, we can talk and talk and talk and talk about tests and scores and evaluations and how poorly our students do on math tests compared to Norwegian children, and we can talk about how creative our students are compared to Korean children, and we can talk about how our students only know one language compared to multi-lingual European children, but really, what does any of that matter if in the process of proving something about ourselves and our superiority or our power to destroy in order to rebuild or prove something about our vision of education or priorities, we let our children slip through our classrooms without the compassion needed for lasting learning and personal stability?

Continue Reading

WOMAN AS VESSEL DEPARTMENT

“Case Explores Rights of Fetus Versus Mother”

I get that the authorities really really really care about fetuses, because, God, but how come we women don’t get the God protection? You know, I’m fed up with trying to understand these bullies because there is nothing honorable about them and no bible thumping with prove otherwise (besides, my bible is a scroll). Honestly, Get Your Compassion Out Of Our Wombs!

“JACKSON, Wis. — Alicia Beltran cried with fear and disbelief when county sheriffs surrounded her home on July 18 and took her in handcuffs to a holding cell.

“She was 14 weeks pregnant and thought she had done the right thing when, at a prenatal checkup, she described a pill addiction the previous year and said she had ended it on her own — something later verified by a urine test. But now an apparently skeptical doctor and a social worker accused her of endangering her unborn child because she had refused to accept their order to start on an anti-addiction drug.

“Ms. Beltran, 28, was taken in shackles before a family court commissioner who, she says, brushed aside her pleas for a lawyer. To her astonishment, the court had already appointed a legal guardian for the fetus.” (highlighting mine)
http://www.nytimes.com/...

WOMEN WHO ARE TOO OLD TO BE PERT AND BOUNCY DEPARTMENT

San Diego, which brought us creepy Mayor Bob Filner, now offers Matthew Tucker, who fires the ladies who he doesn’t enjoy looking at because they’re too darn old.

“SAN DIEGO — A former employee of the North County Transit District has sued the public transportation agency, claiming its executive director, Matthew Tucker, illegally targeted employees -- specifically, older female employees -- for layoffs, then retaliated when his decisions were questioned.”

“Heidi Rockey, a former grants specialist who resigned from NCTD in July 2012, told inewsourceTucker made a habit of firing, laying off or demoting women over 40.”
And there you have it: “According to sources who were either the subject of the statements or witnessed the actions firsthand, Tucker frequently referred to older female employees as “grandma”; asked if they had enough energy to do their jobs; suggested they dye their hair to look younger; and repeatedly said younger women were “easier on the eyes” than their predecessors.”

http://www.kpbs.org/...

http://inewsource.org/...

Continue Reading

VIOLENCE

OH, MY GOD Category

There is no religious or cultural reason that can possibly support the rape and death of an eight-year old by her “husband’s” boy thing. There has got to be a way for financially struggling families to make ends meet that does not entail the selling of their daughters to pedophiles. And I don’t care what kind of protection these men think they get by having sex with a virgin (if that’s what’s at play here), there has got to be a baseline of decency and understanding of how the world goes round.  

“An eight-year-old Yemeni girl has died of internal sexual injuries after spending her wedding night with a husband five times her age.”

“Al Bawaba reports over a quarter of young girls in Yemen are married before the age of 15.”
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/...

Boys-Will-Be-Boys, with an Accent

Here, there, and everywhere. Is a woman safe anywhere? Turns out that boys everywhere think that they deserve sex, whether or not they are in a loving and thoughtful relationship that entails mutual nurturing, meaningful conversations, and lots of laughter.

 “About 1 in 10 men in some parts of Asia admitted raping a woman who was not their partner, according to the first large studies of rape and sexual violence. When their wife or girlfriend was included, that figure rose to about a quarter.”

“A previous report from the World Health Organization found one-third of women worldwide say they have been victims of domestic or sexual violence.”

And BINGO is the name-o:

"’It's not enough to focus on services for women,’ said Charlotte Watts, head of the Gender, Violence and Health Centre at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who was not part of the study.”
http://hosted.ap.org/...

If you have the ability, this is the link that can lead you to the original paper:
http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/...

Continue Reading

Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 12:01 PM PDT

This Week in the War on Women

by Laura Wnderer

WAY PAST INSANITY

High School Virginity Check: Coming to a school near you?
So it’s good that these girls can get an education, but my goodness, the disrespect shown to them is unimaginable. Disrespect, I don’t even know what word works here. The patriarchy always knows what’s best for everyone.

“A city on Indonesia's Sumatra Island will require female students to pass a virginity test for entering senior high school in an effort to reduce the rate of "negative acts," news reports said Tuesday.

“Muhammad Rasyid, chief of the Education Agency in the city of Prabumulih in South Sumatra Province, reportedly said the virginity test, which will be a response to the high rate of "adultery" and "prostitution" among female students, is slated to start next year.”
http://www.globalpost.com/...

Because Men always Know what God Thinks
The depravity is just incomprehensible. What is the point of religion if it only makes you fearful and full of hate?

“A cleric cut his wife into pieces on Wednesday for refusing to wear a veil and sending their children to school, police said.”

“He said he had been telling her to cover her face with a veil when she stepping outside, but she had not listened. He also wrote that he did not want to be responsible for her sins and thus killed her.”
http://tribune.com.pk/...

Continue Reading

Sat Aug 17, 2013 at 12:01 PM PDT

This Week in the War on Women

by Laura Wnderer

VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
San Diego Mayor Bob Filner. The creep who just keeps on creeping out.
What kind of therapy do you get to learn not to use your position of authority to touch and thereby intimidate women? I would have thought that reaching middle school and the 21st century were enough, but obviously not.
For the first slide of the revised therapy program, I suggest: DO NOT TOUCH WOMEN. That should do it.
http://hosted.ap.org/...
http://www.theatlantic.com/...
http://www.latimes.com/...

New York, not wanting to be outdone by that other coast, seems to have its very own political groper.
“In April, the commission [New York's ethics board] issued a report critical of Silver for arranging a secret $103,000 settlement of sexual harassment accusations against Assemblyman Vito Lopez.”
http://online.wsj.com/...

Could somebody please take women and their MINDS seriously already!

Zanzibar, Not So Exotic Anymore
Apparently it is very easy to vent your anger against whatever ails you by hurting women. This time it was two British volunteers in Zanzibar: eighteen-year-olds trying to do good. Way to go to make a statement for your cause!
“Hate cleric Ponda Issa arrived on Zanzibar a week ago amid claims that he was attempting to rouse support for anti-government demonstrations. The fundamentalist preacher wants Islamic law to be imposed.”
http://www.express.co.uk/...
http://hosted.ap.org/...
http://www.nytimes.com/...

Sex in the Unconscious Zone
I really don’t need to read this phrase a week before sending my daughter off to college: “allegedly having sex with an unconscious victim.” I believe that none of us wants to ever read that phrase again. Do wishes ever come true?
http://www.thedailybeast.com/...

Continue Reading

At 7:40PM, I read an email that I received at 4:22PM. The email from Planned Parenthood begins: “The City of Fairfax is voting TONIGHT, July 9 on a proposed ordinance that would arbitrarily single out women’s health centers from other medical facilities and if passed, would allow the city to block any abortion provider from moving into its boundaries. Now that the state TRAP law has passed and is being implemented, we cannot let localities increase the burdens on women’s health centers with additional local TRAP laws!”

I had just finished watching TV when I saw this email. I quickly got dressed and drove to the meeting—about a 20-minute traffic-free drive. For some reason I was expecting throngs in the streets; or at the very least, difficulty finding a parking place, but neither was the case. The meeting was going on, and the meeting space wasn’t full. Luckily, I automatically went to the left side of the room (a lefty’s instinct), which was where a group of people from NARAL were sitting, so all was good—at least with the seating arrangements.

Since I arrived almost an hour and a half late, I missed all of the citizen statements and was there just a few minutes before the ordinance came up for a vote. A few council members found it incumbent upon themselves to state that this was not a political issue, but merely a zoning issue. Sure. An ordinance (in the words of the email) that “will force centers to incur additional costs and barriers to complying with the state TRAP laws, and would be yet another regulatory obstacle for Virginia abortion providers to overcome in order to stay open” is not political. It was galling for them to state that. Seriously, what’s more hypocritical than a politician saying that he’s not motivated by politics? Is that akin to him saying that he’s not motivated by his ego?

A few members tried to push the decision to a future meeting after the staff would clarify vague points in the ordinance, which some council members conceded were evident in the ordinance. But one council member, Jeffrey C. Greenfield, pushed the mayor to get the council to vote on the ordinance tonight. That was certainly politically-motivated: Members, get your little pro-choice or pro-life booklet stamped!

And they did. Four ayes. Two nays. Would it be shocking to learn that the one woman on the council voted nay?

It wasn’t enough for the council to restrict women’s rights in concert with Texas, and North Carolina, and Wisconsin, and Ohio, and Kansas, and Alabama, and South Dakota, no, we also had to get a ManLecture from Mayor R. Scott Silverthorne. He noted (warming us up?) that he is probably the most liberal mayor in Fairfax City in over 50 years (does that really say anything?). But that warm and fuzzy feeling he was going for froze when he had the nerve to call out, in his little Napoleon speech, that he was angry at NARAL for coming into his territory from outside to upset his meeting, which, after all, was simply about zoning. Is that next? Only people with the correct zip code can enter a supposedly public meeting? Or maybe, only the people who live on the right side of the tracks? Does he lecture other groups about wanting their members present to state their case and support their cause? Can he really think that he has the right, hmmm, as a public servant to limit free speech?

To me, his statement is in line with everything that’s been happening in the last few months that limit a woman’s rights to her own body and her own decision-making. As usual, a man knows best. I thought that we were done with all of this patronizing stuff now that we can lean in and almost have it all.

Discuss

Wed Mar 06, 2013 at 06:03 AM PST

My Ex-Husband Is Homeless

by Laura Wnderer

“Don’t hit me! Don’t hit me!” my ex-husband yelled, his face red, veins popping from his neck, spittle sticking to his lips. He stood inches from me in the hallway outside the master suite—his room—with our two daughters down the hall in their rooms.

“I didn’t touch you!” I yelled, stepping back, opening my hands in front of me.

“Don’t touch me!” he shouted again, stepping closer.

For years I had feared that his words would morph into fists, but this accusation of violence scared me. I had done nothing. Was this a set-up so he could hit me in self-defense? “You’re crazy! What are you talking about?! GET AWAY FROM ME!” I cried, stepping back into my room, locking the door, turning up the radio so I couldn’t hear him screaming that he’d call the police. Was he preparing for some imaginary courtroom drama where our daughters could claim I hit their father?

This twisting of reality had become my reality in the four years that it took to get divorced and sell the family home. His mind could contort the turning up or down of a thermostat into an offense—as it could with the volume of a radio or even an open door. Now, he had created a threat so he could continue to embitter my life because I wouldn’t just walk out, abandoning our daughters, and leaving the house to him.

“Turn it down! I can’t read!” my older daughter yelled, banging on our shared wall. My daughter, who used to respect me but now despised me for my weaknesses. Her shriek coincided with my heartbreak—“Crazy woman!”

I couldn’t have predicted this 30 years ago when he sat next to me on a bus in Israel—happenstance generating the spark that would join a 21-year-old American tourist and a 19-year-old Israeli soldier. He wooed me in letters after I left Israel three days later, and when I moved from New York to Israel nine months after that. His intelligence, vitality, and infatuation with me made me bless that serendipitous moment.

For two years on Friday afternoons when he had Shabbat leave (he was an officer completing his service), we would go to the beach in Tel Aviv, rolling with the waves, embracing with our limbs and through our dreams, letting the hot sun and cool waters of the Mediterranean forge our relationship. Afterward, we would eat hamburgers in pitas with hummus and pickled baby eggplants—adding to the sense that life in this place and with this man would be an adventure. And it was.

Initially, he was my guide to all things cultural and bureaucratic as I learned to live in Israel. His push to incorporate me, his reserved girlfriend, into his thriving life of friends and interests, helped me find my place. The lure of opposites lasted twelve years: we married, he became a successful lawyer, I was a writer in the high-tech industry, and we had two daughters.

But the excitement of having a yin/yang partner who was competitive to my passivity and confident to my self-doubt turned on me when I grew into myself.

Initially, I thought his driving or walking past Do Not Enter signs showed his sense of curiosity and adventure—a bit of that wild side that I found so exciting. But years later, when we were entering an outdoor festival with our daughters and I was reaching for my wallet, he suggested we walk around the entrance where he spied an opening. I looked at him in disgust and walked up to the ticket table and bought four tickets.

When we bought our first car in Israel, he handled all the negotiations. I didn’t think that my Hebrew or my understanding of the way things worked were up to the task. Fifteen years later, when we moved to Virginia, I spoke up in the car salesman’s cubicle, only to have my husband tell me, in Hebrew, to shut up, that he would handle it, otherwise we wouldn’t get a good deal. Maybe it’s true, maybe we wouldn’t have gotten the faux leather seats and the sunroof, but what of the cost to my ego being put-down so publicly. The salesman didn’t need to understand Hebrew to know what was said. The same thing happened when we bought our house—he told me to be quiet or I would ruin the deal.

I started to view his confidence as arrogance after we moved to Northern Virginia in 2000 for my job relocation. Perhaps my confidence finally thrived—no longer held back by a language that was never my own and a sense that I would always feel like a visitor, even after 17 years in Israel.

He found a job in business development at a DC law firm. But our jobs didn’t survive the economic bust: I lost mine in less than a year, and he lost his two years later. Right before he lost his job, I told him that I wanted a divorce. He asked me to wait until he got a job. I agreed, but I had assumed he would move out or at least move into the basement, but he refused. As the abusive behavior intensified, I thought of moving out, but I was afraid I would lose my daughters. I couldn’t afford to live in their school district or near their friends and I feared that they would choose to stay with him, so I never asked. How could being away from him be good if it meant being away from them? So I stayed and endured for four years.

Becoming a financial consultant didn’t work out for him: he was laid off in 2008. Then, according to our daughters (because we had stopped talking since you can’t have a conversation if neither of you will listen to the other), he worked independently.

When we moved, our older daughter went to college out of state and our younger daughter did the custody dance, until she didn’t.

“Why are you here?” I asked one Friday when she was supposed to be with him. I had been looking forward to a quiet weekend without her nastiness. It seemed that she was doing with me what I had done with my mother. One day my mother commented that I was taking out my stresses on her because she would always be supportive.

“He can’t pick me up. He doesn’t have a car,” she replied, arms crossed.

“I can drive you.”

“No,” she said, staring at the carpet.  

“Why not?”  

“Don’t you understand? He has no money!” she yelled, running to her bedroom and slamming the door.

No, I didn’t understand.

That was in June 2011.

Later that day she told me that he was hoping the big deal he was working on would come through.

At the end of August the conversation continued in the car. The deal hadn’t worked out and she needed to go to his house for a few hours on Saturday (she had not been there the entire summer). “He’s being evicted on Monday. I need to,” she paused, looking out the window, “get some things.”

“Why not stay there for the weekend?” I thought she’d want to spend as much time as possible with him before he—. Evicted. It didn’t make sense.

“I don’t want to be there when,” she paused. More staring.

I was stunned, how could this have happened to the man I once idolized; who had been such a good provider? We continued home in silence, crying. I was not a mother able to console her child. It occurred to me that perhaps I was stronger, more resilient than he was and that he had needed more support than he ever let on or that I could give him.

My older daughter told me that her sister said he was going to California because, as he said, “It would be easier to be homeless in California.”

Days after getting her things, my younger daughter told me she felt guilty that she was not with him on a bench somewhere. “He’s my father, I should be with him.”

With that the pain of jealousy pushed out sympathy—it had come to pass—she picked him over me. Her compassion for her father was wonderful, but I felt betrayed. Now I had tears of self-pity. “Sweetie, you can’t feel bad that you’re not there. He’s got to take care of himself, and you—that wouldn’t be good for you.”

“I know.”

“If you ever want to talk about it--.”  

She looked at me, and then out the window. “I know,” she said quietly.

No one has heard from him since then.

I am not my ex-husband’s keeper, but I cannot help but feel guilty. After all, we moved from Israel because of my job. He had supported my writing and my creative projects: he helped look for publishers for my children’s books and outlets for the games and toys I developed. I initiated the divorce.

I used to think that there was a balance between us: I supported him when he went to law school and he supported us when I stayed home intermittently with the girls. I lived in his country and then he lived in mine. Now I realize that most of those decisions were mine. He was overbearing in our day-to-day lives, telling me what shoes to buy for the girls and myself, and where to go on vacation, but those things don’t outweigh having imposed such big changes on him.

His outward bearing of absolute autonomy never revealed doubts, and so I assumed he could handle the changes that came his way.

Thinking of him alone on a bench somewhere, while I have a good job and the respect of our daughters, makes me realize that perhaps I brought more pain to him than he brought to me. So as much as I hate him for how he abused me and for walking out on our daughters, more than anything, I feel sadness for what he has lost.

Continue Reading

Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 05:26 PM PDT

One Woman Roaring

by Laura Wnderer

Just a couple of months ago we women were on our way to ruling the world, what with the end of men and all. We were even arguing about what it means to have it all, because we were at the point in our societal evolution of hair splitting the definition of “all.” Now we can be found in binders, which certainly adds a new twist to the idea of having it all—for men, I mean, certainly not for women.

I want to know why, in October 2012, are so many men still bullies and cowards toward women? Recorded history of their wars and conflicts and pillaging and raping began more than 5,000 years ago; you would have hoped that at some point they would have put aside their little man-scepters and let us girls play, too, on a level playing field so that, perhaps, all the animosity and power-mania that they do so well could be tempered with thoughts of compassion and not aspirations of greatness.

It’s as if they are born with an endless bag of M&Ms in their hands and they won’t let women have any, not a brown one or a red one or even a yellow one. Nope. It’s their bag and they don’t have to share if they don’t want to. So they don’t, because who are they to listen to their mothers about the importance of sharing and caring?

Am I talking about the boys and men in Afghanistan and Pakistan where they are trying to tie girls—body, mind, and soul—to the kitchen and bedroom? No. I am talking about here. All the brouhaha about romney and his comments about “binders full of women,” and us ladies being granted the privilege to get home by five to cook for our little men, and the inability of single women to control the violence in their sons has not been met by the proper degree of disgust and condemnation. Sure, there are funny memes and tweets and witty comments about Avery binders, but where has the serious discussion been that 50% of the people (going on the tightness of the presidential race) in this country have their minds wrapped in turbans and have joined the Taliban. No wonder we can’t defeat them over there.

I guess it’s so addictive, this power that men have over women, that it’s just too darn hard to relinquish.

Legitimate rape. Acceptable rape (military style). Shut-down systems. Forced vaginal ultra-sounds. 77 cents to the dollar. Ladies issues. Vagina as a four-letter word. And apparently we’re causing penises to go petite.

I don’t care if the crazy is limited to the republicans or the tea party, what I care about is the damage these ideas and actions are having on my present and my future, and on the present and future of my daughters—and of our sons. How many more generations will be forced to send their children to war because the men in power only know power? Why are women being put en masse into a ducking stool? These are not separate issues, they are one and the same.

I remember singing, “I am woman, hear me roar” back in 1971; who would have thought that we would still be roaring now, and even louder than before because now we are so much closer to where we should be, but we are being told to go back, to go back to the wonders of being barefoot and pregnant. (Contraception access restrictions anyone?) Okay, so the guys who say that are Neanderthals. But that’s an awful lot of throw-backs that we have in this country. Why is that?

Do we have any hope left of ever having it all, where “all” refers to the same choices and opportunities as the boys have, without giving ourselves gender-neutral names and becoming as aggressive as men?

We can laugh about those binders, but the comedy doesn’t go very deep before the pain throbs.

I know this will sound naïve, but I honestly don’t understand why any man thinks that he is innately better than any woman, or even why any person thinks that he or she is better than anyone else, or anything else, if I’m going all the way in my thoughts.

Arrogance. It’s so much easier to be arrogant when you can be because you hold the levers.

No one wants to serve when it is not a choice. No one wants to be told how to act and how to be by someone who only issues commands. No one wants to be boxed in by the dimensions of another person’s mind-box.

We can roar, but we cannot be invincible if we are thrown under the bus of men’s ambitions. In that case, who wants any of it, never mind all of it?

Discuss
You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.

RSS

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site