Greetings and welcome to my blog for this
Blog Action Day 2014.
My name is Rose Anderson and I’m a romance novelist. But my writing doesn’t stop there. My penchant for storytelling takes me across many genres, including children’s literature and historical non-fiction. I also blog a variety of thoughts each week. I consider myself to be a voracious learner — a dilettante in the truest sense of the word.
This year’s Blog Action Day is about inequality.
That’s a hard one. As I long considered today’s post, I found nailing it down to one facet of inequality is tricky. Just turn on the day’s news and get an earful. Inequality is all over and wears many faces.
Oh sure, I could go on about economic inequalities in the USA. I could mention the powers behind the scenes who buy our government officials so laws could have their teeth pulled that nothing stand in the way of the wealthiest acquiring more wealth — not the health of the planet, not the education of our youth, not the care of our sick and elderly, or myriad other things that make a society healthy and strong. Or, I could blog about the unequal global wealth disparity that distills down to 2% of the population owning more than half of all the wealth in the world. More
I could talk about the full array of social inequalities. Now there’s an umbrella term. Under our gigantic umbrella sits racial inequality with all the prejudice, oppression, and stereotyping that goes with it hand in hand. Not to be outdone, ethnic and ideological differences have been topped off with an unhealthy dose of xenophobia. Thanks, in part, to media such as FOX News. Curiously, were we to examine the whys and wherefores of hyping our differences rather than our similarities, they’d lead back to the few at the top of the food chain mentioned above. In other words, the people behind FOX (and other News Corp fomenters), don’t stir the race/ethnic pot for nothing.
I could talk about marriage inequality. My personal belief says I don’t have the right to tell another person who they may love. How heartless are we as a society that we would deny someone the opportunity to say goodbye to a loved one as they pass away? This precious final moment is to be denied because the people are the same gender? How cruel are we as a society that we would rather see children without a loving family to care for them simply because our offended personal code finds fault with a child having two fathers or two mothers?
I could talk about resource inequality. There are places around the world without food and water and hope. There are also opportunity inequalities such as adequate education and health services. See what I mean? Inequality comes in all shapes and sizes. Still, I had to pick one…
The first-world issues of American women are tiny compared to the tragic issues I’m about to mention here. Around the world there are terrible things that women and girls endure, and each one is more heartbreaking than the last. My post today is just about what I see in my own backyard.
First off, I’m lucky to have been born in America. I could have been an eight year old girl about to have a wedding night with a man five times my age. I could have acid thrown in my face or been set on fire for saying no to a man’s advances. I could be raped and then honor killed by my family for my shame. I could have been the newborn left to die on the side of the road because I was born female. I could have my genitals mutilated. I could be sold as a slave. I could be collected. I could be beaten with a hose or caned for going out without a male family member or for other offenses like driving a car, reading a book, showing my hair, my wrists, my ankles, or uncovering my face. I could be shot in the head for wanting an education. And this list goes painfully on and on. My heart aches for those mothers and sisters around the world waiting for help or waiting to die. Yes, I am a fortunate female, as are my daughter, my female friends, and female family members.
So many women work outside the home today, it’s hard to imagine a time when this wasn’t the norm. Prior to WWII, women’s work generally revolved around housework, the family, and child-rearing. Women supported the country and kept the wheels of industry turning while their men were off to war. They became the Rosies with cuffs rolled back and cool confidence written on their faces. By necessity, on farms and in cities, women stepped up to keep the country running, and by doing so stepped outside centuries of long-established gender roles. When the war ended and weary warriors came home to their jobs and families, it was time for women to return to their places. But things were different now. Those tough and often dangerous jobs declared to the world that a woman’s abilities were equal to a man’s. Remember, just 25 years before, the suffragettes fought for full rights of citizenship by seeking the vote. Change came slowly. But more was coming.
As a middle-aged woman, I came into this world nearly 40 years after the 19th Amendment granted women the right to vote. Mine is the last generation wholly formed by centuries of gender specific roles. We’re the TV generation who grew up on programing and commercials geared to remind us that, yes, we built those Jeeps and bombers, but we were no longer needed for that work. It was now time to bake cookies.
Mine was the generation of new advocates. We picked up the torch left by the suffragettes and we were determined to bring equality and fairness to the table. We took the Equal Rights Amendment of 1923 (a.k.a. the ERA) and continue to fight for equal rights for all women under the law. Since 1982, every Congress sees it across their desks. Unbelievably, the ERA has yet to be ratified. To be added to the Constitution it needs 38 states saying yes, women deserve to be treated as the equals they are. To date, fifteen states prevent this from happening. I’m left to wonder why.
It saddens me that so many young women are ambivalent when it comes to their standing in society and in the world. Now more than ever, young women need to be aware. They need to step up. I won’t linger on the politics that deny women the same rights for self-governance that men have. I won’t linger on glass ceilings. Instead I’ll mention the many negative things against women that bombard our society every single day. Our women and girls are told they are less and this message is reinforced across every imaginable channel. You can’t be smart. You’re a bimbo. You can’t be sexual. You’re a prude. You can’t have opinions. You’re bossy, or worse, a man-hater. You can’t disagree. You must have PMS. You can’t enjoy physical activities. You’re a dyke. You can’t be competent in your job. You’re a ball-buster or a chick with a d-ck. You can’t even protest the fact birth control is inexplicably not covered by your insurance when Viagra is, because some self-aggrandizing slob on the radio is going to call you a slut for weeks. Worse, the opinion that victims of rape just dressed wrong, made eye contact, smiled uncomfortably at a cat call or wolf whistle, and somehow asked for what they got. But worse than that are the politicians who say just lay back and enjoy it. Enjoy it! Gah that makes me furious.
This second-class standing women have creeps into our lives from every corner. We see it as the sexualization of little girls through mature clothing styles and sexy tot beauty pageants where mothers parade their daughters as strippers or pole dancers. We see it as self-help and diet books that reenforce women need to be better rather than just ourselves. We see it in the botox-frozen faces of TV and movie stars because they’re told by a superficial society that there’s nothing worse than an old woman. We see sex selling everything from coffee to cars to chainsaws. More. We see it in popular young adult fiction hyping the manipulation of women or fostering the idea that we are nothing at all without him. We hear it during election campaigns when the woman candidate’s appearance is either praised, questioned, or maligned. We hear it coming from the mouths of our men and boys when their worst insults are female-oriented jabs of p-words, c-words, and douche. Insults that go well beyond the “you throw like a girl” and “sissy” of yesterday. What have we made our young men? Take a closer look. They have similar issues foisted on them.
When taken as a whole and really looked at, all of this is staggering. What’s happening to our society that half the population is derided and objectified? Why have we gone to this place that’s uncomfortable and at the least insulting? Was all of it really just clever marketing to sell products and now we reap what we’ve sown? I suspect yes. But that pernicious monster is out of the box and what will it take to feed it next?
Very recently I came upon the new generation of women picking up the torch for gender equality. Here are three worth listening to. With the three of them steering the future, I know good things will come.
This inspiring young actor gave a brave speech. Would you believe she was viciously attacked in social media for it? I ask you, what was it she said that warranted that
Malala Yousafzai 2014 Nobel Peace Prize winner.
Madison Kimrey – 13-years old. Watch for this amazing girl. She’s going places. My guess? Politics.
How the Media Failed Women in 2013 (In my opinion this just touches upon the issues, but when all lined up in a row, it illustrates what I’ve been talking about)
The Representation Project: Rewrite the Story (I recommend ALL the videos)
Gender inequality affects everyone. It’s time for everyone to get involved and end it. We owe this to our future.
Follow the progress or lack thereof. Write letters to your representatives and ask them why not?
For 100 days, I’ll post something from my chosen topic: Clichés.
There are 20 entries to come. Here’s a cliché for today:
She’s been hit with an ugly stick
Today our guest is Author Melodie Campbell. http://romancebooks4us.blogspot.com/
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