Women (Not) Supporting Women

Women were property since before the beginning of recorded history. How did it start? Because of differences in physical strength or because of chemical differences in the brain? Whatever the reason(s) we got owned. Religion and politics combined to use that power to keep women as possessions and make us believe we belonged there. We were bought, sold, and traded along with children and livestock.

Like trapped rats, we turned on each other as we competed for men, protection, for resources for ourselves, and for our children.

We have a little bit of power now. A little bit of a voice. The separation of church and state, laws allowing women to own property and to vote are relatively new phenomenon. We are still fighting for bodily autonomy. We are still fighting to be heard and believed.  In Ohio, where I currently live, marital rape is not illegal. We still have so far to go.

My question is, what are the white evangelical women who vote against themselves (and the rest of us) thinking? Every vote for a conservative white male, every moment of disinterest, every shrug at the expense of other women is action taken in favor of our own oppression. Is there any way to throw open the doors to sisterhood and consider women first? To see the larger picture of bringing us all along together?

If we do not support each other, we are choosing to maintain the web of power, secrecy, and rape that allows men like Jeffrey Epstein to have a Pedophile Island at his disposal. For billionaires and politicians around the globe to satisfy their sick, perverted whims at the expense of little girls.*

Having more women in power puts a chink in the web of male protection that is currently in place. Every single female in office, or in any position of power, rips a hole in that web. In the web of smug winks, nudges, and open secrets. The web in which little girls are raped.

It is time, it is way past time, for women to stand together to burn down the web of protection that exists for the benefit of men.

It is time, it is way past time, for good men who would never participate in such things to understand how they benefit from the status quo.

It is time, it is way past time, for white women to understand how we benefit from siding with the money, power, and security supplied to us by our relationships with white men. We have hidden behind them, cloaked ourselves in comfort. Quoted scriptures to justify our betrayal. We are no longer silenced by branks. We are no longer burned at the stake for speaking out. We cannot pretend we do not see institutional racism, poverty, sexual assault, and bigotry.

We cannot pretend the balance of power is not within our grasp.

Vote like your life depends on it because someones does.

vote

*Epstein was assisted by at least one woman, Ghislaine Maxwell. She is evil, too.

 

This Place Feels Sticky

I remembered something.  There was this weird thing that happened to me a lot in the Pentecostal church, so it must have happened to others, too. Maybe it happened to me more often since I ran wild on bible college campuses as a child. I don’t know.

Men would offer to be my boyfriend.  They would call me their girlfriend in intimate and flirtatious ways and pretend to want to date me. I usually knew they were not serious, but to have the attention of grown men as a ten or twelve year old girl was confusing and head-turning stuff.

Now I know their words were sexual predation. Grooming, if you will.  Had any of those men, most only eighteen or nineteen themselves, some older, had a more nefarious bent and tried to corner me in a dark room, I would have complied.  I would not have thought to resist.

As #MeToo moments go, being noticed in sexually or romantically suggestive ways by men is “not that bad.” I was never raped, have no violence to report, no molestation, no physical contact, except for that once, but I knew no one would believe me. And yet… I remember them all.

My value as a human was defined from day one by my appearance and my sexual value.  “You’re going to be beautiful when you grow up,” they would say, with a glance up and down, while everything sexual was condemned and shamed within the cult of the United Pentecostal Church.  Sex education was non-existent, information forbidden, genitals unnamed, normal developmental desires were an unspeakable sin punishable by the fires of hell. They were not joking.

Add in the Biblical philosophy of the second class nature of women and the demand for their submission, acquiescence, and silence.  The female body was vile and a dangerous threat; our shoulders and kneecaps an abomination to the eye, designed to tempt unwitting men. Scriptures seemed to be full of stories of women whose offense was to be curious or smart or beautiful (Eve, Lot’s wife, Jezebel) and they were always killed or banished for their infractions. Jezebel had the audacity to decorate herself and so was fed to dogs. Her story was a little more complicated than that, but the Sunday School literature blamed it on makeup and jewelry.

But, still, be pretty. Be pretty and wait to get laid by your future husband, a man of god who will pick you to have his children and play his piano. The scrutiny of every detail of females’ appearance played into this culture of sexualization, even of children. Our only value was sexual; our sexuality was also our shame. What a twisted fucking message.

In defense of those males, except for that one who knew better, they were victims of the same culture. I doubt any of them gave a second thought to the things they said to the Bible college campus child-pet and would probably be horrified to have their words marked as predatory or even inappropriate. Who knows what they got out of it.

“A woman’s body always stands on the outskirts of town, verging on uncivilization. A thin paper gown is all that separates it from the wilderness. Half of its whole being is devoted to remembering how to live in the woods. This is why Witch, this is why Whore, this is why Unlucky and this is why Unclean. This is why attempts to govern the female body always have the feeling of a last resort, because the female body is fundamentally ungovernable.”   —from Priestdaddy, a memoir by Patrick Lockwood

Of all of the books I’ve read that I wish I had written, this is the one I wish I had written the most.