HORIST: What can we do about female privilege?
There are times that the proverbial battle of the sexes can be very humorous. There are times the battle gets ugly. We seem to be entering one of those latter times. Fortunately, judging from the many male/female relations of which I am personally aware, the battle lines are not yet drawn among the populace. We seem to enjoy each other’s company.
The vast majority of men and women I know – and I bet you know – seem to get along quite well. And usually when they are not getting along, it has to do with personal issues, not political ones. For sure, politics has broken up some relationships, but they are rare and purely anecdotal.
Because of the times we live in, by taking on the issue from a different – and dare I say, a factual and rational basis (hopefully with an acceptable level of humor) – the ladies of the left and their fellow (in the male sense of the word) travelers will be on the attack. They will call me things that I am not. But in these times, political dialogue is based on ignorant mischaracterizations formed for politically biased purposes.
Rather than going on a long and detailed defense of my opinions regarding the opposite sex, let me sum up by saying that early on in my life is took Katherine Hepburn as my ideal woman – strong, intelligent. Anyone familiar with her and her on-screen characters will know me as an admirer and advocate for strong women. I am not particularly attracted to women who seem to be a dependent appendage of their spouses or significant others. Conversely, I am not drawn to women, who see their gender, itself, as a form of social victimization. And I am certainly no fan of that small element of man-hating feminists – the ones who see gender differences as a dichotomy between good and evil. Woman good. Men evil.
I have worked with, under and over women. (That is not meant to be a straight line but go ahead with it, if you like). In all my relationships, I have never viewed women as a class, but rather – as shocking as it may seem – as individuals. Same for men.
Unlike the politically correct lemmings, I also recognize that men and women ARE different. Good God! A library full of books has been written on the subject by both men and women with more letters behind their names than a can of alphabet soup. We are different physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, culturally. The one-size-fits-all uni-sex mandated by authoritarian governments like Stalinist Russia and Maoist China failed because the underlying realities were stronger than the arbitrarily imposed social standards. Not only are we different, we like being different.
In today’s fictional narrative, we are to believe that American men are brutal masters hovering over a universally oppressed womanhood. This is not Iran, for goodness sake. The strident feminists describe our very genetic makeup as “toxic masculinity.” It is true that for the past 200,000 years, men have been generally in leadership roles and women in support roles, but evolution takes time.
Even in our amazing Republic, women could not vote for the first 131 years. It is true that women were rarely able to penetrate male-dominated professions. It is true that corporate boardrooms were once all-male commercial clubs. But, the fact that we have evolved into “a more perfect union,” does not mean that men and women can be considered equal in all things, in all ways and at all times.
Because we are different, there will be social differences. Today’s political narrative would have us believe that men are privileged, and women suffer from universal inferior status. In fact, women are also privileged in many ways. Any man who has gone through a contested divorce or faced a custody battle will have seen female privilege in our courts. Though a man has equal responsibility in the making of a baby, the future survival of that joint venture (no pun intended) is claimed solely by the woman – a privilege of enormous moral importance.
When my first wife walked out and left me with a house full of teenage kids – one underage – I brought up the issue of child support with my attorney. He laughed and said that no court will give a man child support even though he has custody. The same bias has been documented in studies involving property distribution.
I have a friend who went to the police academy. Being number one in the physical training program was a big resume enhancer, but he came in number two. Number one was a female cadet. She did not beat his results in any of the various physical tests but competed against a much lower standard in each event. That is privilege.
California recently passed a law that all publicly listed corporations doing business in the state must have at least one woman on the board. As good an idea as it may be, the fact that it is mandated by government is a unique privilege. Being considered a protected class creates a huge range of legal privileges.
Check out the premiums for life insurance, and you will find that women of the same age as a man pay lower premiums. Why? Because men and women are different in life expectancy. That is a gender-based privilege.
The current contention that women should be automatically believed in sexual and physical assault cases is a demand for privilege that is both wrong and dangerous. That proposed privilege requires the setting aside of our rule-of-law, requirements of evidence and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. That is one Hell of a privilege.
Saturday Night Live did a scathing mocking of Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s angry and tearful Senate hearing. Ponder for one second what might have been the response if they had poked fun of Christine Blasey Ford’s appearance and demeanor. Being above criticism is privilege.
Feminist cry out that a woman’s voice needs to be heard. Hillary Clinton was recently interviewed, saying that women need to tell their story. One needs to only to do a count of the talking heads on television to see that there are more women talking than men. CNN recently aired a flattering documentary of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. The View and Outnumbered are two programs with four female hosts. Newspapers still carry a woman’s section – and that does not make the sports section a man-only page.
When it comes to health issues, when was the last time you saw a march for prostate cancer? The country is awash in pink balloons, pink ribbons, pink decals and even pink license plate frames – all to fight a predominantly women’s disease. More privilege.
And what about striking a woman? It is okay for women to strike women. In fact, that has become a form of entertainment – with bikini mud wrestling having a peculiar popularity. But never, under no circumstances, should a man strike a woman – not in defense, not even if attacked by a woman, not even if you are a little guy attacked by a big tough woman. Never.
I am an equal opportunity guy with that issue. I have never struck another person – man or woman – at least not since I got into a fight with Robbie Heidrick at the age of six or seven. I even avoided most of that corporal punishment stuff with my children. In that regard, I am not a hands-on person.
On the other hand, I have been the victim of a number of assaults and batteries in my lifetime – again men and women – but I did what the Bible admonishes and turned the other cheek. Or, as my friends prefer to describe it, I ran away like a chicken shit. In either case, the result was the same.
Any guy who likes beer as much as Judge Brett Kavanaugh knows that those ubiquitous meet-market bars often feature ladies’ nights in which the women have reduced prices for the drinks – and in many cases, free drinks. And although it is ebbing, men usually pay on dates. That is privilege.
And check out the better restaurants, theaters and hotels and you find that men have toilets and woman have fancy lounges. Okay, that is getting silly, but you get the point.
Alas, as women entered the highly competitive business and political worlds, the pedestal has been commensurately lowered. Men no longer walk on the outside of the sidewalk to prevent passing carriages from splattering water and mud on those ankle-covering wide dresses. Gone are the days when women sat patiently in the passenger seat of a car while her male chauffer came around to open the door. Men would give up a seat on the bus even to a young woman, and we stood whenever a lady arrived or departed the dinner table. Men no long doff their hat as they meet or pass a woman in the public commons – but then again, we are not likely to be wearing a hat.
Our national landscape is strewn with the shards of one-time glass ceilings. There are not a lot yet to be shattered. Even as we pursue equal opportunity for women, we can still mutually recognize many of the advantages women have and do enjoy. It is not a one-way street.