4.22.2021 | Thursday

evolving, part I

category: Pondering Life

reading time: 3 minutes

The last few years have changed me. Maybe, at least in part, that’s the price of aging. The “with age comes wisdom” thing. Perhaps that is part of it. But I think a bigger part of it has come from both within and without, the price of the Trump years. They were exhausting for me, for a lot of reasons. I learned a lot about my fellow man, and I learned a lot about myself. My way of thinking hasn’t necessarily changed, in terms of my values and beliefs, but it has deepened.

Sadly, a lot of what I’ve learned, and am still learning hasn’t been particularly encouraging, even in my own small circle of influence. My soul has taken some irrevocable hits. It wasn’t as if I didn’t know there weren’t people like that in the world. I’ve seen more than my fair share of the kind of cruelty that human beings can foist upon one another. But seeing it to the level that it has reached, much less in people I thought I knew, has been eye-opening and difficult.

trump-era misogyny

Did misogyny begin with Trump? Of course not. But it sure came out in full-effect, with little attempt to hide it or disguise it. Trump’s very obvious and very open dismissal of women as equal and legitimate people of value made it acceptable, even fashionable, to embrace antiquated ideas about women and their place in the world.

I was a woman in a man’s world for a big part of my professional life, when I was a soldier in the US Army. I joined in the late eighties, a time of change and upheaval in US history. There were some that embraced the ever-increasing numbers of women in the Army, and there were some that did not. That it can be that much harder for a woman to succeed is something I understand, something I’ve experienced from time to time.

Misogyny is insidious. A comment here, a comment there. The truth is that we live in an androcentric world. Misogyny is an inherent part of that in a million ways, both big and small. And we, women, have been blind to so much of it.

I’ve always thought of myself as a “girl power” kind of woman, but the last few years have really shown me just how much I’d accepted as “normal.” Individually, some of those things may seem normal, but together, they shape a woman to accept that she’s lesser… and for men to accept it, too. These are only a handful of examples, many of which I’ve accepted or done without thought for the better part of my life.

  • “It’s a guy thing” as a response to anything negative a girl/woman might say.
  • That girls are admonished for clothing choices that might distract boys, instead of raising boys to be respectful.
  • That women’s appearances should be dictated by whether or not men will find them appealing.
  • That women are shamed more for having “too much” consensual sex than men are for rape
  • That women are twice as likely to be interrupted than are men.
  • That women are constantly admonished for not smiling by men who are strangers.
  • The sheer number of insults that are female-gender based, as opposed to the number of male-gender-based comments that are considered complimentary.
  • “Is it that time of the month” if a woman annoys a man.
  • “May I speak to your husband?”
  • When a woman cares for a child, she’s caring for a child. When a man cares for the child, it’s babysitting.

You would think that, in this day and age, we’d be more evolved. But the last few years have felt like we’ve taken a big step backward, thanks to Trump’s example. It has been hard for me to realize just how deeply rooted misogyny is.

There is work to be done.

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