The segregation of women and the fight ahead

Since the beginning of time, women have been socialized to consider other women their enemy.  There are some women who believe a woman can be her strongest ally and confidant and therefore see all women that way.  But this is not the case for the majority of women in this country.  We see this depicted in movies, hear it in music, see its acceptance in our neighborhoods; we watch as it develops in our schools, churches, and businesses.  Then add divisions by race, religion, ethnicity, culture and politics and it becomes a society of women of a few instead of an entire society of women.  This long-term practice of isolating women from each other has helped to create a society that would allow a man like Donald Trump to be elected as the President of the United States.

I believe we have always known this construct existed, whether it was in our sub-conscious or we were fully cognizant of it.  We didn’t create any of the situations that allowed for the segregation of women, but we fully participated in its use to control us.  And whether we knew or not, participated or not, we let it get so bad that many women began to deny what they saw happening to our sisters.  They either turned their heads and said nothing or they allowed themselves to rationalize away the violations inflicted upon women.  The violations ranged from media created to depict women always in conflict, to women making less money than a man for the same job, to the institutionalized condonation of assault against women.  When an entire society, including women, contribute to this thought process, some women begin to believe it.  The outcome of the elections should not be a surprise to anyone.  These women did what they have always done; they ran instead of fought.

All this socialization is hard to overcome without some intervention.  Many of the women who have this mindset will never receive that intervention either because of narrow mindedness or dogmatism.  So, we have a group of women who believe they are not a part of women as a whole.  When a man comes along and shows them the misogynist he is, it was easy for many of these women to believe he was talking about the other women (us).   They failed and still fail, to understand, they are us.  The vagina, that scares so many and gives life to all, is the one and only thing that will NEVER allow a woman to align with these men.  This is a hard concept to accept when all you want is for your world to be ok.  These women want there to be a difference so they don’t have to get involved and fight.  These women don’t want to be the agitator men claim we are.  These women don’t want to be seen as us.

Regardless of everything written above, we cannot abandon them.  We need them as much as they need us, even if they don’t know it.  I believe all of ‘us’ know, that if all women became a cohesive unit, we would take over the world.  And men fucking know it.  It’s the reason they’ve been trying to keep us apart and we allowed it because of our insecurites, our need to please and our training to not speak for ourselves.  We have been a divided queendom for a very long time.  Someone mentioned to me the other day that because so many White women aligned themselves with that woman hater and his cronies, Black women should be fighting for Black women, Latina women should be fighting for Latina women, etc., etc. before helping any other woman.   I told them, normally I would agree with that, but we no longer have the luxury of doing that.  At this point in the history of women, with the elected officials we have, we all have to stand together to ensure our future.  It means that the issues that were ignored before (the issues of Black, Hispanic, Native American, Muslim, Asian and any other marginalized sisters) need to be heard, considered and added to the needs of the majority.  It means that there can be no offense taken at things that make us uncomfortable.  It means White women are going to have to put aside their automatic defense of their privilege.  And it means those of us who were not heard before will have to have patience with those who now need to listen and learn.   It is the only way we can fight for ourselves and for those who left us to fight.

 

An open letter to Ivanka Trump and female Trump supporters

Dear Ivanka Trump and female Trump supporters,

For the last few weeks I’ve been planning to write a post regarding Donald Trump’s treatment of women over this entire election.  Then I watched The Essential Donald Trump on CNN where you, Ivanka Trump,  were interviewed for the show.  You were asked if your father was a sexist. You responded,  your father is not a sexist and you would not be the woman you are today if your father was a sexist.  After hearing that statement, I realized my post needed to be directed towards you and the women who support your father.

First, to Ivanka Trump.  I don’t need to go into all the things your father has said about women over this campaign.  We all know what he’s said.  You said in the interview, that his words don’t matter; what matters are his actions.  I would argue that you are incorrect.  Do you know how many serial killers, rapists and pedophiles have wives and children they go home to every night? Do you know how many of them go to church on Sunday, go to work everyday, behave in a manner where no one notices them and are revered by their friends and family? What I’m saying is actions don’t mean shit.  People can and do hide their true selves from their family, their friends and the public.  The fact that your father put women in positions of power doesn’t mean he’s not a sexist.  I believe the women your father put in positions of power is a diversion.  It allows your father to seem as if he trusts and respects women because they hold important roles in his company.  And that would be true, if he wasn’t confrontational with every woman who questions him, apologized for the atrocious language and behavior he has exhibited and did not engage in unsolicited physical contact.   You may not be a part of the diversion, but you’re his daughter and I believe he loves you.  Of course he doesn’t treat you as he treats other women (at least I hope he doesn’t), so you would have no concept of how your father really feels about women.  Furthermore, his words do matter.  We are living in a world where men believe it is the woman’s responsibility to prevent their own sexual assault and/or rape.  Your dismissiveness of your father’s words, allows men to believe your father didn’t do anything wrong by kissing women without their permission, walking in on women while they are getting dressed and that his description of how he interacts with women when he meets them is normal.  You have to understand that every time you treat your father’s words and behavior as insignificant, you are validating and encouraging a very dangerous thought process regarding women.  You are not responsible for someone’s thoughts or actions, but I believe you have a responsibility to speak the truth and not contribute to the already volatile atmosphere we live in as women. 

I understand completely why you are supporting your father and unlike most people, I am not expecting you to go against him publicly.  Now, whether you support him because you don’t want to lose your position or because of blind loyalty, I don’t know.  What I do know, as a woman, I hope you are at least distressed about what you are doing and I hope you are telling your father in private how fucked up his behavior has been.  If you are not doing that Ivanka Trump, you should be ashamed of yourself.

To the female Trump supporters.  I have watched for almost a year and a half as you have supported a man who has been showing you for a year and a half that he has no respect or regard for women.  Any man, who 90% of the time he comes into contact with a woman, has conflict, has a problem with women.  This particular man has been exhibiting this behavior and mindset for years.   You were confronted with video and audio proof that he regards women as objects.  Your response to this is that men were just being men.  Do you even realize that you are perpetuating a culture that allows men to believe women who have been inappropriately touched, sexually assaulted or verbally abused, shouldn’t take it so seriously? Do you understand you are teaching the young men in your lives this kind of behavior is ok?  I’ve listened to you in interviews and on the campaign trail and I know you want to believe you’re not the same as the women who refuse to support Donald Trump.  To Donald Trump you are the same.  The fact that you support him does not mean he sees you as a person.  To him, because you are a woman, you are us and we are you.   The fact that you don’t recognize that is an awful feeling.  For weeks, I have been distraught because I am a staunch feminist.  I don’t care what color you are, where you come from, how much money you make or your beliefs; if you are a woman, I want to speak for your rights.  Even now, I have to fight for your fucking rights even though you are not fighting for yourself and are willing to put my freedoms in jeopardy.  As a woman, I am disappointed, heartbroken and ashamed of each and every one of you.  This election and your behavior has men asking how women expect to be respected and treated equally when they are willing to support a man who thinks they’re a pussy and tits.  The only thing I can hope for at this point, is you teach your daughters to have more respect for themselves than their mothers have displayed.  Your daughters cannot think Donald Trump’s behavior is how a man should behave.  It will lead to abusive relationships and years of self loathing.

Ivanka Trump and the female Trump supporters, I want you to understand that regardless of everything I have written above, I understand why you’re voting for Trump.  You can’t tell me it’s because of his plans, because he doesn’t have any.  You can’t tell me it’s because he knows so much about foreign affairs, economics, immigration, education or healthcare, because he knows nothing.  You can’t tell me it’s because he’s so charismatic and smooth, because he never answers a question and loses his cool all the time.  And you can’t tell me it’s because he’s a good business man, because he’s filed bankruptcy 13 times.  The only reason you would support Trump is because you hate yourself as a woman, you’re a racist, you hate Hillary, Barack and the Democrats so much that you are willing to put a narcissistic, sociopathic, misogynistic, xenophobic, racist in office.  Or it’s some combination of the three.  Along with all my feelings of anger and hurt, I feel sorry for you.  I feel sorry that you don’t know who you are, who you could be and understand your place in this world; I’m sorry that you don’t understand you’re a part of the feminist movement because you’re a woman; I’m sorry that we still can’t stand together against men like Donald Trump because of women like you.  I know none of this will change your minds, but I’m angry and I want you to know how I feel.  I don’t have the answers to everything, but I know supporting a man like Donald Trump will only lead to the downfall of all women, including you.

Sincerely,

Cynthia Pulley

 

 

 

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