Mars and Venus Are in the Same Damn Universe

Jose 6 Comments

Bell HooksThis week, I’ve decided to focus on my girls because, 1) I’ve been reading Pandagon far too much and 2) sexism is still alive, simple and plain. Unfortunately, women are still making 77 cents to the dollar of a man, and even in this state, which many consider to be a beacon of liberalism, we have 80 cents to the dollar. Even at the same job, the ratio is still far too staggering. Corporations and the economic world still views women as those that need to be the ones raising the child, in the kitchen, and preparing their man a newspaper. The problem isn’t just economic, but psychological, physical, and institutional.

For instance, it disturbs me that we still have people referring to themselves as pro-life (when they’re really anti-choice and anti-woman), and that many people’s votes for this Reich hinged on this issue, even though they disagreed with him on everything else and may have even called this man anti-Christian. For one, I don’t see these people as pro-life because whose life do they care about? I don’t think it’s appropriate to tell a woman what to do with her womb when it endangers her health and well-being. Also, many women (and young women for that matter) tell me not just stories of coat-hangers and killer pills, but about the grueling, emotionally taxing, and expensive abortion process. Most of the women I know who’ve had one didn’t want to have one, but had to for fear of their health and / or the embryo that might come into this Earth.

Plus, it should be an option for women because it’s their womb. And usually the people who make the decision about these wombs are men, all of whom will never experience anything close to a menstrual cycle or the labors of labor. Women should be able to rely on us for protection and support, but many of us spend our time reducing them to our play things and sidebars in our life’s great made-for-life movie. In a day and age where women are more than 1/2 of our population (and easily 6/10ths of our college population), we can easily debunk the (sexist) theory that women are inferior.  Most of the employees in our first professional environment (school) are women, yet they’re often pegged for stupid.

Yet, we still see them as them and not us. We still have rapists saying “She was so hot, it was like her body was calling my name” and “she shouldn’t have worn that if she didn’t want to have that happen to her.” We’ve been imparted views (on both sides) that women are supposed to be beautiful or else they’re ugly. They’re put into extremes that aren’t (dare I say) humane. To put some perspective on this, even in Hollywood, where everything’s bloated, liberal, and absolutely perfect, the highest paid actor is Brad Pitt with $62 million and the highest paid actress is Jodie Foster with $27 million dollars, almost 2.5 times less.

And frankly, it’s a hyperbolic microcosm of what America’s going through today. For many, there seems to be a sense that women are easily dispensable and men, while they won’t always shine, they’ll always dominate what goes on behind the scenes. They’re the aggressor, they’re the protagonist, and whenever a woman shows some strength in character, she’s compared to a male counterpart or has male qualities, an absolutely absurd idea. It’s obvious when we read through our Cosmos, Vibes, Kings, XXLs, and the other popular publications that we’re constantly fed images of what women are supposed to be, even subconsciously.

So when I think about that in the backdrop of my job, I don’t wonder why it is that little girls often believe they have to have sex to boost their self-worth and esteem. Girls become very aware of their sexuality in the wrong ways very early on. From the dirty uncle who keeps trying to have the little girl sit on his lap, the dude at the grocery store who keeps giving her sweets, hoping she’ll return him the favor, or even the co-worker that slips something in her beer when she’s not looking. With 73% of these rapists being someone whom the survivor / victim knows (28% being a relative or a boyfriend/girlfriend!), we can only surmise that rape happens more often after the person’s gotten to know the burgeoning rapist. In these people’s minds, women are nothing but play things.

Yet, I don’t advocate for abstinence or any of that mess (recent studies have shown that abstinence only programs have done nothing to curb the trends of teenage sex, so I can only imagine what it’s like for adults), nor do I think women and men should stop expressing themselves sexually. We should, however, use caution when we address someone as a “bitch” or a “ho.” When we belittle someone by calling them a girl or a wuss (women included), those are negative connotations attached to women.

I’m not here calling myself Mr. Ethical, but we have to make an effort to have true equality amongst race, gender, sex, and class, word to bell hooks.  True equity comes when we don’t just talk about what we’re going to do about inequality, but be about that change.

jose, who wonders why someone searched “How old is Jose Vilson?” on Google. TALK TO ME! (ha)

p.s. – I got a huge boost today from voters to the Weblog Awards 2007. Thanks a million for everything, mi gente. It’s my first year doing this, so humble I am.

About Jose Vilson

José Luis Vilson is a math educator, blogger, speaker, and activist. For more of my writing, buy my book This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education, on sale now.

Comments 6

  1. Alisha

    Do you really think gender equity is possible? You should read the brain research on how men and women learn differently (if you haven’t already). . . I think you’d find it interesting.

  2. Post
    Author
    Jose

    Well, when I mean equity, I mean that, while we recognize each other’s differences (because I don’t expect everything to be exactly the same, just like I don’t think people of different regions will get the same history lesson), I do think that we need to have the same opportunities available and equitable for men and women. That’s not the case still. While it looks like the opps are wide open to everyone, we still have the glass ceiling, and the aforementioned attitudes that prevail from thinking that one is lesser or more than another.

    I read that brain research, and it’s cool, but I think it said something about them faring just as well on intelligence tests as each other.

  3. pre_k

    while you would say they are in the same universe i would bring it a little closer to home and say they are in the same galaxy. In fact they orbit the same sun. I think the differences between venus and mars can be as subtle as orbit or as vast as planetary constitution. while sometimes i don’t see the need in treating everything the same when in fact they are different i do believe that things need to be treated with a level of care and concern. When women do the same work as a man she should be paid equivalently, no questions asked. however, if it is woman’s lot to suggest that a man should take out the garbage i consider it fair for a man to suggest that a woman should do the laundry or something of that order.

    lets be honest with ourselves here.. if women want equality they need to stop asking for it and just take what they consider equal share. I am not suggesting that things are that simple but if women feel as though they need to continue to ask for their freedoms they have to realize that its a possibility that those from which they ask these freedoms may feel free to continue to abridge the freedom of women.

  4. El Viajero

    Paleeeeze……PANDAGON??!!

    Are you referring to the same Amanda Marcotte that jumped on the Duke LaCrosse players calling them all kinds of names and how evil they were and then when the real story came out refused to retract or apologize for her attacks? Instead, she called them all white rich boys that would be raping black women if they had the chance, etc. etc…..
    She’s a joke. She doesn’t even have a fuckin’ job for Christ’s sake.

    *OR*

    Are you referring to a radical lesbian that perports to represent real women in the US as if the interests of lesbians and regular women would be the same?

    All I’m saying is if you are to discuss this issue, get someone that is not such a nutjob.

  5. Ms. Whatsit

    Don’t get me started! Those abstinance-only programs receive federal funding thanks to W. Every year we have a few assemblies preaching something or other about it and it pisses me off, because in every single presentation, girls/women die because they had sex, the guys are saved by god, and they make money by telling their stories to 13 year-olds.

    Makes me crazy!

  6. Sue

    Interesting perspectives in response to this issue. I would say a couple of things – (1) Pink Magazine has a fascinating article (Nov./Dec. 2007 issue) with before and after experiences of transsexuals who changed from male to female, stayed in the same fields, but different locations…some really interesting stuff in their. (2) Evaluate the argument, not necessarily the author. Your ad-hom attack on Pandagon doesn’t answer the truth in THIS particular argument…and let’s face facts – she was not the only one who was LED TO BELIEVE the Duke Lacrosse team was guilty, and rich, etc. That one was mainstream media for months at the hands of a prosecutor who kept information to himself. Not really Pandagon’s fault. (3) The (3) Pre K – consult the studies…women who ask for raises or negotiate for higher pay are MUCH less likely to get the money they’re asking for than men who do the same. It isn’t easy to just “take what I consider to be my equal share” when the person holding on to my share is way more powerful and isn’t willing to relinquish it.

    I thank Jose for bringing out a male perspective that is supportive of the female perspective. I also think that every girl should have to read Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the rise of raunch culture. I don’t think we realize our own contributions to the problem until it is far too late. I think we need to be pro-choice, but pro educated choice.

Leave a Reply