Mars and Venus Are in the Same Damn Universe

Jose Vilson Jose

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.