Sarah Palin’s wink, Michele Bachmann’s blink

by on August 29, 2011 · 12 comments

in Civil Rights, Popular, Women's Rights

By Kit-Bacon Gressitt / Excuse Me, I’m Writing / August 28, 2011

Friday, August 26, was Women’s Equality Day. Sadly, it’s a bit of a misnomer. Besides, how many people actually know what it is that the day celebrates? It surely is not equality. Women don’t have equality. Even I don’t have equality, and I am no pantywaist — but the same rights, responsibilities and opportunities as men? Oh my goodness, no. Women, as a class, have not yet achieved any of that.

What we have is the right to be oppressed by ludicrous expectations for our gender, including that ever popular slut-mommy routine straight men are taught to favor; by mass media representations that tell the world what is most valuable about women are our breasts and penetrable orifices; and by the often unspoken yet screeching mantra to suck it all up for family, god and country.

As for responsibilities, women are burdened with an embarrassment of riches. While we have the responsibility of providing one of the pro forma two household incomes that keep everyone in the latest cell phones (if we’re not toting that bale as a single parent), the onus remains on us for the vast majority of household work and child rearing — along with maintaining extended family and friend networks, managing household finances, negotiating service provider contracts, and distributing the intangible benefits of our core competencies. It’s akin to leading a business, except only 28 of the Fortune 1000 corporations have female CEOs. That they are paid 8 to 25 percent less than their male counterparts should not be considered commentary on their job performances, but, rather, a reflection of their body parts.

And then, there is the cornucopia of opportunities that are showered upon women like sweet manna from heaven. Actually, I’d say they’re more like the ammonia swirling from a unkempt pissoir. Among many, there is the opportunity to be denigrated for our emotions, our bodily functions, our weight, our femininity and our lack thereof; the opportunity to be sidelined with the label “bitch” for characteristics that earn men promotions; the opportunity to fend off unwanted sexual advances by those who interpret the length of our skirts or size of our boosiasms as an invitation to pounce; and the opportunity to earn an average of 80¢ to each dollar a man earns — whether he’s average or a numskull.

So, what’s a woman to do? I suppose it helps to point out such peccadilloes, but I’ve been writing about them for way too many moons. Last year, it was the Woman’s Day advertising campaign that touted vagina deodorizing as a career advancement tactic. In 2009, it was the fear of feminism that inhabits conservative male rhetoric and inhibits progress toward equality. Before that, it was the shunning of the term “feminist” and on and on.

Just how long does it take for folks to recognize the inequity of inequality?

It’s been one full lifetime since the impetus for Women’s Equality Day. Still wondering what makes the date so special? It’s the day in 1920 that women in the United States were finally allowed — allowed! — to vote. It took a constitutional amendment, and what actually changed? Well, in 1919, Great Aunt Cappie was studying to be a surgeon, learning to cut folks open from stem to stern and work medical magic with their innards. But she couldn’t vote: She wasn’t deemed to have the temperament for such decisions. Then in 1920, her mental and emotional capabilities, formerly belittled by men who feared women’s suffrage, suddenly received a constitutional upgrade.

In fact, Aunt Cappie didn’t change; it was an attitude adjustment and the presumption that women’s votes could be added to their husbands’, a presumption that lingers in some backwater bedrooms to this day.

But for the rest of us, what has women’s suffrage produced? Of late, it’s the likes of Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann, who think deriding their political opponents just like the boys if not more so, opposing women’s and civil rights, and winking — or belatedly blinking — their mascaraed lashes make them prime female presidential fodder.

If only they respected themselves a bit more, but apparently one lifetime has not been enough. And I’m not sure which is the greater hindrance to equality: men who fear us or women who play us.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Gormlie August 29, 2011 at 9:27 am

The legal profession was/ is one of the last areas that harbored “the old boys’ network.” I do recall however one time I was in court not too long ago: the criminal defendants and all the lawyers were men, yet the judge, the bailiff, and of course all the clerks were women. I had to gladly chuckle at this ironic turn-around. All the power in that room that day was held by women.


JEC August 29, 2011 at 11:07 am

Two-thirds of the executives at the County of San Diego are women; 59% of the college students are women; 60% of the JD degrees (in California) go to women; 57% of the MD’s go to women. Males are more likely to drop out of high school; more likely to end up in jail (though recent trend lines show women gaining equality there); women own approximately 70% of the wealth (inherited). Professional (working) men share their income with women and children at a rate of 2 to 1 over professional (working) women. The total fertility rate for college educated women is hovering at 1.5 (takes 2.1 to achieve zero population growth) meaning more women are choosing not to have children. Forty years ago 70% of teaching and nursing jobs were held by women; that figure is nearly unchanged today. Is this inequality toward men or women? Do we measure equality by the percent of CEO’s? Or by the people who employ those CEO’s? All things considered – equality of the genders is tough to nail down.


K-B August 29, 2011 at 11:46 am

Hey, JEC,

Can’t comments on stats without reviewing their sources. In the meantime, however, I will add to your comments: Like teaching and nursing, housekeeping and childcare were predominantly female labor domains 40 years ago, and the miserable pay women received for doing those jobs reflected that their work was less valued than men’s labor. As men have moved into teaching and nursing fields, the salaries have risen significantly, while housekeeping and childcare, still widely considered women’s work, have not. While women have certainly made gains and are the majority of students on many campuses, equality has not been achieved. As someone living among the “less equal,” I assure you, equality, or the lack thereof, is not at all tough to nail down.

Take care,


JEC August 29, 2011 at 5:17 pm

It’s been said it’s all about power; to humans, what is that power? Being on the ‘other side’ perhaps you will agree, that before all else, the power to reproduce is awesome. While it’s true that a majority of children are raised by women, they also have that control; that power. As an old Italian Communist Grandmother once enlightened us that the power to reproduce the culture is true power; all else is interior decorating. Try looking at the power equation from the point of view of a gay man wishing to have children. The only access to children a man has is through a woman.

So, how do we put a price on reproducing the species? And while women can choose to have a child, or not (provided birth control and abortion remain accessible). Men do not enjoy that privilege. Is our basic biology inherently unequal or nature’s original division of labor. I think if you’re comfortable in the completeness of your perception of inequality, you should look again.


RB August 29, 2011 at 11:22 am

“winking — or belatedly blinking — their mascaraed lashes make them prime female presidential fodder.”

Gee, it is very confusing for us males that in the same article we are asked not to judge based on the length of the skirt while it acceptable to judge based upon mascara and lashes.

I hope that one day my daughter will have the same rights as me to be left or right, Democrat or Republican, conservative or liberal without attacks on her womanhood.


K-B August 29, 2011 at 11:37 am

Hello, RB,

Surely womanhood is much more substantive than mascaraed lashes and flirtatious winking, characteristics, by the way, that cross sex and gender. An attack on Palin and Bachmann’s womanhood, would be to say that they are not competent candidates due to their body parts. I don’t believe that, and there are plenty of substantive issues why I would never vote for either of them.

Take care,


Frank Gormlie August 29, 2011 at 11:47 am

RB – it must be berry cornfusin for males who are conservatives.


The Bearded Obecian August 29, 2011 at 8:57 pm

What is it Churchill said? If you’re young and not a liberal, You have no heart. If you’re old and not Conservative, you have no mind.


Frank Gormlie August 30, 2011 at 9:54 am

Don’t think Churchill said that. There was a old saying, I think, in France: ‘if you’re not a socialist when you’re young, you have no heart; if you’re not a capitalist when you’re old you have no brain.’ This is a faulty old saying, however. If you’re young and are a socialist and stay a socialist when you’re old, then you are a philosopher par excellent.


thinking out loud August 29, 2011 at 8:40 pm

Just give us a skirt to look at or vote for…preferably a tight skirt !


Bill Ray August 30, 2011 at 4:39 pm

Tweedle-Dumb and Tweedle-Dumber.


Allen Lewis September 1, 2011 at 3:06 pm

I’m thinken that woman are still treated as second class today because the bible purity much tells us so. ( and it looks like religion is taking over our government). It makes good sense to me why a man would follow a faith, it puts him in the drivers seat, but for a women too, tells me she want to be the rib of man.


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