Happy Suffrage Day fellow women of America. I wished I had remembered today was Suffrage Day last night while I was listening to a young, white privileged male Law student go on about how he is sick of the “special treatment” mothers get and how women are “taking over” (apparently women are “taking over” by scooping up all those high-power, big paying healthcare worker, teacher, nurse jobs).
No, I did not pop him in the mouth. Instead I calmly (at least in my head it was calm) explained to him how fucking narrow-minded he was. I even got him to shake his head in agreement. Which I considered a small triumph.
Then I broke his heart by sharing with him the fact that women are more likely suffer domestic abuse from the time they’re pregnant until their babies are like six months (or a year or so) old (Sister #2’s PhD dissertation is on domestic violence of some sort, I can’t remember exactly), even if their partner had not shown any violent tendencies before. I explained to him that we need to stop seeing raising children as “women’s work” and we have to stop making it emasculating for men to take an active role in their kids’ lives. We need to teach men how to be fathers, like we do women from the time they can hold a babydoll in their arms.
I wish that young, privileged white male Law student could have been here today while I explained to my 12-year-old niece that women never ask to be raped. It is never a woman’s fault, and it’s because of our laws created by men and upheld by men that we blame the victims. We say “she was asking for it.” And our discussions around rape still seem to focus on the things the woman shouldn’t have done. She shouldn’t have worn that skirt. She shouldn’t have danced that way. She shouldn’t have been alone on the street. And we don’t talk about how men should not be attacking a woman. Ever.
So Happy Suffrage Day fellow women of America. We’ve had the right to vote for 90 years and we’ve come a long way. But we’ve got a long way to go, and it’s only through our solidarity are we going to be able to make the change we need to be truly equal.