Happy Women’s History Month! We’ve made great strides as a gender over the last few centuries, going from being viewed as property and a way to transfer lands, titles and wealth to earning the right to receive education, vote, hold jobs and now even marry and if we wish to have families with people of the same gender.
Still, obviously there is work left to do. Women still make a fraction of what men make in the exact same jobs, they still end up taking the lion’s share of household duties, and they are still massively underrepresented in government. That’s the real world, as it currently exists. Then, there is the fantasy world that remains out there where women are believed to still be pre-voting rights, pre-workforce, and best found barefoot and pregnant. In that fantasy land, here are five things that women are simply incapable of doing:
1. Women Shouldn‘t Vote: Voting rights have long placed women in the public sphere, allowing them to advocate for themselves by electing politicians that represent their needs. Of course, some conservatives believe that means Democrats, which is why in 2007 conservative pundit Ann Coulter said women should have their voting rights taken away. That thought was echoed on Fox in 2012 when the Sean Hannity show invited as a guest a pastor who believed women being given the right to vote was exactly where the United States started going off the rails. Of course, neither critic’s reasons for taking away the right to vote are as good as the original excuses given for denying the vote in the pre-suffragette days, such as, “It will only double or nullify her husband’s vote” or “BECAUSE it means competition of women with men instead of co-operation.”
2. Women Shouldn‘t Hold Office: If women shouldn’t be allowed to vote, being allowed to hold an elected office must be an even bigger travesty. Of course, we all knew that it’s our irrational pre-menstrual natures that were going to stand in the way of our ability to lead. We just never expected people to be so forthright in explaining it as a reason not to vote for us. “Women are not normal when they are having a period… You can’t possibly let them make critical decisions about the country (during their period) such as whether or not to go to war,” claimed Yoichi Masuzoe in 1989. Masuzoe, who is now running for governor of Tokyo, is facing a “sex strike” of unhappy women who say they will not sleep with anyone who votes for him. He has yet to weigh in on whether he thinks lack of, um, release, could have as much of a hormonally unbalanced effect on males as a period does for women.
3. Women Shouldn‘t Drive a Car: Speaking of ovaries, I heard they can get crushed by driving a car. No, really, remember when that was used as an excuse by a Saudi cleric explaining why women shouldn’t be allowed to drive? “Physiological science” has found that driving “automatically affects the ovaries and pushes up the pelvis,” Sheikh Saleh al-Luhaydan said in September of 2013. ”This is why we find that children born to most women who continuously drive suffer from clinical disorders of varying degrees.” I suppose this confusion is not that shocking. After all, this is the first year women were allowed to participate in ski jump at the Olympics, because previously there were concerns that “her uterus might fall out or explode.”
4. Women Shouldn‘t Fly a Plane: Well, if women can’t drive, it makes perfect sense then that they shouldn’t be allowed to fly an airplane, either, I suppose. One airline passenger was kind enough recently to leave a note for the female pilot, letting her know that she really should be home caring for her children rather than flying an airplane, because: ”A woman being a mother is the most honor. Not as ‘captain.’ We’re short mothers, not pilots…”
The pilot’s response was succinct: “I respectfully disagree with your opinion that the ‘cockpit’ (we now call it the flight deck as no cocks are required) is no place for a lady. In fact, there are no places that are not for ladies anymore.”
5. Women Shouldn‘t Report Work Place Sexual Harassment: Should you be fortunate enough to somehow manage to find a job despite all of these restrictions on what work you can do, what transportation you should use and the rest, there’s still the potential for a dangerous work environment. However, if you should encounter someone behaving inappropriately, the last thing you want to do is report that person. After all, that’s your job that will be put in jeopardy, according to a Guardian article this fall that advised women not to report sexual harassment. “According to [author Vanessa] James, the responsibility falls on women to set boundaries for what’s appropriate, and they shouldn’t complain about being sexually harassed if they weren’t clear enough in setting said boundaries. Yup, we feel like banging our heads against our desks too,” writes Huffington Post. The reasons you should think twice before reporting range from “A successful court case does not give you back the career you lost” to “To progress fully in a career, ability is only part of it –- you have to be liked and trusted by your colleagues.”
Just be glad you even have a job, apparently, ladies. There are many who think that’s far more than we should undertake.
Photo credit: Thinkstock
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