Woman Is Still The N-Word Of The World

BY WILLIAM C. HENRY Forty years ago, the Supreme Court ripped sole control of reproductive rights from the iron fist of the patriarchy and handed it back to the people who actually do most of the living, dying and birthing in this matter: women. The patriarchy has been furiously lashing out legislatively ever since. Alabama’s de facto overturning of Roe v. Wade is but the most recent example of male dominance in the War Of The Womb, which begs the question: Why do so many American women appear to be waving white flags and allowing men to dictate what they can and can’t do with their own anatomy?

Last time I checked women still outnumbered men at the ballot box in the country at large, but sure as hell not in Congress and state legislatures. The Yellowhammer State’s lawmaking body is a classic example of the fairer sex’ legislative truancy: 121 males, 19 females. In the nation’s Capitol it’s: Senate – 83 males, 17 females; House – 362 males, 76 females. At the state level, the electoral math is even more depressing. Colorado and Vermont are the only two that have over 40% female representation in their statehouses and that overage amounts to 2% and .6% respectively. Overall, women make up just 24.2% of America’s state Congresses. Even the most optimistic of feminists would hardly consider that stellar. Four states have less than 14%; twenty-two have less than 24%; twenty-one have less than 34%; three have less than 42%.

The five most odious Roe v. Wade hating, middle-finger-to-anything-female state legislatures are N. Dakota (17%), Kansas (23.6%), Arkansas (17%), Missouri (21.8%) and Oklahoma (13.4%). Anti-abortion measures passed in these five male fiefdoms have the tenor of chauvinism taken to the level of hate crime. Nature may abhor a vacuum — and yes, I’m speaking to all voting-age females whose non-participation in political matters creates just such a vacuum — but right wing political neanderthals love ’em because it presents a golden opportunity to fill said vacuum to the brim with patriarchal misogyny cloaked religious piety. Keep in mind, 138 of those stone age tea swillers in the U.S. House of Representatives (taking cues from their state legislative brethren no doubt) voted against renewing the Violence Against Women Act. These fellows aren’t school yard bullies, ladies. They are the American Taliban, and female non-participators are their enablers. It’s all about power and control. It always has been. Men and their churches exerting power and control over what they perceive to be the weaker sex.

The big question, of course, is whether women are prepared to rectify the situation. Are they prepared to run for public office in far greater numbers? And, if so, will their female constituencies be sufficiently motivated to go to the ballot box and elect them to office? At the very least it probably wouldn’t hurt if women shifted to twin-bedded living and a little less hand-holding in church pews for a while. Such moves might give men a little something to think about. Abstinence has been known to make one of the more comprehending portions of the male anatomy sit up and take notice when all else has failed. What I’m certain of is that the war will be lost unless more women take the bull by the horns and start exercising their part of the bargain.

I’m pretty sure that this topic wasn’t exactly what Elie Wiesel had in mind when he uttered the following words, but they’re sure apropos: “I’ve been fighting my entire adult life for men and women everywhere to be equal and to be different. But there is one right I would not grant anyone. And that is the right to be indifferent.” And maybe Nicholas Kristof wasn’t thinking of Roe v. Wade when he left us with the following, but he definitely got the picture: “When anesthesia was developed, it was for many decades routinely withheld from women giving birth, since women were “supposed” to suffer. One of the few societies to take a contrary view was the Huichol tribe in Mexico. The Huichol believed that the pain of childbirth should be shared, so the mother would hold on to a string tied to her husband’s testicles. With each painful contraction, she would give the string a yank so that the man could share the burden. Surely if such a mechanism were more widespread, injuries in childbirth would garner more attention.” It’s time for women to start pulling some strings.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Fed up early stage septuagenarian who has actually been most of there and done most of that. Born and raised in the picturesque Pocono Mountains. Quite well educated. Very lucky to have been born into a well-schooled and somewhat prosperous family. Long divorced. One beautiful, brilliant daughter. Two far above average grandsons. Semi-retired (how does anyone manage to do it completely these days?) and fully-tired of bullshit. Uncle of the Editor-In-Chief.