by Natasha Chart, Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 01:24:46 AM EDT
Even if Ann Coulter was incorrect to say that denying women the vote would mean an end to the election of Democrats, you have to admit that it would be an uphill climb under present conditions. Stopped clocks, you know. Much of your base are belong to us. If I had to guess, I'd say it's because a lot of women have reason to realize that genuine safety is a result of justice, and that's been a [neglected] part of the Democratic brand for a long time now.
Justice is a product of government, or of individuals choosing the common good over immediate personal gain. It's an area quintessential market failure. As John Ikerd explains in Sustainable Capitalism, there's an inherent conflict between the democratic, constitutional ethos that declares all people to have innate equal worth, and the capitalist ethos which declares all people to have only their market worth. It isn't like we don't know that the market is shaped by decision makers who think our worth is ... less.
Earlier today, I stopped in briefly at the neighborhood bookstore (also a restaurant/internet cafe/bar) whose small and focused selection of titles caters to would-be and veteran agitators for social justice. I spent some time skimming through a book called That Takes Ovaries, an anthology of stories about women standing up for themselves or others. I read about village girls rounded up like livestock, sold by their parents on the promise that they'd get regular meals, to be raped daily in Indian brothels until the ends of their lives. I read about the honor killing of a rape victim. I read some individual stories of the one in three women who've been assaulted, the one in four who've been raped. I read about women struggling to be taken seriously and treated with dignity in all facets of their lives, in spite of the fact that they were, you know, chicks. Not revelations for me, but important reminders.
All around the world, women die because they have no control of their reproductive health. Because their lives are not as valuable to their societies as the authoritarian ideologies that seek to shame them. It's a very 'hands-off' form of mass violence against women, this deprivation of medical decision-making and care. Which isn't surprising. Add it to the pile.
As an exercise whose source I can't recall, if you're a man living in the US, think of the women you know. A third of them have been beaten or attacked by someone they knew and once trusted. A fourth of them have been raped by someone they knew and once trusted. Think of your female coworkers. About a fourth of them probably had to manage some portion of their career while being subjected to brutal emotional and/or physical abuse at home, yet still had to try to hold it all together at the job to keep a paycheck coming in, if that portion of their career isn't actually right now. And the rest of them live in a state of low level background fear that those things could happen to them someday. Harassing women and making jokes about it is often perfectly acceptable in public, which helps normalize and excuse more serious violence against women.
I figure most of you understand that persistent undercurrents of threat are antithetical to genuine equality, no matter what type of equality we're talking about. This one time, I wrote out a list of all the places I've ever heard women be told they should be afraid of going, and/or the times they should be afraid of going to them, and/or the people they should be afraid of going with, and/or the things they should be afraid of wearing or doing at them. That list was very long. And after all that, we're still just talking violence, harassment, and the fear of violence, let alone the other types of discrimination and discouragement women face.