I was lying around this morning listening to the radio and the reporting on Samuel A. Alito’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Now, I don’t know a lot about Alito but the folks on the radio compared him strongly to Scalia and that seemed pretty scary to me. So I started thinking about Harriet Meier and wondering if it is pretty unfortunate that she has withdrawn. As in…sometimes it is better to go with the lesser of two evils.
And then I started thinking about what it shame it was that Bush has nominated two white men to the court and how much it would be nice to have more women on the court. And then I started thinking about affirmative action and how much I don’t like that either. I guess I don’t want Bush nominating someone just because she is a woman. I would hope that he would pick the person he thinks is best qualified no matter what their gender. I guess I just want that person to be a woman.
And then I started thinking about how much crap Meier got *because* she was a women even from people on the left who probably consider themselves feminists. Someone started a blog supposedly written by her and while it *was* very funny, I have to wonder if someone would have taken that same approach with a male. That no one did with John Roberts that I know of is pretty interesting.
So I started thinking about all the subtle ways we still treat women badly in our culture. Maureen Dowd wrote an interesting piece in Sunday’s NYT Magazine about feminism and the lack of it these days. That got me thinking a lot about a couple of ways women are regarded in our culture. Namely, that a woman is valued on her looks and on her ability to catch a man. Of course no one has ever said to me, “Gee Lynne, you would hold a higher position in our society if you werent fat or if you had a husband” but somehow I got that idea. I have spent the better part of the last decade fighting against that notion and trying really hard not to believe it and I think that for the most part I have been successful. I mean, I think I have a pretty good sense of self esteem considering all the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) messages about my worth as a woman being tied to my looks and my marital status.
One of the frustrating things about this is that I am not too sure what to do about it other than to talk about it. People seldom are willing to admit to their biases. I often wonder if I would have even bothered to examine them if I had not found myself to be a fat spinster but instead was a woman with a body universally worshiped by others who was married to someone very important. I mean, I *had* to examine those beliefs I grew up with as a matter of self preservation. It was either confront those biases or hate myself forever.
But really, consider this. Do we as a culture really want our daughters, sisters, cousins, nieces, etc growing up in a world where being called “fat” is considered a worse insult to a teenaged girl than being called “mean” or “dishonest” or “stupid”? Do we really want to raise girls to become women who cant value themselves for themselves and instead value themselves by who their husband happens to be? I know I wouldnt wish that on any girl I know even though, sadly, I think they will all probably find themselves in such a world.