I’m supposed to believe that we live in a country with a vibrant feminist presence, but the realities of this generation speak volumes to the contrary. I stopped watching TV in large part because I wanted to throw a gender neutral brick at my TV screen whenever I saw something like The Kardashians. I was especially nauseated when I saw women I knew watching raptly in a haze of consumer hypnosis.
The message being advertised by this kind of programming is poison. There is no redeeming value to it at all. The primary message is that women are largely just brain-dead objects to be ogled and occasionally laughed at for their obvious deficiencies. Reality show “stars” like this have zero skills. They are curious quirks of the cosmic stew in that their parents were rich. Who else has this kind of distinction? Oh yes, monarchs. And this is 2013, and the monarchy is on life support, thankfully. Royalty is and was a disease that wrought indescribable terror upon the world. It will be many more centuries before much of the world can cleanse itself of the colonial wreckage that was largely helmed by worthless figureheads with gaudy robes.
If The Real Housewifes and The Kardashians are supposed to reflect the modern state of the female, I say it’s back to the drawing board for feminism. Some might say that mid-20th century feminism was just not given a chance or was suppressed by the Patriarchal rulers. I say, it just plain failed, pure and simple. If your movement cannot stand up to idiots with a microphone like Rush Limbaugh who famously loved to use the term “feminazi,” then your movement and philosophy is impotent.
Maybe the new generation of much more visceral and fearless people who in my opinion take concepts such as gender equality as given and do not have to define them using terms like “feminism” will be able to correct deficiencies like the following:
- Women only hold 17% of seats in the US Congress.
- State Legislatures are only 24% women.
- Only 6 out of 50 states have a female governor.
- In 2012 women earned 77 cents to the dollar compared to men for comparable positions. African American women earned 69 cents to the dollar compared to African American men. Latina women earned 58 cents to the dollar compared to Latino men.
- The United States has the distinction of being the only industrialized country that does not have paid maternity leave. It is joined globally by Suriname, Liberia, Papua New Guinea, Nauru, Western Samoa, Tonga, and Palau. These countries are otherwise known as “Where??” or “The Country in Perpetual Civil War.”
So where do we go from here? I don’t know. Maybe the older generation of female culture warriors is just old and tired. The Feminine Mystique was published over 50 years ago. Something happened in the 1990’s though, and after 9/11 demagogues championing a return to “traditional values” (you know: hate, separatism, violent patriarchy, that kind of thing) took to the airwaves to feed a scared public what they wanted to hear.
I get the feeling from reading the social tea leaves, that people under 30 were thoroughly disgusted by the Bush Years and that the pendulum has swung wildly backwards. Of course our current “representatives” in state and national government seem to be even worse than the last. Conservative states, following the 2010 Tea Party election, installed virulently conservative politicians in many of the state legislatures, and many of these bodies worked quickly to overturn advances made over the last 40 years.
I believe it’s time to abandon politics as a means for social change. Our message has to be loud and proud. The message has to be that the current state of affairs in the West is artificial and poisonous. Patriarchal culture must be overturned, whether with those in power or their Useful Idiot supporters.
It’s time to turn off the TV. Burn those damn soap opera rags at every checkout line. Tell women to their faces that they are idiots if they champion reality TV stars as “liberated.” Being brain-dead is no longer to be tolerated. These people are our fellow citizens in a ship that is sinking, and we need every hand we can find to save it. We can no longer just write these people off as unnecessary. We need all women, men, and genderqueer people together in this fight.
"WCF Foundation." Women in Politics Statistics. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Nov. 2013. <http://www.wcffoundation.org/pages/research/women-in-politics-statistics.html>.
"The World Bank." Gender Equality Data and Statistics. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2013. <http://datatopics.worldbank.org/gender/country/united-states>.
"Why Gender Equality Failed." N.p., n.d. Web. <http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/17/opinion/sunday/why-gender-equality-stalled.html?_r=0>.