Real Relationship Advice
To say that there is no War on Women is to turn a blind eye to the obvious. In this country we are revisiting and arguing in earnest about a woman’s right to choose, redefining what rape means and all the while we are virtually excluded from any argument regarding these matters. We all remember the Congressional Hearing on Birth Control earlier this year that showed 5 white men sitting at a table testifying to the evils of the pill and other birth controls. No women were there to debate or ask questions. We were not invited to the party.
As a therapist, I am trained to listen to what is said and the music behind the words. This is called the meta-message. When I hear men talking about rape, I listen to the meta-message rather than the rhetoric. When a man uses terms as legitimate rape or forcible rape, the meta-message is that there is a question as to the veracity of women who claim they were raped. When we deconstruct how a woman is considered to be raped, we are attempting to create a hierarchy of pain; some rapes are better than others. Referring to date rape as ‘buyer’s remorse’ or debating the difference between incest and drug induced rapes is the profanity we are dealing with right now.
This conversation is not new. This is a conversation that was interrupted long ago. 92 years ago, when the Suffragettes sacrificed their lives for all American women to have the right to vote, they stopped the conversation that men were, in every way, superior to women. We were not only second class citizens, we were considered less than a man. A woman was not allowed to receive any schooling above 6th grade because educated women could not get pregnant. Women were considered to have the intelligence of a child and it would affect our development if we were to be exposed to knowledge. Women were delicate, ignorant and must be protected. It was a woman’s duty to be there for her husband in every way without recourse.
Obtaining the right to vote gave us a voice. All of a sudden we had an opinion. All of a sudden we were invited to the party. Sure, we weren’t allowed in the deep end with the men but we were there. Because of this new advantage, we were allowed to be educated, own property and use our voices for something other than raising our children. After 50 years, we could say we did not want to be penetrated without our consent. We could say that we were not fine with a man hitting us because he was frustrated and we needed to be disciplined. We were adults with the same rights to protection under the law.
Within 92 years we flipped the script on men. There are more women in college at this moment than men. More women obtain graduate degrees than men. We are protected by Domestic Violence laws and rape, up until recently, was dependent on the word of a woman. We are 51% of the American population and we are registered to vote. All of these things make men very nervous and, since white men are actually a minority in this country, many men believe this misbalanced system must be righted. The War on Women is an attempt to right this ‘wrong’.
Changing the narrative and deconstructing the mythos created between the sexes may be the saving grace of our futures. Instead of righting the balance we need to respect each other’s positions. Instead of legislating vaginas, men can try to understand vaginas. Instead of thinking they know better, men can begin to listen to other conversations and educate themselves on something other than their own little worlds. Instead of denying the war, admit that you are scared and fighting back is all that you know to do.
Women are not at war with men; however, if they continue to try to regulate our bodies, minds and choice, we will turn the tables on them and create legislation on men’s private parts. The Mandatory Condom Act of 2012 has a nice ring to it.