Sunday, September 30, 2018

Good girls don’t

Good girls don’t 

  • wear bluejeans or dress like that
  • telephone boys
  • wear makeup
  • have pierced ears
  • go to parties
  • stay out past 10:00 pm
  • have male friends
  • go to teen-only nightclubs
  • sing in a rock-n-roll band
All of these things were said to me by my father. Strangely enough, or perhaps mostly thanks to my mother who was not of this mindset, I circumvented his belief system. Never once, did I believe any of it to actually be true and instead found his ridiculous rules as overbearing and unrealistic for the times. My mother often got the rules bent or thrown out for me by fighting tooth and nail (for which I am ever grateful). Others, I just nagged and until he broke. Some of the rules were strictly enforced, however, and so I got around them by “rule breaking.” Never the less, I was not viewed as a “good girl” by my father for all of it. And in return, he never gained my respect.

You might think I grew up in the 1950s by these standards. But my tween and teen years were firmly rooted in the 1980s. Many believe that by the 1980s, women in this country had achieved equal footing and rights. Virginia Slims cigarettes were quick to tell us what “...A Long Way, Baby” we had come in their ad campaigns emphasizing women’s rights. However, unbeknownst to many, the Equal Rights Amendment has never been ratified by the federal government – which means it is not in effect. It’s merely a suggested amendment that sits and rots. This doesn’t mean it hasn’t been proposed for ratification many, many times. Each time, it is shot down by our Congress. SHOT DOWN. Let that sink in. Thankfully, several states have individually ratified the ERA, though not all.

As we watch the spectacle that is our Supreme Court nomination process, I cannot help notice the parallels to my father’s attitude about women. While many are focused on the he-said-she-said battle ensuing, what I hear is a much deeper and insidious argument ensuing; I hear that because the alleged victim may have been at a home with intoxicated boys, she was not a “good girl.”

We may tend to believe that we are beyond the idea that there are such things as “good girls” who deserve respect and “bad girls” who can be sexually assaulted because it was their comeuppance. But I will tell you that we are wrong to think this attitude is not firmly ingrained in society today. It was still ingrained in the 1980s. And in fact, I would venture to say it has become more pervasive since the 2016 election, today.

I believe there is a much larger argument happening in our Country right now. The real argument happening over the Kavanaugh nomination process is whether or not women are equally human and deserved of the same respect and dignity of a man. And this is what should concern us the most.

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