Fearing women: A Facebook riposte

I put up a quote on my FB wall by the wonderful Mohadesa Najumi and it shirked one particular FB friend.  I told him I didn’t agree and to leave it.  He didn’t leave it.  I warned him I would deconstruct his comments if he persisted.  He persisted.  So I wrote this frenzied rant in about half-hour.  Enjoy.

Dear J, the quote I put up which says “The woman who does not require validation from anyone is the most feared individual on the planet” is not sexist. You persist in arguing despite my requests for you to desist from sullying my Facebook wall, and so I wanted to explain something to you in the spirit of “you can go hard or you can go home”.

The woman who does not require validation from anyone is the most feared individual on the planet

Perhaps I need to convince you first of the basic fact that there is, in fact, generally more discrimination against women than men. So please open your mind and ask yourself some questions. Have you ever noticed that the United Nations organisation dedicated to gender equality is called UN Women and not UN Men? Perhaps you might like to wonder why this is. Perhaps you might like to wonder why, in the majority of countries, women earn between 70-90 per cent of men’s wages, with even lower ratios observed in some Latin American countries? (International Labour Organization, 2009) Perhaps you might be kind enough to speculate on why women only account for 9 per cent of the workforce in construction, 12 per cent in engineering, 15 per cent in financial and business services, and 24 per cent in manufacturing? (United Nations Sustain Labour Report, 2009) Perhaps you would be good enough to ruminate upon why over half of all American Master’s degrees are now awarded to women, yet 95% of senior-level managers are men? (US ‘Glass Ceiling’ Commission, 1995)

I hope by now your mind has perhaps hit upon the idea that women are, quite possibly, more discriminated against than men. And now, ask yourself why this is. Might it be because at the root of discrimination is fear, which links me back to my original point that the quote I used is not sexist. Women, and in particular those who require minimal validation, are feared. Please examine the idea that discrimination against women may largely happen because of fear of the “other”. (If you have questions about what “the other” means, I can lend you my Cambridge University final dissertation, for which I received a 1st.)

Women who are likely to have developed enough confidence to require minimal validation (as referred to in the quote) are very much seen as the “other” in society. Such women naturally often have positions of power and this makes them different. They are seen as a deviance from the norm, they have social stigma attached to them and they are therefore feared.

Again, if you would like some evidence, perhaps your mind might like to cogitate the reasons as to why of those American films rated as “G” (ie, for General audiences, that is, family-friendly) from 2006 to 2009, not one female character was depicted in the field of medical science, as a business leader, in law, or politics. Perhaps you might reflect upon why, in these films, 80.5% of all working characters were male and 19.5% were female, contrasting to real world statistics, where women comprised 50% of the workforce? (2010 Report, Geena Davis Institute / Stacey Smith, PhD)

You say: “Yet it men (sic) that are most often taught to seek their validity in the approval of women.”

I disagree. This is why. It has been proven through various studies that women are far more likely than men to define their entire identity in relation to others: “Mother, sister, daughter, etc.” If you doubt me, there is an entire body of theory called “self-in-relation”. Read up.

woman who doesn't need validation

Your quoted example about the ‘white feather’ sound horrifying. So does being called “good for nothing” and being called a “coward” . If you yourself feel that you are constantly being told to “be a man”, I am sorry for your distress. Might I suggest that you visit some of these events at Southbank this weekend to get over your discomfort and confusion at what this instruction means:http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whatson/festivals-series/being-a-man

You say: “It is the persistent victim hood (sic) of women that previously meant a man would go (sic) prison for his wife’s crimes and now means women get sentences that are 63% lighter.”

I don’t know about this, it sounds terribly unjust. Almost as bad as women having no right to own property in this country until 1882. Oh wait, sorry, that’s still happening. Women are still not allowed to inherit land in many places (see Magaya case in Zimbabwe for example.) But let me not fall into the men vs women debate. It’s so boring, as you say, “yawn”, I think we already know who would win.

You say: “I saw this video before, as I stated men have many more labels and pressures, hence more commit suicide.”

I’m not sure what video you are referring to, but I agree that the rate of suicide amongst men is absolutely terrifying. However I do not agree that men have “more labels and pressures”, and since you provide no evidence for such a claim, I cannot concur.

And finally, on to your final points about victimhood. I think the very fact I posted this quote shows that I, for one, am no-one’s victim. It is, however, the inescapable fact Mr J, that in many countries, women have subordinate positions, restricted mobility, less educational opportunity, less voice in decision-making and poorer employment, all of which increases vulnerability. There is institutional, sociological, cultural, religious, economic, political and generational discrimination against women which is perpetuated by all of us, women included.

Oh, and one last, very very very small, point. If you feel upset at having been told you have a “small penis” [which I’d like to point out for the benefit of Facebook friends was not by myself, since I have not been privy to such spectacles] perhaps consider that at least the discussion of your genitalia is likely to have used positive or neutral vocabulary such as “penis”. Women’s genitalia is rarely described so neutrally, and instead the names for our genitalia have dirty, gory and shameful nuances, and are in fact often exchanged in heated debates as insults. For example: “you “c*nt”, “you tw*t”, “you f*nny” and “you p*ssy”.

I do hope I’ve made myself clear.


2 responses to “Fearing women: A Facebook riposte

  1. In the Middle Ages they would burn women who figured out this personal truth. If that’s not fear I don’t know what is

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