By Yvonne Sam
Social and Political Commentator
I listened, with rapt attention, to the testimonies of both the sexually-assaulted psychology professor, Christine Blasey Forde and the aggressor-likely now-Supreme Court Justice, Brett Kavanaugh. With equal intensity, along with the rest of the world, (or so I think) I listened to female after female recount their tales, some more explicitly detailed than others, of being at the receiving end of undesirable and unsolicited male advances.
While the political imbroglio deepened, women took to the streets, in major U. S cities, to highlight women’s issues, and to ensure that their voices were heard, especially where it pertained to the likely voting for Brett Kavanaugh as a Supreme Court Justice, a position that he would occupy for the rest of his living and giving years. Say NO for Judge Kavanaugh was the popular chant.
Not to be omitted or let off the hook, in this sexual assault awareness blitz, disguised as a nomination hearing, was the media. For an entire week the viewing public was held hostage, bombarded with non-stop coverage of sex, sexuality, personality and timidity, sexual prowess, drinking and not thinking, falls with no recall and senators with intent to use their vote to rock the nomination boat.
As my cranium gradually moved into overload, I was forced to wonder what has caused men to behave so viciously towards women.
The truth be told, I am not particularly passionate about institutional surveys, which, in the majority of cases, are often influenced by the paying party. Nevertheless, not wanting to lean on my own understanding or any part of it, I sought the wisdom of the senior human occupants of this planet, males, who recalled being raised in an era when females were placed on a pedestal and respected unconditionally. The proffered answers only served to bolster my ongoing, but closely guarded, fears.
The feminist movement brought women down from that pedestal so that they could compete with men on an equal level. Most males, on the other hand, looked upon this ingression into the world of sexual liberation as an invitation to dispose of their previous respect. Many men did not regard these latter-day libertines in a favourable light and, as such, were accordingly treated, which in no way excuses this behavior.
I was a mere teenager when the summon for Women’s Liberation began, and even to present day, I distinguish that those women were in no way like the early women’s movements — the suffragettes, who earned women the right to vote etc.
While women were certainly desirous of being equally paid for equal work done, and for the breaking down of impediments to equal opportunity, even in my young adulthood I sensed the deceitfulness of those feminist leaders, demanding petty charges of sexist behavior that women were just as guilty of.
Women insisted — do not call me babe, or honey, do not open the door for me or allow me to go first. I can do it myself. The angry leaders of the Women’s Liberation Movement focused on all men as perverse and depraved, and insisted that we burn our bras.
Pray tell what was the logic behind such a directive? Was it sexist to prevent large breasts from sagging, so that men would no longer admire female figures? These proposals were insane, to say the least, and only served to confirm the opinion that radical men-hating feminists were at the helm.
Not to be quieted or outdone, these feminists have moved from being frivolous and narrow-minded to seriously unbalanced and irrational, claiming that they are empowering women.
In this regard, permit me to cite a statement, released by Principal Susanna Jones, head of Holton-Arms School, the private preparatory school for girls in Bethesda, Maryland, that Kavanaugh’s accuser attended: “As a school that empowers women to use their voices, we are proud of this alumna for using hers.” Empower! Really!
Frankly speaking the only good thing, if one may say so, that emerged from the women’s movement was the word, Ms, which took care of the problem of addressing women, whether they were single or not.
Today we are faced with women approving the removal of pronouns and opting for over a hundred substitutes. We have males being allowed to enter women’s bathrooms, where children are present. We also have women, who profess that the best thing in their lives is the choice of being able to kill an inopportune fetus in their wombs.
Viewed from an ironic stance, it is the men who have gained most from women’s liberation, because no longer do they have to shoulder any responsibility for either birth control or its failures.
Most women can claim that they have been “hit on”, propositioned or been the victim of unwanted and unwarranted advances. By the same token, real women know how to creditably handle such situations, but the radical feminists, who claim to be empowered, run to radical feminists lawyers to extract their pound of flesh.
What does the word empower really mean in today’s society? I fail to see, even with optic enhancement, where the female gender have benefitted from the women’s liberation movement.
I still see young women baring their bodies, because the jobs that call for that pay the highest salaries. Authentic role models for minority females, like the brilliant women depicted in the movie, “Hidden Figures”, or accomplished women, like Condoleezza Rice, are passed over in favor of Beyonce and other sparsely-clothed television celebrities.
According to a well-known journalist, “How we react to life’s vicissitudes is what defines empowerment”. Betty Friedan, the leading feminist activist in the women’s movement in the U.S, said “Men are not the enemy, but the fellow victims. The real enemy is women’s denigration of themselves.” Perhaps some attention should be paid to this twist, by the head of the feminist movement.
As we continue to watch the ongoing assault on Justice Kavanaugh by females who have used their alleged sexual assaults to defeat a possible adversary, we can also witness the decline of credibility of future real victims. Let the feminists have their say, and ultimately decide, if their femininity has provoked male toxicity.
Yvonne Sam, a retired Head Nurse and Secondary School Teacher, is Vice-president of the Guyana Cultural Association of Montreal. A regular columnist for over two decades with the Montreal Community Contact, her insightful and incursive articles on topics ranging from politics, human rights and immigration, to education and parenting have also appeared in the Huffington Post, Montreal Gazette, XPressbogg and Guyanese OnLine. She is also the recipient of the Governor General of Canada Caring Canadian Citizen Award.