Friday, March 19, 2010

The Devaluing of Women and Natural Family

As shown in my previous post, the value of the natural family and women in the US is fading, fast. It is easy to forget that the first settlers in the New World were the Puritans whose rigid, judgmental, misogynictic dogma would, had they had the numbers to accomplish it, have become the state religion of the infant New World Colonies.

Our founding fathers from the 1700's were, for the most part, Theists or agnostics, intellectual thinkers and doers. Even then, women were not considered when they proclaimed that "All men are created equal." Women in the US, today, walk around in a pink cloud of assumed equality when, as shown by the provisions in the previous post of the healthcare bill, we are still an underclass with no say about our own bodies, reproductive rights or freedoms.

Look at the rest of the world. There have been female monarchs, prime ministers, presidents and leaders of national governments everywhere except here. Think Golda Meir, Indira Ghandi, Margaret Thatcher and then see us, where a woman can run, but doesn't seem to be able to win the highest office in the land.

Another result of our capitalistic system is the criminalization of the poor. It seems to be an accepted fact that poverty precludes the right to parent. Yet many high-achieving citizens were raised in poverty. Try thinking about Abraham Lincoln, for instance. But these days, the small families of unmarried mothers, especially, are seen as nothing but breeding farms for adopters who put off child-bearing until it was too late.

I was raised in a mill village in SC. We never had a lot of "things" and money was always tight, but we had a good childhood and were encouraged to excel. My grandmother made most of my clothes, my mother worked long hours as did my aunt and other members of our extended family who worked to keep my sisters, my mother and me together after my father left us. Other kids went to the fair every year with a twenty-dollar bill in their hand. We did chores to earn the princely sum of $5 each and had to forego cotton candy and more than one ride on the Scrambler. Yet there was no thought of allowing us to be raised by adopters rather than in the bosom of our own kin.

But, as technology advanced, so, it seems, has the idea that one has to be affluent to be deserving of anything, including children. One single mother, needing help, was villified as a "welfare queen" even when she went on to become a doctor and a pillar of the community. The mass American psyche is just too lazy to pick apart the stereotypes to get at the truth.

That brings us to the giant step backwards for women. I get really disgusted with NOW when they back legislation that only settles for little parts of what is needed. In the present wording of the healthcare bill, we and our reproductive rights are worth less than a man's ability to achieve an erection. Birth control will still be hard to come by for the less affluent woman, but hubby can take the magic pill and turn out babies for adoption on a regular basis. Gosh, you might think the adoption industry and the big drug company lobbies had a hand in that little bit of inequality. And, with this bill, all the good old boys can take the pill at the club so that they can service their mistresses before they go home to wifey. Ah, life in the USA.

Despite the fact that single motherhood has, on the surface, become more acceptable, anti-woman bills are being pushed in state after state to punish and profit from one person...the single mother. Murphy Brown aside, we are moving in reverse, sociologically, at an alarming rate. I fear for my great-granddaughter and what she might have to face when she matures.

I voted for Mr. Obama and I apologize to no one for doing so. But I am disappointed that, in order to get the health care reform bill through the congress, he might be allowing the kind of inequality that made that FOX reporter think he could insult the leader of the free world in an interview. He'll receive my letter today and I hope someone with some influence reads it. You can take away my faith in the system, but not my hope that it can be fixed.

For the sake of women in the US, single mothers and natural families, let's hope this bill doesn't pass as written. I'm 64 years old and my husband and I are comfortable. But I wasn't always in this position. I suffered because of that fact. It's time we moved ahead instead of retrreating to the bad old days. Unless a significant number of strong women speak out, that is exactly where we are heading.

I sure don't want to go there.

3 comments:

Sandy Young said...

My thinking is, we did what we could, we said what we had to say, and despite naysayers that we are too late, at least we tried.

Pandora's box was opened and uleashed the horrors of society upon the world, and the only positive thing that got out was Hope. Without hope there is nothing....

Mandy Lifeboats said...

Our daughters and our grandaughters, even our great-grandaughters need to step up to the plate today. Some of the rights they enjoy today were gained through the suffering and pain of the women before them. If they choose to be complacent, ignorant or just plain too lazy to educate themselves about Women's Rights or the lack of them today or yesterday, in the future, they will only have themselves to blame.

Sandy Young said...

Very true, Mandy. It saddens me that younger women seem to be so unaware of what is happening to them or the impact some of these things will have on their lives and the future of their children. I fear that the battle for women's rights is far from over, and the other side is winning, strictly because of complacency or the inability of so many to see outside their little circle.