Would be nice if women got to “focus on more important things”.

27 May 2016 02:18 am
Posted by: Donna

double standard
“Young lady, cover yourself! You are an abomination upon this institution!” “Young man, go on with your cheeky t-shirt! You will one day make a fine candidate for office!”

The GOP nominee for President Donald Trump is attempting to distract from his considerable bad history with women* by attacking the probable Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton over her husband’s past behavior. This, of course, tends to spawn the inevitable reaction of:

Why can’t we focus on the important things and leave their personal lives out of it?

Easily 99 times out of 100, when you hear that phrase uttered about a politician, that politician is male. And when I saw it thrown out to dismiss the Donald Trump/Bill Clinton contretemps the other day I had my usual inner response to it which was on one hand, agreement in principle that policy and competence should outweigh personal issues when we’re the evaluating people we want to put in leadership positions and, on the other, “must be nice”.

Must be nice.

It must be nice, for example, to be running for a major office and not have your husband’s indiscretions flung at you, as if they were your fault. To not have it be unthinkable for you to seek a position of great power and prestige having a reputation of being unfaithful in your marriage. To know that if you are well-respected enough otherwise, all will be forgiven and winked at.

It must be nice to go to the doctor seeking health care for situations resulting from your active or potential sex life without a bunch of nosy prudes who are angry about it making it difficult, illegal, and dangerous for you.

Really, it must be nice to have people respect that you and your health care providers know what’s best for your own life, health, and family planning decisions. So much nicer than being stalked, bullied, and subjected to insulting and downright invasive hurdles, isn’t it?

You know what else would be nice? Not being shamed in general. Not being rebuked for wearing shorts while your male classmate wears a t-shirt extolling oral copulation like he’s a boss, as in the photo above. Not being asked to leave the prom for violating arbitrary dress codes. Maybe not being seen as a potential “distraction” but instead getting your education while also enjoying your youth along the way.

You know what would be very, very nice? Going about our business in public without being harassed, catcalled, ordered to “smile”, and having to arrange our lives around safety and escape routes. That would sure leave us a lot more time to devote ourselves enthusiastically to “important things”, wouldn’t it?

How incredibly nice would it be to not be constantly concern-trolled over your dating habits, marriage prospects, and mothering?

There are now new frontiers in “wouldn’t it be nice”, as transgender girls and women find themselves in the searing spotlight, characterized as potential predators in bathrooms and gym lockers. Interesting how they were never viewed as a threat when society identified them as male. It was not until they self-identified as female that they suddenly become so. Which makes them somehow responsible for cisgender men attacking girls in bathrooms because, again, women are to blame for everything!

Maybe if it weren’t so complicated and so bone-exhausting an exercise in defending oneself simply to exist as female then we, too, could occupy a space where people would say, “let’s concentrate on important things instead of her personal life!” That would surely be nice!

Sadly, no, not going to happen anytime soon, as the woman’s personal is so very, very political.

*Well, much of what is alleged against Donald Trump has to do with very disgusting behavior toward women, up to and including rape. But let’s pretend, for argument, that we are merely talking about his extramarital affairs

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