95 years ago today, women gained the right to vote. Although it is better than before, women still only earn roughly $0.77 for every $1.00 earned by their male counterparts. Women’s reproductive rights are still under attack by conservative religious groups.
I think you can get a sense of how just a culture is by it treatment of women. While there are cultures that are far worse than ours, I would nominate any that perform female genital mutilation, for instance, we still have a long way to go.
As a musician, a lot of my heroes are women. Joni Mitchell’s body of work is as impressive as anyone’s. Kirsty MacColl, Patti Smith, Sinead O’Connor, Buffy Sainte-Marie, and on and on, have written songs that are poetically profound, that leave most male songwriters in the dust. Marianne Faithfull, as an interpreter of songs, is the equal of any man. Yet often critics and writers label them all as female songwriters, or female singers, in a way that imply that they are playing in a different game than the men. While it is correct to call someone like Mitchell a female songwriter, to say she is a great “female” songwriter is incorrect. Her work dwarfs all but the very best male songwriters and one can even argue that she is the most unique songwriter from this continent in the last 100 years. While someone like Dylan combined different forms in unique ways and infused them with a new sense of language, Mitchell almost seems to have created new forms entirely. There is a reason a lot of the serious jazz guys wanted to play with her. O’Connor was right about the abuse taking place in the Catholic church and was vilified for being brave enough to say something. Sainte-Marie was blacklisted by President Johnson for speaking her mind in the American Indian Movement.
Anyone that says women aren’t as capable, intelligent, and brave as men should be laughed at outright. There are physical biological differences, but even these aren’t definitive. I’d hate to be thrown in the ring with Ronda Rousey!
Whenever you see something politically that is anti-women, it comes out of the outdated idea of the patriarchy. But we should be smart enough at this point in history to know that respect shouldn’t be given, it should be earned. It’s no wonder that some men want to cling to the kind of traditions that bestow power only due to the sex of their birth. Control is a hard thing to give away. But an idea is either a good idea or a bad one, based on its own merit and the way it holds up to reason. With our environment going into the dumps, with endless war, with income inequality exploding haven’t us males done enough damage? I, at least, am ready for new ideas. If a female can solve those issues, then I say have at it.
It’s far beyond time that we welcomed women as equals in all aspects of our society. It’s not only the morally correct thing to do and the intelligent thing to do, but with the current state of the world, we are going to need everyone rowing! So cast aside Medieval religious ideas and barbaric social orders that threaten to drag us under like quicksand. More now than ever, with problems that are on a global scale, the old order that puts us in groups is going to lead to our demise. As Kurt Vonnegut once said, when talking about the meaning of life, “We’re here to help each other get through this thing, whatever it is.”
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