Monday, March 29, 2010

Women: Valued Citizens or Worthless Pawns?

It's both distressing and amazing to me how far women have fallen since the dawn of Christianity. Once revered as Goddesses, priestesses, wise nurturers, teachers and leaders, the source of all life and of much wisdom, women were cast down into subservience, only deemed capable of surviving in the small, orderly universe of the home.
Gradually, women were given "rights," and were told they could be everything that men were allowed to be, in a shrewd distraction designed to placate the restless.
Women can vote for leaders, we can die on battlefields, but not one of us has achieved our nation's ultimate position of honor - the presidency. Women are still fighting to be at least equals, and at most leaders of the world's largest, richest churches. Women are still waiting to receive equal pay for equal skills and responsibilities in the work place. Our reproductive, health-related and societal rights are still largely in the hands of men. You get the picture.
Considering the above, it was perhaps surprising that while browsing this morning's headlines, I noticed that the lion's share referred to women. Not surprisingly, I soon realized that the references were not positive and/or substantial.
The big one, of course, referred to the "Black Widows," a group of Chechen women who have lost male relatives - brothers, husbands, fathers - in the 20 or so year long battle with Russian forces.
The Black Widows have banded together in retaliation for their losses, I suppose in the only way they know how to, covertly and with violence.
The women carried out two suicide bombings this morning during rush hour in Moscow's subway system, one of the largest and most-populated subways in the world.
Female suicide bombers, armed with bolt and iron rod-filled bombs, "successfully" murdered dozens of commuters as of this morning's count, injuring and terrorizing an undetermined amount of others.
I have to guess that these women were never taught that they are/were worthy as individuals, with or without men in their lives. I have to wonder if they acted in such a desperate way because they felt powerless to use their intellect, or the intellect or influence of others, to retaliate, to improve their condition or to bring about change. I feel safe in assuming that they weren't privy to psychological counseling or support groups as they suffered the deaths of their loved ones and the destruction of war daily and for decades.
I doubt these women were educated in any meaningful way. I doubt they were offered or possessed the knowledge or resources to express their anger and grief in any form but violence and murder.
Another headline, not far from the first, with a sense of self-satisfied jealousy, promised details of actress Kate Winslet being spotted without her wedding ring. Winslet is an Oscar-winning actress. She's arguably among the greatest talents of our time, yet headline worthy interest in her is based on her marital status? Sad!
Glancing down the page, I was riveted (just kidding, I was actually sickened) by a headline touting the association of both Kate Gosselin and Sarah Palin with The Learning Channel. Wow!
I may be beating a dead horse here, but I've said it before and I'll say it again. What in heaven's name is wrong with our society - our world - as humankind
continues to accept the wasteful, despicable, degrading standards by which women are treated, ignored, hung out to dry and encouraged to judge their self- worth and importance and power as individuals?
From women such as the Black Widows, who waste their potential and the potential of others for lack of a sane path away from desperation, to women in our own home towns who measure their worth in terms of the man or men they keep company with, the clothes and accessories they adorn themselves with, the number of children they have aimlessly brought into a world that was long-ago over-populated and strained to breaking in terms of resources, or the immoral reality "stars" with whom they empathize, this world has rendered useless and condoned and facilitated the blatant waste of millions of girls and women. Americans and other citizens of the world have allowed and accepted the glorification and adoration of women who exploit and psychologically abuse their children for profit and a narcissistic need for celebrity, pine over and accept cheating husbands, rate opinions regarding plastic surgery way above opinions regarding politics or the state of humanity, quit important jobs before they have fulfilled their obligations, and carelessly distribute misinformation regarding important issues and incite violence by Americans against Americans, to the end of nearly annihilating the value of strong, moral, intelligent, independent women.
By accepting the ridiculous and reckless behavior of many, we have minimized women whose main concerns aren't who is cheating on whom & who has the most stream-lined nose or biggest boobs.
To the opposite extreme, we have accepted that some women are worthless & hopeless; fated to deciding who will blow herself up today because her government hasn't bothered to educate or care for her. We've accepted that some women are simply disposable pawns of war or of extremist views.
Am I being unreasonable in feeling that women of substance are steadily being devalued? Am I sounding an overly urgent alarm in my belief that the relevance of the average woman's life, overall intelligence, and social awareness have actually deteriorated over the decades since the first shots were fired in the women's liberation movement?
I believe that an intentional dumbing-down, cheapening of women -and of society as a whole - is taking place in an effort to distract the average person from the real & vitally important issues of our ineffective governments and of our dying planet.
I honestly and urgently believe that through our indifference as a society we have indicated that it's OK to give up, give in, and not to give a damn about oneself or the state of one's family, community and world - and that has to stop.
Stop accepting and supporting the glorification of people who degrade themselves and the world, start expecting higher standards regarding what is important, and what should be celebrated and exalted by society and our media outlets. Speak out about the state of the world, about governments that ignore and devalue entire segments of their populations.
What do you think? Be well & happy.

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