An Old Womxn’s Rant

At 73 I am pissed off. 

As a womxn, I have spent 73 years being told I am worthless by white men who hold power, any kind of power. I used to believe them, I don’t anymore.

Ever since I was a child, I was told there were simply places I could not go, things I couldn’t do because of who I was, female. And, I believed them. Why wouldn’t I? They were people I was told to look up to, teachers, ministers, policeman, fireman, politicians, even my father. My mother tried to convince me it was in my interest to stay within the boundaries old, white, pathetic, men tried to put around me. And I let them, to a point.

I was 22 when my father died of cancer, and on his death bed he told me I needed to find a husband very soon who would take care of me or I would come to a bad end.  I didn’t listen. I still don’t know what that ‘bad end’ was.

Something in me said they were all wrong, my mother, my father, ministers, politicians, bosses, teachers, friends.  When a ‘friend’ came to me saying one of the reasons I couldn’t get a date was that men were afraid of me because I spoke my mind, I was too strong and needed to me more ‘soft.’  I told him, yes a him, if that was the case then I didn’t want a date. And, I didn’t get one.

When an employer told me, I couldn’t get a raise because I was at the top of my pay scale, only to discover that a man who did the same job had received a raise.  I asked how his this was possible; I was told he had a family and when I ‘finally’ got married I would leave so I didn’t need one. That was when I learned of workplace inequality. I threw a fit and got fired.

I have spent my entire life struggling to be seen, to be believed, to be accepted. I made friends with people of color, immigrants, the different gendered because they, like me, were kept out of positions of power, out of well-paying jobs, locked out of society. I disliked, but understood, women who choose the tactics of men in order to succeed. They did it because it was the only way they could.  I disliked, but understood, women who used their gender to succeed because it was the only way they could. I choose neither of those routes and ended up with jobs I hated and people I distrusted because I had to in order to survive.

In the last 20 years I gained hope that womxn were finally making gains politically, economically, and socially.  Yes, there are more womxn in science, business, and politics than ever before but not enough. Womxn, people of color, indigenous people, and the different gendered make up the majority of our population but make up only a fraction of the leaders in business, science, and politics. That not only disappoints me it angers me.

I do not understand womxn who continue to support old, white, European males over womxn of any color, people of color, or people who are different gendered. It totally boggles the mind. We are better than that. We deserve better.

My hope lies in the young womxn from across this globe who are making their voices heard. My hope lies in the womxn of ‘Me Too’ who are saying enough with being abused and demeaned just to further a man’s position. But I am discouraged, frustrated, and angry that these womxn, young and old, are being berated and demeaned by politicians and media because they are refusing to be silenced. I am confused by womxn who do not support them. I am angry that the choice of politician we are being handed is an old, white, European male, who though he appears enlightened grew up in the same time period I did and I have no doubt indulged in white, male privilege by demeaning or berating womxn, people of color, and the different gendered just to get ahead. It is what was done in my day, his day. I don’t blame him, it was how he was raised, but I don’t want those same attitudes leading my country anymore.

I am tired, frustrated, angry, old, and yes just a little crazy.  If that is what it takes to get heard then I encourage more womxn to be crazy, tired, frustrated, angry, and if it fits old.

Ruth Jewell, ©May 3, 2020

I’m Saying NO MORE

NO MORE

    I have given the events of the last few weeks a great deal of thought. It has been a greatly disturbing to watch the witness of Dr. Ford and the lack of respect she has been given by those we have entrusted with power. Saying I am angry doesn’t actually describe what I am feeling. As a victim of sexual assault, I am not just angry, but furious at the dismissal of Dr. Ford’s testimony. The Senate committee has heard her and then pushed her aside because she is a woman challenging their power to do what they want. And, what they want has nothing to do with the good of our country.

Placing Brett Kavanagh on the Supreme Court would aid these greedy, power-hungry men in setting all of our civil, social, economic, environmental, and international advancements back 50 years. Our waters will again be fouled with toxic waste, our air will be unbreathable, women can forget about controlling their own bodies, and those who are not Lilly white or heterosexual will again become anathema to a Republican, Trumpian world.

We know the response toward Dr. Ford’s testimony of sexual assault by Kavanagh was appalling, it wasn’t received by the Senate committee with any kind of respect or belief. Yet, no one had doubted the testimony of men who came forward with their memories of being sexually assaulted by Catholic Priests 35 and 40 years early. (Yes I know they didn’t testify to the any congressional committee, but several of these men did make comments on the testimonies.) So why wasn’t Dr. Ford not believed? The first reason is she is a woman, an untrustworthy, unable to care for herself, no understanding of reason or logic, flighty, and a sexual siren, woman. This is what woman have been told for thousands of years. We have been shammed into believing we, women, are the cause of men’s violence. That our lot in God’s world is to lay down and accept the rule of our bodies to our “male lords.” We are to procreate, raise the young, cook food, keep a clean house, and satisfy our “man.” That is not only slavery, it is treating one-half of the population like domestic animals.

Sexual violence has nothing to do with lust, or sex, it is all about power, about being overpowered. Sexual violence is all about men who believe they have a right use the power of their penises to control and oppress women. Men, like Brett Kavanagh have used women for their personal satisfaction, used their gender to control what a woman does and how far she can go in life, blamed women for their failures, and used those failures to justify their violence towards women. As a victim of sexual violence, I am tired of being told it’s “my fault” I was assaulted, it’s “my fault” that my pay check is lower than a man’s in the same position, and it’s “my fault” that I am a second class citizens.

I am tired of weak, pathetic men apparently believing they have the right to demean women. Who use women to give them their needed power trips, and to make them feel powerful. And, that is the second reason Dr. Ford wasn’t believed she is challenging their power. By their protestations it is obvious they believed Dr. Ford, they just can’t admit it because they would then have to acknowledge their own abuses of power, and of women. Yes, they believe Dr. Ford but their own guilt, greed, and hunger to keep hold of their so-called power prevents them from admitting it.

They also dismiss her because she had the courage to come forward and testify to the truth. How dare a woman challenge them! They have seen how the #METOO movement has affected men in the news and entertainment industries and they have no doubt that the accusations will be arriving at their door as well (at least I hope so).

I am not saying that all men have abused the power they have just because they are male. However, having lived to 71 I have experienced enough to know how men in positions where they control, or influence others are abusive and oppress those who depend on them.

I have also known women who have abused their positions, that is why I know that sexual abuse and gender abuse, is not isolated to one gender and is not related to sex.. Some women who have made it to the top of their field feel they too have the right to be controlling and subject the people who work or live with them to same kind of abuse. Often, they have overcome abuse, pressure, and humiliation themselves to get to where they are. Sadly, some have used those very same tactics to make sure they succeed just as their male counterparts. In those case’s they have as much to lose as a man does if Dr. Ford and the #METOO movement are successful.

My question to those of us, who have so much to lose if the Senate succeeds in their efforts, what will we do about it?

Will we give up the fight and go back to accepting patriarchal rule. Or will we stand up and say no more. While this is not just a woman’s fight, it is women, of every color and culture, who stands to lose the most. Unless we continue to demand restitution for the violence done to our bodies, to our minds, and to our economic security we will not succeed. The male bosses, our male political representatives will not simply grant it to us. We women must defend each other against attacks that serve to demean and humiliate us. We cannot let Dr. Ford and others like her stand alone and be bullied by the bullies in congress or the White House. We have power, especially together we have great power, now is the time to use it. Every woman must vote for the candidate who will advance our cause of equality. Read about them, GOOGLE them, and find out what they have done in their past lives, what they really stand for today. I am not telling you to vote for one party or another, I am saying know who you are voting for. Vote because the lives of your children, especially your daughters and granddaughters, lives depend on how you act today, in November and in 2020.

We women are standing up and fighting back against years or abuse and male control and that is frightening for the male ego. We women are finally saying no to the way it’s “always been done” to the detriment of our lives. Men need to understand we aren’t going back. Both men and women of every color, education, culture, or religious belief, have equal opportunities to succeed in their lives. Those who do not want to work with us, get out of our way, your power is broken. Get used to it.

Ruth Jewell, ©October 3, 2018