Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Blog Against Sexism Day 2007

Blog Against Sexism Day
Today is a big day! First of all, happy Blog Against Sexism Day, and happy International Women's Day!

To start off my post for Blog Against Sexism Day, I'd like to link to a great article from NOW. I think the stories told in this article are three glaring examples of how sexism still exists in this country. Whenever I hear someone tell me that sexism doesn't exist in this country anymore, that women are seen as equals now, or, my personal favorite, that men are the oppressed ones now, I think of stories like this and I'm just amazed at how deeply a human head can be stuck in the sand.

First you have Exhibit A, which is a legalization of rape in Maryland based on archaic misogynistic laws which state that a man is the real victim of rape because they depend so much on keeping a woman's hymen intact. Here is the law as quoted from the NOW article:

"The concept … rooted in ancient laws and adopted by the English common-law, views the initial 'de-flowering' of a woman as the real harm or insult which must be redressed by compensating, in legal contemplation, the injured party—the father or the husband. This initial violation of the victim also provided the basis for the criminal proceeding against the offender. But, to be sure, it was the act of penetration that was the essence of the crime of rape; after this initial infringement upon the responsible male's interest in a woman's sexual and reproductive functions, any further injury was considered to be less consequential. The damage was done."
Lovely, isn't it? Doesn't it make you feel great to live in such an enlightened country when it comes to women's rights? Make sure to note that this occurred in a state that generally has a good record as far as women's rights. If this kind of stuff can happen in a place like Maryland, we still have plenty of work to do.

What's worse is that some people agree with this ruling. As soon as it happened, I made a post about it on a teen forum I visit (The thread is no longer up, or I would link to it, although the comments that were made at Broadsheet after it happened are enough to tickle anyone's upchuck reflex). While it was good to see so much dissent, it was incredibly scary to see that some people agreed with the fact that a woman should not be able to withdraw consent after penetration has occurred. I don't understand how this can be based on anything BUT sexism. It's not protection of men's rights, as if the situation were something different, say, a man consenting to having a woman feeding him grapes. If he said, yeah, you can feed me some grapes, and she fed him and he said stop and she continued to shove them down his throat, well, that would be called assault (if not attempted murder) despite the fact that he consented in the first place. However, when it comes to women it's suddenly a great ruling because now women can't "drag" men to court anymore over false rape charges! Oh happy day! I'm so glad men are finally getting the right to have sex with non-consenting women!

Exhibit B is par for the immigration rights course, it seems. This case is just lined with anti-choice sexism. This is basically how the story goes:

Maybe Massachusetts state attorneys were taking their cues from Maryland's Court of Special Appeals judges when they whipped out an obscure 1840 law to charge a teenage Dominican immigrant with "procuring an illegal miscarriage."

Amber Abreu was unable to afford a legal abortion, so she did something common in her home country — she took Cytotec, an anti-ulcer medicine, to induce a miscarriage. The drug induced labor, and she delivered a 20 oz. fetus that was not viable, even after four days of extraordinary medical intervention. She was immediately sent to a maximum-security prison, and it took her family several days to raise bail money from the community. Now she may face murder charges as well, for doing something herself that an English-speaking 18-year-old with money could have obtained safely and legally.

Do we need any more proof that anti-choicers don't give two shits about women, especially poor, non-white women? But I'm sure there was no sexism involved in this ruling. I mean, what did the government do, use a uniquely female situation to throw a teenager in a maximum security prison? Surely not, and even if they did, it wouldn't be sexist! Right? Right?

Exhibit C, to me, is the most despicable of them all.

A woman we only know as Lucy from Orange County, California, is another example of the archaic attitudes that threaten women even today. Lucy was stalked and sexually assaulted by a police officer, and then was further victimized by that police officer's unabashedly sexist lawyer..

. . .

After Lucy reported what happened and the case went to court, the officer's attorneys argued that she "got what she wanted. She's an overtly sexual person." A jury of 11 men and one woman found the officer not guilty.
I think I'll have to refer to Femily's earlier post for my true, raw feelings on this case. Thanks for that one, Femily.

However, I'm thinking that perhaps the jury (you know, that panel of her almost all-male peers?) ruled the way they did because they couldn't find a male that was responsible for Lucy's hymen.

I am so tired of people thinking that strippers ask for violation just because of the line of work they're in. If someone punches a boxer on a night he's not in the ring, is it not assault? If someone punches him on a night that he IS in the ring, does it not get prosecuted? Hell, even that isn't a good analogy, really, because it's not okay to rape strippers and sex workers while they're on the job, either.

Once again, this is in California, another state that is generally woman-friendly. As the article points out, if this is allowed to go down in states that harbor less misogyny, I shudder to think of what would be allowed to occur in more conservative states.

Like I said before, this article is a prime example of why Blog Against Sexism Day still exists, and why it still needs to exist. I don't care what any richwhiteheterohonkyboy says. Sexism still exists. It's alive and well whenever a representative of the law is allowed to ejaculate on and rape a woman with impunity. It rears it's hideous head whenever a scared pregnant teenager is put in a maximum security prison for exercising her right to bodily autonomy in the only way she could manage*, and it's obvious that it still needs to be stabbed to death when a U.S. state makes rape legal. That is why I'm blogging against sexism tonight. It's why I'm a feminist, and it's why I run this blog. It's also why I hope that people are reading this and saying, "You know what, this shit ain't right", and joining the effort to combat the forces in the American war against women. This is what these stories can tell you. Uncle Sam DOESN'T want YOU to join the army of those who would fight for women's freedoms, but that shouldn't stop you.

This, this, this, and this are all real, and they can all happen. They all occur in this country. Large or small, every battle needs to be fought, and hopefully won. Our president is chipping away at women's reproductive freedoms and is downright chopping up the budget for the department that focuses on women's health. Our law enforcement is not only raping women, they are also throwing rape victims in jail. Objectifying women and holding them to a different standard is still a favorite pastime of nasty internet dudes and domestic violence is still running rampant.

Knowing all of this, you can't tell me sexism is dead, and I'm going to fight it until it is.


*I'm not endorsing home abortions, however, I do sympathize with the desperate women who try them when they have no other options either legally or financially.


Emily O. said...

Nice. I linked to the same article in my Blog Against Sexism Post. :)

FEMily! said...

Brava! It is absolutely disgusting how women are being assaulted by mysoginistic legislation. People need to open their eyes and do something about it. Denial isn't going to protect us.

FEMily! said...

You know what's particularly repulsive about that Maryland rape law? It means that, legally, people's property are more valuable than women. If an unplanned visitor comes to my house and I allow them to come in, that's not trespassing. If I, for any reason, decide that I don't want them in my house anymore and tell them to leave, and they don't leave, that's trespassing. Nobody says "You first consented to them being in your house, so now they have to stay there until they want to leave." So in Maryland, a woman's house is better protected by the law than the woman's body. Lovely.