Thursday, November 12, 2009

Are women getting a raw deal in the U.S.?

The discussion on the O'Rielly Factor, in the culture warriors segment, started out as whether or not conservative women were under attack in the media. Both women expanded on the idea and made the case that women in the U.S. of every political brand, face a tougher time than men in the way they are scrutinized and judged in general. I agree, but I think a good deal of it is self-imposed.

Before I get too far, please don't shoot the messenger. This is not how I believe things should be. It's how they are. When people attack or praise an individual, they do so in a manner that's optimized for that individual. In other words, they try to push your buttons. How do you get under a woman's skin? Criticize her clothes, her hair, her physical features. Professional women wear a wide variety of clothing in a rainbow of different colors from day to day and from person to person. Professional men generally wear the same uniform; slacks, shirt, jacket and tie. The big expression of individuality among men is the tie, and that's usually red, blue or yellow. There just isn't much to criticize.

Of course, I'm generalizing. But generally speaking men don't care much about their hair either. You're not going to traumatize the average guy by criticizing his doo in front of the whole office. Remarks about guys' weight and/or physical appearance don't carry nearly the impact that the same remarks about a woman would make.

Men don't face this type of criticism because it's simply not that effective against them. They face different types of attacks. If you want to denigrate a man, you call him a wimp, say he's not good with money, or with women. More generally, you imply that he is not in control of his own destiny or area of responsibility.

If women don't want to be subjected to superficial judgments, it's up to women to place less emphasis on it. "Society" doesn't tell women how to dress or what to look like. For the most part, other women and gay men do. If you don't want to take their direction, just stop. As long as you seek the approval of the fashion Nazi's, you are at their mercy. Superficial attacks can't hurt you without your full cooperation.

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