Now this assertion, that society cannot be systemically putting women down because women these days are seriously ASSERTIVE and SELF-ACTUALISED and JUST WOULDN’T PUT UP WITH IT, is pretty much bullshit. Nevertheless it’s appealing to those who would prefer the status to remain quo because it absolves them of any responsibility either for taking any action to change things or of being in any way to blame for the way things are. It is, obviously, It’s All Your Fault Anyway, just in a modern, appealing outfit.
Let’s look at this a bit more closely as an idea. For a start this idea that individuals can somehow single-handedly resist the entire culture and societal structure they grew up in and live within just by being a BIT MORE KICK-ASS about it is rubbish from the get-go. We bring girls up to understand right from the beginning that they are worth less than boys, should listen more and speak less than boys, should concentrate on their appearance and behaviour rather than on their physical and intellectual prowess.
I will write more about this in the future, but for a start here are some bits of evidence for this that are just sitting in my head. I didn’t even have to go and look them up. 1. Girls on average get less pocket money than boys (see previous post). 2. In mixed classes, teachers of both sexes call on boys more than girls and give boys more attention than girls. 3. Little boys get bought sleep-suits and car stickers and tee-shirts saying things like “Rocket scientist in training” and “Future football star in car”. The equivalent for little girls read “Little princess” and “Future supermodel”.
Thus we bring girls up to believe, quite correctly, that society wants them to be pretty and compliant and mostly silent, and that it will as a general rule give them less of everything than boys: less money, less airtime, fewer opportunities. Then, when they grow up a bit and start saying “Wait a minute, this isn’t fair!”, the IAYFA Brigade respond “Well, shouldn’t you be strong enough to deal with this? Here, look at these Faux-Approbators: ‘A successful woman is one who can build a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at her.’ And ‘A woman is like a teabag; you never know how strong it is until it’s in hot water.*’ And ‘There is no force equal to that of a determined woman.’** Why are you letting a little discrimination get you down? Stand up to them! And if you don’t, then obviously It’s All Your Fault Anyway!”
Sigh. More tomorrow.
*Nice use of the pronoun, there.
**All real examples which I just found online.