Where women are silenced


Many cultures and religions around the world, namely Islam and Christianity, place a lesser value on the voices of women. These two cultures more than any other modern cultures also seem the most dogmatic and violent in opinions, and oftentimes, behavior. I see a trend here: where women are less valued and given little to no voice and where men are dominant and authoritative, there is less civil discourse and more war.

I was talking to a friend the other day about the condition of our country. We both agree that as a nation, the United States is in decline. It had its heyday and is now seeing the downward spiral of its culture, economy and people. We then discussed what typically follows a decline: political upheaval, economic collapse, war, revolution. We considered that revolution might be the only thing that can save this nation (you would be shocked at how common this position is held among liberals and conservatives in Connecticut). I declared that this time women should be in charge of the revolution. That way no one gets shot. I was joking, but not.

Women may have been given the vote nearly 100 years ago, but they certainly have not been given an equal voice in the running of things. In the home, in business, in communities and in politics, women are still a minority. We tread lightly. We are careful. We understand the precariousness of freedom. Our voices must hold a certain tenor, sing a delicate refrain, or we are brushed aside and silenced. Men are still running things.

Now, I really don’t think women need to take over the world and enslave men, but I honestly believe it is time to consider the feminine point of view on the most important issues we face as a nation, as a people, and around the world.

If women were in charge in Syria, do you really think chemical weapons would be a threat? I can’t even conceive of using such a thing, of killing innocent babies and their mothers because of hatred for an opposing faction. I can’t imagine choosing to do that. And I am not a pacifist by any means. I have decided that if anyone tried to hurt me or my children I could defend us with deadly force. I had to work through that in my brain, in my psyche, and come to terms with the concept and am comfortable with my choice (and this is something that should be thought through before one is in the midst of a home invasion or rape). But I would not go pick a fight with someone I didn’t like or agree with.

Now don’t get me wrong: I am well aware that women can be violent, deadly, even serial killers. Women love power and can be cruel. I know that the tendency toward violence is there within every woman. Women are not morally superior to men. Women are not in any way better than men. Women are just different than men. We see and perceive things differently. We think differently. The key here is consideration, equal consideration. And as long as women’s voices are controlled and silenced, as long as women are not given an equal say on the running of things, I believe we will continue to see humanity decline.

What is the root of this decline? Corruption. The United States is close to becoming a plutocracy. Corporations have so deeply infiltrated our government that they write the bills that our elected officials pass. I see this corruption clearly. I can sniff it out all the way from the woods of Connecticut. And those in power are not going to give it up. The mistake they make is in thinking that their power is unwavering, that their ship is unsinkable, that they have so much power that the people of the United States can do nothing about it. These men in power are wrong.

Women now lead men in college enrollment in most liberal arts colleges. Women not only know how to think, they know how to write. And these women are still raising the kids. So many men still seem content to mostly do their own thing oblivious to the needs of their families while their wives work full-time, care for the house full-time and raise the kids full-time. Something is going to break. Really, if this doesn’t concern men in power, I don’t know what will.

I kind of chuckle at Kim Jong-Il thinking he is all that, so full of himself that he enslaves his people in work camps, has confiscated privately-owned guns, and shoots his little missiles into the sea. He thinks he is invincible. It is not so. He will fall. I think about Communist China slowly losing its hold on its people as they reject traditional Chinese, male-dominated culture and embrace Western culture. I think about Vladymir Putin playing conqueror on the world stage and know that he will fail. I think about the misguided men in the Taliban thinking that it is important in the eternal scheme of things that women be kept at home, the property of their fathers and husbands, and that little girls not be allowed to go to school. These men are all fools. They are deceived and lost. They are not listening to any voices but their own, and it will ultimately destroy them.

Here in the United States most meaningful jobs, the middle class jobs, are disappearing. A lot of young men are lost and feel hopeless because there are no jobs where they can be promoted. The merit system in this country that rewarded hard work is gone. I know of so many middle-aged men who gave their younger years to corporations that then fired them and rehired them at a fraction of their previous pay. Skilled jobs are outsourced or given to men and women from other countries who will not ask questions or make waves when they are not treated very well (these are the “H” visas, the number of which were just last year increased from 65,000 to 110,000 per year). Apparently, according to many big corporations, there are not enough workers in the United States to fill skilled jobs. What? I know so many IT people who have either no jobs, low-paid jobs, or are only hired part-time so that their employers can save money.

Again, we have male corporation owners pushing through legislation that benefits them and further destroys the economy. Manufacturing has been moved out of the United States. Farming is moving outside of the United States. We all laugh about the outsourcing of customer support to India and other nations where we are lucky to get someone who speaks English well enough to understand. But none of this is funny.

On the other side of the issue are women activists. Women (and men) fighting against genetically modified crops. Women (and men) fighting to protect the environment. Women (and men) fighting to keep pesticides off of school grounds. None of these bills or issues will benefit corporations, so they are an uphill battle. Yes, there are a lot of men involved, but the faces of these movements is oftentimes women. Heck, the latest trend is the “1 Million Moms” for or against something.

The true grassroots movements are greatly outnumbered by the corporate or politically-sponsored fake grassroots movements such as Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense which used to be called Moms Demand Action Against Gun Violence. The new name is more accurate because nothing in their rhetoric addresses the inner-city gun culture, all of which is based on illegal gun ownership. Funded by the same billionaire who started the Mayors Against Illegals Guns, Public Relations executive Shannon Watts AKA Shannon Troughton, had her “grassroots” organization ready to launch and did so the day after the Sandy Hook shooting. Her clients have included Monsanto, other big corporations and some big political names. She is not merely a stay-at-home mom as she states. In California, when the GMO labeling initiative was being debated, Big Food created shell grassroots organizations that plastered the fresh, young faces of family farmers over the corporate machine they represented, scaring voters into shying away from requiring food manufacturers to identify genetically-modified food ingredients in their products.

Women are being used to create a false pathos, funded by powerful men (beware of women politicians backed by rich and powerful men — I honestly am not sure it is possible to be a politician and be true to one’s values). In my opinion, this is worse than being silenced. Women are being used, or making so much money in their false grassroots organizations they don’t care how honest their voices are. Did I mention that women can be just as greedy as men?

What to do? On the one hand we have powerful, wealthy men using women to create a false sense of voice while on the other hand honest voices have little real influence in world events.

I believe the key is women finding their own honest voices and learning to wield them effectively. As the primary consumers in the United States we have great power: I use my voice every time I purchase or refuse to purchase a particular product. I write emails to corporations and my representatives. I comment on pending FDA approvals. I read and comment on articles at the New York Times and BBC where people from all over the world can read my comments and “hear” my voice.

We have a world filled with the angry sound of men’s voices. I believe it is time to add the honest voices of honest women who truly care. We must begin to influence our world more, speak up more, and stand up for what is right because where women are silenced, there is no peace.

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