My assumption was that my views would be changed more in favor of women's rights. However, I'm pretty sure my views have changed more in the opposite direction. As Jon said when I told him of this fact, "Extremists will do that."
I can honestly say I'm more against abortion than ever. I'd still consider myself pro-choice but hearing abortion discussed in class and our textbook like it is a right up there with the right to breathe has really soured me on the issue.
If I hear one more "But it's my body!" I think I might just go on a 5 state killing spree. When your primary defense of a right is something as utterly moronic as this you are going to lose the battle. You can make pro-choice arguments like it might be more humane to terminate the pregnancy rather than giving birth to a kid later that will bounce around from foster home to foster home or live in poverty but "It's my body" is the DUMBEST thing to ever come out of someone's mouth.
First of all, the whole point, and certainly their opponent's (the anti-abortion people) whole argument, is that it is NOT just their body anymore, there's another life in there. Secondly couldn't this argument be used by anyone? If heroine users marched on Washington chanting "Keep your laws off my body" they would be laughed out of the district, but somehow the same argument is the beat all, end all for women's rights activists. It would actually make more sense for anyone BUT pro-choice people to use that argument. Why should I have to wear a seat belt? It's my body.
Lastly stop talking about abortions like they should be a right like the right to breathe, or talking about pregnancy like women can just randomly get pregnant walking down the street. After all pro-choice and pro-abortion are two very different things, but holding up wire hangers and saying "We were one vote from going back to this" not only blurs that distinction but also leaves the impression that every women gets ten abortions in their life time. Pro-choice people want to put the "once in a lifetime emergency" spin on abortions, not make it sound like a daily activity.
While discussing the changing tradition of women taking the last name of the man the most vocal girl in the class went on a big rant about how she just got engaged couldn't believe her fiance wanted her to take his name. She said that the best argument he could come up with of why she should is that it was just tradition. Since when is tradition not a valid reason for doing something? My family doesn't drag a tree into our house every December because we want to get the feeling that we're camping out while watching football games. Is there probably a root of the Christmas tree tradition? I'm sure there is. Is it outdated and not really applicable today? Probably. Does anyone cite the origin of the tradition when they get a Christmas tree or do people get a Christmas tree because that's what you do for Christmas? Furthermore, why are only traditions that go in men's favor argued against? She had a huge problem with him wanting her to take his name but I would wager that she had on an engagement ring while ranting about it and I would wager his hands have no such ring on them.
The same girl complained about video games because she had just seen a skateboarding game where you could choose female characters but they were large-chested scantily clad characters. The teacher said that's because all games are still made for boys. At this point I leaned to the guy next to me and said "Yeah, designing a product for your target market, what a moronic idea." I think the unintentional comedy scales broke when after discussing the issue for 10 minutes the girl finally voiced that her main problem with the game was that you couldn't change the girl characters' shoes.
We had a whole class dedicated to the fact that the way the sperm and egg are portrayed in text books just furthers the sexual stereotypes in society. The sperm is portrayed as going on a perilous journey and burrowing into the egg while the egg is portrayed as just sitting there waiting for it all to happen. This view supposedly extended from the roles of females and males in our world and was being blamed for helping form the gender roles of children learning about the process.
Sperm DOES go on a perilous journey. Millions are "deployed" in the hope that one makes it. The only factual mistake that the textbooks made is that recent studies have found that the egg plays a role in getting sperm into it, rather than the sperm burrowing into it. In fact the egg does most of the work. The author of the article we were discussing praises these new studies for a while then later blasts them for portraying "women" in an equally bad light since the egg went from being portrayed in such a passive light to a "man hungry, temptress" role.
At one point the article quotes a part of a textbook that talks about despite being born with 300,000 eggs only 400 to 500 are used throughout a woman's reproductive life. The textbook being discussed then goes onto say "The real mystery is why so many eggs are formed only to die in the ovaries" The author then interprets the text to imply that it means to say it's wasteful and then goes onto complain about how the average man makes 2 trillion sperm in his life and yet it's not seen as wasteful.
Not only does the quoted text not imply eggs are "wasted" the situations are two COMPLETELY different ones. The female's system is on a fairly rigorous schedule, in other words the body knows about how many it would need and makes way more than that number. Why it does that is a mystery. The male system needs to have a huge amount on hand ready to go at any given (and unpredictable) time.
In a different article discussing how medical science has done nothing to better life on Earth the author goes on to discuss the doctor patient relationship and how doctors doubt what women say. I think it would be safe to assume that doctors doubt what everyone says for the same reason I doubt what someone says when they call for tech support. 99.999% of people have no clue what they are talking about so when they give me their diagnosis of what they think is wrong with their computer I don't really listen. I suspect the same is true for doctors. Would you want a doctor that if you walked in and said "I have Babeseosis" the doctor replied "Ok, lets start the treatment" without doing a single test?
Another article found an author making a point about how women that want to be construction workers or work in other "heavy lifting" jobs are being "discriminated" against because the job requires heavy lifting. If someone physically is not able to do the job how on earth is it discrimination to not hire them? I remember not too long ago hearing about how a fire department was in hot water since there were very few women on the force because they required people to be able to carry 200 pounds because the equipment is heavy and they might very well have to carry someone out of a building. How is that not the most ridiculous thing you've ever seen? If a woman can do what they ask should she be considered? Of course. However, if a firefighter can't carry equipment or rescue people what good are they? If your life depended on it who would you like to see kick in your door, a 6'4" 260lb former football player or a 5'9" computer programmer? Should we hire cripples to our firefighting forces in the name of being PC as well?
The same article was about women being discriminated against. The article was about unfair treatment in the workplace, courtroom, and pretty much anywhere outside of the house.
It starts off by talking about woman in the economy. Women make less than men, are more likely to be poor, and have less of a chance to rectify the situation. This point, however, is contradicted later by pointing out the fact that 53% of students in colleges are female. (In fact at UWEC it's almost a 2:1 ratio.)
In 1998 the average female lawyer or judge made about $62K while the average male made $115K. This was one of numerous numbers thrown out there to try and prove women make less than men. The flaw with these studies is that they tend to look at what would traditionally be male jobs, those in which only recently females started getting into and then average everyone's salary and claim the only difference must be sex. In some fields the most senior women have been in the field for 10 years while their male counterparts have been there 30+ years. Why would a person stay in a job for 20 more years with no chance of advancement. Of course male, lawyers, doctors, ect make more, they've been there longer. The discrepancy in salaries will begin to close when the predominantly male work force from earlier begins to retire. She contradicts her own point and enforces mine by later pointing out that half of married couples (who are generally the same age, and thus enter the workforce at the same time) who both work have the woman making just as much, or more, than the husband.
The article goes on to discuss the glass ceiling in business and politics sighting that of the 4,012 people in charge of the 1,000 largest companies, only 19 are female. Is that a big discrepancy? Yes. However, the author, as well as others, continue the trend of discussing the glass ceiling as if all the men at the companies take turns running it or even could ever have a shot at running it. There are thousands of employees at these businesses and an average of 4 people in charge. Most of those 1,000's of people are going to only go so high in the ranks.
This also ties into to my earlier points. First off, these companies are being run by the same people for huge stretches of time, it's not like they hire people on a daily basis and never hire a female. Secondly, the guys were there first and as such moved up the ladder first so it's only fair they have first crack at any openings. Women move up behind the people that were there first and hit the same ceiling everyone else with their seniority does. You reach a point where there is no turnover and 2,000 people wanting the same job.
What also bugs me about the glass ceiling is that it's one of those sliding stats that will never go away but can always be tossed out there as an argument. "There's never been a female ___." Then when a female gets put in that situation does the argument go away? No, it just moves on to the next higher up place. It's like that stat that gets brought up any time the Bucs play a cold weather game. "The Buccaneers are 0-14 when the temp is below 32 degrees" then they win a cold game against the Packers and the stat is just adjusted to 0-12 when under 30 or something like that.
There has never been a female (or black) president because there are very few people with the clout, finances, and political background to make a legitimate run at it. Sometimes you get the sense that some of the people playing the glass ceiling card seriously think that any white "Joe Six-Pack" has a real shot to be president. Which (unless you rig the election) isn't true. I'm a white male and I can tell you without hesitation that I will never be president of the USA or CEO of a Fortune 500 company no matter now badly I want to be. If Hillary Clinton would have entered the race she would have won the democratic primary and then would win the upcoming election in a landslide.
There are so many variables involved that it is unfair to claim that women in today's political scene don't get a fair shake just because we can look back and see they didn't. After all, the sun has come up every day in recorded history and yet nobody can prove without a doubt, based on that fact, that it will come up tomorrow.
The glass ceiling is not a myth but it is certainly not without (at least partial) explanation.
-Jeremy Lindgren is sick of just Sarah being flamed.