by Elizabeth Lesman
The United States of America is a country that prides itself on its freedom, to the point of arrogance, and it always has been.
However, American freedom is a freedom based upon racism and misogyny in its earliest days which, while becoming more inclusive over the years, continues to rear its ugly head still today.
America’s freedom was and is greatest for those wealthy, white, and male. Unfathomably, far too many Americans choose to ignore these facts. And they are facts.
America was literally built on the backs of others. It was conceived by men for men (Need I add “white men”?) while willfully ignoring, and in some cases outright lying about, its very foundation inextricably woven together with the work of people of color and women.
People like to point out the “difference” in the times from the conception of America to today’s America regarding race and sex.
But how different was it? Is that a fair assessment? Not very and no.
This country wouldn’t be who it is or where it is without the contributions of women, which are too often minimized, belittled, and outright spat upon, just as they were at America’s birth in 1776.
America has always hated its women. It has willingly used them and then pushed them aside as it has suited its purposes. That has not changed at all.
When this country’s founding documents were being debated and written, Abigail Adams wrote to her husband John urging him to “remember the ladies”. John Adams, of course, ignored her and nowhere in the founding documents are women’s rights or freedoms expressed. Women have since continued to fight for those inherently American rights since 1776.
And now, American women continue to fight. We fight for social and economic equality and respect. We fight for the same American freedom that white men were automatically granted in 1776.
All the while, we are still being minimized and derided by men and women who tell us we are already equal, we already have it so much better in this country than other countries, and we just want to complain.
It is astonishing the number of people who, while living in this supposed information age, refuse to actually look at easily acquirable facts that demonstrate American gender inequality:
Fact: The average American woman makes 80 cents to the dollar of the average American man. And the wage gap is far worse for women of color.
Fact: Of the 2018 Fortune 500 list, women make up only 4.8% of it.
Fact: Although women make up roughly half the U.S. population, in 2018, women only comprise 20% of Congressional seats.
And these types of all-too-typical statistics do nothing to show the innate danger of being a woman in America.
Fact: Women in America are far more likely to receive worse healthcare due to biases against women actually understanding their own bodies.
Fact: America now has the highest maternal death rate of all developed nations.
Fact: 1 in every 6 American women has experienced some level of sexual assault in her lifetime. Again, the rates are much worse for women of color and for women with disabilities.
Fact: Only an estimated 37% of sexual assaults are reported and, contrary to popular belief, the cases of false accusations are only 2-10% with those numbers only believed to be that high due to inaccuracies and inconsistencies in determining falsity.
But here we are. It is 2018 and American women are still trying to be heard. Women are still craving equality. Women are still in desperate need of respect as human beings. And America is withholding all of it.
Brett Kavanaugh has been confirmed as a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court of the United States of America, a man with a history of misogyny in both his previous judicial rulings as well as his own statements. (Birth control is “abortion-inducing”? Shut up and read some actual science.)
Two different women have come forward with very credible stories of sexual assault and harassment. What’s happening about it? Very little. The president – go figure – and Republican congress-people are perfectly willing to overlook these allegations in favor of political agenda and publicly crucify these poor women in the process.
The American public itself is depressingly divided with, yet again, men and women choosing to believe him because the women were drunk at the times of these allegations or because it’s too “convenient” that they’re only coming forward now or because it was a different time 35 years ago and boys just behaved this way or excuse after excuse after excuse.
The thing of it is, there is no excuse. There is only the tragic reality that America hates women. America has always hated women and continues to hate women. If America didn’t hate women, women would have been written into the Constitution. If America didn’t hate women, the Equal Rights Amendment would have already been ratified and added to the Constitution to correct its initial misogyny.
If America didn’t hate women, women who come forward with tales of their victimhood of sexual assault and harassment would be believed, unless proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are lying.
If America didn’t hate women, Americans would never willingly (and almost gleefully) cast off the word of a woman, let alone two women, just to further a political agenda which in itself is misogynistic in nature.
As an American woman, all I can say is that if America doesn’t attempt to put a lid on its misogyny and begin treating women with the dignity, let alone freedom, with which it has always treated men there is a very likely possibility that the feeling is going to become mutual.