To be appalled by the restricted lives women live in the Middle East is easy because the rules governing their lives are so schizophrenic. Take Saudi Arabia, for example. Women are allowed careers, but they aren’t allowed to drive, which effectively prevents them from getting to and from work. (“I don’t need a chaperone at work,” by Sabria S. Jawhar, excerpted from Arab News in The Week, December 6, 2013 pg. 14)
But we women in the western world have little room to crow. Though the discriminations we face are more subtle than in the Middle East, they are real. The US Marines Corp, for example, has introduced “gender normed” scores meant to enable women to pass upper body strength test for that branch of service. Yet the moment a women enrolls, she faces the accusation that she can’t hold her own in combat and will become a liability to the men. (“The Marines: When women pass the test,” The Week, December 6 2-13 pg. 16) The presumption is that men are not only stronger than women, but are equally strong among themselves. Not true. Some men are weaker than other men and some women can be stronger than a man, as Billy Jean King taught Bobby Riggs when she won their 1973 tennis match.
But strength isn’t the only argument used to “keep a woman in her place.” Recently Michelle Obama came under fire from feminists for her subdued role as first lady. They complained she’d taken on an image from the 1950s — championing gardening, reading to children or tending wounded soldiers. Yet when Eleanor Roosevelt or Hillary Clinton tried to break the mould, they were criticized not only by men but by other women, sometimes viciously. (“The First Lady: A feminist disappointment?” The Week, December 6, 2013 pg. 17)
Let’s face it, being a female anywhere in the world isn’t easy. If anyone thinks we western women “have it all,” they haven’t been paying attention.
(Courtesy of battleofthesexes.blogspot.com)