My morning began, as it usually does, by taking the pulse of Facebook. England’s royal wedding got most of the comments, which didn’t surprise me. What did raise my eyebrows was a gentleman’s remark, someone who is usually supportive on women’s issues. “Just can’t sleep,” he wrote. “What kind of dress will she wear?”
His remark was tongue-in-cheek, an effort to bring relief to those of us suffering from event fatigue. Nonetheless, I don’t recall any similar fatigue over soccer or football championships – though the difference between a wedding and an athletic event is that the latter can end in violence while, at best, a wedding invites a tear.
What struck me about the man’s aside was his decision to pin his giddiness on the wedding gown. In doing so, he identified the event as little more than feminine frivolity. He might be shocked to learn he is guilty of sexual discrimination. Yes, yes, I know. The offense is so small, it might have gone unnoticed but for my churlishness.
Nonetheless, his remark illustrates how deeply sexual discrimination is imbedded in our psyche. Most of us, women, included, are likely to smile at the gentleman’s observation, blissfully unaware it mocks the feminine. His comment raises another serious issue, as well. How hard should feminists push their cause? Do we drive away support by pecking at every thoughtless puff of air? Or should we push harder? Should we, in the United States, seek legislation similar to the one passed in France, which makes whistling at a woman an offense? (Click)
On this last point, I am struck by a realization. If such legislation were to pass, the fees, growing at an explosive rate, would soon rid the United States of its national debt.
Finances aside, I have no wish take an extreme stance. My point is simply that every slippery slope begins at a spot that seems level. Only by looking down, do we see the danger.
On the slope-scale, I’d say Harvey Weinstein was at the half-way point and joined by a good many male writers who claim women haven’t enough depth to write literature: Normal Mailer, Ernest Hemingway, Saul Bellow and the like. At the bottom of the slope lies the Catholic Church and its Council of Macon (1584) where, by the grace of a single vote, the bishops decided to designate women as human. (Man Made God, by Barbara G. Walker, Stellar House Publishing, pg. 201.)
As I’ve said, sexual discrimination has been with us for so long, sometimes, it’s barely noticeable. Nonetheless, while women struggle to become equal, they must ferret out discrimination, whether humorously intended or not.
By the way, I loved Meghan Markle’s gown.