According to Richard Cohen of The Washington Post, Tiger Woods has given men a bad name by his philandering ways. As if men needed Tiger Woods for that. Cohen himself writes that men are conditioned to “spread their seed around” while women are conditioned to mate with the alpha male and mother the resultant children. “This is the way it is and this is the way it’s always been,” he says in his December 14th column.
He even goes so far as to say that the reason the Glass Ceiling hasn’t been broken is because women have different priorities. In other words, it’s not sexism that keeps women from succeeding; it’s their own choices.
Echidne of the Snakes, one of my favorite bloggers, begs to differ: “It could be that our biological inheritance explains the dearth of female Tiger Woodses. But I’m pretty sure that a culture which condones the male type (nudge-nudge) and disapproves of the female type has a role to play, too. And so do writers like Richard.”
I have a bit different take on the problem. I think the reason there are more men than women behaving badly is because men start to believe their own press. When someone like Tiger Woods achieves the level of prestige and power that he has, he thinks he is untouchable. Women rarely achieve that status because women aren’t accorded the same power that men are. Women know that they have to behave themselves. Even Madonna has limited her liaisons to the times when she has been single. And would Oprah have the same respect if she didn’t have “Steady Stedman” in the wings? What if she were caught cheating on the guy? Would people say, “That’s just the way women are”?
Which is precisely why I recommend “Revolutionary Road” to those of you who haven’t seen it. All you need to envision the woman that Friedan was writing about is contained in this film. Set in the 1950s, it’s the story of Frank and April Wheeler, typical suburban couple. Played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet (reunited after all these years!), these two carom off each other in their efforts to break out of the stereotype that is their life: he’s got a meaningless job in the city, she’s a bored housewife (what we now call a stay-at-home mom, or SAHM). They both feel trapped, but don’t know how to set themselves free.
This is a cautionary tale. And a mirror. How many of us can recognize our parents in DiCaprio’s and Winslet’s portrayals? But the difference between most of our parents and the Wheelers is that our parents probably never tried so hard to break free of the expectations that constricted them.
I’m getting disillusioned about Obama. Well, not so much disillusioned as vindicated. I had my misgivings about him way back when. When I was for Hillary. Even after he won the nomination, I wasn’t sure I wanted to vote for him. I just didn’t think he had the experience. I don’t know how much better a job Hillary would have done, but at least she was used to The Way Things Work. I think Obama is flummoxed by how intransigent Congress can be. He’s spent the better part of a year trying to get those fools to enact health care reform and he’s getting nowhere. Worse than nowhere. It’s going backward.
Then there are the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. No talk now about withdrawing from either place. No, instead the spotlight has been taken off Iraq and put on Afghanistan. Meanwhile it’s business as usual in Iraq.
I’m not demonizing Obama. I think he’s still got potential. (See my November 28th post, “Baker’s Dozen About Obama.”) Part of the problem could be that no one realizes how difficult it can be to get anything changed in Washington unless they’ve been there. And even then, it’s a whole different ball game when you’re the President. So many people are gunning for you that they’re willing to shoot anything to get at you. Health care reform, the wars in A and I, the bailouts and stimulus packages—you name it, Obama’s enemies are willing to scuttle any chances to solve the problems we face as long as they have any chance in hell of hurting Obama.
The name of the game is: 2012. All they care about is discrediting the Democrats so that Republicans will look better when the next presidential election comes around. I wish the average person would figure that out. We need to find ways to get our politicians to stop playing these games.
I just told my husband that I think Obama thought that if he took the higher moral ground he could lead by example. And then G said that he just didn’t realize that the higher moral ground in Washington is at swamp level. Ain’t that the truth!
It would be interesting to hear what Hillary thinks about the job Obama’s doing and how she might have done things differently. Of course she’s not going to say anything now. Maybe that’s why Obama made her Secretary of State so that she wouldn’t be able to say anything against him. To shut her up. Maybe someday she’ll write a book about what she really thought/thinks. I hope so; I’d be one of the first ones to buy it.
Go here to watch a video of a “Hardball With Chris Matthews” segment with Matthews, Eugene Robinson and Pat Buchanan giving Obama grades for his first year in office. A transcript is also included.
I found two articles on The Nation‘s website that covered two health care issues of concern to special categories of women: those undergoing plastic surgery and those who are pregnant and in prison.
The first one, “Feminism’s Face-Lift” by Alexandra Suich, is about an excise tax being proposed on all elective plastic surgery, including the administration of Botox. What is surprising is that the National Organization for Women (NOW) has come out against this tax (which is becoming known as the Bo-Tax). NOW is contending that often people (usually women) seek out plastic surgery because they need to compete in the marketplace.
This is a reversal of NOW’s usual idealistic stance that when a woman undergoes plastic surgery she is just accommodating herself to society’s standards, which feed on her fear of becoming older. Apparently NOW–which is, some say, a rather stodgy feminist institution these days–is made up of women who have faced the realities of what aging and lack of beauty do to a woman’s chances of advancing in the work world. It’s fine to say that it shouldn’t be that way, but the societal emphasis on youth and beauty hasn’t changed much–if at all–in the years since the feminist movement of the ’60s, when NOW was first formed (in October, 1966).
The second article, “Pregnant, In Prison and Denied Care” by Rachel Roth, is about the inhumane treatment of pregnant prisoners. Although it is their constitutional right to receive health care, enough horror stories are out there about the consequences of substandard or missing prenatal care to cause alarm about what exactly is being done. Women have been made to wait hours, days, even weeks to be taken to the hospital when they are leaking amniotic fluid. One such case resulted in the collapse of the fetus’ skull from lack of amniotic fluid. Other women have been ignored when they are bleeding. Apparently it’s a common occurrence to do as little as possible as late as possible.
Some may say that a prisoner has given up her rights by committing the crime that caused her to be incarcerated. But others argue that this lack of care constitutes “cruel and unusual punishment.” It’s also an attitude that is short-sighted about the future of the children who are born to these women. If their mothers don’t receive adequate prenatal care, the babies can be born prematurely and/or need continuing care ti overcome health conditions that result from lack of medical attention.
Then there are the women who will someday return to free society, scarred mentally and sometimes physically from their horrendous experiences. Surely punishment should not include the loss of one’s child or ability to bear more children.