Here’s this week’s “Pat Political Point” from WSGW’s First Day show. I ran across an excerpt from Jessica Valenti’s book in The Guardian, and had to discuss it on the show. Her piece led me to wonder why Americans are being told to fear transgender people, while women and girls have had to endure verbal and physical abuse from men for years!
Writer Jessica Valenti has released a new book called, Sex Object, and The Guardian has provided an excerpt from the book. The excerpt alone has not only persuaded me to purchase the book, but it’s got me thinking about how my fellow man can act like complete creeps.
Valenti writes about having to deal with unwanted advances from men throughout her life. She tells stories of her pre-teen and teenage years in which older men would flat-out accost her on the subway. Complete strangers doing things to her that I can’t repeat on the radio. And if it wasn’t men on the subway, it was a high school teacher! According to Valenti, the teacher said if she wanted to pass the class, she had to give him one hug. Valenti doesn’t say whether or not she hugged the teacher, but she says she “aced the class.”
She describes other stories of unwanted advances from boys in schools, men in her professional life, and others in her daily life. Valenti says her mother and aunt once told her that such is life, and that she should just laugh it off.
Valenti argues that she doesn’t want to pass that same so-called wisdom down to her daughter. She wants to end what she calls “the cycle of violence” against women. It may not be the type of violence in which a man physically beats a woman, but it’s the type of violence that is still labeled in a court of law as “assault.”
The article got me thinking about what women have to face every day in every facet of life. In fact, I read parts of it to my wife, and she basically confirmed that, yes, women deal with some type of verbal or physical advances from men at least a few times in their lives.
Why in the world there are some men who believe this kind of behavior is acceptable is beyond me. Sadly, I think it’s far more prevalent than we’d like to admit.
I recall seeing a short film a year or two ago, where the viewer watches the day in a life of a woman who is simply walking down a street. The woman was wearing modest clothing and just looking straight ahead as she walked. One of the filmmakers walked ahead of her with a small camera in his backpack, allowing us to view the unsettling and disgusting acts by men as she…again…is walking.
She received cat-calls, whistles, propositions, and a couple of guys who just started walking next to her, I guess hoping that she’d notice him. One guy walked with her for blocks even though she didn’t even acknowledge him!
No, the video nor Jessica Valenti’s book are trying to paint with a broad brush and say all men are jerks. But it happens far too much.
Earlier this week, we learned how the Baylor football program is mired in a sexual assault scandal, which has cost the jobs of the head coach and school president Ken Starr–yes, from the Bill Clinton impeachment days. Baylor’s football program reportedly failed to report sexual assault or domestic violence crimes allegedly by its football players. In fact, Ken Star and other high level administrators, including the team chaplain, failed to report some of the sexual assault complaints.
If you think Baylor is the only athletic program guilty of this practice, then I must question your state of mind.
I would urge everyone to read Valenti’s piece. It’s a wake-up call to men, women, and kids.
Perhaps Valenti’s story could help Michigan Republican State Senator Tom Casperson.
He obviously believes that despite a huge budget deficit or how we can’t even provide clean drinking water to Flint residents, the pressing issue confronting all of us in Michigan is how transgender people use bathrooms.
For some reason, this is the issue demanding mass attention in Michigan. Yet as many women will attest, transgender Americans are not the people they worry about.
Transgender Americans account for a sliver of the population, and there haven’t been a rash of incidents where someone is assaulted by a transgender person in a public bathroom! On the flip side, we know women and girls have had to worry about not just using a bathroom, but simply walking down the street among their straight male counterparts.
Women are far more likely to encounter verbal or physical abuse from straight men on a daily basis than they are by someone from the transgender community.
If you believe the opposite, then I question your state of mind.
Ladies, please let me apologize for people like Tom Casperson, who continue The Cycle Of Stupidity that afflicts so many in my gender.