::A trigger warning is in effect for this post::
So, I was bored at work, as I so often am, and I ended up reading the New York Times online, as I so often do.
I came across this blog post by Judith Warner entitled “Pure Tyranny”. I had no idea what it would be about, but the title intrigued me. It turned out to be about how we view women’s sexuality and the cultural steps taken to preserve “purity” in women.
She brings up hymenoplasties in Europe, the Austrian man who kept his daughter locked in a basement for two and a half decades in order to rape her and produce children with her (using the excuse that he was a “moral” man who would protect her and make her a “good” woman), and Purity Balls here in the states in which men pledge to “cover” their daughters and protect their purity and girls pledge their virginities to their fathers until their fathers can pass that virginity off to their husbands. She correlates all of these things as a commentary on how controlling women’s bodies is a universal concept and that we as a culture have no right to fling self-righteous indignation at other cultures for doing so.
Needless to say, I appreciated the article, because she said something that I say regularly so articulately and boiled it down quite clearly, that just because we don’t have cultural expectations that oppress women that take the form of radical surgery for the illusion of virginity, we still do have the same warped principles about women’s sexuality that lead to such things. You know, people in glass houses, something about rocks…
Then I read the comments. (I always read the comments and I should damn well know better)
Most of them totally missed the point.
Either the comments were attacking “those backward brown people who are stuck in the middle ages” and smugly patting themselves on the back for being “so much more advanced!”(gag) or they were attacking her for implying that “fathers protecting their daughters is the same as incest” or they were simply attacking her, her feminism, her supposed desire for girls to be “slutty,” attacking feminism in general, touting the joys and benefits of patriarchy (one guy actually blamed the “backwardness” of places like the Middle East on the feminism and “girl power” of the west and how it is obvious that men should be protecting women) etc etc ad infinitum ad nauseum
Herein lies my rage: Why is it that people get so damn offended by female sexuality? Why is it that people can’t see that this obsessive control that is exerted is only done so over women? It IS sexual and mental abuse to convince women of any age that their only value comes from their sex. It is abusive to suggest that women cannot and should not be allowed to make their own choices about their lives and bodies. We are not children, and we are not chattel. We are human beings, full and entire. We deserve the same consideration as any other human being.
Don’t even get me started on the assumed cultural superiority that we have here in the US where we assume that we are better cause we only call women who actually orgasm “whores” instead of killing them on even the suspicion of sexual "infidelity". The mentality is the same, no matter how it is expressed.
And why, on a blog post about women in general and perceived cultural superiority, do so many people jump to the conclusion that it is all about them? No thoughts for the women who are harmed by this, their mothers, sisters, daughters, themselves…no. it must be about attacking their religion because the author DARED to suggest that women having sovereignty over themselves and their bodies is a “God-given” right, or attacking their morals because pre-marital sex is EVIL…there is no connect with how these specific ideas and the long term effect they have is actually factually HURTING REAL PEOPLE!
Get some damn compassion people! If you don’t stop staring at that pool, people you love who happen to be women will be reduced to nothing more than echoes while you revel in your own reflection.