Sunday, May 20, 2007

A bunch of men who died thousands of years ago made up that rule

I try to think how we got here. The theory I developed in college (shared by many I’m sure) is one I have yet to beat: Womb Envy. Biology: women are generally smaller and weaker than men. But they’re also much tougher. Put simply, men are strong enough to overpower a woman and propagate. Women are tough enough to have and nurture children, with or without the aid of a man. Oh, and they’ve also got the equipment to do that, to be part of the life cycle, to create and bond in a way no man ever really will. Somewhere a long time ago a bunch of men got together and said, “If all we do is hunt and gather, let’s make hunting and gathering the awesomest achievement, and let’s make childbirth kinda weak and shameful.” It’s a rather silly simplification, but I believe on a mass, unconscious level, it’s entirely true. How else to explain the fact that cultures who would die to eradicate each other have always agreed on one issue? That every popular religion puts restrictions on women’s behavior that are practically untenable? That the act of being a free, attractive, self-assertive woman is punishable by torture and death? In the case of this upcoming torture-porn, fictional. In the case of Dua Khalil, mundanely, unthinkably real. And both available for your viewing pleasure.

It’s safe to say that I’ve snapped. That something broke, like one of those robots you can conquer with a logical conundrum. All my life I’ve looked at this faulty equation, trying to understand, and I’ve shorted out. I don’t pretend to be a great guy; I know really really well about objectification, trust me. And I’m not for a second going down the “women are saints” route – that just leads to more stone-throwing (and occasional Joan-burning). I just think there is the staggering imbalance in the world that we all just take for granted. If we were all told the sky was evil, or at best a little embarrassing, and we ought not look at it, wouldn’t that tradition eventually fall apart? (I was going to use ‘trees’ as my example, but at the rate we’re getting rid of them I’m pretty sure we really do think they’re evil. See how all rants become one?)
That was written by Joss Whedon, you can find the rest here. I'm not even going to make a snarky comment about how well he knows objectification. I'm just going to say I'm feeling pretty good about naming my blog after him.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous7:36 pm

    > That every popular religion

    religion is more of a result than a cause. I think its safe to say the current run of patriarchy is older than every existing religion and probably older than any religion.

    Those religion's that prospered would of course tend to be those that were supported by those with some power. And I guess those most willing to use force to drive their beliefs since religion was probably initially a method to bind a group of people into an army (in the absence of nationhood and visable differences) in order to kill and rape and such (the book "evolution" by stephen baxter shows how it might work although he has a woman in charge).