Your Opinion: Gender inequity and the use of power
Thursday, February 23, 2012
As I write this letter I remind myself as well as the reader that I do not know everything there is to know. But for whatever it’s worth, I am entitled to express my opinion.
Currently many differing opinions are being offered relative to how much freedom society should bestow on women. (When Thomas Jefferson declared that “all men are created equal” he did not include women-or all men, but that is a subject for another letter.) This letter is about what I believe is a clear-cut desire to control women who are widely perceived to be inferior to men. Of course, misogyny has been in existence at least since the beginning of written history. (For proof, I suggest the reader consult the many studies by anthropologists, such as David Graeber’s new book “Debt” (see mhpbookd.com).
Women have always been seen as a threat to men because the real issue is about power, not gender. Those who have power rarely voluntarily give it up, and those who don’t have power are making every effort to acquire it. (I admit I too seek power, you can ask my children and grandchildren.)
So why is power so desirable? Is it good or bad? The answer is: it depends on what the seeker wants to do with it. If the seeker is motivated solely by LOVE (note the caps) for others, power is a good thing. If the seeker is motivated solely by selfish reasons, power is a bad thing.
We must try to determine whether those who have power use it for good will. We need to pay close attention and know what laws our elected officials are proposing and who will benefit or be harmed if the laws are passed. We must keep ourselves informed. Another example is rape. Why is it so widespread throughout the world? Rape is not about sex, it is about the use of power to disrespect and humiliate women. On occasion the motive extends to both genders as well as children because in every case all of the victims have little or no power. The rapists glory in the power they experience. Examples are endless.
The fact is all of us have some degree of power, whether we are parents, teachers, preachers, employers, atheist, humanists, etc. Each one of us desperately needs to examine how we use our power.