This past year was, in many ways, the Year of the Woman, but not the one many predicted — i.e. the first year of our first female president. Hillary Clinton lost to a self-absorbed male misogynist pig, so everyone thought the dream had been deferred yet again. But if Hillary had won (actually, she did, making it all the more galling), women might have been lulled into complacency, believing the system still works.
On the contrary, the Trump travesty mobilized women in ways that otherwise would have been impossible.
It started with the Women’s March on Washington (and sundry municipalities worldwide), an in-your-face act of defiance aimed at the poster child (emphasis on child) for everything that’s wrong with this country, not to mention the ultimate bottoming out of patriarchal dominance.
The women’s marches, on the other hand, represented everything that’s best about this country. The outburst of creative sign-making slogans alone was a high point of the year.
And the marches, no doubt, led to the “#MeToo” movement, which blew the lid off sexual harassment. Trump (our Groper-in-Chief), Cosby, O’Reilly, Weinstein, Moore, Lauer, and so many others have awakened a sleeping (female) giant. The power of the feminine has been unleashed. And just in time. Men have mucked things up far too long. It’s pretty obvious the out-of-touch (and way too touchy) patriarchy will destroy this country and our planet if allowed to go unchecked much longer.
Speaking for males everywhere, I say: Help! We don’t deserve it, but we need women to ride to the rescue. Men have amply proven that, left in charge long enough, the end results are disastrous. I don’t know what it’s going to take, but somehow women need to rise up and grab the political wheel.
You’re already doing it at the family and community levels, managing, activating, hands-on, serving as the backbone. There are more of you. You live longer. In most of the male-female relationships I’ve observed, the woman is the stronger person. I know all about bias and pay inequity and the glass ceiling and everything you’re up against, but whatever it takes, it needs to happen soon. We’re running out of time.
I’ve been a feminist since the late 1960s, when I was 16 and fell in love with Emma Peel, karate-chopping bad guys in her jumpsuit on The Avengers. Around that time, I came across a book, The Natural Superiority of Women,by anthropologist Ashley Montagu. It not only piqued my interest, I bought it (and I didn’t buy many books at that age). Here’s the way goodreads.com describes it today:
“Among the central issues of the modern feminist movement, the debate over biology and culture, over sex and gender, over genetics and gender roles has certainly been one of the most passionately contested. Making revolutionary arguments upon its first publication in 1953, The Natural Superiority of Women stands as one of the original feminist arguments against biological determinism. An iconoclast, Montagu wielded his encyclopedic knowledge of physical anthropology in critique of the conventional wisdom of women as the ‘weaker sex,’ showing how women’s biological, genetic, and physical makeup made her not only man’s equal, but his superior. Also a humanist, Montagu points to the emotional and social qualities typically ascribed to and devalued in women as being key to just social life and relationships.”
The book got my attention, just as the feminist movement was building momentum. That traction has been gaining for 50 years, and this may finally be the breakout moment. With #MeToo, women are discovering the power of their collective voice. What a gift — to men, not just women.
Patriarchal dominance isn’t the problem. A shift to matriarchy isn’t the answer. Dominance by one gender is the problem, and gender equality is the answer.
Psychotherapist Carl Jung described a healthy psyche as a balance of male and female, or as he called it, the animus and anima archetypes. What it will take to achieve that psychic balance we’re just beginning to figure out, but we need to accelerate the process. And the best way for that to happen is for more women to run for elected office and more men to support and vote for them. Men need to get a clue and women need to get elected.
Time’s 2017 “Man of the Year” (the original name), which Lord Tweet boasted he had all sewn up, was instead bestowed on the women of America, who taught the patriarchy a painful lesson about sexual harassment — which may prove the tipping point in the long struggle for equality. 2016 was Year of the Woman I because the first woman nominated for president by one of the two major parties won the popular vote by almost three million, and would have won the election if not for the perfect storm of anti-democratic measures combining to rig the system. And that’s in spite of being charisma-challenged (Clinton’s contribution to the final result).
So 2017 really turned out to be Year of the Woman II.
And I’m hoping and praying that 2018 will be Year of the Woman III as more female candidates than ever run for, and get elected to, public office in a gender tidal wave.
But they need the active support of every man who recognizes the patriarchy’s deficiencies and want to change the “good old boy” school of American politics.
Allies at last.
Hopefully for good.