If the women of the modern world could temporarily tear themselves away from the constant feminine duties that are the having of emotional breakdowns and the buying of unwearable footwear, they might be brought together to form the ultimate female motto.That motto would be, "Never trust anything that bleeds for five days and doesn't die."
The marathon run to the 2008 presidential election has been saturated with sexual tension, although not of the sort between Average Joe sitcom stars and the beautiful, borderline-anorexic TV wives who would never actually date them.
Charges of misogyny _ the hatred of women _ committed by the media have been howled in vain ever since the early Democratic Goliath of the primaries, Hillary, that scintillating sinner, was toppled by a charismatic upstart with a decidedly different set of genitalia.
The death of Mrs. Bill Clinton's presidential aspiration resulted from several strains of political ill: the scrambling of a campaign that had failed to prepare for the possibility of a contender as strong as Sen. Obama, for example, and her imperishable connection to the '90s in an era where voters mindlessly demand the word "change" like the Romero-esque homeless people in South Park.
Even if Hillary had been born Harley, the surface-deep liberalism of many media outlets might have been the death knell of the nation's human sacrifice to summon the Second Coming of JFJesusLutherLincoln _ we will never know now.
There are many reasons that there will be no inauguration of Mrs. President and her First Man this Jan. 20 (or, perhaps, ever); the most basic of them is that Mrs. Clinton has a vagina.
The subject of sexism is racism's old-maid sister. Both of them are firmly denounced by the majority of the First World. Both of them are superficially dealt with in education and the workplace with programs such as affirmative action and diversity seminars for women and minorities. Most importantly, both are only permissible to be talked about by the people whom they directly affect; male politicians fearing for their careers cannot make jokes about menstruation outside of their living rooms, and white comedians are strictly prohibited from making the racial jibes that their minority counterparts can deal out, as Comedy Central's Carlos Mencia points out at least twice during most of his sets. What, then, is the fundamental difference between racism and sexism? Why is one enough to obliterate a public figure's career with a single off-hand comment while the other is as much an integral part of our society as bread and butter?
There is a simple answer: Members of a racial minority do not hate to see one another in power more than they hate being oppressed.
As a rule of thumb, women do not like strong women. Yes, all women love Oprah, and yes, most of them secretly want to be Elizabeth Swann. However, the problem that prevents strong units of sisterly support among ambitious women is that while women want to be powerful, women do not want other women to be powerful.
There are very few among us who would contest that we live in a patriarchal world. Most know that men earn substantially more than women in almost all fields of work, and most of us have been subjected to endless barrages of advertisements in which the bodies of ridiculously attractive young women are offered up through subliminal implication in exchange for the cost of a product; this is also known as the economic law of "Buy this beer and two models in bikinis will rub lotion onto each other in your backyard." Women are merely walking uteruses with open mouths and gaping purses, but darn it all, isn't it funny how they're almost like real people?
That would be more of a satire if both genders hadn't already bought into it. It's all well and good to claim that women can't stand to see other women surpassing them, but the facts that support this position drone on until they overcome even the gods of political correctness. My word limit won't allow me to give you the thousands of studies and surveys out there on women not wanting to take orders from other women, but you have Google.
Take this example: In 2008, MSNBC.com and Elle conducted a 60,000-person survey about preferences for male and female workplace bosses. Of the women who were surveyed, three out of four said that they would rather work for a man than for a woman, and two out of three said that a man was more likely to lead efficiently _ despite the fact that those same women gave females higher marks for problem-solving abilities and providing supportive work environments. There are many more scientific examples of misogyny in women, but we've got to move on.
Why is it that women are competitive among themselves to the point that they will sacrifice the welfare of their entire gender? In "Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls," a study of female aggression toward other females in kindergarten through 12th grade, Rachel Simmons suggests that because girls are raised to believe that direct confrontation and violence are forbidden behaviors for females, their natural feelings of anger and violent impulses are mutated by society so that instead of growing out of childish aggression, women are perpetually trapped in a state of passive-aggressiveness toward their own sex. Society does not view this as unnatural; to the contrary, middle and high school girls are freely permitted to form "cliques" and to establish hierarchies in which every girl is fighting only for her own status. The ultimate goal is not teamwork or friendship, but to dethrone the "popular" higher-ups.
Whatever the reasons for it, be they the upbringing of girls by a patriarchal society or a simple biological urge to compete, women are in a continual struggle for power against themselves. This creates what could be called the "Pants Suit Paradox:" To succeed, a female leader must conform to social expectations in order to please the women (and men) around her while simultaneously asserting herself and her leadership more than would be required of a man so that she will be respected and obeyed. Woe to the woman who "acts like a man" _ that is, the equal in leadership and dominance of a man _ for she will be done in by her resentful female peers. A woman must be feminine while being more masculine than some actual men; she must be gentle and demure but assertive and competent; she must be alpha and omega, subordinate and dominant. She must raise five children and cook dinner for her husband every night while also being the governor of Alaska. The perfect female leader is, in other words, impossible.
I've heard it said that the age of feminism is well in the past. However, perhaps it never came; in this grand society of ours it is still perfectly normal for women to wish that the world was fair to them while loathing the thought of other women having enough power to make that wish a reality. As long as the majority of misogynists are women, the fight for gender equality will never reach a conclusion because there are not enough soldiers willing to fight for their cause instead of against it. Unfortunately, it may be that women are the only power minorities who would rather remain oppressed.
Jessie Matus is a senior at Oneonta High School.