Bender: Society’s double standards for women
"Today, the political contingency that's long demanded that 'the gummit' stay out of their business, is one step closer to controlling women's reproductive decisions — another unfunded government mandate. 'We're with ya, baby, right up to the delivery. Then, you gotta pull yourself up by your bootie straps.'"
I have a daughter and a son. My son's never had to “buddy-up” to go downtown on Saturday night. He's never endured catcalls — and he's a good-looking kid. He's never had to fight anyone off who just wouldn't take “no” for an answer.
Today, the political contingency that's long demanded that “the gummit” stay out of their business, is one step closer to controlling women's reproductive decisions — another unfunded government mandate. “We're with ya, baby, right up to the delivery. Then, you gotta pull yourself up by your bootie straps. And your single mom needs to care for you, get a job, finish high school, aaaand, golly, I just don't understand why we have so many dad-gum welfare queens.”
That's the obvious indicator of women's second-class status in America, but hey, at least we let 'em drive and “get edjumacated.”
Occasionally, we might do well to step back to examine society and the absurdities within, and when we do, you've gotta believe that someday they'll laugh (and squirm) at our arbitrary hangups.
An example’s the recent conflict between the Albany (New York) High School Girl's Track Team and the athletic director over wearing of sports bras as outerwear on hot days because it was “distracting” to their male coaches. A man's libido, through no fault of his own, is uncontrollable, but on prom night, you chicks need to exercise personal responsibility. If you can fight him off. And if you haven't prepared by lifting weights and studying karate, you must be some kind of skank.
The Albany track guys got to go shirtless because in ‘Murica, male breasts are legal. (That'll crack 'em up in 300 years if we aren’t extinct.) Non-compliant girls were suspended.
Who recalls halter tops and tube tops in the '70s? Remember the '80s when a trailblazing Madonna, now 63 and mostly silicone and selfie filters, wore lingerie on the OUTSIDE? Somehow we survived.
Heck, I’d put her on legal tender somewhere between Susan B. Anthony and Harriet Tubman. Anyway, who made the rules on what constitutes over or underwear? And does it matter?
I've attended school board meetings in which they struggled to define the amount of appropriate, nondistracting cleavage. Or proper skirt and shorts lengths, and this involved the point at which their wrists landed at the hem of the garment. “But what about long-armed girls?” someone despaired.
Leggings were another concern. In essence, they feared “pants” were too revealing. The next night, they were part of the crowd at a volleyball match featuring girls in uniforms that'd get them expelled if worn in the hallways.
Years ago, a West River roadhouse brought in strippers, much to the chagrin of the local clerics, but if you get right down to it, they'd have to pay a cover charge to be offended. Maybe they thought that all those dollar bills going into G-strings would impact the collection plate.
Friends, I dream of a Barbarella future where attire and sexuality are not subject to The Inquisition, a future in which our daughters, mothers, and wives, aren't subject to double standards and second-class citizenship, or at least a future in which men on the beach (in mandatory chastity belts) with anything larger than a C-cup must wear sports bras.
Tony Bender writes an exclusive weekly column for Forum News Service. This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of this publication, nor Forum Communications ownership.