Talk on the road

Wow — it has indeed been 2 weeks since I last blogged! During that time I have covered hundreds of miles – Connecticut to visit family, back home after a 24 hour delay in Atlanta with enough time to do some laundry and re-pack, then off to Albuquerque for a few wonderful days with good friends.  Of course the highlight of this kind of travel is being with family and friends, woman speakercatching up on all the stuff that life brings in ways only possible when you sit together and chat (or ride around in a car, etc.), and having great conversations about some of our favorite topics, one of which for me of course is politics and the state of the world.

So in the car yesterday I posed a question to the 4 other women riding along: “How long do you think it will be before we have a female version of the ‘Weiner’ case?” Of course this prompted a lively discussion, and I am confident that many readers of this blog will have something to say about this!  The question itself presumes that women are of course no less vulnerable to this kind of thing, and in fact are possibly still more vulnerable to a vicious attack from the public, the media and political enemies as well as friends.  But there is a nagging sense (or is it a hope?) that women tend to be a bit more focused on “keeping house” than men might be.  Of course nobody, even researchers who study these things and the wonderful philosophers and theorists who have examined gender traits, really knows for sure.

We have to acknowledge that the long and difficult struggles that we still have in terms of equality for all, including gender equality, brings more than just the feel-good positive shifts that benefit everyone.  Having greater access to power for anyone, including women and other socially disadvantaged groups, of course is going to open up all the challenges that com with having and exercising power in the world.  It is for this reason that we cannot assume that when men act inappropriately that it can be dismissed as “boys will be boys.”Equality means ethical comportment standards are the same for all, regardless of gender, political party, race, sexual orientation, etc.   No, boys no longer have the “privilege” of acting out in sexually inappropriate ways … if they can continue to rape, deceive and betray the women in their lives, they can continue to do this in the public sphere as well.  And, if they can continue to act in these ways, then as a society that seeks equality, we cannot judge women harshly if and when they do the same.

My personal preference comes down on the side of what might be seen as prudish … actions that harm, deceive and betray other people, whether private or public, are unacceptable for men and for women. Of course everyone falters, and as humans all struggling with the same challenges, these kinds of situations call for great compassion in our approaches to justice, and a focus on calling forth the best for ourselves and those we care about.  I hope it will be long time before we see such a scandal involving a woman, if ever.  And, I hope that somehow we turn around the politics so that regardless of political party, men (and women) in power who abuse their power will be equally pressured to withdraw from their positions of power.  But meanwhile, how about turning our attention to how to deal with such issues equitably and with compassion?!

About Peggy L Chinn

feminist, nurse activist, writer, founding editor of ANS Advances in Nursing Science, quilter, grandmother nurturing the future of the amazing children in my life.
This entry was posted in Making change, Politics, Social Issues and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Talk on the road

  1. Perceptions are not yet equal as to men and women… A less-current but typical example: Bill Clinton & Monica Lewinsky. Apparently, it was consensual fooling around. Yet he remains Statesman, Dignitary, Respected…. flawed, but perceived as human and multi-dimensional, with a wink to his sexual “needs.” But “Monica” seems tainted as “the one who *#$&^ the president.” Her name is sullied in the public sphere. I try to examine what preconceptions I am bringing to this situation… do I judge her more harshly? Is this ingrained by culture, by gender, by generation? Surely, outlooks will evolve. Young people today get different messages, such as Pink’s song “I’m not here for your entertainment” where she is sexual and strong, and declaring her own power to engage in any kind of dalliance — or not. I was shocked by Rhiannan’s song “Rude Boy.” Power or exploitation? Better or worse? We’ll see…

  2. Rhonda says:

    Truly interesting conversation! Although I wish I believed differently, my guess is that eventually women will engage in weinergates as frequently as men. But only after we achieve true equality in the powerful positions that ensure that we consistently are not held accountable for our actions. It seems that it is the accustomed lack of accountability that encourages much of this outrageous behavior. If only we could create a society where our expectations for the powerful were based upon traits of being dependable, respectful, honest, and taking personal responsibility for actions. Ahhh – it’s clear that I’m not politician!

  3. Carol Daisy says:

    Adolescent girls have been sexting for a while. A’int pretty. The least pretty part is they don’t seem to think there’s anything wrong with it (at least the girl I know, now 20).

  4. 🙂

    Well, if one ascribes to the notion of presumed gender superiority that would lead women “…to be a bit more focused on “keeping house” than men might be” how would this be fundamentally different than someone else declaring that precisely such a gender linked trait might mean less impulsivity and less creativity?

    The easiest way to address such issues, for me at least, is to simply substitute one gender for the other, or reverse the meaning so that the trait in question goes from positive to negative. If one is no less comfortable after making such a substitution, perhaps the gender inequity is bona fide, such as, for the moment at least. Is one gender better suited to hosting a fetus?

    For perspective, I was an engineering student in the 60s. It was a time when most engineering faculty and students believed that men were simply superior to women when it came to mathematics and the sciences.

    As a nursing student in the 90s and 00s, I saw very little difference in the attitudes of faculty and my fellow students when it came to the presumed superior fitness, by gender, of nurses and nursing students.

    So little has actually changed when we can still entertain the notion that one gender is better suited than the other outside the realm of gender linked characteristics and morphology that really count.

    My inkling, since the research I am aware of on matrimonial infidelity does not show such a gender divide, is that women politicians are more attuned to the political risks they would be taking and that if there was gender balance in the halls of congress we would have more fairly equal numbers of cases of “Weiner women.”

Leave a Reply to Beth Bourland Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s