I’m ready for a world with women in charge
Not a day goes by without a new revelation of sexual assault or harassment by some man in a position of power.
Men in politics. Men in the entertainment world. Men in business. Men in media.
Famous comedians. Senators and congressmen. Little-known legislators. Otherwise-well-respected reporters, and some who weren’t so respected. Top executives at top companies. Political candidates. Campaign officials. Church pastors.
It goes all the way to the top, as the infamous Access Hollywood tape showed us when Donald Trump bragged about “grabbing women by the pussy.” That wasn’t enough to stop him from eking out a win in the Electoral College, even though he lost by 3 million votes. See — even when a woman gets the majority, she still loses.
The Harvey Weinstein bombshells were hardly the first stories of Hollywood and the casting couch. But the eye-opening revelations opened the floodgates. For decades, women were afraid of speaking out — afraid that they wouldn’t be believed, afraid that their complaints would cost them a job, afraid that they would be blamed for someone else’s misdeeds.
Men have always abused women, from prehistoric times on. History abounds with tales, from biblical accounts (Christianity Today has a story with the provocative headline, “David Was a Rapist, Abraham Was a Sex Trafficker“) to stories of the depravity of Roman emperors. Many women branded as witches in the Middle Ages were healers or those attempting for some kind of power in their own right.
No one is claiming that all men fall into the category of those committing serial sexual abuse. But the sheer number of women coming forward, not to mention those using the #MeToo hashtag to describe or at least to acknowledge past humiliations and hurts at the hands of too many men, shows that this problem is widespread and worldwide.
In France, the #MeToo hashtag became #BalanceTonPorc, translated as “rat out your pig” or “snitch your pig.” In Italy, it’s #quellavoltache, or “the time that.”
The United States has had more than its share of sex scandals involving men of power. Thomas Jefferson fathered six children by his slave Sally Hemings. Does anyone honestly think that was a co-equal relationship? As a recent piece in The Washington Post put it, “Sally Hemings wasn’t Thomas Jefferson’s mistress. She was his property.” Remember that Sally Hemings was 14 when she accompanied Jefferson’s daughter to live with Jefferson in Paris and he began a sexual relationship with the slave. Jefferson was 44.
Fourteen, of course, was also the age of the first (of nine!) women accusing Roy Moore, the GOP Senate candidate in Alabama, of sexual assault or unwanted sexual attention when they were in their teens and he was in his 30s. Moore even may have gotten banned from the Gadsden Mall because he was known to target teen-age girls (Snopes reports many anecdotal stories from Moore contemporaries from that time confirming the account, but the shopping mall says it didn’t keep those kinds of records).
Then there are the comedians, who often turn crudity into popularity. Louis C.K. had a mostly male fan base. No one will accuse the boys’ club at Comedy Central of having good taste. The talented Samantha Bee, shut out of the big desk on The Daily Show, had to go to TBS to launch Full Frontal.
There’s a long list of those at the top of the political world who took advantage of women, including presidents, governors, mayors, senators, and congressmen. Congress has paid more than $17.2 million in settlements over 20 years for “violations of employment rules,” including sexual harassment, according to another story in The Washington Post. Although — by design — the details of those settlements are confidential, that’s a lot of taxpayer money paid out because of legislators acting badly.
So maybe it’s time to put some other people in charge. Maybe a whole different gender.
As columnist Rex Huppke wrote in the Chicago Tribune:
I believe we need more women in charge, and fast. Men have had their chance to run things for … well, for forever, and if the present waves of revelations about sexual harassment and sexual assault by powerful men show us anything, it’s that men have royally screwed things up. …
I believe the problem we have in this country with men who have power sexually harassing or sexually assaulting women has nothing to do with politics or ideology or religion. It has to do with male dominance and entitlement.
And I believe these revelations of swinish male behavior, revelations that will undoubtedly continue, signal one thing: Lascivious behavior stemming from male dominance and entitlement is no longer going to be ignored or begrudgingly accepted.
So, women, next time you buy a product, turn on the TV, go to a movie, or cast a ballot, think who deserves your dollars and your votes. Is it a man, or is it time to give women a chance to run things for a while? Over 70 countries have been led by a woman, mostly in Europe, even if the U.S. still is short of breaking that final glass ceiling. At every electoral level, you’ll have plenty to choose from: There are record numbers of women running for office now, backed by groups like Emily’s List and She Should Run, which has the goal of 250,000 women running for elected office by 2030 to achieve gender parity. So far, since Trump’s election, 20,000 women have contacted Emily’s List and 15,000 have contacted She Should Run.
What do you say, ladies? I’d say it’s past time that it should be our turn.