So last night I hosted yet another Christmas party. And, as so often happens, after a few glasses of wine the conversation meandered around for awhile until we finally arrived at the obligatory touchy subject.
Let me set the stage, so you will be good and ready for my rant when it arrives.
My husband and I have a good friend who is in the military. Before you go speculating, he is of officer status, smart, funny and kind and gentle and progressive in thought, word and deed. You can imagine my surprise when he told me if he knew about any sexual misconduct towards women in the military…well, he might not report it.
He tried to explain this to me by saying the military is very different from life as I know it. The whole system is set up to be a unique entity because people in the military go to war and face all kinds of horrible situations that we as civilians just can’t understand.
I want to pause for a moment here to list all the wonderful things my friend did say….1)He has no problem with women warriors and is very good friends with them, 2) He thinks sexual misconduct of any kind is horrible and does not adhere to the “she asked for it” philosophy, 3)He does not agree with the image of war fighters as brutes or cruelty machines prone to acts of violence against their fellow man.
So, I asked again…”You would report it, right?”
He hemmed and hawed while my husband desperately tried to change the subject. At this point, my darling husband was shoving cheese crackers at me begging me to give an opinion on the benefits of swiss over cheddar.
One more time, “You would report it, right?”
He looked me in the eyes and said, “I just don’t know if I would. It’s complicated.”
(Let’s pause for a moment and let that sink in.)
Rant approaching! We are now on the rant runway! Fasten your seatbelt as you hear the rant engines begin to roar!
“It’s complicated?” Really!!!!
Let’s face it….men view things so differently from women, we will never, ever see things on the same page.
We just won’t and we all need to stop pretending.
No matter how many glass ceilings we break, how many areas of expertise we conquer or how many important contributions we provide to the human race…women will always be just a little less important in the eyes of men.
It’s a hard reality I am not ready to face, but face it I must.
I’ve never felt like one of those really handy women. It’s just not ever been me. And I am very happy with who I am. I am a feminine, cheerful, cute shoe wearing, don’t know how to jump a car or shoot a gun person and I have never aspired to be. So in a way, I think I always kind of knew that women who fall into my category would be in some way marginalized by men.
But I honestly thought that the women of the world who are world class athletes, champions of industry and business, fighter pilots, scientists, etc. Women who have broken ground in what used to be the exclusive playing fields of men have gained respect and admiration. AND(perish the thought!) might have gained equal respect.
And don’t go off saying, “That’s just the opinion of one man!” Don’t because I don’t buy it. Even my dear sweet husband who was then piling both of our plates with little brownies and trying to get us to revisit the Christmas bubble light conversation from earlier will never know how much it hurts hear- “I just don’t know if I would. It’s complicated.”