May 27, 2011 / Opportunity, Safety, Sexism

Political Correctness for Everyone But Women


The opinions expressed herein are those of the author, and not necessarily those of The New Agenda.

Political correctness took over our nation circa 1980’s and has become our mantra. It has engulfed our nation’s public and private spheres and we all hold one another to its inherent values. Whether you’re an advocate of unwritten PC laws, we have to come to know and understand them as showing politeness and respect to the diverse nature of our society. We are a nation of tolerance and acceptance, and we adopt the values of PC to demonstrate our adaptive abilities in embracing all who are different from us — culturally, physically, and ideologically.

This past week, Glee aired its own PSA video as a campaign to stop the use of the R-Word, with Lauren Potter as its advocate. And in this video, we are exposed to every racial slur that PC has attempted to delete from our vernacular.

So everyone is included in this video. It’s not OK to use verbal slurs against anyone because of his/her cultural or physical differences.

But there’s one category that is missing: women.

Why are women not included in this video, or in the news, or on television? Why is it OK to use verbal slurs against women? It’s not, you say, but then why isn’t it in this video? Why isn’t it in contracts for CEO’s and News reporters and every other media that thinks it is OK to devalue the nature of women? Of course, it’s not OK. But why isn’t this information out there? Why are words like “cunt” and “whore” and “bitch” and “slut” acceptable slurs for women? Why is there no political correctness for those of us who create life? For those of us who do what no one else in the world can do without even thinking about it? Our ability to create life should give women dominion, power, and respect — but women get none of that. Instead, they are reduced to objects of derision and violence and disrespect in the public and private spheres of their lives.

Women cannot seem to escape this hatred, this affront, and it has obviously come to our attention since women have begun to enter the political arena. It is obvious that their presence is not welcomed when the male reporters aim their machismo diatribes at them, deflecting from the critical social and political issues these women represent, deflecting from their professionalism and the respect they have earned in entering these male-dominated waters of privilege and exclusivity. And how do they deflect from the fact that these women, (women like Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, Laura Ingram, and so many more), have every right to advocate for political voice and power with the same amount of ambition as their male counterparts? Simple. They reduce these few good women, who are just as experienced, just as smart, and just as privileged, to whores and sluts and bitches and nags and hags, and any other epithet reserved for the members of the gender that gave them life, fed them, sent them to school, and kissed them good night.

Why all this hatred towards women, simply because they put themselves out there and strive for public service? They’re doing what men have been doing for centuries. Why is it such an affront for women to move out of their socially restrictive positions as mothers and wives? And how can these men resort to such childish name-calling and then go home to their wives and their daughters? What is their defense for that kind of misogynistic attitude? But most importantly, where does it stem from?

In order to answer this question, we need to go into the psychology of men who abuse women, since this kind of hate-filled rhetoric implies rage. In Men Who Batter Women, Adam Edward Jukes, a clinician who explores men’s violence against women using a feminist lens, has observed that men who batter women do so as a means of controlling them and their place in the relationship. He elaborates on this point by stating that “for an abuser, a woman’s failure to live up to his expectations challenges his need for control and authority, and subsequently, leads to violence as a form of domination over her.”

Susan Forward, PhD. delves a little deeper into the psyche of the misogynist. In “Men Who Hate Women,”  Forward estimates that a woman-hater is “caught in the conflict between his need for the woman’s love and his deep-seated fear of her.”

We all need love and to feel secure and safe in our relationships, but a man who hates women is especially sensitive and conflicted by his need for women because he is afraid that she will annihilate him emotionally. In loving her, he loses control. Therefore, he has to diminish her power over him — the power that he perceives she has over him. He does this by subscribing  to the “belief that if he can strip her of self-confidence, she will be as dependent on him as he is on her…(she is) not only an object of (his) love and passion, but also the focal point of his rage, his panic, his fears, and inevitably hatred.” Interestingly, this is what these media men are attempting to do when they refer to these strong and well-educated women as whores and sluts. These women who are also wives and mothers, and some even grandmothers.

Although Jukes and Forward are discussing the aggressive attitudes of men in relationships with the women they abuse, the psychology of this hatred towards women stems from the same place: fear. When public media faces like Bill Maher, Chris Matthews, Ed Schultz, and too many more to list, use sexist slurs to diminish the power of women leaders and fellow news reporters, it stems from a place inside them that is overwhelmed with and critical of women’s place in society. Obviously, these men are not in personal relationships with these women, but still there is this blatant rage that is felt towards them and the need to castigate these women, to put them in their place, to control them by limiting their power and their voice, is inexhaustible.

Just like Juke and Forward both articulate, this hatred of women is derived by men’s fear and need to be in control by asserting their dominance — and what better way than to remind everyone — men and women both — that the function of all females is to be restricted, comfortably, somewhere beneath men — in public and private spheres.