Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Another Wave of the Women's Movement

Racecar driver Danica Patrick recently said, “I don’t quite understand why when you’re referring to a girl, a female athlete in particular, that you have to use the word sexy. Is there any other word you can use to describe me?”

Fox sports commentator Ross Shimabuku responded with “Oh, I got a few words, starts with a ‘B,’ and it’s not ‘beautiful.’”

We only need to look at a picture of Danika Patrick to confirm that “Yes, she is sexy,” but Shimabuku completely missed the point. She simply demands respect for her contribution to racecar driving without men obsessing over her sex appeal. Is that too much to ask? Respect? Apparently, many people seem to think so, or there wouldn’t be so much blatant sexism in the media today.

Forty years ago, tennis player Billie Jean King objected to being called a “lesbian tennis player,” saying no one would focus on the sexuality of a heterosexual athlete. In 1973, she defeated tennis champion Bobby Riggs, who had been boasting, “Man is supreme, man is supreme.” Bobby Riggs was justly humiliated and feminists rejoiced.

And we all lived happily ever after, right? Far from it. Billie Jean King was open about her sexuality, but she didn’t want it to define her as a person. Danika Patrick is open about being sexy. She has posed for a number of sexy photo shoots and appeared in a provocative Go Daddy Super Bowl commercial. But what is wrong with the world today if women can’t proudly show off their bodies without being objectified and having every other aspect about them erased?

Women are still being demeaned in sports, as Danika Patrick proved. We are being subjected to verbal abuse from radio talk show hosts, TV personalities and politicians. It’s high time we made them eat their own words.

Rush Limbaugh, who said he loves the Women’s Movement when he’s walking behind it, recently called Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute” for testifying at a congressional hearing on the importance of free contraception for women. To show how low we’ve sunk, presidential hopefuls Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum did not condemn the attacks or point out the flaws in Limbaugh’s demented and ignorant accusations. These pathetic politicians have shot their own feet. Perhaps someone should remind them that this is not the 17th century. Women have the right to vote and women’s votes will make a difference in the election.

If these men want to be president, they need to lose the 17th century attitude and come to grips that, according to Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, 99% of American women use birth control. Practicing birth control reduces the risk of osteoporosis and ovarian cancer. And it gives women control so that we do not just reproduce like barnyard animals. It’s mind-blowing that we are disputing this issue and that this has become a topic in the presidential debate.

History is going to portray these scoundrels who try to take away women’s rights as hindrances to progress, but women need to stand up NOW and declare they have had it with sexism.

If backward, anti-feminist extremists want a war between the sexes, then bring it. If they threaten to take away our rights and limit us in any way, they will be hit with another wave of the women’s movement, bigger than before. We will give them a force of nature that cannot be held back.

Oh, what’s that, Rick Santorum? Seeing women in combat is emotionally distressing for you? Well, you should have thought of that before you picked a fight.

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