So I am driving down the road, minding my own business, thinking about the world. And a crappy little rusty shitbox car in front me sported a bumper sticker that said “Loud wives lose lives”. Now I know that there is still a lot of gender discrimination, and domestic violence and misogyny in the world but OMG, that is just right out there; about as far out there as anything I can imagine. I think there may be lots of men who think it but in today’s world, not so many that would overtly shout it from the rooftops. This particular car also had an iron cross and a confederate flag on the car. Now no offense to those who feel the confederate flag is a simple symbol of their birthright but to some of us these symbols seem to belong together, the ultimate symbols of facism and racism. I am the first to admit that I know nothing more about the driver or owner of that car but I feel that I know more than I would ever want to know, just by what he chose to advertise on his car; and yes I assume it was a “he”. So later that night I am watching the Tudors, one of my favorites, and there is a young man, a beautiful fresh-faced young man, besotted with the new, very young and beautiful queen. He is obsessed with her and watches her constantly, discretely following her from place to place. In a later scene he talks of her desirability and his frustration. The next thing we know he is violently raping a peasant or farm woman while his fellows hold her down. Part of what is shocking about this scene is exactly how fresh and innocent he appears up to this point. And then how ordinary it seems to him, how acceptable to take this course of action as a perfectly acceptable way of alleviating his frustration. Finally, when her husband comes seeking justice, saying he will take him to the sheriff, he kills him thoughtlessly, with no compunction. I am slightly unsure why these two unrelated events in my life became linked in my mind, but they are. The medieval callousness toward woman and the modern misogyny. In a way it seemed to me to illustrate what a short distance we have come; despite how far we have come. The feminists of my age fought for the right to be paid for equal work, to engage in “men’s” careers, to wear pants. The feminists of the generations before fought and lost their lives for the right to vote, to hold property in their own names. And the women of ages past fought just to survive the injustices in their lives. That bumper sticker made me mad, made me sad, made me want to shake the driver til his brains rattled. He probably lives with a mother who still cooks and cleans for him, does his laundry, irons his jeans. I wonder if he knows how his mother feels about that bumper sticker.
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