Whatever prestige was enjoyed by rock-music tabloid cum news source Rolling Stone was taken down a peg or two with revelations that its reportage concerning a brutal, University of Virginia fraternity rape was completely unverifiable, likely bogus. It appears, whatever her motivation, the whole allegation was the product of a troubled female’s fevered imagination.
The magazine owned its bungle, sort of; but not everyone’s eager to take the contretemps as gravely as they ought. Take New York Congresswomen Kirsten Gillibrand, who editorialized the phony accuser should be exempted from criticism: ““Victim blaming … on her for coming forward is not the right approach … One of the challenges with survivors of … rape is [t]hey don’t think they will be believed; they think they’ll be blamed.”
Would a male scammer elicit the same non-response?
Color me confused! Are women and men the same, or not? Should they be treated as equals without any distinctions? Are ladies superior, more resilient than their opposite-gendered counterparts? Or more vulnerable? The gals among us — are they towering oaks or hot-house flora, easily wilted?
Pop culture — TV sitcoms, dramas, even commercials, films, music, etc — incontestably sketches an overriding viewpoint: the mother, wife, daughter, sister, with rare exception, is smarter, wiser, more together overall than any men-folk on display, who consistently are lunkheads in befuddled need of her assistance.
Until, that is, in a flash there’s widespread, Gillibrand-like reaction to a women’s issue; in which case the rest of us are left flummoxed: Are we to view the members of the “fairer sex” as Joan or Arc or Sweet Polly Purebread? Or perhaps something else altogether?
Aggressively mixed signals on this pyrotechnic debate are de rigueur — and apparently we’re never supposed to notice. Pragmatically speaking dudes are backed into a prickly spot: How are we supposed to act around a bunch that comprises 50% of the human population?
Traditional attitudes long had been that women shouldn’t serve – for what were deemed obvious reasons — in combat front lines, as firemen, street-patrolling police officers, etc. Any suggestions along this thinking today? Hoo-boy: spark the indignant harrumphing from present-day Boadiceas and their anything-a-man-can-do-a-women-can-do-better advocates.
Not that long ago, Hillary Clinton – who just officially entered 2016’s Oval Office quest — rode to a U.S, Senate seat on the fuel of outrage over Republican opponent Rick Lazio’s daring to physically approach her during a campaign debate, challenging her to sign a campaign-finance petition he was holding . How ungentlemanly! What a bully!
Had it been Hillary’s hackish spouse being accosted by this male rival would that have been copacetic? Fully within bounds? Anyone else bespy a problem here for the always-treat-women-like-men die-hards? Back in 2000, Hillary-loving progressives and their press abettors effectively shrieked at the suddenly electorally doomed Lazio, “That’s no way to treat a lady!”
Curiously, a song with that title climbed the Billboard charts back in the 1970s. Performed, incongruously, by “feminist poster girl” and Australian superstar Helen Reddy, “That Ain’t No Way to Treat a Lady” had been preceded by her more girl-power-friendly signature hit “I Am Woman”. That defiant, Top Forty battle-cry had been dubbed the anthem of that era’s “second wave feminism”. Not surprising with lyrics like: “I am woman, hear me roar … No one’s ever gonna keep me down again … I am wise … I can do anything … I am strong … I am invincible…”
“No Way to Treat a Lady”, on the other hand? There’s little indication Ms. Magazine devotees were as enthusiastic about that later, slightly whiney, quaintly old-fashioned tune. And those two Helen Reddy songs’ philosophical inconsistencies weren’t lost on me, even as a flighty teenage radio-listener.
Seems despite society’s most teeth-clenching exertions, human beings default into – are compelled into conceding – an undeniable acknowledgment: there are differences between guys and gals. And a hardy remnant of us — albeit a decreasing one — actively delight in them.
Among these distinctions, the biological are clearly the most inescapable, but hardly the sole ones. That’s not something to be regretted; point of fact, it’s why men and women are capable of fitting together — both physically and otherwise — so nicely.
Termed “complementarity”, it operates handily, with innumerable applications, across the created order. For a crude but instructive demonstration, think of a screw tightening into a nut, an electrical plug fitting into an outlet, a light-bulb twisting into a socket. “Complementarity” facilitates life’s – including modern life’s – functioning smoothly.
Is there a more glorious exhibit of complementarity’s beauty, practicality, indispensability than the XX/XY arrangement which forever has enabled humanity’s ongoing existence? That method and nothing less — man and woman coming together, distinctive but miraculously compatible, two being “made one” — is essential for the propagation of the species; for multiplying life. Neither is it a roll-of-the-dice accident, but the Creator’s design for the actual, rubber-meets-the-road way of things; one which will never be altogether eliminated.
The principle reaches far beyond brute reproduction. Male and female complete each other — hat tip to Jerry McGuire — across the full spectrum of their physical, social, mental, spiritual interaction.
There is, of course, that cohort which resents notions of any boundaries — even those programmed in by the Architect of the Universe –- clamped on how they wish things ought to be. We, thus, end up with soured women and supine men bristling at, even raging against, any suggestion of meaningful dissimilarities between the sexes which might justify appropriately dissimilar treatment in particular areas. Demeaning? No. Just beneficially different.
Where reality-hostile feminism prevails, bizarre anomalies, sometimes outright hypocrisy, abounds. Witness the Kirsten Gillibrands, assorted Hillary groupies, most Democrats for that matter, who rhetorically demand this gender-free approach – unless it’s convenient playing the damsel-tied-to-the-railroad-tracks card.
Some high-profile ladies assail the double-standard. There’s feminist steamroller Camille Paglia who’s stridently denounced Hillary for riding on her doggish husband’s coattails, all the while giving cover to his abuse of women.
Fox News’ Megyn Kelly recently bridled visibly when Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd galloped to the rescue of a pair of female interviewers combatively challenged by GOP presidential candidate Rand Paul. Sniping that Todds’ defense was “sexist”, she brusquely urged him and his patriarchal ilk to “butt out”; her journalistic sistren “don’t need [their] help.”
In some specific contexts, the feminine touch will generally be the preferred choice. In others, a man in charge is the way to go, broadly speaking. Men and women working together, bringing their respective strengths? In the long haul, that’s optimal. That so axiomatic a reality should ignite such broiling controversy is a symptom of the silliness of our touchy-feely, expandingly treacherous age.
What ultimately won’t work is blinkered insistence on regarding the sexes as the same, interchangeable across the board. That ain’t no way to treat … a civilization! At least not one that entertains any hopes for a functioning, prosperous future.