1 . We associate rape with accidents
Barbara Listing, an anti-abortion leader, argued that Michigan women should be forced to pay extra for health insurance to cover the cost of rape. According to Barbara, no one plans to get into a car accident or to be flooded, but they still pay insurance in case of these events, and therefore women should pay extra just in case a man accidentally roofies her drink and violates her. Oops!
2 . We allow a woman or girl to be forced into marriage every two minutes
A recent study by Plan UK revealed that every single day, across the world, 38,461 women and girls are being forced into marriages against their will. Many of these lives are exchanged for money or to settle an unrelated debt. This number doesn't even include the unbelievably young girls that are forced into prostitution on a daily basis.
3 . We tell young girls that they need to act a certain way in order to have value
Justin Lookadoo, a religious dating coach and public speaker, made some pretty ignorant comments at a high school during a presentation about how girls should behave on a date. Thankfully, his presentation was met with ridicule from the students, but there is still the matter of his website, which contains such advice as, “Be mysterious. Dateable girls know how to shut up.” and “Need him. Dateable girls know that guys need to be needed. A Dateable girl isn't Miss Independent.” Unfortunately, his long-awaited list of dateable hairstyles hasn't yet debuted.
4 . We believe that we have a "right" to do what we want with women's bodies
A Massachusetts man who was arrested in 2010 for taking upskirt photos of women is now arguing that such photography is covered under the First Amendment and should be protected by law. Michael Robertson’s attorney claimed that “ If a clothed person reveals a body part whether it was intentional or unintentional, he or she can not expect privacy,” before presumably going home and sobbing over her law degree. While the case is obviously ridiculous, the mentality that women's clothes make them more deserving of harassment or violence is still very present in our society.
5 . Our priorities are completely distorted when it comes to sexual violence
A female prisoner who was repeatedly raped and assaulted by one of her guards was told that there was nothing the warden could do about it… except put her on birth control. Despite the victim’s repeated pleas for help, nothing was done to punish the guard or even to prevent him from harming her again. Instead, the warden told her that in order to prevent a pregnancy, she’d have to go on the pill, since it didn’t look like the guard wanted to stop assaulting her any time soon. The fact that this woman was being raped was apparently less horrific than the "inconvenience" of her becoming pregnant as a result.
6 . We think it's ok to discriminate based on biology
Fox News medical "expert" Dr. David Samadi claims that forcing men and women to pay equally for health insurance is unfair. He cites things such as the fact that women generally outlive men and visit the doctor more for preventative health. Perhaps his most convincing argument, however, is the fact that women have both breasts and ovaries, while men only have the prostate. You don't need an advanced medical degree to see that more organs = more cancer, right? Luckily, Dr. Samadi doesn't have to worry about brain cancer for the same reasons that he doesn't have to worry about ovarian cancer.
7 . We still don't understand that young teenagers can't give consent
Teacher Stacey Rambold was convicted of repeatedly raping his fourteen-year-old student, who later killed herself during the course of the trial. But instead of receiving an appropriate punishment, he spent only thirty days in jail, because according to the judge, the victim was "older than her chronological age" and was "as in as much control of the situation" as her teacher. Apparently the judge did not believe that a teacher in his early fifties should have the good sense to keep his hands off his underage students no matter how "in control" they are.
8 . We still say that a man is needed for true happiness.
Suzanne Venker wrote an article about how women absolutely need husbands if they want to "have it all." She claims that a woman cannot possibly balance work, a social life, and a family unless she "leans on her husband," who ideally works full-time and year-round. The idea is unfair to both sexes, but in a world where women are still trying to gain equality in the workplace, the fact that this isn't satire is kind of disturbing.
9 . We blame the victim.
Criminal defense attorney Joseph DiBenedetto appeared across cable TV in October to remark on the terrible rape case of a Missouri teenager. While discussing the logistics of the case, DiBenedetto speculated that the fourteen-year-old victim was actually a conniving little liar: "She is leaving her home at 1 a.m. in the morning... And what happens? She gets caught by her mom, she’s embarrassed, and the easy way out here is, ‘Mom, someone took advantage of me.'" He continued, "What did she expect to happen at 1 a.m. in the morning after sneaking out? I’m not saying she deserved to be raped, but..." and then continued to talk about legal nonsense. Should teenagers now expect to be assaulted instead of grounded? From now on, Mr. DiBenedetto, if you ever have the urge to add "but" to the end of a statement involving rape, don't.
10 . We still have the audacity to use violence against women to sell products
A signage company in Texas decided to show how "realistic" its vehicle decals were by depicting a woman tied up in the back of a pickup truck. The ploy was obviously met with outrage from anyone who saw the decal--- a reaction the owner of the company says he didn't anticipate. Honestly, it's hard to tell which mentality is dumber: the idea that this ad gimmick would be ok, or that other people would agree with you.
11 . We are still placing looks over abilities
When French tennis player Marion Bardoli won the Wimbledon title, she lovingly embraced her father, who is also her former coach. But being a world-class athlete is simply not enough for people like BBC senior presenter John Inverdale, who apparently believes that Bardoli's success comes from the fact that she's not a supermodel. "Do you think Bartoli's dad told her when she was little, 'You're never going to be a looker, you'll never be a Sharapova, so you have to be scrappy and fight?" he asked listeners. I think we can all agree that the champ's success definitely came from her father's belief that his baby girl was ugly.
12 . We claim that some things are very specifically meant for a "man's world."
San Francisco sports radio host Damon Bruce really believes that in spite of the overwhelming number of women that participate in sports, they really have no idea what they're talking about when it comes to discussing them. "A lot of sports has lost its way, and I'm gonna tell you, part of the reason is because we've got women giving us directions," he said as he shook his finger and made us feel really, really sorry. His rant went on for about nine minutes, but this gem really caught my eye: "This is men's stuff. And I don't expect women to understand men's stuff anymore than they should expect me to be able to relate to... things like your whole 'not being able to talk to me without white-knuckling your can of pepper-spray the whole time,' or the whole 'restraining order' thing." Damon. Stop.
13 . We use our power in disgusting ways
Former San Diego mayor Bob Filner was recently convicted of a whole string of sexual harassment charges that started when his former communications director spoke out in July. Irene McCormack Jackson claimed that Filner had asked her to work without underwear, demanded kisses from her, and told her that he wanted to see her naked. After the first complaint had been filed, it wasn't long before nearly twenty other women came forward to report that the creepy public official had tried to kiss and grope them. Filner got a pretty light sentencing, which didn't even include jail time. One of the victim's attorneys told him to count his blessings that he got off so lightly, but it's pretty easy to see that it was less of a blessing and more of a flaw in the justice system.
14 . We continue to not take domestic violence charges seriously.
Stephanie Bond is lucky to be alive. Her ex-husband, Gabriel Omo-Osagie, was arrested for domestic battery in November, 2009. She filed a restraining order against him, but the man was still allowed to see her children on weekdays for nine hours a day. Omo-Osagie was acquiring more firearms even though he'd had his license revoked after the incident, and he admitted to the police that he had violated the surprisingly generous custody agreement. Bond reported all of this to the police. Nothing was done. In February of 2010, Omo-Osagie shot his ex-wife three times before taking his own life. Miraculously, Bond survived. She sued state and local police officials for blatantly ignoring her pleas for help, but Judge Frank Easterbrook granted police immunity, saying that, "There is certainly a rational basis for giving murder and rape investigations higher priority than domestic relations matters." In other words, ladies, unless you are already raped, dead, or better yet, both, don't even bother.
15 . Workplace discrimination is still rampant
Jessica Benefield, a former executive chef at a Nashville restaurant called Virago, is accusing CEO Chris Hyndman of subjecting his female employees to physical, verbal, and sexual harassment. Hyndman allegedly had a scale for which he would rank both staff and customers based on "hotness" and asked staff members to bring in "hot chicks for him to meet and entertain." Despite the fact that Benefield was an award-winning chef and received great performance reviews at work, she was terminated immediately for "making false and malicious statements about superiors" after she complained about the treatment of female workers. Nothing says "malicious" like "Stop making it uncomfortable for me to come to work," right?
16 . We consider tampons and maxi pads to be more dangerous than guns
"Let's take away an armed woman's period supplies. What could possibly go wrong?" Such was the apparent thought process of a bunch of security guards at a Texas courthouse as they confiscated tampons and maxi pads, but allowed anyone with a concealed carry permit to take their guns right in with them. They feared that the menstrual supplies would be used as projectiles, but apparently weren't concerned about bullets being used in a similar way. The reason for the sudden fear of cotton and cardboard was due to the fact that the subject to be presented that day was whether or not abortion clinics in the state would remain open. And to think, I have never taken advantage of the arsenal of certain death I have under my bathroom sink.
17 . We believe that "beautiful" is simply not beautiful enough
Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence is the actress that was desperately needed to wake up Hollywood. She portrays strong female characters and has been known to condemn the industry's desire for unhealthily thin women. She has stated that she would never drop to an unhealthy weight just for a role. So when Canadian fashion magazine "Flare" released their cover of a VERY photoshopped Jennifer, it was all the more ridiculous. Not only did they make the already-beautiful star even thinner, but they also moved her collar bone down. Magazines are sending a very clear message that if your boobs aren't big enough, your eyes aren't bright enough, and a small vehicle can't drive between your thighs, you shouldn't be in the picture at all.
18 . Our advertisements depict objects rather than people
Despite the fact that studies have suggested that sex actually doesn't sell, advertisers continue to undress women for the sake of getting more people to watch their stuff. The issue, however, is not the fact that a beautiful lady is strutting her stuff for some cash. But the cinematography looks like a science class dissection for teenage boys. They show you the girl's body in sections (BUTT. BOOBS. BUTT. LEGS. BOOBS. burger. CROTCH. burger. BOOBS.), which turns her into a series of objects rather than a human being. The dude in the commercial, who speaks two words, still speaks more than the girl, who can only manage to laugh instead of saying, "Want some sunscreen?" like normal women who do half-naked burger yoga would do. If we stop portraying women like objects, maybe we can stop treating them like objects.
19 . We still think that erections are more important than birth control
Many pre-Obamacare health insurance programs cover erectile dysfunction drugs, vasectomies, vacuum erection devices, and even penile implants. But when rumors started swirling around that women might soon get their birth control covered by insurance, a lot of people got kind of upset. Many companies, including Domino's Farms (owned by Tom Monaghan, the guy who founded Domino's Pizza) are claiming that their health insurance policies shouldn't have to cover contraceptives, citing religious freedom. In a lawsuit filed by Monaghan, he claims that since the Catholic Church considers contraception a 'grave sin,' his company shouldn't have to provide insurance that pays for it. He also likened the morning-after pill to abortion, even though the pill's job is to stop fetuses (and therefore abortions) from ever happening in the first place. Believe it or not, both men and women have sex. We're just trying to prevent pregnancy that can be caused by all those government-funded boners.
20 . We continue to be a willing audience for misogynists.
He has made some of the most misogynistic comments in the history of radio. And yet, Rush Limbaugh still remains one of the most popular talk show hosts ever. Most recently, in a discussion about single mothers and Democratic Virginia gubernatorial hopeful Terry McAulifee, he blurted out, "She's owed a living because life has dealt her so much unkindness...She's a single mother. Probably the husband walked out on her or she kicked him out. ...and here comes McAuliffe identifying with her. McAuliffe said, 'Look, if you want to be a receptacle for male semen and not pay a price, I'm your guy.'" Given Limbaugh's record for assholery, the most shocking thing about his comment is that he needed to specify that the semen was male, as though he thinks that females also carry sperm.
21 . We allow rapists to sue for custody
In Massachusetts in 2009, a fourteen-year-old girl was raped by 20-year-old Jamie Melendez, who was sentenced to sixteen years of probation, which involved him going to family court once a week. Melendez then argued that he should have visitation rights to the child that he fathered through the rape since he was paying child support. It seems a little ridiculous until you realize that thirty-one states allow rapists to sue for custody, at which point it becomes completely ridiculous. The victim is desperate (and suing the state) to end the relationship between her and Melendez, but if she fails to show up at any of her scheduled court dates over the next sixteen years, she risks losing custody of her daughter. And if Melendez were to succeed in his quest for visitation rights, that means that he could gain full custody of his victim's child. All because we have so many laws designed to protect rape victims.
22 . We dismiss passionate behavior
When Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was questioned on the motives for the 2012 Libya attack that killed multiple Americans, she responded, “The fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest? Or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they’d go kill some Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make?” At the end of January 2013, the New York Post's cover depicted Clinton in the heat of the moment with the caption, "No wonder Bill's afraid!" and claiming that she had "exploded with rage" at the Benghazi hearing. Although the publication is conservative in nature and obviously looking to make the Democratic Clinton look as bad as possible, it would not be the first to call a woman something along the lines of "hysterical" or "nagging" for doing or saying something that would not raise a single eyebrow if it were said by a man. Am I making a valid point, or should I stop being so pushy?
23 . We believe female sexuality is more important than talent
Matt Brown is a welterweight fighter in the UFC who decided to start his own podcast with the world’s most creative title: “Legit Man Shit.” In the pilot episode, he took the opportunity to complain about women in mixed martial arts, saying, "I just think... if I'm [going] to pay $60 for a Pay-Per-View to watch women fight, they should at least be topless.” His sentiment echoed thousands of high-fiving, beer-drinking bros who believe that the only redeeming quality of a female fight in which arms are broken and blood is spilled is the potential for a wardrobe malfunction. The comment was obviously not well-received by many, but for the UFC’s top female fighters, it was hardly worth a raised eyebrow. When Sarah McMann heard about it, she responded, “I don't even know him. Why would I give a crap what he thinks about my fight? You know what? Matt Brown, fight in a Speedo.” But it was female bantamweight champion and WMMA superstar Ronda Rousey who had the best reply: “Wait… who’s Matt Brown?”
It’s easy to dismiss these instances as isolated bursts of ignorance, but they are more than that. Only in a culture that passively accepts sexism would people think that these were appropriate things to say or do. If we remain silent, we are nothing but accomplices to an age-old crime. But I’m just a woman...what do I know?