The content on this blog is my personal opinion and does not reflect the views of the Department of Defense or the US Navy in any way.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Protest and Rebuttal

Depending on exactly which estimates you use, the various women's marches around the country last Saturday are the largest protest event in our nation's history. It comes as little surprise that those who disagree with the values espoused at those events have already started to spread counterarguments.

The most common seems to be that women in America are already equal and have nothing to be afraid of. To a certain extent this seems quite convincing, given the status of women's rights in the US compared to what one tends to find in the Middle East, Africa, or parts of Southeast Asia.

What this gets wrong, though, is that the existence of greater problems elsewhere doesn't render all other problems irrelevant until those are dealt with. That argument, when challenged that way, tends to shift, and add an extra clause: that because our problems are so much smaller, they do not merit this much effort spent on them.

Needless to say I don't agree. Some of those reasons have probably been heard before, such as:

The stats regarding sexual assault in the US - such as the estimates regarding unreported incidents - are still not encouraging, despite all of the progress we've theoretically made.

Neither are the numbers regarding the pay gap or women in leadership positions.

Others are a little more unusual:

Women who fight back against domestic abuse are routinely treated harshly by our justice system.

Female genital mutilation wasn't actually banned here until 1996 - hell, health insurance covered it as a medical procedure until the 1970s! Oh, and it hasn't gone away yet, either, even here.

And some are just frightening:

There are religious right leaders in the US talking about first-degree murder sentences for women who use an IUD or Plan B contraception.

There are also women in the US that have been arrested following a miscarriage.

Other nations might have worse problems, yes, and they need assistance. If anyone tries to tell me that we do not have serious problems of our own, though, then I'm going to tell them that they aren't paying attention.

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