''Whom They Fear, They Hate''
From: John Clifton
Subject: Re: Equal Pay
> FYI, 1989 figures: the average white male high school DROP-OUT
> earned $19K/yr. The average woman with a 4-year COLLEGE
> EDUCATION earned $20K/yr. Neither at poverty level, of course
> (unless either of them had a barrel of kids), but isn't it
> funny that we have to attain AT LEAST four more years' worth of
> education just to be able to earn $1,000 a year more?
Please allow me, as a male, to make some observations. My
comments are accompanied by the usual disclaimers.
It is poverty which traps women. It robs them their
independence, their will to be independent, and even the chance
of personal happiness in relationships with males. How many
women tell us they're maintaining the relationship for economic
reasons? Lots. For many women, marriage is the ONLY way out of
poverty. Who can blame them for taking it?
And what of the marriages? They are too frequently
characterized by the males taking advantage of the imbalance in
power they bring to the relationship.
The struggle for equal pay is strictly 'zero sum': total
production will not increase because women get equal pay--what
women gain, men lose.
The woman with a decent income can:
1. Provide sufficiently for herself, and if need be, for her
2. Enjoy an improved balance-of-power in personal relationships
with men, from casual to long-term. (In marriage, 'he' tends
to behave better when 'he' knows 'she' doesn't have to put up
with a load of crap, and 'he' will miss 'her' income if 'she'
3. Live in a decent neighborhood where she will enjoy some
manner of physical safety.
4. Pay for her own abortion, if she needs one. (Or pay for
anything else she needs!)
To: Lance Neustaeter
Subject: Re: Meets The Bisexuals....
LN> Second, your claim that you are "oppressed
LN> viciously" is a gross exaggeration. Are you not
LN> allowed to vote? Not allowed the freedom of speech or
LN> the opportunity to run for public office? Is violence
LN> towards you overlooked or even sanctioned by your
LN> government? Do you have no legal recourse in any of
LN> the above circumstances?
LN> I am not saying there are NO prejudices against
LN> lesbians--just that "viciously oppressed" is an over
LN> reaction. You will always be able to find someone who
LN> doesn't like you for some stupid reason, no matter who
LN> you are (or how you look--regardless of your
LN> orientation), but this doesn't constitute "vicious
LN> oppression"--just ignorance.
"Is violence towards you overlooked or even sanctioned by your
government?" You'd better believe it, friend! Today I heard a report
broadcast on Minnesota Public Radio called "Whom They Fear, They Hate".
It was a documentary on hate crimes, including those against gays,
lesbians and bisexuals. Another section of the report noted that the
governmental agencies, which have only very recently started keeping track
of such crimes, do not consider domestic violence and rape to be hate
crimes, but that if they did, the total would be staggering.
In the report it was noted that gays and lesbians are the most often
attacked of any group targeted by hate crime perpetrators. More than
Blacks, more than Jews, more than disabled people. As one who has lived
through such violent attack, I can attest that it is indeed a reality in
this society. Another resident in this metro area had many stitches in
his face when the gay-bashers got done with him. Here is a sampling of
incidents from a local paper: a gay man at Cargill company physically and
verbally assaulted by co-worker; a woman denied custody of her disabled
partner, even though the two had exchanged rings and bought a home
together (the judge does not see the woman as "related to her lover" --
can you picture a straight person being denied custody of a disabled
spouse?), and more.
The war on lesbians (which includes bisexual women in its battleground)
is integrally related to the war on women. If you don't think it's a war,
go ask the gay people in your family what it has been like for them. (If
they're not out to you, I can make a guess as to why not.) To understand
the rest of the picture for lesbians and biwomen, go ask the women in your
family what hassles they've had. Then be very quiet and listen to them
until they're done. They may not tell you the true stories at first,
because many women do not believe that men want to hear about this. If,
however, you can be caring and non-judgemental enough to win their trust,
you will learn more from the women of your own family than you had ever
Not vicious oppression? I wish there were a way to let you experience
it firsthand. Until then, unless you work to develop listening skills and
empathy, I suspect you will remain ignorant of the pain around you until
it touches you directly. That kind of ignorance is a luxury the rest of us
haven't got. How does it feel?