Reader Discretion Advised
Last night my husband and I were watching the Showtime series Homeland on TV (episode “R is for Romeo”). The scene set-up: Madam President-Elect is a guest on an Alt-Right radio show that is running a smear campaign against her by targeting her son who was a US soldier who died in Afghanistan. They are labeling him a coward. Which is untrue, because the footage stops short of him running to save the life of a fellow soldier. Anyway, a caller calls in and begins to berate the President-Elect and her son. The caller finishes with his insult coup de grâce of “and your son runs like a girl.”
My response to this pathetic attempt at an insult didn’t fully register until about 20 minutes or so, after watching the episode. While brushing my teeth before bed, it hit me. I realize this is a TV show, but that line was obviously meant to be a serious put-down. To slander a manly US soldier who died serving our country in Afghanistan by comparing him to a girl. I however, saw it differently. My personal response would have been something like, “Yeah, And?!?” Or “And your point is?!?” Or “And that’s a bad thing?!?” Or “And how do you run, like a eunuch?!?”
Why in the world would “running like a girl” a bad thing? Or fighting like a girl. Or even being called a p***y. Why have those statements been acknowledged in our society as acceptable put downs? By applying that logic, girls/women are considered to be less than, feeble, weak, frail, deficient, imperfect, substandard, and something not to aspire to. Just like calling someone a certain part of a woman’s body (one of the most coveted body parts by men and women alike, by the way) is considered again to be weak, pathetic, inadequate, insufficient, and unsatisfactory. Clearly, folks haven’t thought that one through! Seriously! That amazing body part is the gateway to life. It gives pleasure, it receives pleasure. It experiences a monthly cycle, that is much like a Phoenix and is reborn from the ashes. It’s tough as nails, resilient as hell, strong as steel, flexible, AND it’s all about love. Wow, who wouldn’t want to be called a p***y? What a compliment, Thank you!
Things like this need to change. It disappoints me that they were ever acceptable to begin with. Racist and sexist slurs, put-downs, insults, and slang are no longer acceptable. Conversations and dialogue like this need to happen. It is no longer funny or cute, or harmless, or unintentional, or a misunderstanding, or an honest mistake or whatever else you tell yourself to make it ok.
It’s simple: Girls are badass! Certainly on par, if not superior to their male counterparts. To remind myself of just how formidable my sex can be, I take inspiration from badass women all around me – my girlfriends, mentors, trainers, artists and yes, even fictional characters.
The next time you hear a sexist or racist comment, I challenge you to stop the TV or stop the person who said it (or whatever the case may be) and have a conversation about it. It continues only because we allow it. It’s time for that to change!