Ka­vanaugh hear­ings put gen­der in­equal­ity on dis­play

Cecil Whig - - OPINION -


It was the day of Brett Ka­vanaugh’s swear­ing in as a Supreme Court Jus­tice when a dear friend lobbed an off-color joke about Dr. Ford in my di­rec­tion. He saw hu­mor in it. I did not.

Yes, I may be a bit sen­si­tive about sex­ual abuse, work­place male dom­i­nance and a com­monly ac­cepted dis­re­spect for my gen­der cam­ou­flaged as “boys will be boys.” A 40-year ca­reer in a male-dom­i­nated field has taught me that, for all of my ac­com­plish­ments, girls must still ... sur­ren­der.

What fol­lowed was what some might call a testy, but also healthy, con­ver­sa­tion about the times. The kind we need more of. I drew from the bow­els of my past and my pent-up, full-throt­tled anger. But, our pas­sions aside, this healthy ex­change oc­curred with­out the usual fear of con­flict.

Aside from bar room brawls and con­tentious sport pair­ings, men steer as clear of con­flict as they do con­ver­sa­tions about what’s in a wo­man’s purse. They just don’t wade in. On the other hand, fear of con­flict is for­eign to women. Women rel­ish the op­por­tu­nity to in­tel­lec­tu­ally and per­sua­sively spar. This may be be­cause over the years, the man­date has been that they must prove them­selves su­pe­rior to their male coun­ter­parts just to get equal recog­ni­tion. They have had to ex­cel at tasks just for an in­vi­ta­tion to the ta­ble where their male coun­ter­parts have al­ready com­fort­ably set­tled in with far less in­vest­ment. After years of fall­ing short, menopausal women now ap­proach op­por­tu­nity pre­pared to pass valu­able road maps to those who are less sea­soned at the race.

In other words, we’ve been bred to find ways to do bet­ter, do more and ac­com­plish ef­fi­ciently. You — Those of you men who, as Ruth Bader Gins­berg says have kept “your boots on our necks”, have un­know­ingly taught us how to suc­ceed at this. So thanks.

The Ka­vanaugh ex­pe­ri­ence wasn’t about sex­ual as­sault. It was about power. Be­cause of the au­thor it’s painful to say out loud, but Steve Ban­non may be cor­rect when he re­put­edly writes “women are gonna take charge of so­ci­ety.” Off-color jokes not­with­stand­ing, per­haps here’s one les­son em­a­nat­ing from the stink of the past few weeks on Cap­i­tal Hill: women ap­pre­ci­ate their ac­com­plish­ments, women earn what they want, and women now say what they think. Buckle up Mr. Ban­non, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.

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