The recent election and the current political climate have changed the dialogue about women. For those who thought that women’s rights were secure or that the battle for equality was accomplished, the party is over.
There is no clearer confirmation of this circumstance than the knowledge that our country elected as president a man who bragged publicly about sexually assaulting women. After the damning video was revealed, many thought that we would not elect a man who spoke in that way about women. But we did.
An article entitled What Trump’s Brag About Sexual Assault Reveals About This Election And Our Culture (A FiveThirtyEight Chat Filed under 2016 Election) states as follows:
This is so often framed as a women’s issue. But it’s not. This problem isn’t women’s doing, and the ultimate solution needs to involve men; they have the most power to change the culture. It’s the men like Billy Bush who accept and participate in this culture who have the most power to change it. Why must victims be the ones to solve the crime?
The article goes on to say that this was “locker room banter,” a sort of “boys will be boys” mentality. It cites a study of 250 undergraduate men who said they felt insulted when a subtle sexual advance was rejected. It is the degree of acceptance in our culture that needs to be changed.
I was fascinated by a U-tube video that showed a dance party where a man approached an Asian woman to ask her to dance. When she indicated that she wasn’t interested he slapped her face. But in this case, he had picked the wrong woman. The tagline said that she went all “Bruce Lee” on him. She literally wiped up the floor with him. It will be a sad day if all women have to learn Bruce Lee techniques to protect themselves.
Our book A Womb of Her Own: Women’s Struggle for Sexual and Reproductive Autonomy (A Womb of Her Own. www.routledge.com) includes a chapter about the continuing war against women. Dr. Marilyn Metzl offers us innumerable examples of the disparagement and degradation of women: violated and oppressed from the home to the workplace to all facets of society in our country today. Although we are able to point to evidence of progress for women in their quest for equality, we most certainly have not won the battle and truly must dedicate ourselves to fighting in our schools, communities and in our local and national government before women attain that goal.
If there is, in reality, an ongoing war between men and women, and I am raising that as a question, it is an unusual one that includes much fraternizing with the enemy. But we must bring to the surface of our consciousness that it is a very real possibility.
Ellen Toronto is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Spring, Texas and has been practicing since 1980. In 2017, she was elected a Fellow in Psychoanalysis by the American Psychological Association. In 2016, Dr. Toronto's practice was recognized as one of the top Ann Arbor Psychology practices. She received her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Michigan. Dr. Toronto is married to Robert Toronto, Ph.D., and together they have four sons and eleven grandchildren.