Commentary by Ada M. Fisher, MD, MPH
SALISBURY, NC - - Defining the role of women in an ever evolving world where the division of labor is not so clear and women are being reared to be whatever they want to, runs smack dab in the face of reality where many still want to define women based on their gender and reproductive capacity not their minds. This is not just a sexist issue but one for conservatives to ponder for though we support marriage between one man and one woman at one time, there aren’t enough men for everyone who might like one. And me, I don’t believe in sharing in this regard.
The Pro-Life segment is depicted as binding women to their uterine roles and desiring to control all expressions of female sexuality. This flies in the face of women who want the right to act like men, “dress like the opposite sex” or loosen the ties that bind. Mama Grizzlies speak with forked tongues as do the Soccer Moms and others who try to convince women, they can have it all. That may be true; but in the process each woman loses a bit of herself in putting others first and neglecting her own needs. These groups also put blame and responsibility mainly on women with little accountability of men for the children they helped produced.
The Single Parent dramas mainly involve young women who do not have the glamorous reality television resources or the money of the single stars who are flaunting their pregnancy and their wealth. Women who chose or are forced to parent alone are more likely to live in poverty, be subjected to limited educational opportunities, become victimized by violence likely at the hands of those who purport to love them, and see this pattern repeated in their offspring. A shocking recent Pew Institute Study presented on NPR found that single parent females were felt the most undesirable group to raise children, placing them below gay parents in general acceptability. Women are being blamed, usurped and held solely accountable for the fruit of their wombs.
Professional women are usually described in non-glowing terms by the mainstream media. Women in politics such as a Sarah Palin or Hilary Clinton or Meg Whitman find the focus of scrutiny on their family and appearance which male candidates don’t face. The harsh questions hurled at women often imply that something must be wrong with them to run or no matter their credentials they may not be as good as a man. Housewives are idealized while the legions of them turning to the bottle or pills to drown their pain remain hidden. Doctors, lawyers and others who are women with partners find at the end of their day there are still children to take care of, food to prepare and minimum relief from women’s traditional roles. It is almost as if women are penalized for having a brain, functioning uterus and daring to use them.
The rise of the religious right, Shira Law in Islam and other movements are perceived as a threat to women’s rights. Maybe it is the unchecked ability of men to control women and treat them as chattel property not an equal which needs to be examined. “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:27 King James Bible) In His image, so why the disparate treatment?
So what do we tell our daughters? Abraham Lincoln said “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.” First find something greater than yourself to believe in. Second, develop your mind and the opportunities should follow. Third, you have a right to be whatever you want to be. Fourth give back. And lastly what type of world we have will depend on you for the hand that rocks the cradle truly shapes and rules the world.
Dr. Ada M. Fisher is a physician, former school board member, licensed secondary education teacher, author, poet, political pundit and NC Republican National Committee member.