April 5, 2013 at 2:39 PM

The Objectification of Women and a Partial Explanation of Why the Republican Party is Doomed

"...the Republican party is on the road to collapse"

By Liz Simon

Trips & Quips

Liz Simon is a photographer, writer and cyclist who likes to combine the three in her quest to discover the nooks and crannies of New Mexico. Sometimes, means of transportation other than bicycle are employed---including the Rail Runner and motorcycle.

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The day before yesterday, I had the misfortune to witness a seemingly unimportant, yet rather common, event at our local ski area. Several of us had stopped at the mid-mountain restaurant for the usual drinks and snacks. I was sitting with two fellows and we were chatting amicably, that is, until an attractive young woman happened upon the scene. Without a moment's notice, the conversation took an abrupt right turn as my companions loudly voiced their commentary about how "hot" this woman was, what a "babe" she was or whatever other juvenile words were used; frankly I don't remember, or maybe I don't care to.

However, seared into my memory with perfect clarity, is the result of my companions' unconscious behavior. That young woman, in one fell swoop, was made to feel about one inch tall-—in a sense, she'd just been made into a zoo animal. She quietly zipped up her jacket and hurried inside, wondering what crime she had committed to elicit such punishment—as I said, the punishment of being ogled at like an animal in the zoo. "Look, look mommy, over there, look, that animal is something I want. I'll throw a peanut at it."

I felt for this young woman in a big way, and I am ashamed of myself for not having said anything. What would I have said? I could have called the behavior for exactly what it is: the objectification of women-—and that's putting it mildly and little too intellectually. That woman was hurt and stunned. Such behavior not only objectifies one woman, but all who are witness to it. And, to all my male readers, if you will but expand your awareness level one tiny bit as you indulge in this behavior, you might notice the other women around you exchanging knowing glances, mixed with barely discernible head-shakes and eye-rolls. But, do we ever say anything? No. We are taught to tolerate these and other behaviors, and above all; we don't want to start trouble. However, to my female readers, please entertain this thought-—is any good done by our resistance to calling out this behavior, and others like it—to our sons, husbands and male friends? And if we do not speak up, then why do we wonder why these, and other unhelpful male behaviors persist? Carl Jung once said, "What you resist, persists." Here it is. Time to stop resisting our own inner voices, and let's end the "persisting" of behaviors that damage the individual and the greater civilization.

I would politely, or as politely as I can, suggest to our male readers that maybe they do a teeny tiny bit of introspection on this topic. If you wonder why relations between men and women are so fraught with failure, widespread confusion and anxiety; I'm here to tell you that unconscious behaviors like this, and in particular, the assumptions attached to them, have a lot to do with it. And, moreover, it is why, in my opinion, the Republican party is on the road to collapse. It cannot be any other way. Pundits in that party may think they have answers for their current dilemma  by looking outward to political tricks being played by Democrats, cheating, bad PR, the media, etc. I hear it all the time. Those may be partially valid issues in fact, but they are the far lesser causes of what it going wrong for that party. Even a modicum of Republican introspection would yield clear answers…but there are reasons why introspection is impossible on the Right.

Baby-boomer women, and other generations as well, are waking up with regard to their right to an equal place under the sun. And in hundreds of conversations and online talk groups, the awakening is there as clear as day. We have remained silent as we have been demeaned and minimized on a quite regular basis----so regular in fact, that we are numb to it much of the time. But the awakening has begun….and that bodes poorly for the Republican Party. It is no mystery to this writer why women are throwing their rather substantial numerical support to the Democrats, who do at least "get it" with regards to understanding this dynamic in a meaningful and helpful way.

Republicans are further doomed by their reflex adherence to biblical teachings which serve only to reinforce a man's right to do and say pretty much anything he pleases with regard to women. After all, we learn on page one, in the beginning, that woman is a subset of man. She is made from his rib, moreover she is in debt to him for her very existence as a result. The psychological implications of such a myth are enormous, and it invisibly informs much of Republicans' thinking on all issues. It is my sincere hope that it continues to do so, because it is their biggest enemy. And I mean no sarcasm. Perhaps a total demise and resulting clean slate is what's needed. The Republican blindfold will, however, remain firmly in place until they are able to expand upon, and open up their myth---i.e. biblical dogma.

I call on all women who read this to carefully consider what I have offered here. The answer is NOT to become angry or start fights when we witness this behavior, but rather to calmly "call it out"---and call it for exactly what it is: the objectification of women. Everyone loses if we do not speak up, and consequently there is no hope for change. Speak out. Then, you've either made your point, or you haven't.----in which case there is nothing more to do except to continue on to the next "round", and the "round" after that.

Men will never learn about what is going wrong in this society---between the sexes---if we do not point it out to them, patiently and intelligently. And we need to listen as well, and as often, as we speak.

It seems to me that we all need to grow up.

*Note: This article does not wish to imply that these events only, or even particularly, take place at the local ski area. They do not! It was only this event, as described, which did take place there. The behavior is widespread and is certainly not limited to any one locale.

Thank you,
Happy Trails to You
From Santa Fe, New Mexico
The Land of Enchantment
Liz Simon: skithewintersun@comcast.net

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