A recent New York Post article listed 5 places women should never travel, and #5, up there with Turkey and Saudi Arabia, was Utah, right here in the prosperous United States of America. The author's reasoning for Utah being such a horrible place for women was that we don't have a lot of women in the legislature, that there are more men than women in power positions, and that we have a large income gap between the sexes.
This is just one in a slew of recent articles that decry these type of inequalities against women, but this one is by far the most absurd I've seen. How nice that the author has the luxury to complain about pay gaps when there are women around the world who are truly suffering under unthinkable, life-threatening oppression and discrimination.
Take for example South Africa, where rape against women is rampant, and where menstruating females are quarantined from school and lack even rudimentary sanitary supplies, leading to incredibly unhygienic conditions. What about Egypt and Somalia, where 90-98% of women undergo genital mutilation? What about China, with its forced abortions and infanticide--especially of female babies (and, in part because of the resultant shortage of women, many girls end up being put into the sex trafficking trade)? What about Haiti, where 12-year-old girls are sold to foreigners for "deflowering," and Brazil, where prostitution to foreigners thrives? Let's not leave out Uganda, Nepal, and Sri-Lanka, where girls are sold to be sex slaves, or India, where girls suffer the same fate or are forced to be surrogate mothers? These are all just a few examples of what I would label as true suffering that women in our world endure.
But apparently, living in Utah is just as bad; after all, there are only 6 women in state legislature. Never mind the fact that many women in that state have chosen--of their own free, powerful will--a different path, one not involving a professional career or running for political office. One reason the stats of women in government and the workplace are so low in Utah is because there are so many who choose to stay at home with their children, or choose a career track that keeps them closer to home. But alas, choosing to be a mother--not a CEO--is one reason Utah is so oppressive to females, right? Here's a question for you: since when did raising human beings become such a base pursuit? Perhaps calling ourselves "Professional Human Developers" is more respectable? There might be some women in Utah who say they don't really want to stay home with their kid, and that they are just pressured to because of the culture. I haven't found that to be the case, but even if so, I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that I'd rather feel pressured to be a stay-at-home mother than being pressured into having my genitalia mutilated so that I won't be tempted to have sex. Can we get some perspective over here, please?
The fact that this article was even published, despite its glaring flaws and its outlandish inclusion of Utah--to the exclusion of some of the worst places in the world for women--shows what an echo-chamber the extreme feminist movement has become. What the preachers of this movement fixate on are in essence, first-world problems. Here in America we live in the most equitable, free, liberating, and opportunity-packed place in the history of the entire world--yes, even for women. Women here have easy access to food, jobs, housing, education, voting rights, and property rights; we walk around dressed how we want; we choose who we marry and how many kids we want to have; we drive and work and have choices--we have more power and control over our lives and our life circumstances than ever in the history of the world. Yes, many of those rights came in part as a result of women uniting together to bring about change, and we should always earnestly advocate for even more improvements as needed--but can we please just stop for a moment and adjust our frame of reference?
The privileges that would have been unthinkably liberating and joyous to women who lived 100 years ago are now nothing to us; we take them for granted. What used to be considered bondage is so far gone now that some have decided to concoct a new war cry of persecution in its place. I understand that persecution exists in many forms. But at this point, we have enough freedoms that the instance is rare when we can't avoid an undesirable situation. For the most part, we have the freedom in this country--and yes, even in Utah--to walk away from any job, religion, relationship, or circumstance that we perceive as unjust. But, unfortunately, there are some who aren't interested in exercising that freedom, they are more interested in manipulating the freedom of others by presenting to them a picture of life through a tarnished lens. They post articles like this one that try to push their agenda, try to get us to believe that inequality in Utah is bad enough to be lumped with sex enslavement and being forced to kill your children for population control. In the meantime, all across the world our sisters are bleeding, dying, and suffering true and crippling inequality.
One of the most ironic aspects of the extreme American feminist movement--other than their blindness against the massive suffering elsewhere in the world and their own selfish exploitation of women to build political power for themselves--is that in their never-ending quest for some idealistic, equitable life, they actually enslave themselves to a state of endless discontent. And in an attempt to feel strong, they only bring about weakness. Don't get me wrong, I am all about empowering women. But are we so weak that we remain powerless until society gives us a stamp of authority endowed through position or lucre? No. You will never convince me of that. You will never convince me that there is not power in the hand that rocks the cradle. You will never convince me that there is not power in the labor of my chosen occupation that utilizes my unique strengths, whether it be in the home or out, regardless of how much I am paid or whether I had a college degree to get that job. You will never convince me there is not power in gentleness, power in nurturing, and power in being the person behind the scenes. You will never convince me that there is not power in creating a life. You will never convince me that there is not power in anonymous service day in and day out--service that is never tabulated by the statistics of the world. And, you will never convince me that the suffering in Utah that you are outlining in your petty little article is ever worthy of even being compared to the true suffering that women across the world are enduring every single day.
While the angst-ridden complain about their injustices, I am gong to continue to live my life, surrounded by some of the most powerful, amazing, intelligent, well-read, insightful, and awe-inspiring women I have ever known. And not one of these women fits the standards being preached by these so-called feminists. Why must we, as women, conform to their myopic vision of worth? Why must we fixate on things that are, in the grand scope of things, so inconsequential compared to what our sisters are enduring across the world? Instead of the weak warblings of entitlement and first-world rancor, let us instead unite under the banner of true suffering and march forth together, hand-in-hand, to fight for our sisters who are bleeding and suffering across the world. That's a battle cry worth heeding.