Friday, December 18, 2015

Physician, Heal Thyself

Desperately poor, hostilely stereotyped, restricted from accessing reproductive health services, over-incarcerated, #72 globally in governmental representation with increasing maternal mortality...

There's nothing we love more than carping over cruelty to women in other nations, particularly those that cover women from head to toe (hijab or burka bad, wimple or habit apparently fine), but the recent report from the UN Working Group on discrimination against women had some awful things to say about women's treatment here at home.

Three delegates, from Costa Rica, Poland, and the UK, spent 10 days in three states looking at policies, attitudes, and systems, and boy were they surprised. Pregnant women don't have maternity leave! Violence against women often includes guns! Vigilantes attack women at clinics!

But the worst thing of all, according to Huffington Post's interview, is that American women retain a deep-seated but demented belief that we're better off than women elsewhere. I suppose that's what gives us the self-righteousness to challenge other cultures' bad behaviors.


Diane said...

Last I heard, clitoral castration wasn't a cultural thing here. And women are permitted to drive. And nuns choose to wear their wimples or habits these days.

We are WAY better off than a lot of women in a lot of places. Just not every woman every place. And not as well off as we should be.

KAZ said...

I think it's hard to know how bad things are when you're right in the middle of them. Hijab is (usually) a choice, as is head covering for Orthodox Jewish men and women. Seems Cro-Magnon from my POV, but my POV didn't even guess we were as bad as the UN says we are. FGM is hideous but is still regularly perpetrated on women by women. And yes, in Saudi Arabia, we wouldn't be allowed to drive, and in Yemen, we couldn't leave the house without permission. They have a long way to go to be us. And we have a long way to go to be Scandinavia!

Diane said...

Hijab is a choice in parts of Morocco. It is a choice the alternative to which is prison or beating in many other places. The fact that women perpetrate FGM does not make it less violent against women. Men would do it if they were allowed to see women's genitalia. I think we are far closer to Scandinavia than Yemen is to us.