Thursday, February 25, 2010

Violence and Women

I'm not talking about the horrendous act of violence against women. I'm talking about the violent acts perpetrated by women that, too often, our gender (and the media) assume are infrequent. Because, unfortunately, it's not actually infrequent at all.
Awhile ago several women wrote both The New York Times and The Oregonian about how they 'simply couldn't believe' women could be suicide bombers, as the Christmas Day Pants Bomber (we need a better name don't we?) warned.
Yet they can be and they are. There have been female suicide bombers, acting as martyrs, since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began. And of course before that, for at least dozens of years. We can read about them online, watch them on TV, read report after report. But perhaps we don't want to, because it screws with our idealistic view that 'If women ruled the world, there'd be no war.' Again, it's pretty to think so. But reality, well, it bites.
What is about us that wants to believe women, and girls, are incapable of horrible acts like this? Why do we want to idealize ourselves in this way? Yes women commit far less violent acts than men do: a fact. But we've always been capable of it, and quite often act on our impulses. We're human and therefore culpable of terrible things. I think accepting, and demanding, absolute equality means refusing to think we're better, greater, deeper than an entire gender. The male one.
There is a terrific article about Amy Bishop right now in the NY Times - She's the neuroscientist who just killed three colleagues and injured three others in a rampage that everyone should have seen coming. To read about how she murdered her 18 year old brother in 1986, and yet served no time, is honestly chilling.
Women. We're wonderful, we're amazing, we create gorgeous art and bear children and advocate for peace and hold families together. We can do anything. We can even be Medea when we want to be. - Janet

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