The Duck Stops Here.

Oh, man.

I tried. I mean I really tried to write something topical and tackle this whole Phil Robertson thing… Is it Robertson or Robinson…?

See, I don’t even care enough to Google the name and make sure. It hurts my brain to try and engage those who are defending his words. Sure, he’s allowed to have them and free speech and yadda, yadda, yadda. But he didn’t get arrested so it’s not a breech of the first amendment. There that’s done. Blog post done.

Nope, just kidding.

Then he came out and said that it’s important to marry women young because otherwise they are only after your pocket book or some such. Where are the flocks of supporters for this statement? Oh, he was just kidding you say? Really? Really?!!

Having grown up mostly in the Southern region of the United States and having been female for the whole of that time I can assure you that he was not kidding. What he speaks is representative of a very real and pervasive mindset. I can assume this, even though I don’t know the man, never met him, never care to. I’ve never watched the show nor do I intend to. But I have read time and time again that he is representative of a subset of our society. That part I agree with. I have seen posts on social media that the show represents a family of red necks and therefore we should not be surprised when he says something that a redneck would say. That I can also agree with. It’s all part of the culture. Meh, pay it no mind. Shrug it off. He represents an antiquated viewpoint from a small vestige of our society. Ignore it and it will go away.

That I cannot do.

Because last I checked, rednecks can vote. And this mentality regarding women is dangerous.

I was a sophomore in high school. First period was a study hall class and I spent it in the library. This was back in the day when the last fifteen minutes of first period was devoted to Channel One, a run-by-teens news show with flashy Saved by the Bell looking graphics. I sat behind the check out desk reading a book. Some students were mulling about waiting for Channel One to finish blaring out from the wall mounted televisions. One guy was leaning against the desk near me.

Heavy into my literary high school ennui I muttered under my breath “Uch, Channel One is creepy. It’s too much like 1984,” 

The guy across the desk peered from under his tattered John Deer baseball cap and asked in a thick drawl, “Why, what happened in 1984?”

I glanced disdainfully in his direction. “You know,” I said, “’Big Brother is watching’?”

He shifted slightly. “What’s your brother got to do with it?”

I shook my head. “Nevermind. It’s a book.”

“A book?”

“Yes,” I said “A book. Rectangular thing made of paper… ‘S got words in it…?”

His eyes lit up slightly. He must have recognized something I had said… He smiled, leaned in and said, dripping with gentlemanly charm, “Now what’s a good-looking girl like you doin’ readin’ books?”

True story.

Just as I glanced up at him from the pages of the offending book the bell rang letting out class.

This is the first inkling of a moment when I realized that something may be afoot at the Circle K. I am not in Kansas anymore. All is not quiet on the Western Front. Big Brother really IS watching. From that moment forward I began to become aware of something sinister, a nasty underbelly of expectations regarding my behavior. I traveled along living my life, experiencing joys and pitfalls just like everyone. Reading, learning, living. Then every once in a while someone would look at me and say “You don’t have to act like that you know,”

“Act like what?”

“So independent. Especially now that you have a boyfriend,”

Wait, what?

More than once in my life has a guy told me to “stop using such big words. No one knows what you are talking about,”. Sorry no. I don’t have a list in my head of words that other people don’t know. I’ve been told that I don’t behave the way women are supposed to. I’ve been told that I read too much, that I know too much, that I am too outspoken. I’ve been told to be submissive, that there are certain jobs I shouldn’t have or can’t do (sometimes during the very moment of doing said job!).

Hearing a phrase from a guy on television about women being a commodity who are to be treated a certain way to avoid or guarantee a certain outcome, to predict behavior and restrict experience cannot be shrugged off or ignored. Yes, his behavior is ridiculous and reprehensible, and it absolutely hurts my brain to hear those statements. But guess what. It isn’t the first time, probably won’t be the last and I would venture to say that there might be hordes of other women who have had similar stories.

Well guess what? Last time I checked, women can also vote. 

 

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