by Cody J. Elms
She can’t do that.
Less than 24 hours following International Women’s Day, I find myself trying figure out precisely why there is such disdain for women breaking out of traditional roles and into the unknown. Or in essence, expecting to be treated as equals. Jealousy? The good old days? A strange fear that they may take over? Maybe all three and then some.
On August 18, 1920 the Nineteenth Amendment became part of the U.S. Constitution, which states, “The right of the citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”
I truly believe this amendment from 100 years ago is where some people believe women became equal to men in the United States. Truth is, this was the very beginning of a movement that is still ongoing today. For the following 30-40 years, more than half of the U.S. population did not believe wives should be part of the work force. Yet, we see images of “Rosie the Riveter” and assume that is when women were accepted into the working world. Another milestone that men often point to as a moment of equality, and essentially the end of the discussion.
Well, let’s talk about it.
See, I could work my way throughout the last century, detailing every accomplishment in the women’s equality movement, but that would lead to a very dry read for many, albeit extremely eye opening and educational, but instead I’ll chalk it up to this; Throughout history, what has come at ease for men, women had to work hard for, what has come with hard work for men, women had to work twice as hard for, and what has been deemed impossible for men, women have, on occasion, made it possible. This is a fact. You may roll your eyes, look away, or think it’s some MSNBC propaganda to emasculate your ‘culture’ but in reality, what some groups of women have endured in just one day of their lives throughout the last 100-years of equality, has been more than most men will in a lifetime.
Now flash forward to 2020, and imagine for a moment believing that based upon your sex, you have a specific role in society when it comes to your profession, athletics, education, or lifestyle. Imagine for a moment that everything is preordained, never to be changed, altered, built upon, or evolved. If that is your thought, then you are not living in 2020; You are living in 1920.
For example, one of the most traditionally masculine sports is wrestling. It is a sport predominantly dominated by males, and has had a very awkward reaction to female competitors, however, with each passing year more and more females have entered the sport. They aren’t just participating either, they are competing. Need proof? Her name is Heaven Fitch. Look her up and you’ll find articles plastered with an image of her atop the podium as a North Carolina State Champion. Heaven is just the beginning.
Male dominated environments that have had difficulty accepting women have ranged from politics to sports to manufacturing, and yet each and every time, sooner or later, women have had to prove ‘them’ wrong.
Maybe we as men are protective of what we have dominated for so long. We are paranoid that the influx of women in our testosterone filled world will somehow dethrone us as kings. Maybe our throwback ideology that we masquerade as ‘old fashioned’ is finally being seen for what is…outdated. Maybe we need to stop using fear propaganda to hold women back when the true ones that are scared are us. Or maybe, just maybe when we feel uncomfortable or awkward with a woman trying to compete with us, we need to accept that that is a man problem and not a woman one.
Our great grandmothers, grandmothers and mothers had to take the brunt of this sexism on their fight to the surface, all so that the young women of today could breech, grow, and stand tall with ‘the boys.’
She can’t do that? Well, she can do that, she will do that, and one day those who said she can’t will say, “she did that.”