Women in Urban America

Self-PreservationAfter being here in Carthage for a while, I’m learning more about the roles of men to women and women to men locally. I am becoming disheartened largely because it is reminiscent of the mid-20th century. In the deep south in South Carolina in the 1970’s, I remember as a youngster, hearing if a girl is 18 and not promised or married she’s not salable. It appears not much has changed in the past fifty years and the basic premise of a community plays out in their day-to-day and then business proclivities.

Washington DC is only five hours north of Carthage North Carolina, yet the epic of women digresses to a 1950’s moralization locally. I’ve been told by local women that in order to be accepted I must get a soft coif hairdo, wear light makeup, wear house dresses, speak with a twang and present myself less affirmative action and more submissive sista. That some sugar in my presentation will go a long way regardless of my personality or views of the role of women. They added, “We’ve been doing this for years . . . it works . . . the men have to feel more important.”

Figure 4. A small icon of Our Lady of Tolga (so-called Tolgsky II or Tolga II), Yaroslavl, Russia, around 1314.The same is true in businesses from my observation. Of course, this isn’t universal – there are a lot of progressive folks here as well – but the dichotomy of the populace as a whole is that of this outmoded concept largely in part due to the religionists purporting a woman’s place is in the home and submissive to their men. And, before you claim I’m anti-Christian, not true. I’m very supportive of Godlike attributes and the nuclear family; however, in the truest form of this concept – a woman’s role isn’t just a submissive unspoken well-mannered homebody. Actually, in scriptures (the Bible) a woman is not only on a pedestal – she is also considered a matriarch and given dignity and respect. However, this aspect is often overlooked in the day-to-day play-out of Christianity in action. And, not only by Christians because many faiths have the same values and resultant issues when supposedly upholding them according to God’s intentions. There is often a missed beat relative to womanhood.

However, what messages can local men garner when in courtrooms within the area where dramas play out and the young abused women with husbands or boyfriends who commit violent acts and atrocities are held in higher regard? Women are educated to attend court in dresses, with lowered eyes, not to make direct eye contact during proceedings, to talk softly, to not over accentuate themselves, and etc. While men who have often committed heinous acts are greeted with accolades and respect.

Understandably, there was a strong pro-male push in the media in North Carolina against judge’s in largely Central North Carolina that has twisted and contorted the courtroom toward a male dominated paradigm in order for them to avoid further pushes in the press. It is after all an elected position but when male attorneys throw paperwork at the female attorneys – it would seem the court would uphold women’s rights in the workplace if nothing else.

shutterstock_150536339Of course, perpetrators tend to be hidden performance artists and generally throw paperwork at women when judges leave proceedings. But I have witnessed male attorneys tossing furniture, throwing things across the room and other antics and judges are there and say nothing. Not one iota. While female attorneys approaching male counterparts are treated as if they do not exist. And, if they threw a pen or furniture no doubt they’d be counseled regarding courtroom behavior. So why the double-standard?

This is not universally true, of course but it is evident women in the south have to over perform (or under perform contingent upon your vantage point) to meet the status quo and even then the men are egregious in their consternation against female contemporaries while treated with higher regard in their community.

From a professorial viewpoint, the male attorneys with aggression are certainly overly stressed, out-matched and show out due to their internal recognition of their inabilities to cope with the situation – as all abusers / bullies come from that world view. Still, in all, how this compels men in the community who attend court and view their antics is the most concerning aspect and cruxes of the matter from my estimation. The court is supposed to set a standard, yet male attorneys are whipping the desks with their bravado, throwing chairs back with their buttocks, yelling, screaming even, throwing pens, treating women attorneys with blatant disregard, tossing paperwork at women and laughing under their breath with nothing said from the bench. Why aren’t they cited with contempt of court? Why not set a precedence in their courtrooms? Why allow men in the pews of court view such antics and then leave believing it is acceptable behavior? What is this hatred of women in the Great State of North Carolina? Even the women tend to support these antics by not speaking up. Yes, they don’t speak up because they cannot do so and continue to practice law effectively. They have to accept the bullying with a smile, quiet voice, lowered eye and submissive nature.

Thankfully, there are truly enlightened men in court who don’t have to reduce themselves to theatrics and sexual harassment practices to make themselves feel as if they’ve got balls. And, they do hold the highest level of respect; however, they are few and far between but it is obvious they have chutzpah no one questions it.

But the bullies? If we could just rattle their heads we’d see the balls are in their head because they’d ring between their ears. It is sad when weak men resort to bullying and abuse but it is sadder when it is sanctioned and not held to accountability thwarting yet another generation of womanhood and men who observe wrongful examples of job performance in what should be the most sanctioned area in a community. The beat goes on . . .

Today’s music video to go with this blog . . .

Lesson from this music video – Sonny wasn’t talented yet Cher carried him for many years appearing under his wing. One can only wonder if he’d treated her with greater equality – would they have grown together? Further, he was many years her senior and unattractive to boot but we’ll save that dynamic for a future blog! 🙂

And, of course, the old program format seems fitting to today’s blog.

Until next time. . .