When I learned that the Rolling Stones big hit “Mother’s Little Helper” was about Valium “though she’s not really ill, there’s a little yellow pill” and it was the most widely prescribed drug in the 1950’s, I nodded with understanding. Almost jealous that doctors are not doing that now. So many smart women forced into subservient stultifying roles – those were NOT the good old days. On social media, I see photos of the women standing behind the Mango Mussolini and say “The town of Stepford called, they want their Robo Wives back” and I get likes and hahas. But seriously, they scare me.
Scary smart chicks should not be expected to face life sober. The hostilities take many forms. Derision, shouting, storming out, questioning, always questioning, our conclusions. Libtard, Snowflake, Pollyanna – I am none of those things. Gas lighting is the new sexist art form. Fighting every single day to be heard, to have our advice heeded.
De-humanization on steroids, the last four years. So I speak. And I write checks to progressive candidates. And I write letters to my elected representatives. I ask my friends, “why do you think Fox Media and Sinclair Broadcasting keep handing you someone brown to hate?” I argue that no person is illegal. That we should be ashamed seeing asylum seekers arrested just for asking. There was never any caravan from South America. Cliven Bundy was no hero. Kyle Rittenhouse is just another in a long line of murderous angry white men, egged on to crazed attacks on an enemy manufactured by xenophobic propagandists. Clutching their un-read Bibles, they come wrapped in the flag, spewing hate. The Confederacy, founded on de-humanization, on the ugly belief in the superiority of the Caucasian race. And all too often, in the right of the Master to beat his wife, too.
And on January 6th, the violently misinformed beat a police officer to death with flag poles and fire extinguishers. Those are the faces of our abusers. Let us punish without mercy the ones who lied to them, and pointed them like bayonets at the Union
When I was in college, for one of my classes in world history, I was assigned a textbook called “Herstory – the underside of History”. The premise is that human history has been written by the victors, men who for many years denied literacy to women. I began a critical examination of the history we are taught in school – tales of geopolitical conquest, tales of religious wars, tales of pharaohs and emperors, and concluded that these chapters are actually not that important. Not to our evolution as a species. Cultural and scientific breakthroughs, changes in the definition of family, the fall of matriarchies and the rise of patriarchies – these are the truly historical events. Lines drawn on a map, borders and country names changing as soldiers and warriors bled to crest a hill for the right to rename it – what we celebrate – it is all decidedly one-sided. “Progress” towards this goal of complete subjugation of the natural world is actually taking the human race backwards. The so-called Renaissance was the Dark Ages for woman’s rights – the Napoleonic Code and the blithe assumption that women are chattel was the opposite of a giant step forward for mankind.
Possessing a left and right brain working at full capacity in a society willing to accept only one per gender, I find that logic, reason, intellect, numbers, analytical thinking are not expected from one who pines to take brush to paper and paint EVERY branch of those stark trees silhouetted by the sunset. From one who works steadily at the art of turning a phrase like a lump on the potter's wheel, without knowing what shape it is going to take. And I wonder how many half-uttered thoughts died a-borning' because some pitiful pre-programmed inadequacy department determined that no-one wanted to hear them?
So I take much of what has been written with a grain of salt. There was a female Pharaoh named Hatshepsut who ruled one of most peaceful and abundant periods in Egyptian history. Her name was literally erased from history – the hieroglyphics were chiseled out of the stone monuments and tablets, her name was not included in the lists of rulers. I always picture that chisel and the chunks of stone where once there was wisdom whenever I read an account of the period I’ve been researching for the historical novel. Important contributions, I assume, will have been left out if those contributions were made by women.
Catherine G. Tripp writes for grownups, for the curious, for those who appreciate wry humor. Her work has been published in Pilcrow and Dagger, Wingless Dreamer, Reedsy, and she has read her work for several Zoom shows in 2020, including the Mask Monologues, Coffee and Grief and Creative Caffeine. Her recent writings and blog posts have been insightful, fast-paced, evocative essays about current events, and thought-provoking memoirs about the tangled branches of her family tree.