Violence against women has been on my mind a lot lately. High-profile cases such as Chris Brown’s alleged beating of his girlfriend, Rihanna, and New York State Senator Hiram Montserrate’s alleged assault on his girlfriend, Karla Giraldo, not to mention the not-as-well-known uptick in incidences of female genital mutilation in Great Britain, added to the astonishing figure of 130 million living women who have been permanently scarred by this horrifying procedure, plus the fact that one out of every three women has been sexually or physically abused in the course of her life, well…let’s just say I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.
True to my Virgoan nature, I have been trying to analyze why this keeps happening to women. Why are statistics like this accepted and acceptable?
My theory is that there are two main factors involved. One is our society’s desire to blame the victim for her situation; a desire which has been newly energized by our Reagan-loving President, Barack Obama. I wrote about this epidemic of victim-blaming some time ago, here. But the second factor is one I haven’t articulated before: the myth of female physical equality.
I understand that feminism historically has striven to balance the two sexes by using many different tactics. One such tactic is to claim that women are equal to men in every single way. Forgive me if I lose my feminist creds here, but I find this idea to be laughable, and perhaps harmful. Nonetheless, it has taken hold of our imaginations. After all, isn’t it fun to watch a taut and toned, 100-pound Alyssa Milano kick 200-pound demon ass on “Charmed?” (She never even messes up her hair, or gets a scratch on that rock-hard abdomen, or twists her ankle in the five-inch platforms she wears!) But in reality, how likely is it that a woman can actually beat the hell out of a man who is really fighting back? And if she can’t do that, then how can she be equal to a man in every way?
I’ll tell you something. I was a student of karate for a year and a half. When my Shihan told me that in order to advance in the dojo, I needed to join the Friday night fighting class, at which time I’d have to fight large, muscular black belts and possibly break limbs, I looked at him, rolled my eyes, and quit. I know my own limitations.