So, rising above partisanship, I want to make it clear that it is time for all men to stop saying nasty things about women.
Not only is it bad manners to say such and common decency not to, the way things are going, what men say about women today is likely to come back to haunt them.
Because if things keep going as they are, pretty soon it will be women, not men, who will be in charge.
And, how can this be?
Well, according to a recent article in Time magazine (“Women, Money, and Power,” March 26, 2012), it all started with “the pill.”
As Time tells it, “the pill” did more than sexually liberate women; it economically liberated them, as well. With “the pill,” women could delay marriage and child-bearing and invest instead in education, which is what many did — so many that women make up nearly 60 percent of today’s college students and earn the majority of master’s and doctoral degrees.
As we know, education is an economic investment, and now that investment is paying off.
As women get more education they get better jobs, and today the wages women earn are growing faster than wages earned by men. If current trends continue, the majority of working wives within a generation will out-earn their husbands.
There is more than money at stake here. Though it seems only fair that wives who already earn more than husbands are the ones who determine where that money is spent, the Time analysis shows that even where the husband and wife earn roughly the same, the wife still guides the family finances.
This shift in family authority is deeply troubling to many men. When Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum recently spoke out against contraception, he told the press that “the pill” was not a good invention because it gave folks “a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.”
He left what was “supposed to be” to our imagination, but I can’t help thinking that he was talking about more than returning us to sex-for-procreation only. If ending recreational sex was his goal, he might also have advocated removing those machines in convenience-store restrooms that sell those little balloons.
Nossir, I figure that for Santorum and many other men, the way it was “supposed to be” meant that the father was supposed to be the head of the household, the breadwinner, the paterfamilias, the one who runs the show. These men figure that if they don’t get a handle on things and guide them in the way that they “should” go, they would end up like the men at the Augusta National Golf Club.
You can see where this is heading.
Augusta National puts on what is arguably the most famous golf tournament in the world — The Masters.
The club membership is and has been all-male — no girls allowed (which is not as in-your-face as calling women “sluts,” but to some, saying “you aren’t wanted” is a putdown, nonetheless).
Ten years ago, the National Council of Women’s Organizations launched a campaign to get Augusta National to accept a woman as a member.
The effort failed.
Because those protesting the exclusion wanted a woman admitted to membership because she was a woman. Her other qualifications didn’t matter.
And she was denied membership because she was a woman.
But this year is different.
Traditionally, Augusta National bestows membership on the CEOs of the tournament’s corporate sponsors. This year, however, the CEO of one sponsor, IBM, is a woman.
See the dilemma?
Being a private club, Augusta National can keep her out because she is a woman, but she is more than a woman — she is a CEO, and not just any CEO, she is the CEO of a sponsor.
And if being a woman does not matter to IBM, should it matter to Augusta National?
Although the club president has refused to comment beyond saying that “all issues of membership remain the private deliberations of the membership,” it is pretty clear that Augusta National has a problem.
And so do the men who want things the way they are “supposed to be.”
Harvey H. (“Hardy”) Jackson is Eminent Scholar in History at Jacksonville State University and a columnist and editorial writer for The Star. E-mail: email@example.com.