There’s been some talk of violence against women – finally – in the aftermath of the latest mass shootings and killings, due to the killer’s expressed reasons for his rage and pursuant massacre. There’s also been an acknowledgement, in some of the media, of the fact that many, if not most, men feel a sense of entitlement to women’s submission, which comes from a sense of ownership, as in over a possession they own. At the very least, they believe they hold certain rights, as in property rights, over the individual, not unlike the sense of entitlement slave owners used to feel over slaves, or even long after the abolition of slavery, most whites continued to feel towards Americans of African origin. That sense of entitlement is also very much present and visible among the police, especially policemen and especially towards minorities. In this case, however, they view people not as their property, but as subjects they must contain, control and subdue. This gives them the feeling of power over them, which they take pleasure in exercising, which in turn reinforces that sense of power and authority. We can also include the entitlement of capitalists to having the compliance and servitude of their employees. In each of these cases, but especially in the case of men vs. women, the person in the position of power, or rather perceived and expected power, is so convinced of that entitlement that he views it as a “God given” and “natural” right, whose violation will often cause fury and rage, prompting the individual into taking what’s rightly his or exercising those rights by force, or to retaliate through violence, should those rights over the subject group be violated or not acknowledged and respected.
Women are thus thought of as objects incapable of choosing for themselves whom they like and want to be with. They are viewed as objects to be won over and had before someone else gets to them. This kind of sick and sexist thinking often forces women to respond to a man’s advances by saying she’s already in a relationship since most men will respect other men’s property rights more than women’s own judgement and right to choose her own partner.
Though such acknowledgement, as mentioned above, is rare, what isn’t being discussed, at all, is how women are routinely objectified by capitalism and made into objects to be taken and owned for the pleasure of men. Images of photoshopped women made into Goddesses of beauty are everywhere and are used to generate sales. And this works on both men and we women. The porn “industry” (a laughable title), especially, pushes the envelop on this by showing humiliation of women and reinforcing the sense of power and ownership in men, while lowering women into nothing but sex objects. The stories depicted do not portray or instill in the viewer a sense of mutual respect and love, but, sex, devoid of, not only love, but also of any respect. On the contrary, they portray women in the most humiliating situations, reducing them to mere sex toys, devoid of humanity or worthy of equal rights and respect. Capitalism also benefits from dividing people by pitting one group against another. Many men feel threatened by the presence of women in the workforce, just as they do towards immigrants and other minorities.
Such attitudes will be hard to change within the current capitalist system and existing capitalist laws. But, that should not be an excuse to postpone fighting against sexism until such time that capitalism has been defeated and wiped out. The struggle against sexism, as against racism and other forms of bigotry, must be waged, not later, but now, and independently of and concurrently with any other struggle. It can and must be done and the only way to do it is by educating or rather reeducating the public, both men and women, starting in kindergarten.