An article in the New York Times this weekend stopped me in my tracks, causing me to put down the paper, close my eyes and fantasize about a world without men.
Ridiculous, I know, but Greg Hampikian, who wrote "Men, Who Needs Them?" makes a compelling case for their potential biological obsolescence:
If a woman wants to have a baby without a man, she just needs to secure sperm (fresh or frozen) from a donor (living or dead). The only technology the self-impregnating woman needs is a straw or turkey baster, and the basic technique hasn't changed much since Talmudic scholars debated the religious implications of insemination without sex in the fifth century. If all the men on earth died tonight, the species could continue on frozen sperm. If the women disappear, it's extinction.
The war on women in this country has made me think more about men. The problems women have aren't entirely the fault of men. That would be an unfair and inaccurate statement. But, men -- because they continue to hold onto the power which allows them to either keep things as they are or be the conduit of change -- seem to have their hands (and voices) in almost all of them. And women are mad.
Maybe -- like so many other women in this country, regardless of political orientation -- I'm feeling a bit more appalled than usual by the blatant disrespect (to put it politely and mildly) women continue to be shown by men. Maybe I'm particularly unhappy that far too many people have become immune to the onslaught, which is one of the key reasons why Rep. Todd Akin hasn't been officially stripped of all his political power.
Maybe my very soul is sick of war, rape, anger, physical and emotional abuse of women and children, powerful men and powerless women.
Maybe I'm outraged by the pay inequity and the lack of senior positions available to women in both the public and private sectors.
Maybe I'm frantic because my oldest daughter started college this week and my biggest fear has nothing to do with grades and everything to do with the substantiated rise in the number of campus date rape incidents.
Maybe I'm worried about how society continues to put pressure on women -- of all ages -- to look young, thin, beautiful, perfect, and my youngest daughter and her friends are caught in a web of confusion about what true beauty is.
Maybe all women are weary of being used as pawns in an increasingly nasty political game where the only real players are men. And it brings us no joy to know that both political parties are using women in hand-to-hand combat to win the presidential election.
Maybe I'm furious and frustrated that this simple sentence -- Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex -- is still not in the U.S. Constitution. The Equal Rights Amendment should have been passed decades ago. For sure, there are some women who are against it as well (for reasons I will never, ever comprehend), but I believe it's primarily due to the political power of men that it continues to languish.
Maybe all that, and more, led me to close my eyes and think about men on the auspicious occasion of Women's Equality Day when we commemorated the passing of the 19th Amendment which gave women a legal voice in politics. Yes, we can vote, and the good news is a record number of women are running for Congress this year. But men continue to talk over us in very substantial ways.
Of course, we will never have a world without men, and nor should we. It's a silly notion not worthy of discussion and debate (but is great fodder for fantasy). But the article in the New York Times fed my imagination when I was alone with my coffee and thoughts.
I don't want men to be gone . . . but wouldn't it be nice if they all read the article and understood who wields the real power? And wouldn't it be nice if women did, too?
Having just commemorated a key milestone in the ongoing march toward total equality between the sexes, let's think less about one group wielding power over another, and more about how to help each other make this a better world . . . for everyone.
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Barbara Hannah Grufferman is the President of Best of Everything Media, Inc., author of "The Best of Everything After 50," a guide to positive aging, and is at work on her second book, "Fifty Rules: What Every Woman Needs to Know Before Turning 50," which will be published in late 2012. Barbara is a columnist for AARP, and Chief Pundit at FOF (FabOverFifty), one of the largest websites for women over 45. She can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.