Dina Leygerman fabricates and imposes a sense of ungratefulness onto the author of the original post. There is no evidence that the author is not thankful for the leaders of the women’s rights movement of decades past. Leygerman has to resort to constructing this straw man to distract from the woman’s straightforward argument that it is not necessary to march for rights she already possesses. Instead of making a rational case that, while men and women may have equal rights now, women’s rights have come under imminent attack (i.e. Trump wants to take away women’s right to vote), she assumes a sanctimonious and demeaning tone in an attempt to shame the author.
Once Dina gets through her litany of the brave, but poorly described, efforts of brave women (“Thank Maud Wood Park for your prenatal care and your identity outside of your husband.”), she manages to attempt to identify examples of inequality to address the author’s point that she has the same rights as a man. The examples she gives, however, are not evidence of unequal rights. Instead, they are are either descriptions of hardships faced by women because of their biological makeup or instances of where a woman’s rights, which she has, are being violated. Though these examples succeed in demonstrating difficulties women face, they fail in proving that women lack the same rights as men. Let’s dig in to a few.
“You still have to pay taxes for your basic sanitary needs.”
I believe she means to point out that the cost of women’s sanitary needs is higher than that of men and they are still not free, and that is unfair. While true, this is not an example of inequality of rights, but rather a result of how different biological processes require sanitary products of different value. This example is as ridiculous as pointing out that men have higher rates of prostate cancer than women.
“You still have to carry mace when walking alone at night.”
Everyone has the right to defend themselves. The important choice of whether or not to is freely made by men and women alike. Again, this point has nothing to do with equal rights and more to do with the differences in biologically related problems men and women are faced with. Men are generally physically stronger than women, and therefore usually need not rely on mace for protection as women do. On a related note, it is widely acceptable for a woman to carry mace for safety, but common for a man to be ridiculed for doing so. These differences, while unfair or ignorant, are not indicative of a disparity in rights. In other words, while women and men experience life differently, it does not necessarily follow that they do not have equal rights.
“You still have to prove to the court why you were drunk on the night you were raped.”
It’s not exactly clear what this means. Are there rational justifications for getting drunk facing unfair scrutiny? I assume Dina’s point is that female rape victims often have their stories doubted if they were intoxicated. A rape victim not being believed is horrific and does occur. But, a biased judge or jury deciding a case incorrectly occurs to women and men alike and for different reasons. Nevertheless, the evidentiary burden used in courts for proving rape is the same regardless of sex, as is a person’s right to due process. The courtroom may be the safest place for women to escape sexism.
Dina goes on to shame the author for feeling powerful, “I get it. You want to feel empowered. You don’t want to believe you’re oppressed…But don’t worry. I will walk for you.” The irony of a purported advocate for women’s rights denigrating a woman for feeling empowered is the kind of irony from an episode of Black Mirror that just makes you anxious about your children’s future.
Ending on the author’s choice not to march, I argue that her decision to recognize her equality and refuse to be lumped in with a movement trying to make all women think and act the same way is the strongest way to show appreciation for the incredible work of the Eleanor Roosevelts and Susan Anthonys of history.