Time for the gentle sex to fight back | AspenTimes.com

Time for the gentle sex to fight back

Meredith CarrollAspen, CO Colorado

Despite graduating from college with a minor in Womens Studies, I never have been too quick to wave a burning bra (especially when having a door held for me if my arms are full or being offered a free drink on Ladies Night). Countless magazines, newspapers and hot topic segments on The View have carried on about the struggles of women in a mans world forced to find balance or choose between career and family, but I never have read or watched with anything more than a mild curiosity.My parents instilled in me the belief that among the most important choices I ever will make are where do I want to go, and whats the best and most efficient route to total achievement. As such, the most pressing decision I was forced to make recently was paper or plastic (I know, I know I shouldve used a reusable organic cotton bag), and the only thing Ive had to balance is my checkbook.I get the feeling Hillary Clinton operates on a similar philosophy (although the checking accounts she oversees probably have much more favorable interest rates). Which is why its so irksome that lately shes been treated as if shes got a bulls-eye tattoo on her forehead. If I thought she was being picked on because she has lousy ideas or shes given some indication shed be an ineffective leader of the free world, then I wouldnt care. But its become increasingly obvious that shes a target mostly because shes a strong woman. (Cue the smoke coming out of my ears.)While even some of her harshest critics have applauded her policies, Hillary has been incessantly ridiculed for her wardrobe and hairstyles. And theres little doubt shell be judged until her last breath for defending and sticking with her husband after he lied about and then ultimately admitted to an extramarital affair.John McCain cheated on his first wife (the mother of three of his seven kids) and left her for his current wife. Whispers of him engaging in yet another extramarital affair grew to a roar last week in The New York Times. But amazingly, he had defenders on both sides of the aisle universally aghast that the questionable relationship was made public. And barely a word ever is spoken about McCains teeth or Barack Obamas ears.Hillary takes heat for personal decisions that kept her family intact. Shes accused of having ulterior motives (the nerve!). Shes been dogged for tearing up before the New Hampshire primary. Forget that shes incredibly bright and extraordinarily qualified. Shes apt to start sobbing if the President of Ireland breaks a teacup at a White House State Dinner, so off with her head.As bad as its been for Hillary lately, Ive been slightly out of sorts, too. I feel like Im on the verge of being the subject of an O magazine article, or Tyra Banks might devote a day to me on her talk show. Not so much because Im struggling with the classic working woman choices, but because, like Hillary, there are those who think they can intimidate me into moving out of the way.Theres this work acquaintance who has proved time and again to be utterly incapable of accepting that a woman occupies a higher place than he on the professional food chain. Hes made it crystal clear he thinks women are good for little more than secretarial duties and that men he, in particular, natch should do the figurative heavy lifting (although when it actually once came time to do some literal heavy lifting, he relied on a man in his 70s to do it for him, claiming the classic back injury defense).And despite the fact that he rarely does even a minimum amount of work, he keeps foaming at the mouth, waiting for me to pop out a kid just so he can jump up and down and say, See! I told you shed get pregnant and leave! Give me her job! I might not be good at it, but at least I wont desert you!Then theres a neighbor whos ripped a page right out of Fred Flintstones caveman book. He cant understand how my husband lets me speak for myself, make my own decisions and even, sometimes, decisions for our family (perish the thought!). When I speak at homeowners association meetings, instead of responding directly to me, he looks at my husband as if to make sure Ive been given proper authorization to open my mouth. To him, women are little more than pests requiring the service of an exterminator.Its no secret that overt racism has long been considered socially unacceptable (for which Obama must be grateful and many right-wingers secretly hateful). However, somehow its never become a faux pas to wear sexism as proudly as this seasons It bag.Still, the critics have misjudged Hillary. And I know Im being underestimated. Thankfully, word on the street is that bitch is the new black (according to Tina Fey on last weeks Saturday Night Live). So bring it on. Because this bitch is in the house. And in the office. And the other one is in the Senate, and maybe someday the Oval Office. Either way, I can promise neither of us is on a path off which we can easily be pushed.E-mail questions or comments to meredithccarroll@hotmail.com