Society Teaches us that Women are Untrustworthy?
Role Reboot: Culture & Politics reports on how society is teaching our kids that women lie.
So how exactly are we teaching children that women lie and can’t be trusted to be as competent or truthful as men?
The article comments that lessons about women’s untrustworthiness are in our words, pictures, art, and memory. They purport that women are overwhelmingly portrayed as flawed, supplemental, ornamental, or unattainably perfect and that it is easy to find examples of girls and women routinely, entertainingly cast as liars and schemers.
For example, on TV we have Pretty Little Liars, Gossip Girl, Don’t Trust The Bitch in Apartment 23, Devious Maids, and, because its serpent imagery is so basic to feminized evil, American Horror Story: Coven.
They point out that the lessons start early at an early age noting the popular animated kids movie Shark Tale, which featured the song “Gold Digger,” a catchy tune that describes women as scheming, thieving, greedy, and materialistic. There is no shortage of music lyrics that convey the same ideas across genres. It’s in movies, too.
A few examples:
“Amongst all the savage beasts none is found so harmful as woman.” — John Chrysostom
“What she cannot get, she seeks to obtain through lying and diabolical deceptions. One must be on one’s guard with every woman, as if she were a poisonous snake and the horned devil.” — St. Albertus Magnus
“Women were made either to be wives or prostitutes.” — Martin Luther
“I fail to see what use woman can be to man, if one excludes the function of bearing children.” — Augustine
It is important to note that men are often times not portrayed in the best light by female singers and can be paralleled to heart breakers, etc.
These thoughts are alive and well and have a super long tail outside of religion & music: domestic work, pay discrimination, and sex segregation in the workplace. Every time a young girl can’t serve at an altar, or play in a game, or dress as she pleases; every time she’s assaulted and told to prove it, it’s because she cannot, in the end, be trusted. Controlling her—her clothes, her will, her physical freedom, her reputation—is her responsibility and not most often an unalienable right.
Children learn so quickly and normatively to follow society’s’ norms; do we really want the distrust women to be one of those? We need to teach our younger generations to always challenge ideologies that go against our better judgment. It means critically assessing the comforting institutions we support out of nostalgia, habit, and tradition. It could also mean not buying certain movie tickets, closing some books, refusing to pay for some music, and politely disagreeing with friends and family at the dinner table.