That’s right. We’re clingy, annoying stains. Shit stains. Don’t believe me? Check out this American Standard ad that made it through multiple people for approval, another slew of people to be made, and an actress who took a bit of pocket change to represent that clingy shit stain and become a face to the issue of setting women back a few years.
Why does an advertisement like this get approval? Why are we [women] in a participatory state of misogyny?
As if we aren’t facing enough issues with victim blaming when it comes to what we were wearing, drinking or saying during a non-consensual sexual act, women are taking hit after hit with our health… and how we don’t take initiative in care. This goes beyond rape. Beyond no.
This is a matter of the heart. Bear with me, for a moment. Imagine a male friend, family member, coworker you know of with heart disease. When they complained of shortness of breath, chest pain, weakness, sweating, nausea to their doctor, do you know if they were asked about their marriage, work stressors, if their children were going through changes? Were they initially subscribed an anti-anxiety medication, given the name of a therapist? Or were they scheduled for an EKG and bloodwork within the week?
My guess is yes to the former.
Let me relay a personal story of a friend of mine who, upon the birth of her 3rd child, experienced chest pain and shortness of breath while still in the hospital. You’re just anxious the doctor assured her. In truth, she was dying. Her diagnosis of cardiomyopathy finally came days later, when she was near blue and unable to stand or breathe on her own. She spent weeks in a hospital recovering, and though treatable upon her first complaint, left untreated rendered her unable to work. Even in the hospital, her chest pains and breathing issues were attributed to having a baby, stress of life, lack of sleep. No matter how many times she repeated her symptoms, or was unable to sit up and catch her breath, denied feelings of stress and anxiety, no tests were ordered.
She sat in a bed, barely able to feed her new baby, dying.
Women are more likely to die from heart attacks due to “ignoring their symptoms“, with little recognition going to how women have been treated in the past for their complaints. Women’s heart health is still underfunded and underrepresented, regardless of the facts. Things like the vapors, fainting spells, and female hysteria all have a history in heart disease in women- with symptoms largely ignored as emotional issues. When doctors are confronted with women showing signs of heart disease, the first questions are often those relating to social and relationship changes- putting the role of mother or wife before that of individual. Stripping a woman of their personal somatic connection, and confidence in knowing her emotions versus physical body. These questions put the importance back to men and their role leading and governing both family and business- women are just too emotionally frail to have heart disease?
Our fight for rights as women is no where near its end. Having two girls, I fear watching our great nation rest on its laurels claiming women have achieved equality.
Where are we equal?
Not in pay, by an average of 16%.
Not in benefits.
Not in job advancement.
Not in media representation.
Not in whether or not we have sex- women between the ages of 15 and 44 are at a greater risk of experiencing rape or domestic violence than cancer, car accidents, war or malaria, according to the World Bank. According to the UN, as much as 70% of women worldwide experience violence during their life.
Not in the shouldering of perceived home and childcare responsibilities.
Not in advertising.
Not in sports.
Not in the military, where, as stated by a 2013 Pentagon report, between one fifth and one half of female veterans were sexually harassed while on active duty, and women are more likely to leave with PTSD from rape than from actual fighting.
Not in control of our bodies or what we decide to do with them.
Not financially, where the stats are crippling… in the US 15.5% of women live in poverty compared with 11.9% of men, according to a report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. That number only gets worse for black, Hispanic and Native American women. Retirement doesn’t get any better, according to CNNMoney, with 11% of women 65 and older living below the poverty line compared with 6.6% of men, relying on a median income of $16,000 a year, a whopping $11,000 less (on average) than men. According to the UN, the majority of the 1 billion people living in poverty worldwide are women.
…we even pay more for the same types of health and beauty products.
Women. We need to have a voice… a collective, united voice. We need to be the faces. We need to break the facade of equality that isn’t there. It never has been.
So here it is, folks.
We’re not shit, nor are we comparable to the stains left on a toilet. This form of advertisement, treatment of women, designation that we must prove injury in order to prove crime- this is constitutionally unjust. Until we are equal, there is no equality. All women. Everywhere.
We’re strong females, women, girls. Humans. We are not only capable of making and sustaining life, we are why life exists. My American standard is to be equal, to my government, medical community and corporate advertisers alike.
Dear American Standard,
You are not worthy of my shit stains. You are a black mark on our society. On progression. On equality. You are not American.