The equal rights amendment was supposed to stop gender roles from being assigned, so why do we still use them to make chorus boys watch ESPN? Oh... right... it was never passed.
by David Davila (playwright/song-writer)
Yesterday I had lunch at the counter of a very popular Astoria burger & shake joint, FAMOUS HAMBURGER (known for their halal burgers,) and indulged in a chocolate-banana shake (FYI: that is not a sexual act... yet.) Pretty normal day off... except that it was raining, and the TVs were blasting the Tim Burton marathon on ABC Family.
I. WAS. IN. HEAVEN. A rainy day at the counter, with a milkshake AND Beetlejuice? I was living Suzanne Vega’s dream. I stayed till the end of the movie only to get a bit peeved when the manager came in and yelled at my waitress for changing the channel from ESPN. The conversation went a bit like this:
MANAGER: Brenda, what have I told you about changing the channel from ESPN?
BRENDA: No one wants to watch sports right now! All my customers are mothers with children, and gay guys.
ME: (interrupting, and kinda yelling) God why does everyone think the TV has to be playing sports? Why do straight guys get to decide what everyone watches? That is such a backwards-subservient way to think, like we have to do what “the man” wants to do at all times. Just cause the straight man wants to watch a random golf tournament in the middle of the afternoon, we all have to watch with boredom? This is a family restaurant so why wouldn’t we be watching ABC Family? If guys want to watch sports they will go across the street to CANZ.
totes verbal vomit
(I actually LOVE Canz, and highly recommend it. EVERYTHING on the menu is good; great selection of beers, and incredible service. You should totally check it out and invite me to go with you cause I totes live across the street from it. Just hit me up on twitter... lol.... no, for real.)
BRENDA: Yeah! What he said!
MANAGER: (chuckling) That’s a good point, I’ll keep that in mind.
BRENDA: So can we watch Edward Scissorhands?
MANAGER: (looking around the restaurant and seeing only kids, and gays) I guess.
It’s the small victories that mean the most... oh, and I’m by NO means a chorus boy, if you were insinuating that from the sub-title of this blog... though I did try it once in college...
That little exchange really got me thinking about all those lesbians who complain about living in a male dominated world. I suddenly GOT IT. I got what they’ve been complaining about this whole time, and not just the lesbians, I felt very frustrated. I guess I’ve been frustrated about it for a while, and this attack on a middle-eastern hamburger-joint manager was the culmination of said frustration.
My apologies to you sir.
It started in childhood when I was expected to do all those masculine things, like walk without a swish, and stay away from the lifetime network, but I think the tipping point was Tuesday when I read about Edie Windsor.
If you haven’t heard about Edie Windsor, she’s an 83-year-old lesbian woman who had to pay $363,000.00 in estate-inheritance taxes because she is a woman. Let me be a little more clear on this, Edie’s wife died, and left Edie her entire estate, but because Edie is a woman she will have to pay an estate-inheritance tax. If she were a man, whose wife had died, her inheritance taxes would have been.... zero. She’s not a man though, and so she'll have to shell out a giant sum of money to the government, because she was born without a penis. That just doesn't seem fair to me.
For several years now, gays have been using religious freedom to argue our right to marry, but I’d like to add another layer to that argument; SEXISM...
Remember sexism? It was real big in those campy Dolly Parton films of the eighties. But Dolly showed them every time that girls can do anything boys can, like run a manufacturing business, or run a hair dressing business, or run a prostitution business. She sure showed them with that low cut dress that exposed her womanly ta-tas, and that lasso that caught the bad guy right around the neck. Remember how she’s a bad-ass cow-girl? So stop being sexist!
Girls are supposed to be able to do anything that boys can do in this country, except pee standing up. But I say, if a girl wants to pee standing up, if she wants her urine to drip down her thighs until it meets her ankles with a warm tingly sensation that she can wiggle, all wet-like, between her toes until it soaks into the Earth, then why the hell not?
It’s a free country...
Sorta... I mean, you know, if you pay your taxes, it’s free... in the way that PAYING makes it free, which it doesn’t, but you get my point. Or you could live off of government help, which would make it REALLY free, but that’s a totally different blog which I DEFINITELY don’t feel like writing right now.
The point is, if a girl wants to be a firefighter, she can be a firefighter. If she wants to play football, she can play football. If a girl wants to be Secretary of State, or President of these great United States of America (and Mississippi,) then she can do just that. And if a girl wants to claim her wife's estate, she can claim her Gosh-Darn-Wife's estate, and she shouldn’t have to pay $363,000.00 to the government to do it. I mean... she took care of her wife for years as she slowly reached her end. They lived together for years; shared everything for years. The government is forcing her to pay taxes on things that were already hers.
This argument works the other way too... if a boy wants to watch the Golden Girls marathon on Lifetime, he should be able to do it without Lifetime Network’s sexist “television for women” slogan popping up between every commercial break. Stop assigning gender roles to your television station, it made my adolescence very hard! For the record they stopped using that slogan in 2006.... but the effects are still left lingering...
My immediate thought when I read about Edie was that this had to be unconstitutional. I know that the Federal Government doesn't recoginze Edie's marriage because of the Defense Of Marriage Act, but surely there must be some kind of law protecting Edie from being discriminated against based on her sex.
But alas I was unable to find any said law. I googled and wiki'd for hours. I asked my facebook friends, and messaged my lawyer friends, and read through studies and papers about women's rights... and still couldn't find anything.
All I came to find is that, although there are several laws that give women equal rights in the workplace, there is no specific law that requires women to be treated equally to men in all aspects of the law. The Equal Rights Amendment would have guaranteed women that. Frankly it would have guaranteed that all people be treated equally all the time.
First proposed in 1923, the Equal Rights Amendment would guarantee equal rights to everyone in the united states, and would basically nullify DOMA by guaranteeing women the right to marry a woman, just like a man can.
At least in my brain that's how it would work.
The amendment never passed in all the years since, mostly because politicians see it as useless. Many of my friends see it as useless, claiming that women are already treated equal. Opponents of the amendment are probably scared of what it will mean to their religious beliefs. But how can we let someone's religious beliefs keep someone else from having their basic human rights? Especially if that person doesn't practice the same religion as you; that's kind of the point of freedom of religion. Al Qaeda comes to mind here.
It seems to me that we need the Equal Rights Amendment now more than ever.
While complaing about it to my friend Tracy yesterday, she mused "wouldn't it be nice if we didn't need laws to tell us to treat everyone equally?" I called her a "dirty commie," and we had a good laugh... and then I thought; wouldn't it?
... and now for the 90's jam of the week:
DAVID DAVILA is half of the song-writing duo Havrilla & Davila, author of the Tex-Mex plays, and founder of Lone Star Theatre Co. Wanna talk about it? www.daviddavila.net
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