Growing up in the dark ages, we kids used to hear about guys who wanted to dress “differently” or talk funny or act "different" from the rest of us. We heard about girls who wanted to play baseball or go hunting or any of a number of other "hobbies" that were usually (we thought) reserved for boys or men.
Boys didn't play with dolls and girls didn’t play cowboys and Indians or war. We didn’t really know why, it just was.
As we grew older, we heard more things like these "truths" from slightly older kids on the playground then at hangouts then on the street. By then, ideologies had been formed, impressions made.
There were “accepted” norms and deviation from them meant, well, deviation. Slowly we understood that some people wanted to be different from what they were. Lots of people had (and have) a difficult time with this concept.
The prejudices that were instilled in us were probably the result of attitudes we “absorbed” from parents first, then peers and more subtly, but more insidiously, our churches.
In the 70s it became ok for young boys to play with G.I. Joe dolls…because they were dressed as army men; manly fighters, real heroes the boys could envision themselves as. The Vietnam War was over or nearly over so maybe there was something subliminal by some department of government or some advertisers just wanting money or plans for future bigotry.
The young girls still had Barbie Dolls with all kinds of “stay in your house and be a good wife” accessories. They had Easy Bake Ovens and Patty Play Pal and Chatty Kathy dolls and were expected to continue in that vein. But the boys…get ready for manhood and war!
Things began changing regarding feelings that had been so long hidden and taboo to even talk about. They were coming out into the open and (some) were accepting these different ways of life. Others, not so much.
These others have become a partisan crowd today who still cling to the 50s mentality that boys WILL be boys and girls WILL be girls. However, if today, some in their circle of power act differently, it’s ok because…well, because! But the stigma still is placed on those outside their world.
Bob Dylan told us “The Times, They are a’Changin’”. But really, they’re not, at least not at any rate measurable even by a calendar. And it seems that there are those who don’t want the times to change and will do anything or say anything to keep the closed minds in their world intact.
These people want to tell everyone else what they can do or how they should act or what they can believe but should contradictory views appear, they are dismissed, denigrated; those who espouse opposing views or support them are chastised, shunned, made fun of or whenever possible, discriminated against.
Yet these same bigots, for that’s what they are, turn a deaf ear to those “different” who are their friends simply because they ARE their friends or business partners. That’s hypocritical bigotry and it runs rampant today especially in politics and religion.
We have a Republican political party preaching Family Values that are nothing more than a bigoted joke. But they have the ear and support of a media that allows bigoted hatred to continue to be spewed without counter. Whether those with the power to get this message out believe it themselves or not isn’t relevant. They willingly do what those above them tell them to do. They are “just following orders”, as we heard in the more distant past. And we are being told that boys must STILL be boys and girls must STILL be girls by powers that drive and control the media.
We now have a female, Sarah Palin, running for the first time on the Extremist Evangelical Wing of the NeoCon Republican Party who claims to have these Family Values; Family Values John McCain, Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani and David Vitter, Larry Craig and Ted Haggard, Dick and Mary Cheney and “Jeff Gannon” and others all claim to support yet by their actions give lie to the beliefs they try to force on others. What’s more incomprehensible is the transgressions of these “Family Valued People are overlooked by their own, but seized upon when others not of their “kind” engage in them.
Now we have this female vice presidential candidate using lies and innuendo to promote Family Values in name only. Lies, distortions, deflections. She’ll use anything to advance her party regardless of truth. She learned from the men in the Republican Party. But it wasn't that difficult for her as she has the experience to be a Republican and showed it as small town mayor then Governor.
She was for the (money for the) Bridge to Nowhere, she fought big oil (only to get more profits for her state, not to reduce prices), and she abused her power. But she wants us to believe she’s one of the guys. She hunts, she rides snowmobiles, like one of the guys. She eats moose meat. She doesn’t care about women or women’s rights unless they are wealthy Republican women or her pregnant daughter. She doesn’t play with Barbie, would probably castrate Ken while he was making supper in the kitchen. She just wants us to believe she’s one of the guys. I think she’s been fairly successful in delivering that image.
Being reared by intelligent, compassionate and caring parents who allowed me to make up my own mind about life and being, or trying to be, a “liberal person” but trying my damndest to always have an open mind, I’d never been one to stereotype people. But, now… when I look at Sarah Palin, I see the 50s I grew up in…and I see her as…
“One of the guys.”
I could be wrong.