Why can’t we protect women? | VailDaily.com

Why can’t we protect women?

Women are circumcized in tribal rituals in Africa. We cringe.

Women in Central Asia are forced to cover their entire bodies, are barred from schools and voting. It offends our concept of civil rights.

Women in the some cultures are stoned to death or otherwise brutally murdered for holding hands with men who are not their husbands.

As Americans, we’re outraged.

But our modern, civilized American society has plenty of problems in how it treats women ” such as how we still insist they be frighteningly skinny and clear-skinned and blonde. Even the women on TV who are supposed to be unattractive ” “Ugly Betty” ” for instance are model-caliber women disguised by oversized eyeglasses, dowdy clothes and braces.

Hollywood for the most part still relegates women to playing the fretting wife or blubbering girlfriend while the leading man saves the world from the terrorist cell that has snuck a nuke into Disney World.

Just this week the disgraced news dinosaur Dan Rather essentially called his replacement, Katie Couric, a “tart.”

And even news outlets as august as the New York Times aren’t quite sure how to handle Hillary Clinton, a woman who very likely will be elected president late next year. An article this weekend talked about how Hillary had to act a little more macho.

Why not an article on John McCain showing his soccer-mom side?

On the other hand, some in our society have gone so far overboard that there’s no respect anymore for women who chose to stay home and raise their children, as if there’s something wrong with ” instead of selling real estate or marketing software or running a telecommunications firm ” making a career out of always being around for the kids.

What’s the problem if a mother, rather than being on a business trip, is home to fingerpaint when the kids get home from school?

But beyond all this, there’s a real evil threatening women in the homeland that our justice system, spiritual leaders and lists of registered sex offenders seem powerless to stop. The number of young women and girls who are abducted, raped and murdered is a blot of barbarism on the American Way.

It’s routine ” seems like there’s always a story on the news about a teen getting dragged away from a shopping mall or a little girl getting snatched out of her backyard.

But can we blame the acts of sickos on our society? Yes, when the sickos seem free to act whenever their diseased minds dictate.

This is not to lessen the guilt of child predators but it’s clear that long prison sentences and even the death penalty hasn’t deterred them. And really after the damage has been done ” after the promising honor student has been taken away from her friends and family ” what’s the difference if the killer rots in jail for the rest of his life or is put out of his misery in the execution chamber?

In the media coverage of these events, there’s lots of indignation about how evil the predator is, about the innocent life he snatched away, about the batch of new laws we must pass to punish predators more severely.

But the anger is rarely turned back on a society that is often uncomfortable talking about sex but is also obsessed with it.

The religious right seems to blame sex for all the ills it perceives are poisoning their concept of a chaste America. The solution is to equate sex with a moral crime and, rather than face reality and advocate healthier forms of sexuality, insist on abstinence unless a man and a woman are planning to reproduce.

Television, movies, magazines, most forms of music, some genres of art and fiction Pulitzer-worthy and pulpy portray sex as the most important thing in life; not only sex, but being sexually desirable and sexually accomplished and so sexually advanced, in fact, that one is supposed to become almost cynical about one’s unquenchable addiction to women.

This means, of course, those who don’t have sex as often as, say, a rock ‘n’ roll star are somehow lesser people.

Some people make it through these conflicting messages just fine and go on to have a productive and satisfying sex life; others live a life of anxiety, fear and therapy; and some can’t handle it and turn violent and seek out sexual “satisfaction” from the innocent and vulnerable.

There will always be sickos, but only when our country can be a little bit more mature about sex ” on both sides of the spiritual spectrum ” will we be able to steer some of them in a safer direction.

Assistant Managing Editor Matt Zalaznick can be reached at 748-2926, or mzalaznick@vaildaily.com.

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