The is a watershed moment for women. I know, we’ve heard that so many times, but the truth becomes more clear with each passing story as the integrity of men in power slowly disappears. Each day, a new accusation, another women steps forward from the shadows and tells her tragic story. There will be more. Virtually all the women I know have a story. But there is another story that goes along with it. It’s called the problem of female currency.
Ever since I was a child, I have been inundated with images of what women should look like and how to be a women. It’s part of a culture, that at one point allowed men to own women and to beat them regularly without fear of consequence. That was the generation I was born in to. I watched that happen. Growing up watching TV, I saw women were clearly treated as second class citizens. And that notion further reinforced by the news. On the news, it was always the distinguished older white guy and the beautiful, albeit younger co-anchor. If women had not come forward, Matt Lauer would have remain seated while his co anchor got progressively younger.
This is the female currency of the rape culture of this country. The perceived value of a women is based on a woman’s attractiveness. It is traded and bartered on a daily basis, on television, the advertising industry. It’s literally everywhere. Look online, see the ads for women’s face cream, a product designed for women over 40, any guesses on these models age?
It’s on billboards, television and in films. In Hollywood, actresses move quickly up the ladder of success the more beautiful they are. Their looks are part of their currency, their perceived value to men. I’ve read so many scripts written by men, where women were literally just objects to move the man further ahead in the script. Our hero walks into a bank and up to teller who is a younger attractive women. Or as Britt Marling wrote in her essay in the Atlantic in which she details her Harvey Weinstein moment, “ women are generally underwritten. They don’t necessarily even need names; “Bikini Babe 2.”
I knew this early on and I traded in it. I played the game as many do, but I knew it would fade one day so my entire being never was fully vested. But I know many, many women who are vested, they look at it like it’s a gift in the tool box. A gift that we have to use to move ahead. And that’s also dangerous.
Our gifts in life are so much more, and in fact in this increasingly learned and technologically advancing world, women have way more to offer as they age. Woman are more proficient multi-taskers than men. A recent study by BMC Psychology stated, “the average woman is better able to organize her time and switch between tasks than the average man.” This only improves with age. It must also be stated that the study says while indeed there are variables there is also truth in the fact that not all men fall into this category. In other words the limited tool box we start out with becomes a treasure chest filled to the brim with tools that can do so much more for this world and the next generation of women and men.
As we navigate this time period, this watershed moment, it’s something that we need to be acutely aware of and work to change as well as workplace culture. This female currency was created by men for men. It literally was all that the Weinsteins and the Ratners of the world perceived. It explains the predominance of women stepping up in media and entertainment positions and detailing their abuses in a system that uses them as objects. It’s time to do something different. We need to create and cultivate how women are treated and perceived in the media, in Hollywood, in corporations, in advertising in everyday life. It’s our job to call bullshit on every level. Let’s not lose this opportunity, if you see it, say it!