Women as villains (Part 1)

Bitch, tramp, slut, whore, witch, skank, home wrecker, tease, prude. These are just a few examples of the plethora of derogatory terms used to describe women. Despite the progress women and feminism have made, there is still a long way to go before gender equality is achieved.

A prevailing theme throughout history, and one that still dominates today, is that of the ‘evil’–or in more 21st century political terms-‘nasty’ woman. I’m no historian, only a lover of history, but I’ve been able to discern the oppressive, patriarchal narrative in early cultures from areas all around the globe. Intrinsic to this belief is that all men are rarely capable of committing atrocities or behaving badly on their own: they are always motivated, inspired, or encouraged by woman, whether that woman is involved in or privy to the man’s plan’s and actions is moot.

Looking at the animal kingdom doesn’t portray women in a more favorable light, either. Konrad Lorenz, a Nobel Prize-Winning ethologist described a behavior common among females in many species of ducks. The female duck runs to the very edge of her partner’s territory with the intent of provoking another duck, and then runs back to her partner, egging him on to fight for her. Talk about instigating!

Take the Biblical story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, for instance. It’s a prime example of the perceived innocence and blamelessness of the male, being taken advantage of and misled by the corrupt, beguiling female. Poor Adam surely would have never taken a bite of the forbidden fruit and Eve not tempted him into doing so! Their mutinous actions, according to the Bible, resulted in humanity’s sinful nature, in our division from the perfect image of God. In this religious text, the finger of blame is undeniably pointed at Eve for man’s fall from grace. This woman blaming isn’t unique to biblical times.

Today, when women are victimized by rape, the questions are always asked: “what was she wearing?” “Was she alone?” “Was she drinking?” When a woman falls victim to domestic violence and abuse, questions like the following are posed: “Did she provoke him?” “Why didn’t she leave?” “Why didn’t she ask for help?” “Was she cheating?” “How was their relationship othewise?” I’ve often heard men make jokes about how, upon learning of a woman’s unfaithfulness or unsatisfactory cooking or cleaning abilities, she was “asking for it.” Though their comments may be in jest and I can always take a joke, I believe their humor reveals their true sentiments towards women.

When members of society ask these unnecessary questions after a woman is victimized, it perpetrates the illogical, false notion that somehow she was at fault, and that men cannot help or control themselves when in reality they can. The idea that men are enslaved and impotent to their raging hormones and sexual impulses is preposterous: they are sentient, self-controlled human beings who are ultimately responsible for making choices, deciding how to act each and every moment of their lives to the same degree that women are. Men aren’t pigs, animals; slavering, salivating creatures whose simple logic is overridden by the sex organ protruding between their legs. They have the ability to choose to degrade, to objectify, or to respect women, and the importance of that choice should be instilled in them from an early age.

Though men are often considered to be purely sexual beings who can’t control themselves, they often get a pass from society: almost like dogs that hump everything in sight. The behavior may be disgusting and repulsive, but they’re dogs; it’s what they do, so you excuse them.

Women don’t get the pass for being inherently ‘evil’ like the guys tend to. We got burned at the stake centuries ago, accused of practicing witchcraft. We have naked images of ourselves leaked by our vengeful former flames for the world to see on social media. We’re not taken as seriously as men are in positions of power when we deserve to be. When a man commits a crime with a woman, the blame is often put on the woman for corrupting or misleading the man, or the woman is portrayed to be the mastermind of the crime regardless of is she was or not.

I can relate to the latter personally. The feelings of guilt and remorse that haunt me due to my involvement in the mother’s murder will never diminish or fade.

 

(Photo Credit: Ms. Magazine)

About Jamie Silvonek

Jamie Silvonek was convicted of first degree murder of the death of her mother at the age of 14. She is serving 35 to life without parole at SCI Muncy in Pennsylvania. Jamie has the unconditional love and support of her father and maternal grandmother. Jamie is housed with other young adult offenders in an adult prison.