It’s tough to be a woman today.
Over in New America, a healthcare reform bill that opens the door to lower support and higher costs for women who are victims of sexual assault, survivors of domestic violence, in need of C-sections, or have postpartum depression was just approved by Congress.
And over here in Manila, a man in the hallowed halls of power fired a comment about being a single mother in a very crude way. To recap, at this week’s confirmation hearing of the Social Welfare Secretary—a social activist, educator, and, yes, a single parent of two daughters—, a male senator made a point to highlight her non-traditional circumstance with street jargon.
Truly Rich Readers, if an apology is qualified with “if you are offended” or “but,” it doth not an apology make.
This makes my head hurt because the Truly Rich’s Rules of Decency state that personal affairs should never be discussed in public. An unfavorable, naughty, or just off opinion should be kept to yourself and buried deep in your black heart. And if it needs to be released like a burp that stinks, please share it with your hubby or your mommy or, better yet, your confessor, who will then award you with a cleansing penance of eating only bread and water for three days (a most effective deterrent against bad behavior—trust me).
This also makes my heart hurt because there’s no reason to shame a woman about being a single mother, even if it was within the context of a hearing wherein, as the official has pointed out, anything can be questioned, including brand of socks (mine are Pantherella or Falke, but why does it matter?).
Being a mother is tough enough. I would know because I was once a small human being that required good and proper rearing. Most of the time, I was agreeable. Some days, I was a terror. One time, I caused such as fuss (a boarding school incident) that, when I remember what happened now, I still get down on my knees to thank God for my saintly and fearsome Mother. She did all she could to resolve the matter and, more importantly, straighten me out. I can only imagine how doing all that alone (without a husband, or without a team of nannies like Mother had) must be a hundredfold harder. Being a single mom requires superhuman strength, a lioness’s courage, and lots of honor. I salute all single moms out there.
I shake my head at the men who derive pleasure from bawdy chatter and nasty locker room talk in the honest light of day.
I shake my head at the men who derive pleasure from bawdy chatter and nasty locker room talk in the honest light of day. They are so disappointing that sometimes I just want to lie down on the spot like a fainting lady in the Victorian era or this person called Diddy who took respite on the steps of the Met Gala last Monday. I want to lie down, close my eyes, drown out the weird state the world finds itself in, and find a moment of peace.
But I cannot have peace—not when, adding insult to the injury, the senator downplays his remark as a harmless jab and how “almost everybody laughed.” And then he sputtered a non-apology. Truly Rich Readers, if an apology is qualified with “if you are offended” or “but,” it doth not an apology make.
Vulgarity is no substitute for wit. That’s a quote from the Dowager Countess of Grantham (the television character, not my cat), who, if she were a real person would have reigned down a rain of barbs against offensive men.
The silver lining to all this is that the Secretary has already accepted this miserable apology. She is a true lady indeed. She gives me hope that we are not heading down the road toward disorder and discourtesy—just yet.