Writing at the intersection of motherhood, feminism and my Latinidad

14 April 2009

Women Do Kill

It was just a matter of time. It's just been a few days since the news of a woman being arrested and charged with the murder of 8-year-old Sandra Cantu and we already have a flurry of stories about "Why do women kill?"

According to the Justice Department, roughly one in 10 homicides are committed by women. And when women kill, their victims are more likely to be someone close to them, like their children, boyfriends or spouses.

Friend of Viva la Feminista, Jennifer Pozner has been writing about the gender imbalance in school, now mass, shootings since Jonesboro in 1996. Heck, one of my first pseudo-blogs back then was the keep a running photo memorial to the women killed in the shootings from Jonesboro to Columbine. Yet time again, shooting after shooting, the media scoffs aside the fact that MEN do most of the killing. Yet when a woman does kill, every media outlet pulls out a few psychologists to discuss WHY.

Why not focus on the 90% of killing done by men?

Why focus on the mom who kills, the latest because she thougth she was the anti-Christ, instead of the rash of killings by dads who have lost their jobs?

Is it because we are so tied to the mythology that woman are all loving and protecting? Or do we, as a society NOT feminism, think so little of our men that we actually expect them to kill, so when it happens, we don't flich...too much anyway?

We are already the most incarerated country in the world, so let's try to think of solutions that are beyond "lock 'em up."

Let's start by examining our expectations. Yes, that means starting at how we raise our boys and girls. This doesn't mean we need to rid the world of all violent play, but let's see how far we let our boys versus our girls go with it. When I was a girl and I played "Star Wars" at recess, the boys would often fall into "Boys will be Boys" play and thus into a big wrestling pile. No worries. But once I started to partake in that THE MAN, ok THE WOMAN (who supervised recess) came down hard on me. Should girls be allowed to play "like boys" or should we even allow boys to wrestle like that? Where's the line and what does that tell our children?

How do we raise our boys to deal with their feelings? Do we scoff at them when they want to take dance class or want to *gasp* talk about their bad day? Do we let them be loud while shushing our girls? Are we still raising boys to think they will be THE breadwinner, when in reality men and women are winning the bread nowadays?

How are we crafting men's egos that they are so fragile that losing one's job sends them over the edge to murder?

I don't have any answers to these questions, but I hope it's a start of a conversation that might help prevent future deaths.

3 comments:

Amen. This is something that's been a topic of conversation amongst my feminist circle for the past few months. It's funny how the marginalized are continuously focued on to take the focus off the domination of the "majority," in this case mostly white men. There is a great post about this on another blog. Contact me if you'd like me to forward it to you.

I like your very heartfelt discussion of children, and the large proportion of men who kill vs. women. It's a total shift from another blog I came across on blogger.com, by a so-called Misty, who seems to revel in what may be huge tongue in cheek joke. I hope so. Her blog, http://assassinette.blogspot.com, is a self-described journal of a hitwoman. I don't know if it's for dark laughs. Can't imagine it would be real. But still, it's fascinating to see two such diverse, and in a strange way, complimentary, blogs on, sort of, the same subject.