Letter to the Editor: That sign – women are rightfully angry

Editor—

The letter from the man in Quincy says it all— he is essentially saying ‘agree or disagree but keep your mouth shut, woman.’  As if the most public of venues — a large public sign at a major crossroads in our community and especially the gross and demeaning attitudes it spews toward 51% of the population—  should be off limits for discussion. Lovely. Note this is the same letter writer who spews false ”facts” about the climate crisis even as Plumas County families pay the price for continuing carbon dumping.
How many girls and women have been sexually harassed, assaulted, and raped, just in our community? How many people have had their lives destroyed by men who believe the world is theirs for the taking? These crimes do not come out of nowhere—they are embedded in a social and community context, and closely linked to violence against the natural environment. Negative stereotypes are perpetuated by social norms, passed down the generations, often through innocuous “jokes” and puns.
When a child sees a sign that says “If I had a dollar for every girl that found me unattractive, they’d eventually find me attractive,” aside from the fact that most females are in fact “women” and not “girls” (unless you are a pedophile wanting little girls to be attracted to you), this is essentially telling little boys that when they get older, if they are rich, they can buy girls who don’t want to sleep with them. It’s telling little girls that when they get older, even if they aren’t attracted to a man, if he is rich then she should just sleep with him anyway, to get his money—that being apparently the common and socially acceptable thing to do. Rather than empowering girls to grow up to be confident, happy and independent in their own right, they are depicted in this worldview as inferior to, and dependent on men—a reduction of loving human relationships to johns and prostitutes. Sex is understood to be what women have to give up to get money from men. Sick!
This is a twisted view of human relationships being passed on to the next generation, and simply a horrific and evil message to send to those about to go through adolescence and try to develop healthy human relationships.
It would be totally unacceptable to teach this to children in school, but apparently it is perfectly OK to imply it on a sign in the middle of town. If you don’t believe me about what is being said between the lines here, change the gender on the sign: “If I had a dollar for every boy that found me unattractive, they’d eventually find me attractive.” The joke doesn’t make sense, precisely because the original quip is based on a common harmful stereotype: that women can be bought for money like prize poodles. Since the stereotype (and joke) fails when the genders are reversed, this is clearly a sexist trope disguised as a corny joke.
Our message to the Rotary Club is this: use your well-placed sign for event and community announcements (how many never make it onto the sign?) and leave the hurtful humor out. Maybe it’s time to ditch that 1970’s book of gags and jokes? It is old, it is tired, and we can see right through the subtext. This sexist rubbish is totally unacceptable. It’s the year 2023 and women are rightfully pissed off and tired of being disrespected.
Josh Hart
Portola