How We Teach Our Kids That Women Are Liars
In both cases, to my children’s bottomless pool of chagrin, I pulled the car over so I could ask the girls why they were so sure that the women’s accounts were not credible. We talked about their assumptions, about who gets to be believed, double standards regarding sex, and how culture portrays women. Fun times with Mom.
No one says, “You can’t trust women,” but distrust them we do. College students surveyed revealed that they think up to 50% of their female peers lie when they accuse someone of rape, despite wide-scale evidence and multi-country studies that show the incident of false rape reports to be in the 2%-8% range, pretty much the same as false claims for other crimes. As late as 2003, people jokingly (wink, wink) referred to Philadelphia’s sex crimes unit as “the lying bitch unit.” If an 11-year-old girl told an adult that her father took out a Craigslist ad to find someone to beat and rape her while he watched, as recently actually occurred, what do you think the response would be? Would she need to provide a videotape after the fact?
It goes way beyond sexual assault as well. That’s just the most likely and obvious demonstration of “women are born to lie” myths. Women’s credibility is questioned in the workplace, in courts, by law enforcement, in doctors’ offices, and in our political system. People don’t trust women to be bosses, or pilots, or employees. Pakistan’s controversial Hudood Ordinance still requires a female rape victim to procure four male witnesses to her rape or risk prosecution for adultery. In August, a survey of managers in the United States revealed that they overwhelmingly distrust women who request flextime.
It’s notable, of course, that women are trusted to be mothers—the largest pool of undervalued, economically crucial labor.
“Amongst all the savage beasts none is found so harmful as woman.” — John Chrysostom
“What she cannot get, she seeks to obtain through lying and diabolical deceptions. One must be on one’s guard with every woman, as if she were a poisonous snake and the horned devil.” — St. Albertus Magnus
“Women were made either to be wives or prostitutes.” — Martin Luther
“I fail to see what use woman can be to man, if one excludes the function of bearing children.” — Augustine
In times past, when women were considered chattel, with no civil rights, no right to defend one’s body from violence, to own property or even over one’s children, the only recourse was lies, intrigue and subterfuge to secure one’s safety or position oneself in a livable situation. Slaves, IIRC, also resorted to the same techniques.