âLizzie BordenÂ took an ax, gave her father 40 whacks.
When she saw what she had done, gave her mother 41.â
âThe prosecution presented an overwhelming case of circumstantial evidence; Lizzieâs jury of twelve men acquitted her. Some think Lizzieâs verdict was âjury nullificationâ – when the jury ignores evidence. It was said the jury didnât believe a Christian young woman could have killed.â
It makes little difference whether Ms. Borden was, in fact, guilty or innocent. The point is, despite damning evidence, she was never seriously threatened with prosecution in any case. Those twelve chivalrous men found her âinnocentâ after deliberating for little more than one hour.
In this way, Lizzie Borden was a woman protected from sinking to the extreme bottomâin this case, the bottom of a jail cell. Like innumerable women before and since, she was a woman walking upon the Glass Floor.
The Glass Floor
by NCFM Chicago Chapter President Tim Goldich
Throughout history, whenever Woman looked up, she perceived what we now call the Glass Ceiling, a sort of semi-permeable membrane composed of social conditioning, gender roles, tradition, bias, and various legal and sociopolitical structures. In looking down, however, she might have noticed that she was walking on a kind of Glass FloorÂ composed of all the same stuff.
As the Glass Ceiling, in myriad ways both nebulous and concrete, has always tended to thwart Womanâs rise to the top, so the Glass Floor, in myriad ways both nebulous and concrete, has always tended to safeguard her from sinking to the extreme bottom.
Throughout history, the Glass FloorÂ has protected women from sinking to the bottoms of mine shafts, prison cells, and foxholes. The Glass Floor has acted as partial insulation between women and the dark side of the world and human nature as well as insulation between women and most of life on earthâs most deeply brutal, filthy, arduous, corrupting, and hazardous realities.
Through the Glass Ceiling a woman could view the tip of the success pyramid and see that it was mostly male occupied. In looking down through the Glass Floor, however, she could view the vast base of the pyramid and see that it too has been occupied mostly by menâmen who were trained to kill in order to protect being killed or maimed by the thousands and the millions on battlefields (many tortured mercilessly in prisoner-of-war camps for months or years).
Many of these men end up on the streets to join the 85 percent male street homeless. Others end up imprisoned. Less than a third of men are veterans, yet more than half of the imprisoned are veterans. Thus veterans too often join other menâprotector/providers corrupted in the pursuit of money (the root of all evil)âto be suffocated and tortured by the thousands and the millions in the penal system.
Consider also men obligated for toughness, strength, and courage who, throughout history, have been killed or maimed by the thousands and the millions through hard labor, the use of heavy machinery, and countless other at-work hazards. In recent decades women have comprised 45 percent of the workforce but a mere 6 percent of all work-related fatalities. In keeping with being more loved, women are better protected.
Moreover, one womanâs floor is another manâs ceiling. A hefty proportion of men have always felt trapped beneath the Glass FloorÂ down at the base of the human pyramid. When stigmatized prisoners, war-torn soldiers, and disabled laborers look up, the Glass Ceiling they experience is the Glass Floor women walk upon. Men have always occupied both extremes, the most and the least enviable positions on earthâthe latter in far greater numbers than the former. Meanwhile, women have largely occupied the middle ground. In my view, that is neither âoppressionâ nor âvictimization;â that is an even deal.
If we donât see it that way itâs because conditions for women are not normally compared against conditions suffered by men occupying the true bottom rung. These âgarbage menâ and their sufferings have little presence in our minds and in our hearts.
The opposite of love isnât hate; it is indifference. As Woman has been given reason to feel intellectually invisible, Man has been given reason to feel invisible with regard to caring, concern, and compassion. Only those men who perform, achieve, and succeed rise to respect and visibility. Thus, only the elite male is present enough in our minds to compare against. Naturally, if we only compare conditions for the average woman against conditions for the elite male, women will seem to be the powerless victims every time.
Though false, this conclusion is the standard conclusion only because it sustains a beloved illusion.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â http://www.karisable.com/lizborden.htm, retrieved 03/15/07.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Farrell, Warren, Ph.D., The Myth of Male Power: Why Men Are the Disposable Sex (New York: Berkley Books, 1993) p.106. â6 percent of all work-related fatalities.â Men comprise 94% of all work-related fatalities due to on-the-job injury (disease-related deaths caused by on-the-job exposure are not included in this figure). U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health NIOSH, (Morgantown, West. Va.), on-line database titled âBasic Information on Workplace Safety and Health in the U.S.â