October 19, 2018 | ° F

PETRUCCI: Dr. Ford’s case has much larger context


Opinions Column: The Annoying Vegan Millennial


Ford Motor Company of Detroit, Mich., which developed the black Model T, would not only survive the Great Depression, but become one of the most successful American companies to date. 

In The Communist Manifesto, Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx discuss the class antagonisms that arise from the friction between the Bourgeoisie and their exploitation of the laboring Proletariat. In short, the text predicts a class consciousness among the Proletariat which drives the working class to revolt against the Bourgeoisie. The result? A classless society where labor, land, industry and wealth are shared between all people. A five-day work week, greater pay and the ability to actually purchase the product they built, lessened that friction, keeping Ford Motor Company in business and laborers fairly content. 

What it means to be a Ford has changed. 

This new Ford hails from Maryland, is a psychologist and professor at the Palo Alto University and like the Model T, only bears the name “Ford” because some guy gave it to her. In her case it was her husband, Russell Ford, whom she met on Matchmaker, a more sophisticated Tinder for academics — scandalous.

On Sept. 16, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford alleged that the current Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, sexually assaulted her at a party in 1982. But everyone minus infants and literally every potential witness (Patrick Smyth, Mark Judge and Leland Keyser) who was alleged to have been at the party cannot “recall” or does not remember the events, knows about this case. 

This groundbreaking #MeToo allegation prompts memories of Anita Hill’s 1991 testimony where she alleged then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual misconduct. The testimony led to what was coined as the 1992 “Year of the Woman” where more women ran for public office than any previous year. If 1992 was the Year of the Woman, 2018 is, according to The Washington Post, “The Year of the Woman on Steroids" — queue picture of Blasey Ford jacked on 'roids. 

Now, it is important to understand that this friction is not a singular movement, even though you run the risk of seeing it treated as an isolated incident, relegated to a certain place and time. We know that President Donald J. Trump’s minions are rampant and are embodied in leaders throughout the world. The #MeToo movement bears many different languages, constantly reshaping itself to meet a multiplicity of issues. But, the air of resistance is similar.

Similar to the visions of Marx and Engels, this is a widespread collective action whose form varies depending on the context of the place, but surrounds one central right: gender equality. Let us then look at second-sex consciousness and mobilization around the world. 

In the U.S.: Currently, the U.S. ranks 104th worldwide in terms of gender representation in government, making up one-fifth of the total 535 congressional seats. More women have run for office and won major party primaries for Senate, House and Gubernatorial seats this year than any other year

South Korea: In January, public prosecutor Seo Ji-hyeon accused a former high-level ministry of justice official of sexual harassment. This spurred movements calling for an end to workplace harassment, the gender wage gap and changes in cultural attitudes. Sound familiar?

Brazil: The #EleNão(#NotHim) has surfaced in response to the possible election of Trump 2.0, also known as Jair Bolsnaro. Bolsnaro is known by those opposed to him for his misogynistic and racist remarks. Bolsnaro has said he would not employ a woman with the same salary as a man because women get pregnant and also told fellow-Congresswoman Maria do Rosário, “I wouldn't rape you because you don't deserve it." Nice. 

Spain: Women went on full strike for a day. They redefined “work” by staging a public strike as well as a domestic one. In March, Spanish feminist groups urged women to ditch household chores in addition to skipping their paid jobs for one day. Hundreds of trains were disrupted and the Spanish newspaper El País had to post a video explaining why the newsroom was understaffed for the day. 

Philippines: In defiance of President Rodrigo Duterte and his drug war, which has claimed the lives of more than 7,000 people suspected of drug offenses, women have rallied in public places to condemn his actions. They have derided several of his lewd remarks toward women especially against UN representative Christine Lagarde who was tasked with investigating the murders after referring to her as a “daughter of a whore." 

The Blasey Ford case has spurred the unification of females globally. It certainly is embodied in movements that happen within the United States, but it is necessary to understand the root of this movement through all of its iterations, languages and steroids, remains the same: the antagonism between two classes, the ruling and the ruled.

Francesca Petrucci is a School of Arts and Sciences senior double majoring in journalism and media studies and political science and minoring in Spanish. Her column, "The Annoying Vegan Millennial," runs on alternate Tuesdays. 

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Francesca Petrucci

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