Monday, August 22nd, 2016
“Feminism–the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social and economic equality to men”–Merriam- Webster Dictionary
I’m thinking about Feminism. Not sure what I want to say so I’ll say it and then I’ll know.
I am, I was and I will be a Feminist. I was a first subscriber to Ms Magazine and read all the Feminist literature. Susan Brownmiller and I stuffed flowers in the National Guard rifles as William Kunstler spoke on campus when I was in grad school. We were strident and strong and serious—and sort of dedicated to looking ugly. I studied other governments and was passionate about family friendly workplaces.
Our men washed dishes and did laundry and changed diapers with revolutionary pride.
I was told to stay out of law school in order to save a place for the men who would have to support their families. GE wanted to hire me in Marketing and asked in the interview if I used birth conrol and/or intended to have children in the next three years when I would have to travel a lot. I once silenced a group of all male executives when they began to get too close to the line of not OK sexual innuendo by simply saying “uterus, vagina, uterus, vagina”. They were appalled and I said, “Right.” I was not held back from achievement in any workplace but did wonder about equal pay and checked it out periodically. I learned to maneuver well in a male dominated environment but never had a truly ‘evil’ male moment. Lucky, maybe.
Still there lurked and lurks the shadow, the memory yarn, the DNA of a supposed natural order of white male one upness. We feminists of the 70’s were grim and serious but so was the threat. The next generation of women leaned the hell in and made it look way easier than it was. They are today’s CEO’s and top leaders in government and academia. Not enough of them now, but they soothe the anger of inequality and show “it can be done.”
This present Feminist generation puzzles me some. It is highly individual and the protest is that “we are all beautiful and we can all realize our dreams”. Mmmm. Maybe I am old.
Do they protest too much because they have been told they are ugly and can’t amount to anything? Is the rigid standard of beauty a substitute for all oppression? Is there a political orientation or has all political action become null and void? Is it “in” to be a Feminist now?
Girls or women? Ready for boring action to change things or only Facebook ready to cleverly complain? Regardless, hooray for new energy and voice. And hooray for celebrities demanding equal pay when what they are paid is plenty. It is about equality, people.
My feminism lives slightly angry all of the time. My feminism realizes the movement is a first world luxury that gets trumped by starvation and poverty. My feminism is radical in its vision. My feminism is savvy and pragmatic and produces results. My feminism can’t bear injustice or inequality of any human being. My Feminism hurts because we can’t seem to give up superior/ inferior as a way of being. My Feminism sighs because we still are the same topics of pay inequality and sexual harassment of the most serious nature, and getting our voices in the vanguard. I am eager for what the next wave of women bringing the feminine into prominence. The world needs it.
As Gloria Steinem said, “This is no simple reform. It really is a revolution. Sex and race because they are easy and visible differences have been the primary ways of organizing human beings into superior and inferior groups and into the cheap labor on which this system still depends. We are talking about a society in which there will be no roles other than those chosen or those earned. We are really talking about humanism.”