Every time our women's movement makes a few gains, all the hegemony sycophants come out of the woodwork to insist that now we are there; that now, we have attained equality. Now we can stop acting like males and be sweet and feminine as is our true nature.
Many of the authors of this excrement are women who get financed by vested interests. They are widely published, make appearances on television and are featured in the print media. These women represent and protect the male establishment, the ones with the vested interest in keeping women's wages low and their influence in politics even lower.
The result is that too many women who hear this crap, coming from women, think it is true. It is only those of us that know better who continue to be vocal. For our pains, we are called shrill bitches who are just trying to make trouble.
It hurts because we know that it isn't true. We know that we must stand fast and the reason we do is that we know full well, as George Santayana wrote: "Those that do not remember the past are destined to repeat it." We know that this has all happened before. We understand that our recent movement did not stand alone but was constructed on the backs of women who came before us.
Read the following quotation and note how current it sounds. Then take a guess at who it's about and when it was made:
dealt not only with the vote, but with most of the same issues confronting
modern women -- domestic violence, the frustration of being single, the
value of female friendship, the victimization of prostitutes, the battle
for equal pay. She also published a newspaper edited by and for women,
cautioned workers to beware of sexual harassment, and railed against the
use of tobacco.
" [Unmarried, S]he was one of the first in the nation to call for the legal rights of married women.
"Childless, she approved of a young colleague who adopted a baby without benefit of marriage.
"Politically a non person, she was arrested ... for daring to vote.
"Accused of anarchy for upsetting the relations between women and men, she thought of herself as a homebody ..."
(Excerpted from Failure Is Impossible by Lynn Sherr.)
Such a life of contradictions! The woman the above was written about is, of course, Susan B. Anthony, doing her thing in the 1800's -- over a hundred years ago.
Sounds pretty much like today but we do have the vote and the right to hold office and own property. We GenderGappers are exceptions, but many, many women do not take advantage of what these women of the last century did for us and sadly -- they do not care. This is most egregious, but what is just as harmful are those women, featured by the media, who are impeding the efforts of those of us still struggling for our human rights, because we know from the past that there is much more to do. We know how easily our few gains may be overturned if we do not remain vigilant and committed.
A hundred years ago, after the Woman's Bill of Rights (mentioned in a previous issue) and after the 19th Amendment was ratified, came the same sort of obstructionist action by some women that we have today. "It's all over and women have won. We have gained equality, etc." they claimed, and every day women's efforts were undermined by derogatory statements made by women against women. Statements that roundly denounced those who still clung to the fight knowing that they had only just made a start in a long battle.
History tells us that because of this, the movement stumbled and faltered just when it was gaining some momentum, so we in this century had much to overcome before we could add to the progress that was formerly made ... and lost.
We see the same thing happening again as many women are forgetting the sacrifices of the past, the warnings of the present and the future threats to our daughter's life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.
We must meet these threats head on and defeat them, for, in the words of Susan B., "failure is impossible."
Copyright 1997 Renee T. Louise and Ruth M. Sprague, Ph.D. These articles may be republished for noncommercial use only, provided that they are copied intact, and that this copyright notice is attached. Address all queries to: email@example.com.
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