Recently, we saw a review of a book, by a woman, advocating that we return to the use of the word "girl" for "woman."
For anyone who remembers how women constantly were referred to in such a derogatory way, this was as reprehensible as hearing that a black man was advocating returning the use of the word "boy" for a black man. Who can forget our employer saying to another man on the phone, "I'll have my girl call your girl," when he was speaking of competent, intelligent adult women?
Or what about how we hear our gender referred to on radio and T.V. as -- chick, babe, broad, bitch etc?
Is it really so hard to say "WOMAN?"
We believe not. We believe that this degradation of our gender is intentional and is part of a massive backlash. A backlash against women (empowered by affirmative action programs) demonstrating that they are smart, competent and skilled in all manner of activities. A backlash that was caused by the reaction of insecure males to women supervisors, superior officers, judges, doctors, lawyers, police officers or attorneys general.
However, it is the political/religious power structure that has provided most of venom, cash and impetus in a drive to force women, AND THEIR VOTE, out of the workforce and back under the control of men. These activities, of course, being greatly aided and abetted by the media which almost exclusively broadcasts the rhetoric of backlash.
So much for the efforts of mankind. Women have met this threat and are holding their own.
Harder to overcome, unfortunately, are the slings and arrows that are directed at women by women. Some of us just do not perceive the threat that is coming from them. All of us must become aware and combat this "5th column in our midst" in every way that we can.
Listen, really listen to what is coming at us from the media whether it be books, newspapers, TV, movies and especially HATE-RADIO -- this abhorrent, malignant and dangerously invasive growth against our movement. One thing for sure, you will not hear the media advertising books written by women who truly serve our movement with constructive criticism, authentic facts and sisterly support.
But, they sure promote books and deeds by anti-woman women. You know who they are but we'll list a few that we have noticed or been told about.
Many of your comments to this list suggested that #1 should be:
Camille Paglia, who claims to be in the woman's movement, creates her own definition of it, and then blames everything wrong in the world on women and our movement. Molly Ivins in Nothing But Good Times Ahead does an excellent review of the Pag. She sums up with this line: "What an asshole."
Katie Roiphe, who used her connections with the press to write a vicious attack on feminist students that challenged and did not accept Roiphe's thinking in college. Of course she was supported by the male dominated press in claiming that date rape doesn't exist.
Arianna Huffington, a total antithesis of what the women's movement is all about. Her thesis: Any woman can marry a million or two and be liberated. Poor women neither have nor need brains.
Laura Ingram, a columnist who continually puts women down and unceasingly sucks up to media males like Imus.
Susanne Sommers. Makes us retch -- yeetch. Identical twin of Mona Charen, separated at birth.
Naomi Wolf, who characterizes our entire women's movement as sexual. She claims that all women are cunts, sluts, etc., and the way to liberation is by sleeping with and being used by men. It's our nature, she sez.
Why do these women attack our movement so viciously?
Well, it isn't a new activity. Women have been trained for thousands of years to act this way. Early on in our movement, we encountered women who were used by the establishment as a buffer between the males in charge and the women who were looking to advance. We called them "queen bees" as they jealously guarded their lord and master's turf. They were made to feel important and powerful by virtue of their loyalty to men, against the enemy -- us. This left the male upper management free to claim that "we don't discriminate against women," whenever a woman was effectively "knocked-off" by the queen bee.
Like the women listed above, they believed that power and worth comes from men, and that to succeed they must act, dress and project the image that men have defined as female. Simply put, they lack the courage and convictions to define themselves.
Happily, there are more and more visible, self-defined women for us to use as role models. Sadly, if the media notices them at all it will be largely in a derogatory sense. We, however, have a choice of what we can believe in and how we act to express our personhood. In doing so we learn that there is NOT just one type of women (feminine, empty headed, cloths and boy crazy) but many, many types -- as many different types as there are women.
We learn that our gender has a continuum of human characteristics the same as other human beings do -- and, with courage, we may choose our own place.
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: TWANDA@ConnRiver.net.
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