Category Archives: Political Change 1964- now

1890-current: Early Feminism in Europe

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 Early feminist (1890) Florence Fenwick Miller (1854-1935) Midwife and English Journalist describes women as in legal slavery with man made laws having women endure sex, marriage and childbirth with no choice or voice in the matter. http://www.enotes.com/topics/feminism/critical-essays/women-16th-17th-18th-centuries

Jenni Murray of BBC History describes the conditions in show,  The 20th Century in Britain: The Women’s Hour,  as neither rich nor poor women had the choice of mates, endured beatings and abuse with no voice in their predicaments. She refers to Millicent Fawcett and Elizabeth Garret as the feminists who advanced education and an opening in the medical profession for women through brave stands by a few women who risked their lives to take the stands that gave ground to other women. It was through the actions of the Women’s Social and Political Union 1903 and the work of Emmeline Pankhurst that the so called War by Women had more women take notice of and make demands for fair treatment and opportunity for education for women. In 1919, she notes, it was Nancy Astor who would be the first women in British Parliament, and in 1929 it was Margaret Bondfield who would be the first woman Cabinet Member. Just as in the US, the war called on the women to take the men’s jobs during the war.   But in 1944, the men returned and the women were sent back to their homes. In 1944,  the Education Act,  limited the number of girls who could be in school. It would be 1950 before girls were given equal access to education. In 1968, with the advent of Betty Friedan, the second wave of feminism came with it, the repeal of the Education Act in 1968.

Murray notes that Linda Grant, author of Sexing in the Millineum made note of the sexual revolution of the 60’s,  which she credited as providing women with the right to say yes.

Englishwoman Germaine Greer wrote The Female Eunich in 1970. Very much like the feminists of the United States, it provided the first aspect of sexuality as perceived by women, and not men. 1970 also was the time of the first British Conference at Oxford on The Women’s Liberation Movement. Parallel to the activities of feminists in the US, Barbara Casette, Secretary of State for Employment, was effective in rallying for the Equal Pay Bill.  It was enacted in 1975 together with the Sexual Discrimination Act.

Similar also is the path of feminism that showed up in England as it did in the United States. Murray comments on the discordant and changing relationships that showed up between women as well as with their men,  in their homes and at the workplace. She points to the position of many women after the 1980’s, even with the gains and the social change underway, being “I’m not a feminist, but…”

It is remarkable how the beginning of the new roles and aspirations for women at home, in their own personal choices and at work had that affect and that feminism took quite a hit as the gears begin to provide new ground for how women lived their lives, both in the United States and in England. In France, it would be the 1975 Veil Law that ended the ban on Birth Control of 1920. In 1994, only 5% of the women in France between the ages of 20-49 did not use contraceptives according to Wikipedia.

The correlation between access to birth control and termination of pregancy and political power and access to education and equal pay seems to correspond for women’s rights in Europe. In Germany, Anita Augspurg was the first university woman student to graduate from a university in 1919 in the Weimar period where equality in education became available to middle and upper class women-until the age of 15 where they then had education at home. The Advanced Women’s rights in making education available to women in Czechoslovakia, Ireland, Lithuania and the Soviet Union was in evidence prior to World War II, as it was in Germany. But the Nazi Era reverted those standards calling for German women to be restricted to their roles as supporters to their husbands and children, as well as their country. 500,000 volunteers made up of women took on the jobs of men and 400,000 women were nurses and aids in hospitals during the war Wikipedia reports.

But by 1987, Betty Friedan again introduced to a whole new generation of young German women feminism. The impact resulted in an antipatriarchy terrorist group Rote Zora of women from 1974-1995 who were responsible for 45 bombings and arson attacks. The strides back to increasing access to women to education and access to being employed, as well as their limited 10% representation in the work place leadership gave stronger ground to the Womens Rights effort. Alice Schwazer became in 1977 and remains a voice for issues of feminism today in the EMMA magazine. The Green Party was established in 1980 and serves to promote equality and human rights in Germany. It is notable that in 2013, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a woman in power and leadership, opposed the European Union proposal to introduce more representation of women in executive board positions, and roles of leadership for women in jobs.

It could be that Women’s Rights where education and equality represent  feminism, but it could also be the measure of access to birth control and women’s right to choose is the measure of the advance and practice of Women’s Rights. Nations and countries giving access to birth control and right to abortion correlate with those seeking equality in education, jobs and equal pay for equal work.   To give women the right to choose is to give them the power to determine their lives, it’s individualistic, solitary, personal. The current issues of the 1000 state bills in the United States attacking women’s right to choose to terminate their unwanted pregnancies, and to disempower Roe VS Wade is to reduce the power of women in the world. What is the continuum of women’s right to choose and their representation in roles of leadership and power in our government, in our universities and in our industries is a relevant question which is beyond this discussion, but surely to be considered.

The Atlantic Magazine, August 5, 2013 featured Emily Matchvar’s gives a comprehensive look at abortion policies in Western Europe and other countries. For women in Germany, the first trimester only is available to women to end their pregnancies. In the Netherlands, there is a 5 day waiting period for women with a 24 week limit. In Belgium, abortion was illegal until 1990, but now a state of extreme distress must be proven for a woman to gain an abortion. Finland, up to 13 weeks is necessary and with that proof that there are adverse conditions such as poverty or already have 4 children. In Denmark, there is a 12 week limitation. But in Israel, Matchvar points out in this article, that although  93% of the American Jews support abortion rights in all cases, the law is that it is illegal for a married woman 17-40 to have an abortion unless rape, incest or infant malfunction is proven. If unmarried, the woman may plead her case, have an ultrasound and take counseling. In Russia, Eukrane and Poland, there is a restriction to 12 weeks, but every attempt to make difficult if not impossible making the choice to abort is presented to a woman seeking an abortion.

Emily Matchvar in the Atlantic article takes the position that the governments that seek to increase their population and advance their nation seek to restrict choice to women and limit access if not directly prohibit it accordingly. Not personal, not up to the individual, but a national need to be answered by women giving birth to children.   Another perspective can be related to the result of silencing the voice of women, enforcing a limitation of choice by women and strengthening further the male voice and perspective as the director of women’s  and the country’s fate. Certainly any woman who has experienced pregnancy, childbirth, early infant care and the years up to school age is aware of the fact that the hormones, the perspective and the free range of movement is greatly inhibited during this vulnerable time. Further,  the years of child care, the significant first 3-5 years are the most vulnerable for the child, and most essential to their well being. The disadvantage of income loss, babysitter costs, and distraction of focus and energy are all costs endured that make for less time and energy to make other demands on life. Not to mention the 18-20 years of parenting that is the current requirement.

Feminism, like democracy, are messy propositions. The initial work of feminism to have recognition of the need for equal opportunity, access and reward required a revision still working itself out with outcomes that are still representing a challenge to societies engaged in the process. “I’m not a feminist, but…” the alternative is devastating and limiting to all the world.  I’m not a feminist is an apology for making noise, causing problems, speaking out and taking actions that disrupt the status quo.   Feminism is not an ideal to reach, it’s organic and in the past fifty years world wide has hugely impacted and altered the history of the world. Intricate and requiring the integrity of assimilation with costs that are not expected that come with the changes, such as role identity and the complexity of divisive and discordant views of the value of the changes as they occur.

Interesting throughout reviewing this level of investigation into how and what impacted women in Europe, Betty Freidan’s name appears over and over again. Her work translated in different countries resonated with women.   Individually, personally they experienced in her words a potential for how they wanted to live as human beings. The work is underway, it is uneven, and the future is uncertain.

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Markers of feminism- fathers today

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Feminism has never been exclusive to women in quest of a more equitable and just society, but about men and their evolvement.

From one perspective, a new marker of feminism is  who fathers are today. . The beginnings of the second wave of feminism born of the anti war and civil rights movement initiated the standard of egalitarian roles for men and women.  Shoulder to shoulder, blue jean clad, long hair with  equality in and out of the bedroom,  a new role for fathers was born. The role of the patriarchal father began to be humorous, as in Archie Bunker of the 70’s that gave their huge audience on television and the culture a chance to see the hypocrisy and imprisonment of that image of masculinity. Women were choosing their sexual partners, just as much as being chosen. It was an experience of themselves and their sexuality that came from the sense of equality by the participants. Birth Control of course, as well as Roe VS Wade, made that possible and the magazines and newspapers occasionally had articles about how dangerous it was for the roles of men and women to become more alike than different, where that might take our society. But it was happening here, in England and it could be considered that this shift in roles and identities actually was driven by the music of the Beatles, Grateful Dead and Rolling Stones who gave a background to the new cultural norms developing.

The changes in choice driven lives and loves outside the paradigm of the 50’s makes sense when you consider that there is evidence that the enhancement of the roles of parents and husband and wife came about after World War II. Prior to that time, there were no social policies that supported the nuclear family, the New Deal with Social Security; Aid to dependent children had not been born.   Families were a functional unit on the farms and in the cities; history shows that children were considered free labor as were the wives living with the field hands and workers. The sentiment attributed to marriage it is claimed came from the need to boost the lagging economy after World War II with the FAA loans and college aid that allowed for individuals and couples to move to the nuclear family context. And as we all know who have seen Mad Men, the concept of what it was to be a woman, a man and a married couple was definitely pumped by the magazines and television which reflected an ideology about the roles of husband and father, mother and child.

But in the 70’s, many of the social agreements were changing, and the role of the woman to be able to determine her own choices, including motherhood was one consequence. Another is what happened to the men when this new version of which to be in life brought about new ways of perceiving what was possible and desirable. Mike Sager wrote The Modern Fatherhood of a Street Kid and conveys the passage and the result of which fathers are now very well.

Feminism has never been exclusive to women in quest of a more equitable and just society, but about men and their evolvement. Esquire had a Father’s day magazine this year acknowledged the new state of fatherhood in our times. Mike Sager is the best selling author and award winning reporter, considered to be the “beat poet of American Journalism” and writer at large of Esquire magazine for 15 years. This article features Mark Wahlberg as the model of modern fatherhood. Extremely successful actor and producer of Transformers: Age of Extinction and the cable series Entourage, and father of four who grew up with a family where the dad drove a truck delivering lunch and he and his brothers in an Irish Catholic neighborhood and turned his life around in his early years after serving time at an early age. Turning his life into a success, Wahlberg has his life organized around his children. Goes to bed after dinner, wakes up, works out, has breakfast with the kids, takes them to school and after school participates in sports with the boys, basketball, football. While he admires his own dad, sees what his dad was able to produce for the family though limited as the best he could and it took all his time and attention to pull that off. The dad Mark Wahlberg has become is engaged fully in his family, and represents the new dad. -Fathers engaged from the delivery room, shared care of newborns as a result of family leave and the sharing of the roles of nurturers rather than the times when father were kept out, and worked such hard and long hours that the children were in bed when the fathers came home is the contrast that could be drawn between the generations of fathers of the 1940’s and the 1980’s and onward.

A Manifesto of the New Fatherhood by Stephen Marche (Esquire June/July2014) gave data that backed up his claim that the number of American families without fathers has grown 10.3 percent in 1970 to 24.6 percent in 2013. He points to the 2014 study by UC Berkeley of over forty million children and their parents looked at what it takes to gain ground for children coming up now. The study revealed that economic mobility had everything to do with family structure, as compared to racial segregation, income inequality, school quality, social capital. “Family structure correlates with upward mobility not just at the individual level but also on the community level, perhaps because the stability of social environment affects children’s outcomes more broadly.” The article goes on to say that fatherless is a significant factor in suicide, mental health and incarceration risk for children. “The new fatherhood is not merely a lifestyle but the time fathers spend with their children results in “healthier, more educated, and more stable, less criminal world.”

The article goes on to describe the poll result of 17.5 million fatherless families currently.  Marche refers also to the studies that 2.5 million boys take medication for ADHD as opposed to 1 million girls – an increase of 22% for boys between 2007 and 2012. Basic domestic egalitarianism sharing of childcare and household functions are reflective of the forty to fifty years of social change that have shown up in families, with women earning more money with larger work commitments and need for their time away. Sheryl Sandberg in “Lean In” speaks of the difference in the male and female candidates for a job, with the women wanting to maintain a level of commitment that suits their goal whether they are currently in a relationship or not, of having children and fitting that into their lives. The men do not have that as a reference point evidently, but more and more dads are choosing to alter their lives to accommodate time with their children.

On a recent family reunion, my niece and her husband, both of whom graduated with their PhD’s in Psychology and married now have three children. They had a huge school debt collectively, so they both joined the military as professional psychologists. Now with the children age 8-4 and 1 years old, my niece’s husband left the military and stays home writing papers and giving talks while his wife continues on contributing to the field in the work for soldiers returning with post traumatic stress.  Exceptional couple and they are raising their children with dad having a great deal of the hands on time in with the children.  The 2014 Pew report  shows the trend of 1.1 million fathers at home in 1989, and 2 million at home in 2012.   This is more common than not, the rotation of mates who find with the cost of childcare and the quality they want to impart to their children, taking turns with the career outside the home is a serious and valid choice.

As Marche states it, the old fatherhood was a series of unexpressed assumptions. The new fatherhood requires intelligence, judgment and engagement-“messy.” Responded to by some men longing for the days of patriarchy when men were men, Marche refers to their “Aggrieved entitlement” and anti feminism sentiment arguing for a return to the isolated role of the remote father. Marche references the work of Michael Kimmel who wrote Guyland and last year’s angry White men in 2008 who argued that the “residue of patriarchy drives young men to despair and self destruction. The old codes, the macho, the defensive response to the changing world with a ideology of traditional masculinity keeps boys from wanting to succeed.”

The value, sense and role of men as the new father, like the new woman is giving up the known for the unknown, giving up isolation and a process of the modern context of feminism. The path is messy and unclear born of the game changing-roles and identities not clearly defined, and where the systems of belief give way to a new perspective.   The fact that dads entered the delivery room to partner with their wives and be present for the birth of their children is a fact that cannot be denied.  The Esquire Manifesto of the New Fatherhood ends with Marche claiming the “huge gain for men, the chance for a deeper intimacy, a whole new range of pleasures and agonies, and a fuller version of humanity.”

Another view, not to take away from this claim, is that the markers of feminism are showing up in how we, men and women,  value and transform the relationships with our mates, ourselves and the children and the society we want to build.

 

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Supreme Court vs Roe VS Wade

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“There is no simple reform. It really is a revolution. Sex and race because they are easy and visible and visible differences that have been primary ways of organizing human beings into superior/inferior groups and into cheap labor on which this system depends. We are talking about a society in which there will be no roles other than those chosen or those earned. We’re really talking about humanism.” Gloria Steinem

The Supreme Court vs Roe Vs Wade is in a constant dance.  Many see the Supreme Court’s decision to reduce the distance between those who protest abortion, and those who using the benefit of abortion on the grounds of service providers as an attempt to reduce women’s rights. The few feet taken away that provide a buffer between those on either side of the question of abortion are important. Many see this result from the Supreme Court as yet one more attempt by those who do not agree with the law of the land: Roe VS Wade 1973, and attempt to reduce women’s rights.

The work of the years of social change and legal process came through many who lived in the atmosphere of revolution and what the 60’s were about. Women, since the days of the earliest feminist gathering in Seneca Falls in 1848, have always been about reform-in the prisons, in the factories, on the streets and the Temperance movement. But the turbulence of the Viet Nam War and Civil Rights movement in the South included participation by women. They worked shoulder to shoulder with the men for reform in a war that cost 55,000 soldiers’ lives in Viet Nam. They witnessed in the cities of Montgomery, Birmingham and Memphis, the work of Martin Luther King and responded. Women behind the scenes organizing and supporting the civil rights action through protests and demonstrations. On college campuses, they left their classrooms and protested from the top campuses of the country. Who and what was important was in the process of change and flux and that chaos stirred throughout the country created a dynamic change for the whole country. Nationwide, democracy was challenged in the streets of the cities and college campuses by a counter culture that questioned the status quo of authority. Many universities across the country, in the college classrooms, and from churches, there came a movement made up of people working to promote the end of the draft, and against the war came together. Historians note that women in anti war and civil rights movement began to bring the focus to the principles and demands of the women’s movement in mid 60’s, whether these women identified as feminists or not.

1964 also brought the birth control pill into the doctor’s offices and into the reach of married women, allowing choice in pregnancy and childbirth. Women gaining the right to birth control provided an undeniable liberty that freed them to determine their life’s course. Around the topic of women’s rights, a counter culture developed in how women perceived their roles as women and as members of society. In 1964 under President Lyndon Johnson we have recently been reminded as a society the Civil Rights Act for the end of discrimination based on sex, country of origin or sex, the potential for change became based in fact and in the law of the land. With it, the Affirmative Action law required employers and colleges to account for entry of those who had been excluded due to race or sex, that is women and minorities were given access that had to be fulfilled by those who admitted students or hired people for their company. The effects of birth control, women’s’ rights and access given to minorities in jobs and eduction provided a whole new platform that brought about the world gave a boost to the entry of some, with the idea of leveling the playing filed but ended in 1978 with California vs Bakke. There has been action in the Sacramento about the benefit of Affirmative Action and how that might apply to working for people now with the division of those with job skills and those without in a tough market prevails.

Civil rights, women’s rights are a work in process for sure. But more to the point, as the Supreme Court decision today indicates, the boundaries around women’s rights are inquestion policy and practice in various states of the nation. The process and goals of humanity we gain that allow choice in our sexuality, gay marriage having progressed well in so many states, and the demands for equality are in a tedious balance. The buffer taken away by the Supreme Court that takes away a zone of legal sanction protecting women from personal attack about their choices has been reduced, and a move that lessens the sanctity of their personal decisions.

Valuing how it came to be that women gained the right to choose may an unknown to the generation born after 1977 because they have always lived with those rights and privileges to choose as women. Most young girls went to Planned Parenthood with their girlfriends at age 13-18 to be educated and take responsibility for their sex lives. But back then, before 1977 how was it then for women, and the society that brought this change of freedom to choose to women. In the late 60’s, Television news was full of racial struggle, war in Viet Nam, and the protests and demonstrations around the country around civil rights and the war. Families were driven apart by the different positions different members of the family held relative to these questions. There were those who supported the change in the attitudes toward race and inequality and those who saw the threat of change as dysfunctional and destructive. With women free to choose their biological destiny and choose to make decisions regarding fertility and termination of an unwanted pregnancy, it was seen as women “being just like men.” For those who protested the war, those who felt there was no choice but to serve in the war just as their fathers and their fathers fathers served in previous wars. Yet the turmoil and violence around the country relative to the war in Southeast Asia, and the demands to end the draft and bring home the soldiers around college campuses made for a very difficult time in our democracy. Women came to have a voice through their participation in the antiwar and civil rights movement, and brought feminism into its second wave of changing the culture inside out and changing the constraints and exclusion that limited women’s participation in the world.

The loud and brash women speaking from the black and white televisions, the Bella Abzug’s, Gloria Steinem’s, Jane Fonda’s were considered by some to be dangerous. By others, they were caricatures to be made light of. First Lady Jackie Kennedy in 1965 shared in a television interview that her husband found these women espousing liberation to be “unfeminine, and thought they might be lesbians.” The country was in an uproar as roles and choices by men and women were being recalibrated, reconceived and for many reborn. Many women did not identify with the movement, and alienation to the strident demands of feminism did not resonate with all women. Yet as the opportunity to higher education and job advantages provided by the Affirmative Action took hold, women gravitated if not to the women’s movement to experiencing the value of being the director of their own fate.

But this day, June 29th, 2014, today we have in every day’s event, news of abortion centers that are under fire, state legislation bills attempting to reduce choice for women’s ability to choose, and ultimately to continue on the path of this portal to equality and empowerment of those systematically excluded. It is clear that many women having had the freedom to choose their destiny are not about to turn back now. But it may be time for those unaware of these political moves and their consequences to know this struggle is underway. The argument that women need to have decisions made for them was common in the 1920’s. Just like removing the opportunity for education for girls in Somalia makes sense if you want to reduce women’s access to full participation and choice- as if that choice alone is somehow evil. Many women have not chosen and will not choose abortion, and they don’t need the protection of a law that takes that choice away from them. Their integrity will guide them, just as it has over the past years since 1973.

A recent film Obvious Child renders a good look at the process and integrity involved in those choices. Women don’t need to be directed to make the choices right for them, and the Supreme Court’s decision today have ruled by reducing that barrier, the number of feet between vulnerable women, and those who show them terrible projections to discourage their decision. To harass, attack and humiliate these women for their decision advancing just a few feet closer by this Supreme Court Decision may be just a few more feet closer to denying women the validity of their choice since 1973 and Roe VS Wade allowed for that as personal and private and worthy of the sanctity those few feet measured..

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Eleanor Roosevelt: Catalyst and Leader 1930-1960

Eleanor Roosevelt:  Catalyst and Leader 1930-1960 began to gather women to take their parts in taking care of the people she saw languishing on the streets of Washington:  women, children and the elderly were the most vulnerable people.  Mrs. Roosevelt is said to have taken a part in the Commission on the Status of Women begun by more than a few presidents that proceeded and represented the basis for the Woman’s Movement.  The New Deal that came through her husband’s work many attribute to the engagement of Mrs. Roosevelt who ventured from the White House and her Upper Class standing to come to see and understand the needs of the country at different points in time.  Rarely referred to as a feminist, she represents everything that is powerful about women coming together for social change.

PART I:  HISTORY 1930-1960

Ruth Rosen, University of California social historian describes most specifically the process of change that from the early Women’s Movement prior to 1963 throughout the backlash against feminism in the 80’s to the rise of global feminism in the 90’s.  She chronicles the rise of effectiveness of the women’s movement to unintentional consequences by President John Kennedy in 1961.  The women who had been a part of his successful run for President were invited to participate in the “Commission of the Status of Women.”  These women were particularly skilled and educated and once brought together came up with grievances toward women.   “Once women get together and talk, they identify the issues and from their ability to establish a language have the basis for social change,” is how Rosen describes this process then, now, here and globally.  She has interviewed the women on that commission, and met with the women who she feels were the “reason for the results that happened for the Women’s Movement.”  Eleanor Roosevelt was the Chairperson of the Commission and they were effective in what they presented to the public, but did not get the results they wanted from within the structure of the government.  In 1966, they formed an independent Women’s Movement to have their issues and grievances for women addressed and acted upon.

In 1964, the Civil Rights Act was being presented for a vote and Rep. Howard K. Smith, chair of the House Rules did not want to see the Equal Rights Bill pass for racial or country of origin civil rights and so added, sex to the bill with the assumption that  would result in the bill failing to pass in congress.  Instead Title 7, Equal Rights Amendment in the Civil Rights Act passed changing the course of history.

Rosen stresses two significant accidental contributions by President Kennedy and Rep. Howard K. Smith that provided the playing field for real change to happen for women.  The other factor attributed to the social change underway was the fact that the women who participated in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and Students for a Democratic Society created a “manifesto” in 1965 to 40 women active in civil rights, student and peace movements that produced “discussion and action toward the goals of feminism that would be debated over the next three decades.”

Rosen credits the middle class value of education for women that came up in the 50’s, the Feminine Mystique by Betty Frieden, as the source of the language, noise and productive political actions of the Women’s Movement.  She describes how women came to identity the “injuries of sex” and once identified and brought to language gave found for “the real genius of the Women’s Movement.”

It has to be said that the 1964 change of women having access to birth control pills correlates with the changes women brought to bear in social policy, and shows up in the fact that all changes of significance happened for women after 1964.

Part 2:  War against Women

Politicus.com among other sources has a list of 65 state legislative proposed actions to limit Roe VS Wade.  Their statement is:  “When one group of people display inordinate animus and enmity toward an organization representing a majority of the nation’s population, it is either because of ideology or conditioning spanning centuries.  In American, over 200 years of slavery has left an indelible streak of racial bigotry that persists today despite a civil rights movement and election of an African American President.  Despite women’s suffrage and feminists movement in the last century, women are still regarded as second class citizens by a stubborn patriarchal element in government incited by evangelical Christians.  The evangelical element is so enraged over women gaining a semblance of equal rights and the right to choose their own reproductive health, they naturally extended their hatred of women to an organization that primarily serves women and their health issues.”

Relative to this interview with Ruth Rosen, my question was-given the current state of the GOP war on women-should the Women’s Movement be reignited, recharged, regrouped?

Dr. Rosen’s answer was a surprising – no,  Her position is that the Women’s Movement has created millions of women on their jobs, in their communities, in education, in their churches who are representing the need for action relative to the goals of the Women’s Movement.  “It was a brilliant success” because women themselves bring to their homes, communities and work places, their unions the integration of the work that needs to continue.  The need for childcare, was a current example Rosen gave that is significant for women today.  Googling women’s organizations, it is clear that there is evidence that backs up Dr. Rosen’s view.  She doesn’t see a gathering of one Women’s Movement even within states as effective as compared to the effectiveness of  how women are participating now, mainstream, everywhere.   A Women’s Movement now  would produce more “significant differences,  more conflict”  than collaboration in Rosen’s assessment.

So surely the internet is a means to connect, identify issues and form action that brings women together.  One such group that came to mind was momsrising.org  that I brought up to Dr. Rosen.    They have no central office, all are in their homes all across the country and address women’s and civil rights; their recent work had much to do with the success recently of paid family leave.  Bringing up concerns nationwide that effect all moms, all families is a source for  changing policies by their presence on the internet and at the White House.  Dr. Rosen does know this group and speaks highly of their work as representative of women creating social change for the better.

PART 3: Women coming out to vote for midterm election

Dr. Rosen expressed strongly that it is very important for women to get out the vote for the midterm elections.  It is a known fact that women generally do not get out to vote for the midterm, but getting more seats in the house is really important this election.  Here is where women can get together however they do their votes in,  and encourage each other to get their vote in and counted.  All women need to be concerned about the 700 bills in play in congress and in 40 states, designed to silence the women and throw away decades of progress in civil rights and equality that have deeply contributed to the current choices available to women.  Our daughters, their daughters may not know how it is they got to have the choices they have, the platform established by the Women’s Movement and the debt we all owe to those who brought equality as a practice into our lives.  Getting out the vote for the midterms was the recommendation of Dr. Rosen.  The women’s vote is critical and many speak about that on the various political analysis cable news shows.  This is an important year, and the huge difference can be made by the women who were identified as having been a large part in President Obama’s success in his election.

This is the year to take action and vote in response to what President Obama said recently at a Planned Parenthood conference, that the legislation in 42 states banning or severely limiting the right to choose  is an “assault on women’s rights, and an attempt to roll back the clock for women to 1950.”  Statistically the number of women who generally don’t vote at the midterm elections if they do vote can create the tipping point needed to have the number of  GOP seats reduced and the country to move on to future rather than attempting to return to the past..

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TIMELINE OF WOMEN’S RIGHTS 1848-2014

 

TIMELINE OF WOMEN’S RIGHTS:   1848 TO 2014

 

1848:  Seneca  Falls Convention Elizabeth Cody Stanton and Lucretia Mott presented The Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions identifying injuries and usurpations demanding right to vote

1913:   Susan B Anthony  Civil Rights Activist, suffragist, abolitionist in National American Association of Woman’s Suffragist Association.                  

1919:  Jeannette Rankin- Republican/pacifist and first woman elected to congress-two terms 1916 and 1940;  forceful leader in the National American Association of Woman’s Suffrage through support of President Woodrow Wilson and the congress resulted in passage of 19th Amendment ad women’s right to vote.

 1921:  Mabel Vernon, Quaker suffragist, pacifist and national leader in American Woman’s Suffrage Association Sarah Bard Fields prison and health reform.   Worked with Sara Bard Field, Poet and Woman’s Suffrage leader in Oregon and Nevada.  Lobbied for Equal Rights Amendment and led National Woman’s Party in 1930.

1932:  Frances Perkins,  FDR appoint as Secretary of Labor, 1st woman on cabinet

1937:  Emma Tenayuca, San Antonio Texas Workers World Labor leader brought Workers Alliance to workers;  Detroit Housewives’s League and Black Woman’s Housewives Association with Fannie Peck brought workers rights to 10,000 members and created 75,000 jobs for African Americans through protests of over 200,000 workers.

1940:   Margaret Chase Smith-distinction of being the first woman to serve both the House of Representatives for two full terms as well as elected into the Senate.  Republican Representative for Maine also first woman to have her name placed in  nomination for the Presidency.  

 1940:    Margaret Sanger: Advocate for Family Planning in 1920’s fostering healthcare for women;   Founder of  Planned Parenthood.

1942:   16 million men and women WWII;  996,242 casualties; 350,000 Women served in the war effort in uniform and as volunteers or in war industries to support the war. 

1944:  Clare  Boothe Luce, author, playwright The Women; first woman to be appointed ambassador for term in Rome.  Served two terms in House of Representatives.  1973, Presidential Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.

1948:   28.6% women at work after war; women returned to home after the war ended. 

1947: COMMISSION ON United Nations produced first international law that recognized and protected the political rights of women for all the original 51 UN members determining Equal Voting rights for women equal to men.

1949:   Simone De Beauvoir:  women not born women, become women-begins national conversation on sexual roles and identities.

1952:   Virginia Apgar brought Apgar report for newborns

1953:  The Pill Project-Margaret Sanger brings Katharine McCormick to fund $40,000 for hormone birth control research by Dr. Gregory Pincus.

1954:  Kinsey Report 6000 women studied sexual behavior of females; Masters and  Johnson study of sexual dysfunctions of females and males.

 1955:  Alcoholism at its highest level

 1955:   Women allowed to serve on juries, lease apartments or get credit.

1961:   President John Kennedy establishes Commission on the Status of Women appointing 40 women to give constructive recommendations and action addressing employment, social insurance, tax laws, and federal labor laws as well as legal treatment of women; initially a government agency, the Commission on the Status of Women women who identify the “injuries of sex;” the Commission will leave the government and become a force and voice for women in the Women’s Movement-the 2nd Wave of Feminism of the 60’s.

1963:   Betty Frieden’s The Feminine Mystique best seller; women begin to talk to women about their sex lives.

 1960-77:   Bella Abzug, House of Representatives 1971-1877;  lawyer, liberal activist, woman and civil rights advocate. Formed National Women’s Political Caucus with Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem.  American Civil Liberties Union,  Women’s Strike for Peace in 1961.

1964:    Civil Rights Act:  sex, race or country of origin denied in anti discriminatory law defining equality as equal access and opportunity to all Americans.

1965:    Affirmative Action to women and minorities in education and employment empowered by President Lyndon Johnson in War on Poverty.

1965:  Abortion to save the life of the mother/or in case of rape legal

1968:    Shirley Chishom – 1st  African American representative NY

1968:     Gloria Steinem – National Organization of Women- women have the right to work.       

1972:     Equal Rights Amendment passes both houses of congress for equal rights for women received 35 of the needed 38 states agreement for ratification so adoption was not completed. 

1973:     Roe VS Wade; women’s right to choose becomes law of the land

               American Psychiatric Journal:  homosexuality defended

               Yvonne Brathwaite Burke-1st Maternity leave.

1975:     49% women working outside the home

                 First World Women’s Conference, San Francisco

1978:      First year that more women enter college then men

1980:     Elizabeth Dole Secretary of Labor

1980:   Ruth Ginsburg appointed to US Court of Appeals by President Jimmy Carter

1981:    Sandra Day O’Connor 1st woman as Supreme Court Justice

1984:       Geraldine Ferrara first woman Vice Presidential candidate

1992:      Janet Reno and Madeline Albright, President Bill Clinton appoints to cabinet        

1993:  President Bill Clinton appoints Ruth Ginsburg to Supreme Court-strong voice for gender equality and civil rights

1997:      Equal Rights Amendment

2008:     Lily Lidbetter Paycheck Fairness Act

                 Hillary Clinton Candidate for President of the United States

2012:  UN WOMEN in Commission of Status of Women dedicate global governmental body to the promotion of gender equality and elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against girls.

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1973 ERA and women in power and politics

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EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT/ROE VS WADE  

1970 brought about the Equal Rights Amendment, followed in 1973 by Roe vs Wade which allowed termination of unwanted pregnancies.   The link between political power and sexual choice were once again afforded to women in this new world of feminism.  Even in the dissension and uproar within families, social groups and society, these actions signaled  unequivocally that women would find the support they needed in their work place and in their homes.  The backing of the state and federal government to support their choices about their bodies and their family size was the turnover of soil that brought a new future for womankind.  The Equal Rights Amendment embodied in the Civil Rights Bill of 1964 was the other powerful director of that future.

Any  conversation about the Equal Rights Amendment has to include the work of Ruth Ginsburg.  In 1954, being one of eight women in a class of 500 at Harvard Law School, Ruth experienced as did the other women the direct admonition of the Dean who considered the women as taking the place of qualified men.  Ginsburg’s response was to be the first female member of the Harvard Law Review. Ultimately she graduated from Columbia Law School in New York City first in her class in 1959.   All through her career, Ruth Ginsburg argued for gender equality.  President Bill Clinton appointed  her to the Supreme Court in 1993 after she had been appointed by President Jimmy Carter to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in 1980. Ruth Ginsburg  has maintained a presence for gender equality and workers rights throughout her tenure. The second woman confirmed in the Supreme Court in 1993,  joining the first woman appointed  by Ronald Reagan in 1981 Sandra Day O’Connor.

Equality of gender was a part of The First Womens World Conference in 1975.   As well,  a basic premise of that conference was that  world development was not possible without the full participation of women and that women held a vital role in the promotion of peace.  A reflection of the world change that was happening at different levels in different places in the world surely.  As we know there are many parts of the world where women have no rights politically, socially or sexually.  The progress, however, began with the understanding that female liberation and security was attainable, and chosen in many countries of the world.

Women progressed in the United States.  By  1975, women working outside the home went from 4% to 49%.   By 1978, more women more women entered college than men.  From 1980-84 women came into political offices.  In 1980 Elizabeth Dole became Secretary of Labor, 1984,  Geraldine Ferrara was the Vice Presidential candidate.  Janet Reno and Madeline Albright were given posts in President Clinton’s cabinet in 1992.  The Equal Rights Amendment would pass in 1997, and the Paycheck Fairness Act would pass in 2008 because of Lily Ledbetter.

From the 20’s where women had worked for health reform, prison reform and ended child labor, those efforts by Mabel Vernon and Sarah Bard Field were the beginnings of the frontrunners who came to public office and brought forward the advances from the 70’s onward.  It’s important to see the spectrum of time has not been that long. These were the women who found themselves in the front of the line fostered by women behind the lines in groups and individually.   They found themselves able to make choices and decisions that their mothers did not and the path for them was not that clear.  Out of the chaos and contradictions,   a new model of what it was to be a women began to emerge, the context for modern feminism – about humanism, the dignity afforded to all people to have access to choice and responsibility.

Sexuality and Politics

SEXUALITY CHANGE OF IDENTITY

For the years prior to the birth control and Roe VS Wade, the study of women’s sexuality was specifically about their ability to procreate.  Freud and Kinsey in 1953 and later Masters and Johnson looked at female sexuality from a biological stance, without a focus on desire and emotional content.  The focus of their work was to create the best conditions for pregnancy to occur.   As the right for women to choose was approaching legal status,  the aspect of sexuality from the perspective of positive value for women also came into existence.   Betty Frieden in The Feminine Mystique in 1963 gave a perspective of the experience of female sexuality that had women engage with each other over the topic of their own personal experience.  There was a new question:  Are women enjoying their sexual lives and what does that look like?

THE PILL AND THE HITE REPORT

Even before the pill in 64,   the Margaret Sanger Center in New York had made available diaphragms to women as a contraceptive and educated women to the notion of limiting family size.  Margaret Sanger, for providing this source of birth control had been put in jail for this offense more than once.  Within the group interviewed for this book, there were reports of getting diaphragms from the Margaret Sanger Clinic in New York in 1920.   There were few women who had the means or the ability to choose abortion by going to Juarez, Mexico and other secret places, special doctors compassionate to women with unwanted pregnancies within the United States.    The birth control pill was first designed to assist in creating ovulation by regulating the cycle of menestruation.   Recognized for its birth control effect, some smart mothers took their daughters to their gynecologists “to regulate their periods,” knowingly reducing the risk of unwanted pregnancy.

THE POLITICS OF ORGASM

  Roe vs Wade offered the choice for women to  take or not take pregnancy to full term.  That same year, unmarried women were allowed to get birth control pills from their doctors. It is no coincidence it would seem that the question of value and desire then became a part of the conversation for women around that time.   Sex as a function of fulfilling the biological function for women was replaced by the emergence of pleasure and orgasm as a priority for women.  The Hite Report in 1976 gave a view of the  intimate experiences relative to their pleasure and gratification, orgasm and masterbation were reported by women in the research of Cheryl Hite for this book.  Women began to talk to each other about their experiences, their expectations and their desires.  It stirred up questions women had never before been willing to reveal about their sexual lives.

John Bancroft work at the Kinsey Institute in the 40’s was the tip of the iceberg in bringing up the scientific question of what lay behind the behavior of women relative to their sexuality, as reported by Julia Heiman, current director of the Kinsey Institute.  But it would be the impact of the national conversation among women about their sex lives that was stimulated by the Hite Report that had the topic gain ground among women in the 70’s.  The  ladies bridge club tables in the late 60’s, early ’70’s and other ladies’ gatherings often provided the place and time for those discussions by women about women, the topic of orgasm had come into the conversation.

Not all women identified with the strident voice and emerging presence of the National Organization of Women, the word feminist was not taken on by many.  In fact, within the National Organization of Women it was well reported that a split had occurred between the newly emerging and highly vocal gay rights activists and the interests and positions causing dissension and confusion for a purposeful direction that all could support. Meanwhile, most women were aware of and not directly participating in the process of feminism or the woman’s movement in any form.  But they were taking women’s studies in the local junior colleges, moving on to the colleges and universities made available by Affirmative Action.  They also reported entering into therapy and the self awareness studies and programs and talking to other women, forming women’s groups that allowed the women to assimilate the new choices and options available to them.

SEXOLOGIST EARLY STUDIES

Now the pressure was on in a new way:  women undertook the study of their sexuality and sought to have a fulfilling sex life.  Helen Singer Kaplan, a sexologist working with women who wanted to expand or understand the limits of their gratification in their sexual lives.   Kaplan in the 70’s developed a study on the physical response of women measuring those responses in the release of serotonin, heart rate, dilation of the eyes and lubrication.  Her findings were that the emotional or cognizant awareness and the physiological response of women did not correspond .  That is, the biological physiological changes in the body that corresponded with desire for sex were apparent but were not detected or reported by the women as they occurred.  It was reported that the “split” -separation of feeling and physical response did not show up for men.  When there was biological physiological change in men, men were aware of the desire that came with those changes.  The obvious conclusion was that the evidence for physical response by men was observable and validated by erection.  But as well, the standards around  sexual response that are part of the education and experience of men and women as they enter puberty and adulthood had been very different.   Men have historically had more approval of overt expression of interest in sexuality than women.  Part of the identity shift in the times of sexual liberation for women was to change their opinion about their own experience to allow recognition and connection with their own body.  Being aware of one’s own body and its desires for women is as recent as the social and political changes for women in the  past forty years of western society.

When you consider the amount of pressure on women up until the mid to late 1960’s to withhold themselves from sexual activity for a variety of reasons, including pregnancy but most specifically relative to their value and inclusion as “good women,” it makes sense that there would be a denial to those experiences.  The rules socially adhered to by the majority of men and women prior to the sexual and political shift of consciousness of the 6o’s and 70’s  did not include enjoyment overtly expressed by ‘good’ women.  The women were the gatekeepers of sex and took the fall if unmarried sex occurred and definitely was blamed for unmarried pregnancies.  Not that different from parts of the world we see and hear about where women are stoned, burned and abused for any signs of such an expression publicly or even privately with her husband.  Those concepts about women still live in the halls of congress where recently a nameless senator suggested birth control would not be needed if women kept their knees together.  Hard to believe those attitudes  prevail.

The dramatic change from the mores that discouraged, limited women and even punished women relative to their expression of their sexual interest and appetite to expression and fulfillment are a new age phenomena.  Around the world today, there are countries and nations that still punish women for any overt expression of their sexuality and  limit the women’s access to responsible care of themselves through the use of birth control.  The late 60’s provided the beginning of women owning their own sexual lives.

In 1976,  Cheryl Hite  presented her book The Hite Report.  Nationwide the book offered women a whole other aspect to their sexuality.  This book presented intimate sexual research on female orgasm reported by the women themselves.  It caused a sensation for sure and broke the taboo of open discussion by women about themselves and their sexuality.  Books about women’s sexuality had been by doctors, priests, psychologists, but this was the women themselves discussing their appetites and desires now revealed in this best seller.

Corresponding with the dawning of sexual liberation of women into a new context of modern feminism, there were the changes in the sociopolitical structure around them.  The connection seems significant between sex and politics as we entered the next entry of feminism; women taking public office.

1978 was the first year there were more women entering college than men.  1980-84 brought women into political offices.  In 1980, Elizabeth Dole became Secretary of Labor.  In 1981 Sandra Day O’Connor became first Supreme Court Judge and in the election of 1984,  Geraldine Ferraro was the Vice Presidential candidate.  Janet Reno and Madeline Albright were given posts in President Clinton‘s cabinet in 1992, he also appointed Ruth Ginsburg  to the Supreme Court in 1993.  The Equal Rights Amendment would pass in 1997, and the Paycheck Fairness Act would pass in 2008 because of Lily Ledbetter.

Elizabeth Warren, Hilary Clinton, Gabby Gifford 

These are the women we look to for leadership in our world today.  Each woman has shown the world their ability to stand for the ideals of feminism/humanism as women with a deep passion and commitment for equality and equity for those outside the benefit of power.

DESIRE-THE POWER OF WOMEN DEFINED

How significant is the question of desire for women in the context for modern feminism?  The question of gratification is new ground, new identity and new definition to what it is to be a women.  We have come through the past fifty years, but poverty and lack of education are as much the determinant of the exploited, the mutilated and the excluded in any society.   Many women world wide come from conditions that far exceed those from which women have been liberated in the past fifty years.  The changes necessary to restructure and reallocate power in any group are not easily come by.  Some of the changes that have come with the past fifty years of redefinition of what it is to be a man, what it is to be a woman bring confusion and chaos long before clarity.  But no one wants to go back, in fact women world wide want to bring their sisters forward and into their own power.

Meanwhile, we continue to be students to this life long pursuit of knowing and expressing our power and our sexuality.

Meridith Chivers of Queen’s University of Kingston, Ontario directed her research in 2009 to “Discovering What Ignites Desire for women,” in the Archives of Sexual Behavior Anthology.  Those studies and those of Lisa Diamond, a Sexologist at the University of Utah, also studied women’s desire in her sexuality study.  The Diamond  study revealed that women’s desire is more receptive to and dictated by need for intimacy and emotional connection.  She measured the oxytocin as a factor in asserting that female desire was reliant on estrogen- and the cause of desire for women.

Marta Meana, Professor at University of Nevada, also researched in her study in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, and her findings were that it wasn’t the closeness or communication that created the oxytocin that released desire, but  that “being desired is the orgasm.”   Meana attributed that to narcissism.  Her study suggested that  sexual response was a “yearning for self love.”

  Meridith Chivers of Queen’s University of Kingston, Ontario directed her research in 2009 to “Discovering What Ignites Desire for women,” in the Archives of Sexual Behavior Anthology.  Those studies and those of Lisa Diamond, a Sexologist at the University of Utah, also studied women’s desire in her sexuality study.  The Diamond  study revealed that women’s desire is more receptive to and dictated by need for intimacy and emotional connection.  She measured the oxytocin as a factor in asserting that female desire was reliant on estrogen- and the cause of desire for women.

Marta Meana, Professor at University of Nevada, also researched in her study in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, and her findings were that it wasn’t the closeness or communication that created the oxytocin that released desire, but  that “being desired is the orgasm.”   Meana attributed that to narcissism.  Her study suggested that  sexual response was a “yearning for self love.”

How and under what conditions do women experience their desire is a new question.     Many countries continue to keep the constraints, sanctions and prohibitions that limit and control women through lack of education and birth control; poverty in this country or any country limits and victimizes girls and women to reduced options in determining their sexuality.  Planned Parenthood has for all the years since Margaret Sanger opened the doors of her Clinic in the 40’s been a source for young women taking responsibility for their  wellbeing with education and prescription for avoiding pregnancy and sexual diseases, a response serving the clients and their community.  All the more alarming is the movement to close the doors of Planned Parenthood, and limit the education and services they provide.

 POLITICS OF REGRESSING:  LIMITING WOMENS RIGHTS

Incredulously, corresponding with the attacks on Planned Parenthood, in 40 states,  there is an attempt to take women back to that societal and legal constraints limiting women choosing to take a pregnancy to term.  As women gain more power of choice in how they live their lives, take on head of the household status with jobs and income, opt to make their own choices in terms of marital status, women have become more powerful politically.  The last Presidential election data suggests that women, single women in particular had a great impact on the results that voted in President Barack Obama.
The correlation between the power to express their lives sexually and politically seems to have caused a backlash against women by at least 40 state legislative bills attempting to reduce women’s ability to choose to be pregnant and to bring pregnancy to term.  But ultimately the intention clearly is to limit the power of women politically through attempting to send the women back to the choices available in 1950.

 

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2014 Supreme Court vs Roe VS Wade

images-4        Politics of feminism:  2014   

There is no simple reform.  It really is a revolution.  Sex and race because they are easy and visible and visible differences that have been primary ways of organizing human beings into superior/inferior groups and into cheap labor on which this system depends. We are talking about a society in which there will be no roles other than those chosen or those earned.  We’re really talking about humanism.”   Gloria Steinem

The Supreme Court’s  2014 decision to reduce the distance between those who protest abortion, and those who using the benefit of abortion with their protestations is an indication that Roe VS Wade is under attack.  It puts at risk, some of the distance from the 1973 decision of that Supreme Court with just the few feet taken away  that provide a buffer between those on either side of the question of abortion.  Many see this result from the Supreme Court  as yet one more attempt by those who do not agree with the law of the land:  Roe VS Wade 1973.

The work of the years of social change and legal process came through the work of many who lives in the atmosphere of revolution and what the 60’s were about.  Women, since the days of the earliest feminist gathering in Seneca Falls in 1848, had always been about reform-in the prisons, in the factories, on the streets.  But the turbulence of the Viet Nam War and Civil Rights movement in the South provoked participation by women.  They worked again for reform in a war that spent young men’s lives in Viet Nam, reform in civil rights if not in the cities of Montgomery and Memphis, then behind the scenes organizing and supporting the civil rights action through protests and demonstrations.   Who and what was important was in the process of change and flux and  and that chaos  stirred throughout the country.  Nationwide democracy was challenged in the streets of the cities and college campuses  by a counter culture that questioned the status quo of authority.  Many universities across the country, in the college classrooms, and from churches , a movement made up of people working to promote the end of the draft, against the war came together.  Historians note that women in anti war and  civil rights movement began to bring to bring to focus the principles and demands of the women’s movement in mid 60’s.

1964 also brought  the birth control pill into the doctor’s offices and into the reach of married women, allowing choice in pregnancy and childbirth. Women gaining the right to birth control provided an undeniable liberty that freed them to determine their life’s course was how it was perceived at the time.  Around the topic of women’s rights, a counter culture  developed in how women perceived their roles as women and as members of society.  In 1964 also,  the Civil Rights Act for the end of discrimination based on sex, country of origin or sex.  With it, the  Affirmative Action law which required employers and colleges  to account for entry of those who had been excluded due to race or sex.  The effects of the factor of birth control, women’s’ rights and access given to minorities in jobs and eduction provided a whole new platform that brought about the world we live in today.  It is a work in process for sure.  But more to the point, it is under attack in policy and practice in various states of the nation.  The process and goals of humanity to allow  sexual freedom and the demands for equality are underway and a tedious balance politically, economically and as is evidenced by the Supreme Court decision today, not a certainty.  The buffer that has been there for women to not be personally attacked for their choices has now been reduced.

Valuing how it came to be that women gained the right to choose may an unknown to the generation born after 1977 because they have always lived with those rights and privileges.  How was it then for women, and the society that brought this change of freedom to choose to women.  In the late 60’s, Television news was full of racial struggle, war in Viet Nam, and the protests and demonstrations around the country around civil rights and the war.  Families were driven apart by the different ways these conflicts were held; those who supported the change in the conditions of race and inequality and those who saw the threat of changes they weren’t comfortable with,  women “being just like men” was one such threat.  No other choice but to go to war and serve in war was considered to be the only possible alternative in the post world war II world.  Yet the turmoil and violence around the war in Southeast Asia yes, but on the college campuses presented the marks of a very difficult time in our democracy. Women came to have a voice through their participation in the antiwar and civil rights movement, and brought feminism into its second wave of changing the culture inside out.

The loud and brash women speaking from the black and white televisions, the Bella Abzug’s, Gloria Steinem’s, Jane Fonda’s were considered by some to be dangerous, by many just and not taken seriously by women as well as men.  First Lady Jackie Kennedy in 1965 shared  in a television interview that her husband found these women espousing liberation to be  “unfeminine, and thought they might be lesbians.”  The country was in an uproar as roles and choices by men and women were being recalibrated, reconceived and for many reborn.  Many women did not identify with the movement, and alienation to the strident demands of feminism did not resonate with all women.  Yet as the opportunity to higher education and job advantages of Affirmative Action took hold, women gravitated if not to the women’s movement to experiencing the value of being the director of their own fate.

But this day, June 29th, 2014, today we have in every day’s event, news of abortion centers that are under fire, state legislation bills are attempting to reduce choice for women’s ability to choose, and ultimately to continue on the path of this portal to bright the goals of equality and empowerment to those systematically excluded.  It is clear that many women having had the freedom to choose their destiny are not about to turn back now.  But it may be time for those unaware of these political moves and their consequences to know this struggle is underway.  The argument that women need to have decisions made for them was common in the 1920’s.  Just like removing the opportunity for education for girls in Somalia makes sense if you want to reduce women’s access to full participation and choice as if that choice alone is somehow evil.  Many women have not chosen and will not choose abortion, and they don’t need the protection of a law that takes that choice away from them.  Their integrity will guide them, just as it has over the past years since 1973.  A recent film Obvious Child renders a good look at the process and integrity involved in those choices.  Women don’t need to be directed to make the choices right for them, and the Supreme Court’s decision today have ruled by reducing that barrier, the number of feet between vulnerable women, and those who show them terrible projections to discourage their decision.  To harass, attack and humiliate these women for their decision just a few feet closer may be just a few more feet closer to the privilege women have held since 1973 and Roe VS Wade.

 

 

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