There is an old saying: a house divided cannot stand.
A political movement whose ultimate goal is equality cannot last when hate worms its way into the movement.
Theresa Shook is one of the founders and leaders of Women’s March, the face of the modern feminist movement. She has called on her co-founders to step down due after accusations of antisemitism and anti-gay sentiments were made known to the public.
To say that I am disappointed is an understatement. If we are marching and protesting to ensure equality for one group of people, we must do the same for all. We cannot say one thing in private and say something else in public. We cannot demand equal rights for all women in public and in private make antisemitic and anti-gay remarks in the private.
In case these women forgot, this generations feminists did not just become feminists out of thin air. We stand on the shoulders of Bella Abzug, Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem. All three of these women are not just icons of the second wave of feminism, but Jewish as well. The fact that antisemitism has infected Women’s March spits on these women who paved the way for us to fight for our rights.
When we have true equality, it will happen when we work together, not when we denigrate one another because of religion or sexuality.
Yesterday was Women’s Equality Day.
Ratified in 1971 by Congress, the idea of the Women’s Equality Day was started by the late, great Bella Abzug.
American women and women around the world have come very far, compared to where we were only two generations ago.
But the fight must continue. For every battle we have won, there are many more that must be won. There are still parts of the world where women are second class citizens who are denied the right to vote, to work, to marry whom they want to, etc.
Thanks Bella, wherever you are. You got the ball rolling, it is up to us to keep it rolling.
Bella Abzug is a political and feminist icon. Not just among her New York City constituents whom she represented in the 1970’s, but the world over. Bella was a true politician, unlike many of those who are in the government today. She meant what she said and said what she meant. She stood behind her convictions, even if they made her unpopular.
The 2008 biography by Suzanne Braun Levine and Mary Thom, Bella Abzug: How One Tough Broad from the Bronx Fought Jim Crow and Joe McCarthy, Pissed Off Jimmy Carter, Battled for the Rights of Women and … Planet, and Shook Up Politics Along the Way, is not the standard biography.
Born in 1920 to Russian Jewish immigrants, Bella Abzug (nee Savitsky) was a born fighter. Her first brush with feminism when was her father died when she was a young girl. Traditional Judaism dictates that a son should say kaddish (prayers for mourning) for his father. But Bella, the youngest of two girls, had no brothers. So she said kaddish for her father.
Most biographies have a typical cut and dry style. The person profiled was born on this date, accomplished x,y and z during their lifetime and died on this date. But not this biography. What I enjoy about this book is that instead of being just another impersonal and historical biography, is the interviews. Not just with the subject herself, but with the those who knew her best. Her family, her friends, her colleagues. I feel like, as a reader, that even though I never met her, that I knew who she was, as a human being, warts and all.
I recommend this book.