Tag Archives: feminist movement

Why I Re-Read A Strange Stirring

In 2017, it’s easy for modern women to appreciate the rights and accomplishments that we can call our own. But, at the same time, we don’t have to travel that far to go back to a time when a woman’s sphere was limited to that of a wife, mother and homemaker.

Today I finished re-reading A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique and American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s by Stephanie Coontz. In the book, Ms. Coontz examines now only the impact of Betty Friedan’s world-changing book, The Feminine Mystique, but also the criticism that was lobbied at the book and Ms. Friedan.

I re-read A Strange Stirring for two reasons: 1) how far women have come in a short span of 2-3 generations and 2) I needed reminder of how complex the feminist movement is. It is more than the right to vote or to own property or to receive an education. It is our continued fight to be seen and appreciated as the complex and complicated human beings that we are.

I also recommend it, in case anyone has not read it.

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Filed under Books, Feminism, History, Why I Re-Read

RIP Lesley Gore

1960’s Pop singer Lesley Gore passed away today.

Mainly known for light, frothy songs like “It’s My Party” and “Judy’s Turn To Cry”, Ms. Gore released “You Don’t Own Me” in 1963, a song that would become an anthem of the feminist movement.

In her later years, Ms. Gore revealed that she had been living with her partner of 30 years, Lois Sasson.

RIP Lesley. While your mortal remains will vanish, your music and your legacy will live on.

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February 16, 2015 · 10:33 pm

HeForShe

Emma Watson gave an impassioned speech about Women’s Rights at the UN very recently. She spoke of an organization called HeForShe. HeForShe is not the typical feminist organization. It calls on men and women to take up the cause of feminism together.

Now that I am thinking about it, this is the absolutely correct next step in the feminist movement. We have achieved so much in only a few generations. However, we are not yet completely equal.

As Ms. Watson pointed out, a woman, even if she has the same or better education or professional background than her male colleague, she is still going to be paid less. In certain countries girls are still married off to men much older than them before they hit puberty. Women are still being judged by their outer appearance and sexualized far too early in life.

We need men to fight along with us. We need their support and their voices.

It’s not just a woman’s cause anymore, it’s a cause that belongs to men and women.

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Common Sense And A Little Fire Book Review

Our heroes are often unsung.  Their achievements are often forgotten. We cannot thank them for what we have because we have forgotten them.

Annelise Orleck’s 1995 memoir, Common Sense And A Little Fire is about the unsung heroes of the feminist movement and the labor movement. Rose Schneiderman, Pauline Newman, Clara Lemlich Shavelson and Fannia Cohn were Jewish emigrants who left Europe for America at the turn of the 20th century. Settling in the Lower East Side, they took the only jobs they could get. Working in the garment factories for low pay, no benefits and unprotected from the advances of their male bosses and colleagues, they quickly join the labor movement, as well as the early feminist movement.

This book is a history book and a memoir, but it reads like a novel. Rich in historical detail, Orleck’s subjects are  human in every way. The reader gets to know them not just as labor leaders and feminists, but full human beings.  Her subjects are no longer with us, but every time I finish reading this book, I say a silent thank you to the ladies. Without them, we would all be very different.

I recommend this book.

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One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

I am part of the generation born after the second wave of the feminist movement. I have an extreme amount of pride for my generation. We have achievements and opportunities that our grandmothers and great grandmothers would have not even considered.  But as I pointed out in my post about International Women’s Day, we still have a long way to do. For every one step we have made going forward, we have gone back two steps.

Case in point, two movie trailers:

The first, for the upcoming movie reboot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Back in the day, TMNT was one of the best cartoons on television. To this day, I can still sing the theme song.  April, the female lead, was strong, independent and part of the group. No different than her mutant male counterparts.

In this trailer, April, played by Megan Fox, upon meeting two of the turtles, appears to faint.

Not cool.

The second movie trailer is the sequel to Captain America. Returning to role of The Black Widow is Scarlett Johansson.  The Avengers was one of the best super hero movies of recent memory. A huge plus for the movie was that the Black Widow was just simply one of the Avengers. She was not a love interest, she was not a damsel in distress.  She had no problems taking care of herself.

In this trailer, for reasons that will be revealed when the movie opens in theaters next weekend, The Black Widow is unconscious and has to be carried to safety by Captain America.

I had hoped that by 2014, the movie industry would not still be writing females as fainting and unconscious damsels in distress who must be carried away by the male hero.

One step forward, two steps back.

 

 

 

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