Social movements, especially those whose focus is civil or social rights are rarely, if ever, declared victorious in a short amount of time. Recent American history tell us that that it takes years, if not decades or centuries for these movements to achieve their goals.
Looking back through history, I am amazed and awe inspired on the progress that not just American women, but women in general have made. I am from a generation in which a woman working outside of the home in jobs that are not traditionally “female” is completely normal. Women of my generation, if they marry, are marrying later in life. Our careers and our education is just as important as having a husband and children.
However, there are still battles to be fought. Women still earn less than male colleagues with the same experience and job title. Our ability to access safe and legal abortions is tenuous at best and depends on a number of factors. The chance of being sexually assaulted and/or harassed is still too high for my comfort. In my home state of New York, rape intoxication loophole has yet to be filled.
This generation of feminists stands on the shoulders of brave women who understood that the future is female. We honor and remember the gains they made, but that does not mean that our job is done. Until we have true equality, we must continue on the path that they paved for us starting in 1848.
Great women do not become great overnight. It takes years or even decades to be worthy of the title of greatness.
On Friday, Great Performances aired Gloria, A Life. Starring Christine Lahti, the play tells the life story of legendary second wave feminist Gloria Steinem. Via a small cast made up entirely of female performers, the audience is introduced to the real woman behind the icon.
I’m thrilled that this show was filmed for television. I didn’t see the play while it was open, though looking back, I wish I had. I loved it. It was educating, enthralling, and entertaining. If nothing else, the play is a reminder that the issue of women’s right is just a prevalent today as it was fifty years ago.
I absolutely recommend it.
Gloria, A Life can be streamed on the Great Performances website.
Today I voted for my great-grandmother’s generation. My great-grandmothers entered this country as immigrants with second class citizenship and fought for their basic rights.
Today I voted for my grandmother’s generation. Born during World War I, they were too young to understand how important the 19th Amendment would be to their future.While their fathers, brothers, boyfriends and husbands fought for this country during World War II, they went to work and forever changed the fate of American women.
I voted for my mother’s generation. In the 1960s and 1970s, they were unafraid to stand up and speak up for what they believed in.
I voted for my generation. While our accomplishments are tremendous, we still have a long way to go.
I voted for the generation of young girls who areally our future leaders. They have seen that women can do whatever we set our minds to.
I voted for the women and girls around the world who are denied their basic rights.
You say that you are not a feminist. You say that the label of feminism is “divisive”.
Feminism is not about hating men or switching roles where the female is dominant and the man is submissive. Feminism is about our rights as women to have our voices heard and choosing to live our lives as we see fit.
Without feminism, your role in Divergent would have never existed. You would be forced to play characters in romantic melodramas or comedies where the movie ends with the same old happy ending. Their opportunities for education, for professional advancement, for personal happiness would not exist. Similarly, your education would be limited. The professions that would be open to you would limited. You would be expected to marry, have children and keep a house. That would be the extent of your life.
So before you say that you are not a feminist, remember the women who fought long and hard for you to say those words. Remember the women who gave you that voice and paved the way for the opportunities that you take for granted.