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.
This Saturday is the annual Women’s March. Around the world, millions of men and women will make it clear that times are changing. We will not stand by anymore and be treated as second class citizens.
I have participated in the last few marches, proud to have made my voice heard. This year, I may not march and that makes me sad. The charges of antisemitism and hateful words have poisoned this march, limiting (in my mind at least), the good things that have come about.
When asked about the prejudiced remarks by Louis Farrakhan, Ms. Mallory said that she doe not agree with his remarks, but she did state that she could not condemn such remarks. She makes this statement starting at 6:28.
The thing that makes me angry is that Jewish women have been part of the foundation of the American feminist movement since begging. Rose Schneiderman and Clara Lemlich Shavelson were two of the women who got this movement started in the early 20th century. Betty Friedan (author of The Feminine Mystique) and Gloria Steinem were part of a group of women who kept the ball rolling in the 1960’s and 1970’s. All of these women are Jewish.
I am proud to be a feminist. I am proud of how far we have come and how we continue to fight for our rights in spite of the obstacles in front of us.
But I cannot be proud of my sisters-in-arms who would denigrate me as a Jewish woman and deny the place of Jewish women in the history of the American feminist movement.
For that alone, I am sad and I may not march this weekend.
“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.”
Rebecca Traister‘s new book, Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger, explains in no uncertain terms that American women are angry and not afraid to show that anger. For far too long, women’s anger has been dismissed, especially in politics. An angry women is a b*tch, unlikable and therefore not able to speak for and represent her potential or existing constituents. In the book, Ms. Traister writes about the history of how women’s political anger in the United States has transformed the country in such a way that we can never go back to where we came were.
I loved this book. Powerfully written, Ms. Traister not only illustrates how far we have come, but how far we have to go.
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.
One of my favorite quotes, famously spoken by Gloria Steinem is as follows:
“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.”
Actress Rose McGowan is beyond pissed. She is furious at the way women are treated, especially women in Hollywood.
She recently released her new memoir, Brave. The book is a balls to the wall, complete reveal of her life up to this point and her anger at those (especially men) who abused her and took advantage of her. In the book, she describes two cults: the one was born into and the Hollywood cult that assaulted her and sold her as a marketable product.
This is one of the most mind-blowing books I’ve read in a very long time. Both a memoir and a manifesto, Ms. McGowan is not only pissed for everything she has been through, she is pissed for every woman who has been shoved aside or thought as a sex object because she is a woman.
I absolutely recommend it. I would also go as far to say that it is one of the best books of 2018 so far.
Today is the first day of Women’s History Month. I could write about women like Susan B. Anthony, Gloria Steinem or even Hillary Clinton.
I’d like to write about something different tonight.
I want to honor the ordinary women who paved the way. The Jane Doe on the street who is just going about her business, who in her own small way, paved the way for the rights and achievements of future generations of women. Specifically, I want to write about the women I come from, my mother and my grandmothers.
My grandmothers were first generation Americans, the daughters of Eastern European Jewish immigrants. Coming of age during The Great Depression and World War II, they understood what sacrifice and hardship felt like. My paternal grandmother was a homemaker, my maternal grandmother stayed at home until her youngest child was of an appropriate age, then she went back to work. My grandmothers were intelligent, capable, loving, strong. Both of my grandmothers (and my grandfathers as well), are long since deceased, but the legacy they left will live on.
My mother is a baby boomer. Born in an era when gender lines were clear and not to be crossed, her generation demanded equality and would not stop until they had it. The revolution they started in the 1960’s and 1970’s, my generation is continuing. My mother proved that it was possible to have a husband, raise healthy and happy children, while sustaining a full time career.
I come from amazing stock. Without these women, I would not be the woman I am today. Every woman deserves the chance to succeed and every woman who is successful stands on the shoulders of the women, famous or ordinary, paved the way for her.
We all need heroes in our lives. They are the ones that we admire. We aspire to follow in their footsteps.
Kate Zambreno’s 2012 book, Heroines, is about the female authors who overcame the title of “female author”, to become successful in their own right.
The origins of the book come from the author’s blog, started on December 31st, 2009. Entitled Frances Farmer Is My Sister, Ms. Zambreno wrote about authors such as Jean Rhys and Zelda Fitzgerald. These women, whose abilities as writers equaled the male writers around them, were only thought to be muses. Because they were women, no one believed that they could write as well as a man. They were silenced, institutionalized and erased (thankfully for us, only temporarily) from literary history.
The format of this book is not written in the traditional format. Retaining the blog style of writing, the author lays out the difficulties that previous generations of female writers had to overcome. One of the qualities of the book that caught me off guard was how angry I got. Zelda Fitzgerald is not just the wife of F. Scott Fitzgerald. She was a brilliant writer in her own right. Jean Rhy’s novel, Wide Sargasso Sea is the highly acclaimed and respected prequel to Jane Eyre. She dared to flesh out the character of Bertha, Mr. Rochester’s first wife. In Jane Eyre, Bertha Rochester is a one dimensional madwoman who nearly kills her husband and burns Thornfield to the ground. Jean Rhys made Bertha an empathetic character whom the reader feels for because of the circumstances forced upon her.
Gloria Steinem once said the following:
The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off.
This book pissed me off. But it also set me free. This is one of best feminist non-fiction books that I have ever read and I highly recommend it.