The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.
Last Saturday, February 26th, was the ten-year anniversary of the murder of Trayvon Martin. Had his killer (who shall not be named on the blog) not decided to take the law into his own hands, young Mr. Martin would be 27. He might have graduated from high school and college, started a successful career, and perhaps said “I do” by now. But he will forever remain 17, a promising life full of possibilities that we can speak of in a hypothetical manner.
Though we cannot bring Travyon back to life or undo the acquittal of the man who was responsible for his killing, we can see look to our present and see where progress has been made. The men responsible for the executions of both George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery were found guilty of their respective crimes.
This is one GIANT step forward. As both a woman and a person of color, Brown Jackson, represents the true nature and the potential of this nation. With March being Women’s History Month and this coming Tuesday being International Women’s Day, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate our wins and identify where there is more work to be done.
Of course, not everyone welcomed her with open arms. Her legal abilities and history were questioned by some Republicans (no surprise there). The obvious inquiry is if Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh had to face the same criticism. Probably not. My hope and prayer is that not only will she sit on the highest court of the land, but also that she will help to create the America that we know is possible.
May the memory of Trayvon Martin, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, etc, be a blessing and a reminder of how far we need to go.
March is Women’s History Month. This year, I would like to shine a spotlight on some of the female characters who both push against the glass ceiling and inspire us.
Behind Her Eyes (Netflix): It would have been easy to peg Adele (Eve Hewson) as the wronged wife and Louise (Simona Brown) as a modern version of Glenn Close’s character from Fatal Attraction. But both women are given the opportunity to be fully fledged characters that go well beyond the stereotypes.
Bridgerton (Netflix): For non-fans of the BPD (British Period Drama), Bridgerton would just another Jane Austen-ish historical romance/drama. But fans know that though women are second class citizens in this world, they have other abilities that are not obvious to the naked eye. My favorite characters are Eloise Bridgerton (Claudia Jessie) and Lady Danbury (Adjoah Andoh). Instead of mindlessly following in her elder sister’s footsteps, Eloise would love to be free of the constrictions that women are placed under in the 19th century. For her part, Lady Danbury is a badass who knows of her place in society and uses her experiences wisely.
WandaVision (DisneyPlus): Every female character in this series is fully formed. As we learn more about this world and the women who inhabit it, their humanity is revealed in a manner that is normal and natural. They are allowed to be who they are without being pegged as certain character types and forced into boxes that can be easily checked off.
P.S. That series finale last night was nothing short of mind blowing. I don’t know about anyone else, but I am ready for season 2.
Law & Order: SVU (NBC): For a television show to last twenty plus years, it has to have a certain something about it. In a nutshell, what makes it stand out is the difficult subject the show brings to the forefront and the capable female detectives whose job it is to solve the crimes. At the head of the unit is Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay). Though she has been working sex crimes for decades, the job has not hardened her. She can be tough when she has to be, but she can also be compassion and humane. Amanda Rollins (Kelli Giddish) has fought against her demons and survived. That alone is worth its weight in gold. The newest and youngest member of the squad is Katriona Tamin (Jamie Gray Hyder). Though she still has a lot to learn, she has the passion and the drive to bring the criminals to justice.
Readers, what other female characters inspire you? Feel free to leave a comment in the comment section below.
It’s taken multiple generations and the hard work of countless women (and their male allies), but we have accomplished what our fore-mothers could only have dreamed of.
Granted, it goes without saying that the fight for equality is not over. Issues such as equal pay, sexual assault, and the right to make decisions over our own bodies are as much as in the forefront as they were decades ago.
My generation of feminists took the ball that our mothers and grandmothers started rolling and have run with it. We stand on their shoulders so that future generations will be able to finish this fight for good.
Nowadays, the fact that women have accomplishments and responsibilities outside of the traditional female sphere seems normal. But the reality is that it was not too long ago that women had no rights and had to fight for even the most basic of rights that men take for granted. The 19th Amendment was only ratified in 1920.
Don’t get me wrong, our accomplishments in only a few generations are nothing short of breathtaking. When our fore mothers were simply fighting for the right to vote and have a voice in their government, they might not have foreseen the snowball effect of wanting to vote. The educational and professional opportunities that were once closed to us are now ours for the taking. We can choose if and when we marry and have children. Our lives are our own.
But even with all of that, there are still many battles to fight:
Equal pay for equal work.
Safety from sexual violence, at home, on the street and at work.
Easy access to safe and reliable birth control.
This war is not over and will not be over until women are seen and treated as equals to men. While that day has not come yet, it will come. We just have to keep working and fighting for it.
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.
When I look back at what women have accomplished in only a few generations, I feel nothing but pride. The world is our oyster. We have opportunities that our mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers could only dream of.
Today we think nothing of a woman earning an advanced degree or climbing up the corporate ladder. Many of us are not married or may choose to not have children. We are not required to rely on our husbands or fathers for an income.
The truth is that, yes, we have come very far, but we still have a long way to go. Some states in this country require women seeking an abortion to jump through hoops. In many parts of the world, women are still second class citizens, considered to be chattel to the men in their life. Rape is sadly an everyday fact of life. Many women are still earning a lower salary than their male colleagues, even if their responsibilities are the same and the women are more qualified and better educated.
A woman’s body is still considered to be a piece of meat, a man’s sexual plaything, exemplified by the Erin Andrews case.
Despite all of that, we have much to be proud of. We have built a foundation and broken the glass ceiling. It’s time to crack that glass ceiling for good.