Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Women and Politics: Why We can Never Go Back to the 1950s

by Nomad

In my formative years (which, as far as I can tell, haven't ended) there was a popular tune was by Helen Reddy called "I am Woman." It became a kind of anthem to the Feminist Movement of the 1970s. It was a song that clearly changed lives.

Back then, I couldn't understand what the fuss was about back then. I mean, apart from the dubious grammar, my thought was "Okay, you are woman. Wasn't it obvious?" Since that time, the tides of enlightenment through liberation have swept in, left their marks and in some ways, swept out again. 

For some people, the fact that women really are people who deserve the same rights as the male population isn't all that obvious and some of these people somehow find themselves in positions of power.
In any event,  related to that idea,  here are two articles from women I thought I would share with you. 
First, there one by Kimberley A. Johnson, the author of The Virgin Diaries. It is called "Why I Am Leaving The Democratic Party And Voting Republican." 

Here's an excerpt:
I imagine this will come as a great shock to many but I have decided that rather than vote for the losing team in November, I will vote a straight Republican ticket.
I have been singing the liberal song for so long now and it just isn’t working. I have asked so many senators and representatives to support the Equal Rights Amendment because for some crazy reason, I thought women should earn as much as men for the same work. They just ignore me. Every time I turn around, I hear Republican women telling me that pay inequality is just a myth. Men say it too. Rick Perry just said it is ridiculous to even discuss it, and he has GREAT HAIR!
She goes on to say:
I think the main reason why I have decided to vote Republican is because I am just sick and tired of worrying about my rights. It’s exhausting. Voting is such a pain anyway. I could be at the mall getting my nails done and ENJOYING a nice massage and some Republican man can pay for it. I am sick and tired of having to make every decision myself.
I tend to think she might be pulling my leg. What do you think?

Another article I stumbled across recently deserves a little of your attention is entitled "I Am An Angry Feminist" from the blog TallulahLucy. She makes some interesting observations:
Feminists in popular culture are villains who look and smell bad, who are selfish, loud and conceited, throwing big words like “patriarchy” and “homogenous” around to show that they’re cleverer than whoever they’re with and that they care more. If you don’t care as much as they do you’re a bad person.

This antagonism doesn’t only put people on the defensive, it also makes those of us who agree with the issues, who want to be part of the cause, shy away from it. “You can call me an advocate for women’s rights, but please don’t call me a feminist”.

Over the past year or so – due in part to my activity on Twitter, due in part to in depth discussions with friends and colleagues – I have come to look upon the word differently. I’ve come to realise that I need feminism because I will never be a good 50s housewife. I need that f-word because I want to live in a world where I can play computer games instead of playing house, because I dream of a world where I can walk around in the streets without fear. Perhaps some who call themselves feminists come across as harsh, can be interpreted as bullies. I never want to be a bully. But I do want the world to wake up, I do want to take up the baton of the suffragettes and argue for an equal world where little girls are not just expected to play with dolls while little boys are exposed to important, exciting, things like science and engineering.
So for lack of a better term I am a feminist. And I am angry.
Lately I have been more in the reading mood than the writing mode.  So why not throw the spotlight on others for change. By the way, if you've ever wondered what became of Helen Reddy, take a look at this clip from Australian TV. 

She seems extraordinarily content with her life. So much for myth of the angry feminist.