First, please allow me to appologize for my silence here lately. Now that the election is over and Obama is doing all the right things, well… some of the pressure is off. However, I just saw HBO’s Iron Jawed Angels and… well, it might be the red wine, but I loved it. Sure, it was a little corny and the soundtrack hardly matched the era but I’m a sucker for a powerful story.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about feminism (er, Feminism?) and what it means to me. After all, almost nothing I’m doing right now would have been possible without incredible sacrifice by brave, powerful women who came before me. I’m unmarried but living with a man I love, I am getting an MA at a Major East Coast University, I control my reproductive system, and voted in the last election.
So, stay with me, this may take a while.
In many ways I am not an expert on gender theory or politics—I tended to doze through my classes on feminist art criticism in college; I’ve resisted the term feminist longer than many of my peers; and it is hard for me to get angry about someone using the phrase “you guys” instead of “you all.” Also, and this may not make me popular with the feminist blogosphere, I think that American women have it pretty good– not in every way, and not perfect, but pretty good. Hillary Clinton, after all, could only put “18 million cracks in that last glass ceiling” years after many countries, even countries generally considered hostile to women’s rights embraced female leadership.
As the daughter of a quiet second-wave feminist, I grew up wearing T-shirts that said “little me” and reading books about powerful, historic women (Nellie Bly and Margaret Sanger continue to be an inspiration). I had no doubt that America will see a female president in my lifetime; I supported Barack Obama from day one and never looked back. Until, that is, I had the opportunity to meet a woman named Michele who worked as an underground abortion counselor in the late 1960s in Minnesota. Continue reading