Saturday, July 19, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

Today marks the 160th anniversary of the Seneca Falls Women's Rights Convention. Susan B. Anthony, one of the most renowned women from that time said, "It was we, the people, not we, the white male citizens; but we, the whole people, who formed the Union." Amen, sister!

We've certainly come a long way from that time, baby - we have the right to vote, e are CEOs, doctors, lawyers, priests, rabbis, ministers, accountants...And we continue to make up a large percentage of nurses, teachers, retail help...Our sports are now funded on a par with the boys thanks to the diligent work of women in the 1970's to raise up girls and women in sports. And we now have women represented in the US Senate and House, not to mention a number of governorships. The most qualified candidate in the presidential field this year was a woman, and she got more votes than any other candidate EVER. That is pretty remarkable.

Bill Kristol said, "White women are a problem, that's you know - we all live with that." And so it is that in the 21st century, while we may have come far, we have men yelling at a US Senator, a Former First Lady of the US and Arkansas, "Iron My Shirt!" You have college kids wearing t-shirts that claim, "Bros before hos!" You have TV newscasters calling the same senator a whore, and her daughter a pimp, on national television, and when he is rebuked for it, other male commentators lash out in anger. You have a network selling nutcrackers with the female senator on top, another station having an organization on - twice - whose acronym is an incredibly derogatory term for women. You have major party candidates making sexist statements to not only his fellow candidate, who is older and far more accomplished, but to reporters and other women. And it is brushed aside. You have rampant sexism, even misogyny, eminating from newspapers, magazines, television, and rallies. You have the female speaker of the U.S. House claim she is too busy to document the sexism that has gone on during the campaign, dismissing it, and her female colleague, out of hand.

Women athletes have to sue the Olympic Committee for not having their sport represented, though their male counterparts have theirs. But in Canada, where the Olympics will be taking place, it is illegal to discriminate on the basis of sex.* O, Canada! You rock!

Boston now has an operation designed to reduce the number of sexual predators on its subway lines with cameras, as well as involving the people to help stop these abusers. Way to go, Boston!!*

And, there is still a disparity between girls and boys in math and science in countries that do not offer equal access to education.*

There's an "abstinence-promoting" magazine for high school girls, as well as one for boys, that presents inaccurate information as "facts," and suggests the girls should dress "modestly."* (*Facts taken from, July 2008 Issue.)

So, yes, baby - we have come a long way, but we have a long way to go yet before that glass ceiling is truly good and shattered, before women are seen as full, equal human beings to men, before women stop being measured AGAINST men, with men being the standard (Anna Quindlen writes about that beautifully), before women do not have to fear for their safety when walking alone, whether in broad daylight or nightfall, before women no longer have to endure sexist jeers and attacks by our own media. Yes, we have a long way to go yet, but at least we are on the road. Thanks to women like Susan B. Anthony, Amelia Bloomer, Lucretia Mott, and many, many others, for getting us going. Thank you for the struggles to the women in the early 1900s, some who sacrificed their very lives for us to be able to vote. To the women in the '70's who pushed against the restrictive standards, who fought for equality, who showed women as capable human beings who were more than the sum of their parts, I thank you. And to the men who supported us as we broke through some of the barriers. We have more work to do, my sisters and brothers. Much, much more work to do, as this primary has shown us. But together, YES, WE CAN!!!!


Mary Ellen said...

Good morning, Amy!
I do feel as if women's rights are going backward instead of forward. Back in the day of Susan B.Anthony, although women weren't treated as "citizens", they were shown some respect in public. Now, I see guys giving women the finger or calling them a bitch in public places. Like you said, all you have to do is listen to rap music and women are degraded and considered nothing but "fresh meat" to men. It's just sick. Things aren't much different in the workplace, look what Justice Thomas got away with!

I was so hoping that if Hillary was President, we could make that one step forward to prove that women are equal. Now, I have little hope that this will become reality any time soon. Neither Obama or McCain have any respect towards women or women's rights. It's a man's world and they're destroying it.

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

Hey, ME!

Sorry for the delay - we were down in Savannah ovenright, and just got back a little while ago...

Oh, I think you are so right. It is REALLY disturbing. We saw some a-hole in a VERY nice restaurant last night wearing a t-shirt that said, "I'm Just Not Into You when I;m sober..." which he was wearing with his GIRLFRIEND there. What the hell?? We thought abt doing an intervention and telling her she didn't have to put up with that BS from anyone!! Sheesh.

So, yes, I think that women used to be treated with a little more respect in person - the wolf whistles and stuff women got were abt the worst of it. But now? Yikes. And, goddess forbid Obama gets the presidency, it will be worse with his Rap-listening 'brush the dirt off his shoe" "99 women" song and all that misogynistic crap...Sigh.

I am just amazed at what the DNC has become. And that people want to trade the bicycle riding prez for the hoop-shooting one. Sigh.

Sophie said...

Thanks for your post.

I found the sexism of the primary absolutely reprehensible. Worse still, was that so many of those comments didn't even register as unacceptable until it was too late. Like it was okay to say these things about Hillary, after all, she's Hillary, as in she's a tough broad, she can take it. Or as in, she's a Clinton and we can say these things about the Clintons (so, you see, it's not misogynist; it's anti-Clinton couched in misogynist terms).

I wonder why NOW isn't a vocal PUMA organization?

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

Hey, Sophie -

That is an excellent question abt NOW. I do not think they have officially endorsed Obama, but they SHOULD be PUMAs.

That's just the thing abt all of this sexism directed at Hillary - it wasn't HILLARY specific, it was WOMAN specific. It's like a whole bunch of frat boys got let loose in the media, and started spewing everything out loud they only said in their frat house. And they got away with it. Not only that, but it was ENCOURAGED by Obama and the DNC. That is what is particularly shocking abt it all. I knew that things were changing back some, especially with so many young women flaunting themselves like sex toys, after all the work we did to change the view of women as NOT just sex objects. But the rampant misogyny was a bit unexpected. Like I said in a previous post, I got really spoiled in seminary (Union) because ALL of our classroom discussions, chapel services, and papers had to be inclusive in language. I went from there to a couple of women-run non-profits, then to the UUA (where there is definitely still sexism, but not as bad as other places). So to see the breadth and depth of it has been staggering.

Holy crap, we have a lot to do...

Thanks for coming by, Sophie!

Sophie said...

How do we get NOW engaged? I went to their site and contacted them to get involved and now I'm on their e-mailing list. The first and only e-mail I got was outrage over the New Yorker cover! C'mon NOW---what happened?

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

Oh, dear...

I know that they were doing a "Media Hall of Shame" abt the sexist treatment this election season (I got that email, and it is on their site). And they are a part of the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, with Hillary.

And I'm pretty sure they endorsed Clinton. So you are right - why aren't they members of PUMA? Just Say No Deal? Good questions. Maybe an email their way might be in order!