For the Women and Girls
No matter who you are,
No matter how you came to be
where you are,
No matter what you look like
or how many times you’ve said
‘I am a Full Human Being’,
I have old news, though not of great joy.
The fight makes us who we are,
Punches land on our guts,
Especially when we think we’ve
finally arrived in Paradise
rather than make-believe
pie in the sky, someday-soon status
that never arrives on time.
I’m disheartened though not surprised by our lack-luster pursuit of women’s equality in these so-called United States. We’re addicted to finding ways of turning back the tide of women’s rights. It doesn’t matter whether it’s about abortion, equal pay, or who will be the church pastor.
Too many people of ‘good will’ are unwilling to admit girls and women into the ranks of full human beings. Or they don’t know how to do it so everyone has equal rights in the workplace. It’s easier to hire tokens here and there, than to do the right thing for everyone.
Back in the 1960s and 70s, I thought we would get there in my lifetime. Today I’m not so hopeful. At the same time, if you’re a younger woman, and you’re looking for something worth fighting about, join up! It can make you a better, stronger woman, no matter what happens in the unknown future.
Why this post? D and I have been looking through old files from the 1970s. They were related to D’s first teaching job at a Christian college in the South. While he taught and attended endless faculty meeting, I was finding out what it means to be a stay-at-home mom (and so-called “faculty wife”) changing diapers and trying to maintain a semblance of normality.
You can read about my last straw breaking point in Faculty Wife: Part 17.
Despite everything, I’m grateful that those four years shaped me into one of those beautifully irritating women who can’t stop promoting full rights for all human beings.
© Elouise Renich Fraser, 12 April 2012
Photo found at theeverygirl.com
Keep up the good fight, Elouise! Wheels that don’t squeak and are still doing their job of going round and round heading wherever the driver steers them hardly get attention. Continue to be the squeaky wheel, the one that decides for themselves where to head.
👍👍 for David for having a clue.
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Thanks heaps, Marilyn! I can’t say I’ve ever considered myself a squeaky wheel, but I like the image a lot. David just blushed when I passed along your thumbs up!
I think you should be able to click through to this documentary about the 70s feminist movement in Australia which aired recently on our TV https://www.brazenhussies.com.au/
My contribution was asserting my right to drink in the “Public” bar, which was male-only territory. I would climb on to a stool at the end of the bar, order a rum and coke and do my cross-word. One reason was the drinks were cheaper, but most of all it was outrage at the injustice of being excluded. The men didn’t like it, but no one abused me or threw me out. Luckily for them I was pretty good at cross-words, so their torment didn’t last past one drink 🙂 I’d made my point, and went home quietly.
That pub is now an extremely modern beach-side entertainment place for both sexes and their families. You can hardly even tell where that bastion of a bar once stood.
I don’t think in Australia we are dismantling the gains you refer to (although Aboriginal women rightly point out in the documentary, the movement did not include them), but we have ongoing discussions around respect, consent, violence, assault, the patriarchy and misogyny. Fifty years later!
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Hi,Gwen! I just watched the trailer–which took me back to the 1960s and 70s and then some. Amazing. Your role in the “Public” bar made me laugh out loud, and wonder how long you kept at it. Yay for you!
You’re painfully correct about the difference between women’s gains/rights in Australia and in the USA. It makes me wonder why we still think we’re so ‘exceptional’ to say nothing of the role model for the rest of the world. Give me a break! The conversations need to keep happening (I hear you saying). Right now the most needy women overall here in the USA are black, brown, Asian, and American Indians. Unfortunately, today’s ‘woke’ men won’t be here tomorrow. I never dreamed we could go backward at such lightening speed. It’s infuriating and tragic. Also a reason to keep standing up, or sitting down at the bar!