Tag Archives: women’s rights

What Hillary Clinton Meant to Women

I have been reading  so many posts about what happened in the recent Presidential election. Many are blaming the Democrats for choosing Hillary Clinton as their candidate. I read one post where the author said the Baby Boomers are to blame because they didn’t vote for Clinton. I am not sure about that because I think many Baby Boomer women (and men) did vote for Clinton. I have heard negative remarks made against the Baby Boomers before. That we are to blame for everything wrong with the world. I am always shocked to hear this type of rhetoric because the people who are making these claims most likely are the children of Baby Boomers. Not my children but other people’s children. And I wonder why they think it is right to talk this way. I did not personally create all the world’s problems and supported many causes to attempt to correct them.

I am inspired to write this because of a post in the Huffington Post by Amanda Terkel,

“For Many Women, It Wasn’t Just About Defeating Donald Trump. It Was About Electing Hillary Clinton.”

She writes,”But many women in this country have wanted Clinton to be president for as long as they can remember. They didn’t just want to have the first female president ― they wanted her to be the first female president. And they took it as a given that she would be. Many diehard Clinton supporters described how Clinton was the most qualified woman they’ve ever come across. If she couldn’t do it, who could?”

It is because women like me lived through all the oppression against us in this country for so many years. We watched Hillary Clinton stand up for women’s right to be equal. We heard her say ” Human rights are women’s rights, and women’s rights are human rights.” I thought she would have a better chance of working with Republicans in Congress than Bernie Sanders. She didn’t want to blow up the system but was more pragmatic. As we get older, I think we get more pragmatic. When I was young I was definitely more radical but I have not lost my ideals. And I don’t think she has lost her ideals either.

I do think there was fear and resistance to having a woman President. After all these years, there are still those who can not see a woman in a top leadership role. The glass ceiling is still in place.

This loss has been painful. In the day after the election, I looked around for comfort in reading others reactions that were similar to my own. One place I found comfort was in the words of a young woman, that I voted for, who has been elected State Senator for California. I heard Kamala Harris’ acceptance speech and found these words very comforting,

(From Tin Hay via You Tube)

I wish her all the success in the world. She is one of my champions now.

Featured image by Gage Skidmore on Wikipedia.

Born Before Women Had The Right To Vote Part II

I have been loving reading and watching about these women who were born before women had the right to vote. They inspire me and are great representatives of the oldest generation of Americans. Here via CNN on You Tube:

“Jerry Emmett was born six years before women had the right to vote. Today she’s 102 years old and is urging everyone to get to the polls.” (CNN)

Next Via WSB-TV Georgia, “98-year-old Faye Butler, who was born before women had the right to vote, voted for her first female president.”

And  again from CNN via You Tube “She was born before women had the right to cast a ballot so when early voting opened in Iowa, 103-year-old Ruline Steininger was one of the first in line.”

These stories uplift my spirits after all the negative news lately.

Women’s Liberation-What it was like to be a young woman in the 70s

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”

–George Santayana

I have been discouraged at times when I read that some women today think it is a negative thing to be a feminist. I have thought about writing more about it.  Just recently my husband’s aunt sent me some historical photos that inspired me to write this post.

It is important for young women today to be aware of the history of women’s rights in the United States. We didn’t have the right to vote until 1920. Women struggled for many years to win that right. When our country was founded women did not have the right to own property.

When the Women’s Liberation Movement started women were blocked from all kinds of jobs considered only suitable for men. There were very few women doctors or lawyers.  Women were not even allowed to run in the Boston Marathon. Here is some biographical info, from her website, on Kathrine Switzer the first woman to run in the Boston Marathon who the officials at that time tried to drag off the race course. “ Kathrine Switzer will always be best known as the woman who, in 1967, challenged the all-male tradition of the Boston Marathon and became the first woman to officially enter and run the event. Her entry created an uproar and worldwide notoriety when a race official tried to forcibly remove her from the competition. The photo of this confrontation flashed around the world.”  Can you imagine that, it makes me nauseated, an official tried to drag her off the race course.  It was during and after the 70s that we had the first women astronauts, more women in medical and law school, and women in leadership positions in business and politics. None of this would have happened without this struggle.

During this time of the Women’s Lib Movement, some women refused to wear bras and would burn bras during demonstrations. This was because bras were thought of as uncomfortable male inventions to make women’s breasts attractive to men.  That is how the feminists were labeled “bra burners.” Women started to learn about their own bodies, some learned to do their own pelvic exams, and to request plastic speculums which were not as hard and cold as metal ones. Women asked to keep their feet down on the exam table instead of propped high up in uncomfortable metal stirrups. Women wanted to give birth on comfortable beds, or in water instead of in a surgical style delivery room with their feet in those metal stirrups.

I read about women’s history in my American History class in college and remember what an eye opener it was and how I admired so much the suffragettes and other women pioneers for freedom. One was Elizabeth Blackwell who was the first American woman MD. When she applied to medical school the dean and faculty put her application up to a vote by the other 150 male students. They thought it was joke and voted to accept her.

I read the book Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan and Sexual Politics by Germaine Greer. Betty Friedan talked about how women in the 50s who, although college educated, were encouraged to stay at home in the suburbs and were finding something missing from their lives, (like intellectual stimulation).  Women started to question these prescribed roles they were assigned to.

I am grateful that as a young woman I was exposed to these ideas and had women leaders to look up to like Gloria Steinem. Many people may not know that Gloria Steinem once had a job as a Playboy Bunny. She did an undercover assignment, as a reporter, at a Playboy Club in New York. There was later a movie made about this episode in her life. She is quoted in an article in the New York Times that at that time, when she did this reporting, she was not yet aware of her feminism.  Playboy was a popular magazine for young men and the Playboy Club was very popular. The “bunnies” ,(waitresses), wore these low cut costumes, high cut at the bottom, with bunny ears, a puffy white tail and high heels. These were some of the role models women had then.  Films usually portrayed women in very confined roles as well.  A popular film in the 60s was Goldfinger which introduced the “The Bond Girls.”  It is now known that the writer, Ian Fleming , of the James Bond series was a misogynist. But when the first movies came out the James Bond character was very popular. James Bond is portrayed as less sexist in recent years.  I remember seeing the movie Goldfinger  as a teenager. The leading female role was a character named Pussy Galore. I remember thinking that I did not want to identify with her or be like her. I think many young guys did want to be like James Bond. I always liked strong, independent women characters. I recommend that if you are not knowledgeable about your history that you read up on it. When Women’s History courses were first introduced many feminists wanted them to be called  “herstory.”

Gloria Steinem  on being a Playboy Bunny via You Tube by hudsonunionsociety:

Women and the Trolls

As one who lived during  the beginning of the women’s liberation movement and civil rights movement, I have been complacent in thinking,  ” well that’s done.” Thinking that these changes were made permanent and all is right in the world.

Like with our American Bill of Rights, I now realize we must be ready to fight these battles over and over.

I have thought younger women who minimize the contributions of the feminist movement have been naïve and ignorant in their comprehension of what actually happened back then. That much of the freedom and opportunities that women enjoy today can be attributed to that time. As women’s right to vote can be credited to the efforts of the suffragettes.

We need to be aware of and appreciate our own history.

In recent years, I have become more and more aware that the enemies of women’s freedom were not truly vanquished but retreated for a time to their dens or in some places never retreated at all.

Smoke has been seen rising from Mount Doom. The forces of evil are awake in the world.

When I read their poisonous rantings and comments degrading women for daring to speak out and have an opinion or hear about the horrid oppression of women and girls in other places in the world I am sickened.

I realize that I can not be complacent. The creature is still out there lurking and leaving a slimy trail.

"Trolls" Photo by Tristan Schmurr

“Trolls” Photo by Tristan Schmurr

I was inspired to write this post in response to an article in the New Yorker about Mary Beard, entitled “The Troll Slayer.” And because I have become aware more and more of all the misogyny and ageism in the world.