FROM CINDY: Our interview with J. Courtney Sullivan about her book CLICK! evoked revealing, heartfelt and very moving comments, so we’re going to post them in groups of ten. Add yours to the post and it will be featured here too. (Full disclosure: I know and admire Courtney and we share an alma mater - many years apart though!)
Karen J - Love this – have never seen it before – thanks for sharing: ”Bitch stands for “Being in total Charge of Herself.” Jill Zimon
you say “My biggest buggaboo has been that I’ve felt that if I let myself be grouped in via a label, then, when other “members” do things I don’t agree with, then what?” I agree with that….in any group, you’re going to have some radicals who will do something to put that group in an odd light. That brings everyone in the group into that light for awhile. I’ve always avoided groups just for that reason, and I’ve always done well on my own without them. If we had someone who would make equal pay a LAW, then you’re talking business! (and I don’t mean a Sarah Palin …who is a joke) Maybe a lobbying group can do it, or a strong, capable and well respected individual with political connections. I think having a couple of women on the Supreme Court is going to be helpful….and Obama certainly has chosen a lot of women for high posts in the government….and is married to a great example of a successful woman. All this helps. Just remember, Amelia Earhardt was one woman…with determination and ability and confidence. She didn’t need a group. She opened a lot of doors just by being herself and doing what she did. ANY woman can achieve greatness if she works to win. Jill Zimon
It’s all about equality, not just for women but for all. One day the issue of equality for all will be a nonissue, it must and it will. Marilyn L.
Feminists may all have the same convictions, but their “actions” can be differing in every point! Carol B.
Heidi H: sure women made progress in the 60s…I was there. I think that women’s lib served its purpose to some degree. But it also gave women who wanted to excel a cartoon-like reputation for being emasculating bulldogs. That’s not the image we want to present in this decade, is it? Women were secretaries as far back as the 20s and 30s. My mother had her own business in the late 50s and early 60s, so I never saw gender as something that would hold me back. My first job was in radio in the late 60s, and I was offered a job by a local tv station to be the weather reporter in the helicopter…but I hated flying so I declined and stayed in the promotion department in radio….and I worked my way up in that department to where I ran it. Then I worked in tv production in the 70s and worked my way up to producing. I didn’t need a group behind me. ABILITY speaks volumes…louder than gender support groups! I see nothing wrong with a group if it can indeed accomplish something other than creating a litigation-wave and making a lot of lawyers rich. I went to high school in the early to mid 60s and was in the arts and sciences and headed toward becoming a doctor…but I got sidetracked by an injury that interfered with my education and had to take a couple of years off. I was never told not to take the sciences and maths and I was never discouraged by my teachers and told that I’d just end up married. I guess I went to a good school! Marilyn D.
Bitch stands for “Being in total Charge of Herself.” As always, if a woman is pushy she’s labeled a “Bitch” so let’s own it in a positive light, since bitch remains in use for derogatory purposes. I only hope to be as strong, pushy, bitchy and militant as the women of the sixties. I can only hope to have that much courage in my life. As long as only 3% of rapes are reported and only 1% go to trial, I will be a bitch. As long as the ERA languishes in states, unpassed and women remain excluded from the constitution. I will be Vigilant. As long as women in many states are unable to receive appropriate reproductive services, and have no access to abortion. I will remain militant. I think you get the picture. Karen J.
To Marilyn D. Do you really think women didnt make any progress in the sixites by organizing and fighting for equality? Did you know that until 1974 women could not attain a degree from Yale? Did you know that many professions OUTLAWED women. I remember the FIRST time I heard a female voice on the Radio. There used to not be women TV News anchors, very few lawyers, almost NO female doctors. Without Feminists in the 60 I wouldnt have had the job I have. I was told in High School that I could NOT take a Shop Class, ONLY boys could take shop. Later I was hired to do Metal Shop work by a multinational company. Without the Feminists of the 60′s That would have never happened, even the secretaries where I work were all male until the 70′s. Many women who are younger have NO idea what life was like BEFORE the feminism of the 60′s and 70′s. If you were married you couldnt own property, write a check, or have a separate account. You couldnt do anything with out your husbands permission. Also before the 60′s and 70′s you husband could beat you and the police would not respond unless he killed you. If you were raped, it was only your word and the cops didnt give you any post rape counseling or take evidence. ONLY if you were beaten or killed by the rapist was it taken seriously. Life was VERY different for women before the 60s. Ha! I remember being told by the High School counselor “you dont need to take algebra or calculous, you will just get married”. Heidi H.
@Marilyn D – I’m not sure I get your second comment. I think many women ARE stepping up and demanding of themselves and other women. I think that the work that continues to also need to be done is bringing men and other women along who do not see the need for this work to be done – and that goes to Courtney Sullivan’s point about the role of men (who have very interesting roles in a couple of the essays in Click – esp. a father in one of the stories – very very insightful). Anyway – I think it’s a pervasive thing we need to have happen – it is a little surprising to me, just as an aside, as to how many generations it really is taking. Very interesting and frustrating to think about. Jill Zimon
@marilyn d – there’s no question that I’ve struggled with the label – and most labels – for much of my life. My biggest buggaboo has been that I’ve felt that if I let myself be grouped in via a label, then, when other “members” do things I don’t agree with, then what? I’m still working through this – but I think Courtney Sullivan in this interview does a good job explaining how labels can have a positive effect, on a personal and systemic level. Thanks for reading and commenting. Jill Zimon
@Becky Y – I think you conflate three different things: the term and use of a label (“feminism”), the realities of how any two or more people differ (whether by gender or any other trait) and how society at large (not just individuals) uses the existence of those differences for negative effect. In the case of women, it comes out as sexism. The formation of a term, label, phrase, movement – whatever you want to call it – of “feminism” had to do with individuals collectively recognizing and saying, our differences shouldn’t be used to then treat us unequally to the extent we are DENIED what others get (i.e., equal pay, equal opportunities in education or employment, equal treatment under the law for any variety of circumstances). The coming together of individuals – men and women – to challenge sexism as it exists throughout society – really doesn’t have anything to do with what attributes we share or have unique to us. It has to do with making sure that as we function in society, those attributes are not used against us to prevent us from having, as you say, equal pay, equal vote, equal choices. Thanks for commenting. Jill Zimon
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