Sunday, September 14, 2008

What is Feminism?

With all the brou-ha-ha surrounding the election, it's got me thinking about feminism and what exactly it is. You see, I'm a 30-year old woman and I never really experienced the "feminist movement" - or maybe I did, but just to a lesser extent. My mom was a radical in her time. She entered a program in the early 60s which allowed her to go to school for free in return for several years working for the government. My mom obtained a master's in mathematics and entered a world dominated by men and the "old boys network" when she worked for 40 years in the Dept of the Navy. She is a very meek person, one who would rather not "cause problems" than speak up against her superiors and because of that, she endured ridiculous sexism, condescention, and all-together bad attitudes by men who had no idea how to work with or treat a woman outside of the home. My mom was a ground-breaker, fer shure, and I am super proud of her contribution to women in the workplace, equality and an end (fingers crossed) to blatant sexism. By the time I came along, I had most every opportunity given to me. As far as I know, I have never been paid differently based on my sex, I have experienced little in terms of sexual harassment (normal joking aside), and my ablilities have not been questioned because I have a vagina. There has been a huge amout of progress in the last 40 years towards a positive solution for sexism. I realize there are still glass ceilings, and I realize there are still areas where women make up a very small percentage of the workforce (engineering and mathematics). I see the women who came before me in science - they have a different type of persona in order to adjust to the "old boys network" stillprevalent at Ivy League Schools. Some of the profs are bitches, through and through, putting up a tough, thick wall around them which no one can penetrate. I don't blame them after hearing some of my mom's and other women's stories. Others are very nice, but brusque, more open and friendly, but below this is a serious "don't fuck with me AT ALL" type of attitude. The younger profs have a sweeter demeanor, may be much more approachable, but also have some sort of protective, thick skin underneath. And none of these women are afraid to use their intelligence and their abilities to basically defend themselves, their research or their point of view. I must say, I admire all of these women, if for different reasons. To be successful with the best of the best of the old boys club takes balls, excuse the term. I admire alot of different types of women, even those who have decided they want to take time off and be a full time mom. I think it takes a lot of courage to make that decision, and I cannot understand how people would view this choice as a cop-out. Raising the next generation is an admirable job, in my book.
I believe that women deserve equal pay for equal work. I believe women are just as qualified to do any job a man can do. I also belive that there are some jobs ONLY a woman can do, such as birth a child. I think this situation needs to be acknowledged and that women leaving the workforce to have children should not be punished or passed by for jobs because they chose to raise kids for a few years. I think that women can make diverse choices, and that ultimately, in a perfect world, any woman can do any job she wants to do. Including, and not limited to, President of the Unites States, Pope, preist, doctor, lawyer, Speaker of the House, Mayor, and the list goes on and on. I think Hillary Clinton did a fantastic job and ran a decent campaign. I really think she did make 18million cracks in that glass ceiling. And Hillary was battered, let me tell you. She was knocked around, poked fun of, her wardrobe was judged over and over again. She didn't seem to bat an eyelash and she often reminded me of my father telling me to let things roll off my back. As soon as they get a rise out of you, as soon as they know the button to push, they're off and running with it. And, how many buttons did they push? Quite a few - so much so that a few journalists were fired over remarks they made that were over the line (I don't think they were policed well enough tho!). Anyways, where is my rambling headed? Of course, to Sarah Palin. You see, Sarah, as a feminist, I belive that women have lots of rights in this country. I don't believe that we just need to "prove ourselves better and work harder" - we deserve equal pay for equal work. I believe that women (and men, actually) have the right to know and understand our bodies. I believe children have the right to sex education, to knowing what the hell is going on with their bodies during puberty and to make smart choices when it comes to sex. It's clear to me that hiding information from kids, as in abstinence only education (which you support) is detrimental to the lives of teens because they end up knocked up (as your daughter is) or with a plethora of incurable diseases (which your daughter may or may not have...). I find it disturbing and disgusting that your daughter is being forced into marriage at 17 in order to "keep up appearances". It reminds me of the "non-denominational school I attended my freshman year of high school. The algebra teacher was banging one of the juniors, knocked her up, left his wife and married the 16 year old girl. Another teacher was molesting at least one girl, if not more. He was quitely moved to work in the office, still on campus, still close enough to the young girls. And my favorite, when the "promise keepers" contract came around pledging virginity until marriage, everyone signed it with their parents. And then all the girls went behind the dumpster at school to give their boyfriends blow-jobs. Hypocritical much? I belive that science should be taught in the public schools, not some made-up religious story about creation that has no basis in scientific fact. I believe you are actually reversing the course of technology by supporting creationism in the publich classroom. If you want your kids to learn religion, send them to Sunday School. I am not viting for you because your values and your ideas do not align with mine. Don't cry sexism when people ask you the tough questions. What IS your foreign policy experience? Why did you support the "Bridge to Nowhere" yet lie and say you did not? Why did you say you sold the Alaska governor's private jet on Ebay when, in fact, you did not? Why did you repeatedly try to figure out how to ban books from the local library? Why did your tiny little town in Alaska with a population of 5,000 people get nearly 27 million in federal government money through earmarks, when cities such as Boise, Idaho, with nearly 40 times the population don't even get that much money? What, exactly, is your experience? Why on God's green earth did you name your kids Track and Trig and Beluga? What the hell?
I am clearly voting for Obama, and I am waiting patiently for Palin to be taken down. Not because she's a woman. More power to her for that. But because she's a terrible politician whose views, as far as I can see, would take us back in time to the early 20th century.

1 comment:

Randi said...

Yeah... those names are fucked up.