Rachel Gluck

Something To Talk About

More About: Feminism

WHY A BACKLASH?

This week, I tackle the timely question of why there is a backlash against the feminist movement coming from younger women in our twenties and thirties. The answer seems obvious: we didn’t live through the feminist movement, and, therefore, we take our freedoms for granted and just choose to be more conservative than the generations preceding us. When this is taken one step further, and another layer of the onion is peeled away, we can see that this is a false notion. The real answer is a little more painful and a bit more real.

The reason is that there is a lot more work left to be done in the area of women’s rights. One can over-analyze this all one wants to, but the proof is right in front of our eyes every day. As much progress as we have made since the early days of the 1960s, when bra-burning was something one only thought of in a bad dream, we have to admit that when a country that has an official religion, such as Ireland, has had two women presidents back-to-back, America, with it’s self-proclaimed liberty looks pretty backward to the rest of the world and, consequently, to women right here at home.

On the last episode of “Real Time with Bill Maher” on HBO this past November 4th, former President Mary Robinson, from Ireland, told everyone there that now young boys across the ocean are growing up to say: “Mommy, why can’t I be President?” It’s a poignant statement, as one remembers that we still have a fairly significant portion of our society that is scared of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton running for office. Those same people didn’t want her to be a senator, let alone POTUS.

So, forgetting for a moment that ABC allows us a glimpse of glorious fantasy each week with their show “Commander In Chief,” let’s examine just this one fact alone: that people are scared of a woman running for President of The United States of America. The real issue here does not seem to be that people are afraid of a woman running for president as much as that people are afraid of women being adults, period. We’d much rather see our women as cutesy, dutiful, and obeying of our men. For some reason that has been in existence at least 5,000 years, we would much rather view safety as a world run by men rather than a world run by emotionally mature adults of *both* sexes. Lest one fan admit that Rod Calloway’s handling of his position as Mackenzie Allen’s First Gentleman is just slightly annoying, to say the least.

But… I digress. David Brock (google: Media Matters) has admitted that throwing in his towel with the ultra-conservative right wing hacks during the Clinton Administration was way too extreme. The politics of personal destruction was ethically and morally wrong, and he knew it. With this in mind, ask yourself just how much are you going to allow yourself to be “Brocked,” or, should I say, “Scaifed?” against supporting a woman for president?

Any time we allow ourselves to see women as “infantile” or “subservient,” we allow predatory men in sheep’s clothing to get away with undermining the future of us all (Remember Bill O’Reilly being sued for sexual harassment?). We must remember that Freud, before he wrote his paper saying that his women patients were wanting to be dominated by men, actually wrote that those women behaved as they did because the “upstanding men” in our lives were committing emotional incest, physically battering, or raping the women in their lives. For all those women who believe that it is against your religion to organize against mistreatment by men, including your husbands and the fathers of your children, and fight it publicly, please take this into consideration. Unfortunately, we glamorize this treatment of women all the time – to the point where a woman, a *grown* woman, who is about to get married is put in jail for getting cold feet and running away to gather herself and make a decision about what she really wants in her life. Where are the compassion, love, and forgiveness here? How many more murder mysteries will be written before we wake up and realize how much domestic violence is in them? Let’s face it: being an adult woman in this world seems impossible.

It should be no surprise, then, when women my age become frustrated and give up our struggle for independence. We haven’t made enough gains, yet, in our society to allow ourselves a real opportunity to thank all of the women who have made a difference in our lives. If we did, then we wouldn’t just thank the women who “broke down the glass ceilings,” we’d thank us all, even showing gratitude to our newborn baby girls, and make sure we kept on working on the reality that would be here now, not in… say… 2008, when Hillary’s elected President.

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