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Month: January 2017

The Enemy is…

Did you hear it? Did you hear what I heard yesterday?

Women.

On the march.

Finally.

It’s about time but it is not just about Trump.

I have spent my entire life trying to push the boundaries for women starting in 1962. We were not allowed to wear pants to school. I and Delores Robinson (wherever she may be today) wore pants to school. No one spoke to us the entire day. No one. At the end of the day, we were told either we wore a dress the next day or we did not return to school.

1969, Agnes Scott College, freshmen Economics class. I looked around the room to see that no one was even raising her head when the professor stated women should not be allowed in the field.  No one.  A male professor at a woman’s college whose president was also a male.

1972, Valdosta Daily Times, Valdosta, Georgia. The sole female reporter who had a master’s degree in journalism was told that she would never make more than the city editor who flunked out of college. 1973, I started as a reporter following her departure. 6 weeks into my job, I was called into the publisher’s office. He spoke about the health insurance plan with his eyes never raising above my chest. The next day I was informed I had to wear a bra because they were afraid I was going to be raped in the pressroom as I walked thru to the vending machines. I was always cautious to wear concealing clothes when in the community as a reporter. Fired one week later in a incredibly nasty fashion as the city editor literally shoved me out of his car. That was not for my safety.

Yeah, I guess I was pretty radical for the times.

2003, Comer, Georgia, a business that I will not name because they did the right thing. I walked thru the back room (shades of Valdosta) to hear someone say “Yep!” as they eyed my chest. My radicalism had turned into necessity: my back troubles simply made it impossible to wear a bra. The company instituted a sexual harassment policy and those involved were counseled properly. But 2003, not the 1970s.

2009, Charlottesville, Virginia, a business I cannot name because of the separation agreement I signed. I watched my coworkers treat the male boss as if he were their sugar daddy. In a flirtatious manner these well-educated women (one with a masters) batted their eyes and cozied up to him in a bizarre daughterly way when they were asking for something. One of those women told him I could not do the job in a successful effort to get me fired. He believed her tale and told me (I was a good ten years older than him by the way so no cozying could happen) he could not believe she would lie to him. She was lying because I was way more experienced than her and she felt I was a threat to her plans. I was.

2013, Charlottesville, Virginia, a meeting. I cannot even remember why we were meeting. Two young educated women with children informed me that feminism was only for radicals. I had no retort. I was too stunned to speak.

2016, women are marching.  I watched teary-eyed. Finally, they were marching.

It’s about time but it not just about Trump.

It is about a female candidate for president who was disparaged for her gender. I even had problems with her because of how I preferred a woman to act. Hilary Clinton stood by her hubby when he embarrassed the country by his actions. She plowed on towards her obvious political goals instead of telling women it was not okay for the president of the United States to behave badly.

I voted for her anyway. Not because she was a woman or a Democrat. I voted against Trump.

He is not the subject of this essay.

Women.

Complacent women, who mind their manners and do what they are told by parents, people of faith, educators, and society figures and who lead quiet, productive, complacent lives.

We still live in a country where women make substantially less than men – especially if they are women of color.

We still live in a country where a panel of nine people discussing the Women’s March on CNN included only one woman.

We still live in a country where I can attend a meeting where men are overwhelmingly the majority. One tech meeting had 65 attendees with only 3 women. Because women are not choosing technical fields still.

We still live in a country where the doctors are mostly male and the nurses mostly female. After my recent hospitalizations, I value the nurses and despair at the male surgeons’ inability to communicate which complicated my care and endangered my health. Thank you, nurses, for the incredible care you give under sometimes impossible conditions. Oh, yeah, and thanks to the head male nurse at rehab who was forced to step in and facilitate my care when staffing levels dropped to almost 0.

We still live in a country where reality TV makes humiliating and shaming someone in public for whatever reason okay, where the lines blur between reality TV and real life. Where “Women are often presented as dependent and subordinate as well as dim-witted and vain.” Where “Apart from being depicted as passive and weak, women are generally much younger and more physically attractive than their male counterparts, displaying them as sex symbols” (http://the-artifice.com/sterotyped-women-in-reality-tv/) Where it’s okay to have a reality TV star as president.

We still live in a country with a Congress populated by only 20% women. Where the numbers improve to a whopping near 25% at the state level.

We still live in a country with women who think all of the above doesn’t matter, that only radicals, deviants and abortion advocates care about these issues. Where some women think a Women’s March is only about pro-choice and not about their own rights.

We still live in a country where men think they can dictate what I do with my body even though we thought that was decided in 1972. If this line offends you, I do not apologize. I also am not saying I would choose abortion but I would choose to allow a woman to make up her own mind. It is none of my business. (and I moved this to the bottom to avoid people who would stop reading at this point – three more lines, just keep going)

Complacency is the enemy, has always been women’s enemy.

Trump is a blight. But Trump may have broken the complacency. I think he has bitten off more than he can chew.

Prove me right.