It is a Good Time to be a Woman

June 26, 2013 at 6:37 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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My mother raised me as a feminist. I learned about Margaret Sanger and birth control at an early age. I knew the names of the women who fought for my right to vote before I was ever able to vote. Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sandra Day O’Connor, and Juliette Lowe were household heroes, and I visited the National Women’s Hall of Fame as a pre-teen.

I took it for granted that I could vote.

I took it for granted that I had the right to an abortion whether I ever needed or wanted one.

I took it for granted that I could take birth control pills for any reason whatsoever, with no questions asked.

I never thought that I would ever have to fight to keep any of those rights. 

It’s not really a great time to be a woman in this great nation. State after state looks for ways to restrict women’s rights to abortion after decades without questioning the law. Whether you agree or disagree is not the issue. It’s guaranteed by the law. Yet lawmakers waste time, energy, and money arguing the matter over and over again. 

Women still make up less than half of our representative government, although we make up more than half the nation’s population. We earn less than men, whether due to our choices in career or the greed of men. We are still not in charge of our own bodies and medical decisions. 

At the same time, it is an absolutely amazing time to be a woman! We have spectacular role models, if you’re looking in the right direction. There’s Elizabeth Davis who stood for 12 hours yesterday to filibuster a bill restricting abortion in Texas. No leaning, no bathroom breaks, no food or drinks. That’s a real woman. There’s Leticia Van de Putte who left her father’s funeral because she cared so much about defeating the same bill. That’s a woman who puts the needs of the people she represents ahead of her own needs, her own grief. That’s a woman who protests the actions of the president of the Texas legislature with these words: “At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over her male colleagues?”

There’s Michelle Obama who hasn’t just been a pretty face as First Lady, but who speaks up on behalf of the causes that she believes in. There’s Hilary Clinton, who may become our first female president. It would be utterly amazing to me to be alive for both the first non-white president as well as the first female president. 

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who is the voice of reason on the Supreme Court and never fails to speak up when conservatives rear their ugly heads. Edith Windsor, who was the defendant in the DOMA case that was just today declared unconstitutional. All the other women(and men!) who show up, who protest, who stand, who fight, who go unrecognized for the work they do on behalf of all women. 

We don’t have to look to the past to find heroes. We don’t have to look to comic books to find heroes. If we turn our eyes away from size zero women who perpetuate the myth of the perfect woman, from women who make a spectacle of themselves in order to be news-worthy, women who work to prevent the rest of us from having a choice, we will see women who are heroes now, today. 

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