The War on Women
As a great lady said, it's time to suit up, put on your lipstick and fight another day
By Ellen Snortland 04/16/2012
Dogwood, apple and cherry blossoms adorn the streets here in Washington, DC. The perfume of spring is everywhere, birds warble and my heart sings as I join the throngs of other really outraged women at the “Women, Money and Power” conference and luncheon to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Feminist Majority Foundation. It is a day to celebrate, as well as a day to confirm our commitment to fighting the right-wing zealots who are determined to reverse the gains we’ve made as citizens. Get ready for the November elections now! Say after me, “It’s my vote. I will be heard.”
Why are we outraged? We are outraged because we are being warred upon by the right wingnuts and their Rush Limbaugh-inspired, hate-spewing, woman-hating moronic minions who have been itching to get women out of the public sphere and back into the home, where they believe we all belong. This group of disaffected (mostly) white men don’t like women, blacks, Jews, atheists, contrary thinkers and often convince their own female relatives to support them. (I must constantly remind myself that the Goddess of Morons does not discriminate based on gender.) We are deeply offended by the steady chipping away of our economy, reproductive rights, health options, employment and career opportunities and will push back at the ballot box. We are full citizens and human beings, contrary to the public attacks launched by our detractors.
We don’t “beg” to differ; we will NOT go back. Period.
As Dr. E. Faye Williams, president of the National Congress of Black Women, eloquently put it at the plenary session titled “Another Anita Hill Moment?” the right wing may have fired the first shot, but a war is won by the last ones standing. My colleagues, our families, parents, husbands, wives, daughters and sons stand for equality, and we will not back down. We will be the ones left standing.
Do these people really think the rest of us will merely watch as they attempt to cram their religious and political beliefs down our throats? The problem with progressive people is our tolerance of different beliefs and their believers; that tolerance is both our asset and liability. But even our tolerance has limits, and eventually we fight back. Rush Limbaugh’s Feb. 29 attack on Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke was a crystal clear rallying symbol of just how much our enemies want us back in the ’50s. Another Anita Hill moment? Hell yes!
US Sen. Barbara Mikulski spoke at the 25th anniversary luncheon after she was presented with a 2012 Fearless Trailblazer Award. What an amazing person she is … And yes, Mikulski’s a true pioneer. She’s the first female senator to be elected on her own merits and is now the longest sitting female senator in US history. She’s been there all along, fighting for women, labor, kids — you name it — in the pantheon of social progress issues, and she’s championed them. The crowd roared when she exhorted us to all “Suit up, put on your lipstick and let’s fight another day.”
This entire column would read like a list if I were to name all of the issues, people and organizations that were involved in the WMP conference, which was hosted by the Feminist Majority Foundation and co-sponsored by 51 civil rights, labor and women’s rights organizations.
The agenda was stunning, and the roster of warriors for women’s rights read like a “who’s who” of the contemporary women’s movement. Admittedly, we were all women’s rights wonks, and it takes wonks to love wonks, whether you are wonkish about economics, science or justice for half the world’s population … namely the female half. But wonk or not, it’s time to rejoin organizations that maybe you’ve left, or at the very least, register yourself and everyone you know to vote in the fall.
Subscribe or re-subscribe to Ms. Magazine, the godmother of us all. Visit the American Association of University Women’s Web site (aauwaction.org/my-vote/) and take a look at their stunning campaign, “It’s my vote. I will be heard.” The AAUW leaders have pulled out all the stops for this fall’s get-out-the-vote push.
Moms! We need you! We need more mothers in Congress and state legislatures to usher in a system that’s friendlier to families. Seriously. There are any number of organizations that understand you are in a system that gives lip service to mom, apple pie and country, but when it comes down to it, you and your family are basically stretched to the limit. This is not a character flaw on your part. Moms and dads should both read “This is Not How I Thought It Would Be: Remodeling Motherhood to Get the Lives We Want Today,” by Kristin Maschka, to really understand how the system is rigged against parenthood with the biggest burdens “reserved” for the mothers. (Google it.)
Finally, if you want a great guide to your vote and what it means for you and your family (if you have one), showing exactly how the political system is skewed against you, go to hervotes.us.
Say after me, “It’s my vote. I will be heard!”
… and mean it. n
Ellen Snortland is a writing coach in Altadena. Contact her at Snortland.com.