Solidarity for Some of Us! Solidarity for Some of Us!
Yes, I know the famous labor union song is actually “Solidarity Forever!” Considering the state of our unions is currently so pathetic, it’s a reminder that “forever” is a very tall order.
Meanwhile, this Saturday, Jan. 20, once again hopefully hundreds of thousands of women will gather in Pershing Square to march. I was in DC last year for the march, and I can’t recommend attendance strongly enough. Sharing this event with your loved ones — daughters, sons, hubbies (yes, take the men!) — will provide you with a compelling experience.
I’m over 60, and I’m finally starting to see some of my work pay off. For decades now I’ve been doing my best to piss people off so I won’t stand out so much.
I’m excited to announce that I’ve been selected to be part of Take the Lead: 50 Women Who Can Change the World of Media and Entertainment initiative. We will be meeting for the first time in February to craft proposals and projects to impact the gender, racial and age inequities in media and entertainment. Woo-hoo! The irony is not lost on me that the positions I’ve been historically demeaned for are the primary reasons I was selected!
I am one of the lucky ones. I’ve actually had the privilege of having some great journalistic “real estate” to promulgate my views. One of the best avenues has been this very column, “Consider This,” thanks to long-time Pasadena Weekly publisher Jim Laris and his indefatigable wife, Marge Wood who “made” Jim publish my work in the first place. I’ve worked seriously in TV entertainment and media, been in a couple of movies, made a documentary and written and published books. I’m now writing my third book about my journey as a female in — you’ll never guess! — media and entertainment! I’ve been fired for being a feminist and effectively blacklisted for my views. Mostly it’s been a process of becoming virtually invisible in most quarters because feminism itself has been so thoroughly minimized, marginalized, and intentionally demeaned or misunderstood.
As an example of cluelessness, the first time I was ever flown first class was when I had been asked to appear on a popular Boston talk show as the token feminist. I was picked up in a limo (I had a great agent at the time), and was put up in a swanky hotel. The next morning the producer called and asked me if I’d mind sharing my limo with another guest. Being essentially a nice Midwestern person, of course I didn’t mind!
The driver opened the back door.
“Hi! I’m Ellen,” I said as I reached to shake the hand of the woman already in the back.
“Hi, I’m Wendy Whatever,” she said.
We chatted amiably and then she said, “What are you doing on the show?”
“I’m talking about women’s rights,” I said.
“You’re the feminist? But you’re so nice,” she said.
Ah, yes. I’m nice. As if feminism and niceness can’t occupy the same space or the same woman?
Or there was the luncheon I attended at what used to be the local Ritz-Carlton. I’m having a fun conversation with a man to my right; we’re joking and laughing. He takes a second and focuses on my name badge.
“But wait, you’re Ellen Snortland?” he said.
“Yes,” I said.
“But,” he spluttered, “I hate you. I read your columns just to get pissed off.”
“Glad to be of service,” I said. And we laughed again.
Back to my opening, solidarity for some of us. If I hear one more person say, “Women should support each other!” or “I just don’t understand why women would (fill in the blank).”
Women are just as human as men are. We don’t all think alike, and we don’t all do anything all the time, just like men!
Do I think there are nasty and misguided collaborators among women? You bet. Do they support the patriarchy? Absolutely. Why? Often “blessed” to be subordinate due to factors such as religion or class, they don’t dare bite the hands that feed them. Collaborators are also gamblers who will go with whatever views they think will survive and ultimately win out. That goes for Norwegians, Vichy French, people all over the globe, and yes, that includes women. (Here’s to you, Catherine Deneuve.) Find any “occupied” group, and you’ll have a segment of people who betray their own kind.
So here’s to Solidarity to Many of Us! We can rock this thing.
See you Saturday!
Reach Ellen Snortland at beautybitesbeast.com.