Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Something I Need to Say










I have been reading a number of blogs recently, written by women explaining why they did not participate in the Women's Marches held January 21. As you know, I was happy and proud to be part of the Portland March, but that was my decision and not one I would require of anyone else, nor do I care who did or did not march. But I was curious to know what these women had to say about it, and why so many seemed so angry and offended by this peaceful demonstration of our rights to assembly and free speech.

Almost without exception, these bloggers said they did not march because they didn't have to. They have all the rights they need. Their lives are full and fine and equally compensated, and without bias or any whiff of gender inequality. Their writing is notably filled with the words "me," "I", "mine," "myself." Very fortunate people, these ladies. I'm sure they didn't mean to communicate an "I've got mine, screw the rest of you..." message, but, well, there it was.

As for all those rights we women have. Yes, things have changed for many of us, in good ways. As a feminist of the '70s, I saw a lot of change. And it wasn't all about giving women jobs, as one writer characterized the movement. It was about laws protecting women from domestic abuse, equal pay for equal work, reproductive rights, financial freedom and many other things. Many of those things are being threatened. Some, or all the progress made then can be taken back. And there is still work to be done—especially for those who are not white, young, healthy, able-bodied and privileged. If you chose not to march because you have all the rights you need, some of us marched because we fear their loss. And, can we acknowledge that even today, not all women have these rights? Dismissing the struggle of minority populations and immigrants and disabled people and public education and those fearing the loss of the insurance that is keeping them whole and alive because you are just fine, is stunningly self-centered and callous. Are we not all in this together? Does the Golden Rule no longer apply?

You don't need to march. But maybe we all need to consider our words, examine our hearts and open our eyes to each other in empathy and openness. I am getting old and I've seen a lot of change, good and bad. There was a time when I was young that I thought there was a straight line of forward movement—first we deal with race, through the Civil Rights movement, then Women's Rights, then... And, of course, its more of a meandering, backward/forward thing, but I'm still hopeful that we move more foreward than backward in the long run. A lot of marching has been a part of it. I learn something new every day and my awareness of what I don't know constantly alarms and surprises me. The fragility of our way of life is shocking. Vigilance seems an obligation.


And one final silly thing, anti-marchers—get over the hats. Geez, the outrage! No, they are not—as you persist on insisting—"vagina" hats. They are hats with cat (pussy) ears. A play on Trump's nasty word, a bit of a jokey way to throw it back at him. I didn't make or wear one, but I got the joke and I loved the pink glow that sea of hats added to all the crowd photos of the marches! Maybe I should make one...










My plan is to get back to blogging about art and life, but life has changed. The photo at the top has nothing to do with anything, but I took it on my walk yesterday and loved the graphic forms of the branches and crows. See—I'm not completely distracted by the political chaos out there! We are living in challenging, extraordinary times. This blog is my journal of all of it.

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
-Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Here are a couple of the blogs I am referring to that have been widely shared. Are you as dismayed as I am?
http://www.blogher.com/woman-does-not-support-womens-march
https://afuturefree.com/2017/01/25/dear-daughter-heres-why-i-didnt-march-for-you/

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad






26 comments:

  1. Very well put! What I'm finding is that women my daughters age (50) didn't think it was necessary yet my granddaughters(24) understood why.

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  2. Anonymous12:12 PM

    Oh Terry, Once again you hit the nail on the head. Great obserations. Barbara Gordon

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  3. You expressed so well why I marched. Chris Boeskool said in a recent article "privilege is when you think something is not a problem because it's not a problem for you personally". I'll never know what it is like to be other than blonde and blue eyed and I know that it afforded me certain privileges. I do have empathy for those who are not and the ability to empathize with others is the key.

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  4. Bravo, bravo. I was touched by your recent post on your own experiences as a young woman trying to make it in our male dominated world, as I am also moved by your well stated concern for the complacent among us. I too attended the Portland march, my first ever political rally, and, like you, opted not to wear a pink hat. However, as I see this movement growing, I think I might need to obtain one soon for my next march.

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  5. Bravo! Well said. I didn't march, due to health reasons, but I applaud those who did. I hear too many young women denigrate the feminists of the 70's because they take for granted those rights which were hard won. As one who was told point blank that a man was given a promotion I deserved because "He has a family and responsibilities." I deplore those who do not recognize how far we've come and how far we could go back.
    Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom is a phrase that springs to mind these days.

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  6. Anonymous1:46 PM

    Thank you for your thoughtful comments.
    It is incumbent upon those of us who have received more in life to help those who have not been as fortunate. And our right to education in male dominated careers wasn't automatic, our right to borrow money in our own name for a mortgage wasn't automatic, our right to birth control information wasn't automatic. I saw all 3 of those come to pass in the 1960s...about the time I was graduating from HS and becoming a college student.
    Everyone needs to remember that what the law and society grants can sometimes be lost. No one should ever assume they are forever safe from the tragedies of everyday life.

    I marched in Boston and was proud to be one in the crowd.

    Joanne in Massachusetts

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  7. I just came across your blog on Quilter Blogs today and I must say, THANK YOU!!! Thank you for marching. I wasn't able to participate because physically I can't. Am I privileged? Yes, without a doubt. I am a middle aged white female with a husband who has an amazing job, a great 7 year old son, a large comfortable house, great health insurance, good doctors and no worries about where my next meal is coming from or if I get pulled over by a police officer if I'll get arrested, beaten up, or worse. I don't have to worry about if my family members will be turned away at the airports. I can't have more kids, so my reproductive rights aren't in play. And why do I have all of these things? Because women like you fought for me to have them! You were part of the movement. The women who fought for the right for me to vote. The women who have taken less pay but fought for more. And it's not just women. It's minorities. It's people of faiths different than mine. It's people whose skin color is taken for the content of their character. All of these people are afraid right now. And I am afraid for them and afraid of what a lack of compassion and empathy will do to their rights. I can't imagine living in such fear. My friends of different colors, religious backgrounds, sexual orientation, economic classes - they are scared. I love them. They are my friends. They deserve to feel the safety that I feel on a daily basis. I can't march. But I can love my neighbor, I can speak kind words, I can write and call and vote!! I can donate to the causes and organizations who are fighting for the rights of everyone, not just those who look a certain way and have money. And I can be deeply grateful for women like you who have fought and continue to do so. So again, thank you. Your blog has just been added to my reader.

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  8. I am totally dismayed. Especially by the "Dear Daughter" post. Unfortunately some younger women have no concept of how tentative progress can be, how recently these rights have been secured and the limited availability of those rights to anyone outside of the mainstream. We indeed live in challenging times... and knowing you and others of the same ilk are out there gives me courage. Thanks for sharing!

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  9. Anonymous2:46 PM

    Thank you for writing this blog. I agree with you wholeheartedly. We must continue to express ourselves in order to at least maintain our gains, if not continue the forward movement. Our rights seem very fragile in today's environment

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  10. I am also "old" and am always reminded of the 1950's and 1960's. Being told what we could wear, what we could study, that we had to have a skirt and stockings on in order to eat in the college cafeteria. Studying art?--oh, you'll be in art education so you can be a teacher. To say we have what we need and want and don't need to march ( I hadn't read any of this) is ignorant. Your freedoms are never permanent. I thought the pink hats were tastelessly named. Made me cringe.

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  11. Hey! Pussy hats made the cover of TIME! That is so awesome! What isn't are those women. You are right. Full of "I" and "Me". The irony of this at the end is epic, "you protect rights at EVERY moment you get- NO MATTER who is President." (Whaaa? Picture my head twisting like a dog that hears a squeak...) Amazing and totally befuddling. I seriously don't even know where to start with people like that. It saddens me. One never wishes evil on others, but I would imagine her views might change if right here in this country her daughter gets kidnapped for a sex-ring (it does happen right here on the I-5 corridor), or gets told that a male co-worker got the promotion because she's too 'bitchy' and she should smile more, or is afraid to walk home at night due to cat calls and offers of gawd-knows-what from male bus riders on her route who get off at her stop. I guess all that is okay with that woman because...Murica? SMH

    I totally agree with your MLK quote. The flip side is that I am seriously stressed at work and if I follow all this stuff too, I'm going to have an anxiety attack or get an ulcer. Reading only one of those links was nauseating. :( Could this potentially be marketed as a dieting aid? Read the day's tweet, be unable to eat, and thus lose weight? Ugh.

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  12. Well said. I always enjoy your thoughts and writing. Yes, vigilance is an obligation. Thank you!

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  13. I marched in spirit, wishing I was there but physically not up to it right now. Well said. I think we women who remember when it became a law to fight back against sexual harassment on the job happened. Women who remember when we were able to get credit cards in our own names. So many, many rights came about just in our life time, we need to give perspective to those who have always had 'all' their rights.

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  14. Los Angeles marcher and prolific knitter of at least twelve pussy hats here. There is something empowering about taking back a word that I would never use in a million years, and by labeling the pink hats "pussy hats" it reminds the president and others that we will never forget what he said, and he will forever be reminded of his despicable behavior. Proud pussy hat wearer! RESIST AND PERSIST

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  15. Hear, hear! I think the formal silencing of Senator Warren is a perfect example of how far we still have to go for equality.

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  16. I must live in a microbubble because I haven't heard, directly, any of those negative comments. Wait; I exist outside the blogosphere these days, so that's probably why. Well said, Terry, and thank you for speaking up.

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  17. Wow, I went and read those blogs, unreal. thank you for writing this post, for saying just what I totally agree with.

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  18. Thank you for articulating this so beautifully.

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  19. I am a 65 year-old grandmother who hadn't marched since Nixon invaded Cambodia in 1969, but I made it to the Atlanta march and yelled out my love to John Lewis, who answered me back. My daughters were stunned that I took the Marta by myself to get there, endured a downpour, was one of 63,000 who protested about a myriad of issues, including public education, the environment, women's health, bigotry. But they were beyond proud of their mother. One daughter now refers to me as her "badass mom". I use the memory of that day to get me through the almost daily assault on humanity coming out of Washington, and to remember that I am not alone.

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  20. Thank you for your insightful words. I marched because I have a granddaughter. Down the road, how could I look into her eyes and say I didn't try to protect her rights.

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  21. Well said. Thank you.

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  22. Terry, I've quietly followed your blog because I like your work. As a WOC, I want to thank you for standing up for those most affected by this administration.

    I've wanted to express my feelings, but still can't do so without a lot of anger. Again, thanks for support us.

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  23. You so graciously stated your position. Well-said. Thank you!

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  24. Thank you :-) I'm a bit younger than you, but I've got the same feeling about how the world changes. When I was young I was convinced it would always be getting better, but now... What really makes me sad, is that the youth today like my kids experience a time where everything seems to get worse, all over the world...

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  25. Anonymous3:04 PM

    Jean S. - When you see wrong being done that harms others do you stay quiet. When the character of the leader of the greatest free nation on earth threatens the very foundation of our democratic society do you remain silent. When those who are reporting the news are silenced are you not afraid because this mirrors the facists of Nazi Germany and the present day politics of Russia. I am scared out my wits and I say to anyone who will listen that we MUST ALL stand up for our rights and our country or soon we will have no rights and be ruled by a dictator.

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  26. "Rights" are never fully won. We can become complacent and loose our hard won gains with the snap of a finger or stroke of a pen. Perhaps we elders have not instilled the need to be vigilant in our younger sisters. Ladies, your "rights" were fought for and many sacrifices made for the good of all women. Wake up, please, your rights are in danger. Thank you, Terry, for speaking out. Proud to say I marched and will again. Washington needs to know that we are awake and aware.

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