I recently read an article in the Nation that sparked a heated discussion over on MOMocrats and then later on Twitter. And though all the ladies involved certainly remained respectful and kind while discussing the topic, it still left me thinking about it all day. And now here I am at almost midnight writing about it.
The women’s movement, or feminism, or whatever you want to label it, has got to be the most frustrating battle ever fought in the history of the world. Why? Because it should be over by now. It’s 2009. We should not have to STILL be fighting for equal pay. We shouldn’t just NOW be writing laws to offer better maternity care and leave. Domestic violence is the dirty little epidemic that should have been drug out from beneath the rug long ago. And in 2009, we should not have to be explaining to women in other countries why being tortured and raped on a regular basis is not how life is supposed to be.
And we certainly shouldn't have to be screaming at the top of our lungs to ensure we see a third female Supreme Court justice. I mean really, even if it does turn out to be a woman (which it better) it’s still going to be infuriating. We’re celebrating only the third, in 200 years? Give me a break.
So why do I think that this battle has not been won? Because the women’s movement has never really been able to mobilize as one group. The closest we saw was the women's suffregge movement and they were a force to be reckoned with. When all of them finally stood together as one voice, they were unstoppable.
They stood up and said, We are moms, we are young single women, we are daughters, grandmas, and sisters. We are women. And we deserve the right to vote, and you’re going to give it to us.
And they did.
That is why now, more than any other time in history, is it important for us as women to embrace the labels we wear. So what if you don’t get the mommy thing. You want your career instead. Great. But you want equal pay to do it too, right? You want the same opportunities that are given to your male counterparts so you can climb just as high on the corporate or political ladder as the guys, right? Of course you do.
And moms. You’re a mom. You want maternity leave, health care, and the ability to work and raise your child, or stay home. You want to breastfeed in public without worrying, or maybe you want to formula feed without ridicule. You want to make sure your children have a good education and are healthy. Right?
Well, these are ALL of our goals. We’re all in this together. But instead of getting that, people have to divide up onto sides. Create this divide that doesn't need to exist. And that’s why the women’s movement still has so many struggles to fight, because we can’t rise up together.
What we, as women, need to do is break the barriers in between us. The barriers of race, of social status, family status, career status, and stand as women. We are seeking the same thing here. The failures and wins of each feminist are the failures and wins of women everywhere.
The time for talk is over ladies. We’ve talked ourselves to death. The time has come for us to stand together once again, like the suffrage movement. And tell the world that we are here and we are not going anywhere. And we are in it together.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton once said, “Men say we are ever cruel to each other. Let us end this ignoble record and henceforth stand by womanhood."