Sunday, March 28, 2010

It seems so long ago

I received an email with a jpeg version of a reprint of this article (other bits: title, second page).

As is always the case with these things, I checked the veracity of this information on Snopes, and found that it checks out.

A quick Internet search for this fwd-fwd-fwd email finds that it's been around at least two years, and, at least on the first page of Google hits this evening, most links bring up this article to poke fun and express a collective "thank the gods we're not there anymore!" This sentiment raises questions about why so many of us chuckle at this article ca. 2010 and recognize that the culture is no longer at a place where such an article could be written.

Foremost among the reasons why is feminism, and feminist-propelled changes to state and federal laws which, in turn, modified how government works. Recall that in this purportedly democratic nation women could not vote in Oregon elections until 1912, nor in national elections until 1920. The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 secured a minimum wage for all workers, men and women; Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act barred discrimination based on gender, among other things; California adopted the nation's first "no fault" divorce law in 1969; Title IX of the Education Amendment (PL 92-318) in 1972 barred gender discrimination in education; Roe v. Wade in 1973 established a woman's right to her own body, etc. etc.(all of these listed here).

These examples are not exhaustive, by any means, but they are illustrative of my main point: Political change happens, but not without human agency, and often not without much struggle against the status quo; in the case of women's history in the U.S., change would not have happened without feminism -- critiques of the movement notwithstanding.

Critics of feminism include the thoughtful Christians with whom I disagree and the hate-filled misogynist bigots for whom I have zero respect.


1 comment:

  1. Most of the links that you gave for the article now only show a green "snarling face". :-) But your title attracted my attention---"It seems so long ago"---but to me, it wasn't. Sure 1943 is the year I was born, but the fight for what now are "rights" taken for granted by most young women were denied in my world long past the dates listed for passage of the laws. Everything was a battle---from the right to work in an office in in the 1970s in a pantsuit, to allowing girls to play on a team for a sport other than volleyball. We could only play 'half court' basketball in the late '50s and early '60s, having been deemed too feeble to play the whole court. No track team, no softball team. Believe me, there's nothing more boring than half court basketball! But it was only in PE class, anyway, NO girls basketball teams. (Strange though that a decade or two earlier your grandmother and her sisters played competitive basketball for Waldport High School). Even when your girl cousins were young, girls in the 1960s-70s, they were not allowed to play on Little League teams. These are simple, seemingly unconsequential battles to modern day girls, but in the fight for the major issues, there were thousands of lesser ones that occurred. In the year that you were born, I was being told that since I had a husband, I should not expect to receive raises and benefits, etc.---they were for the men who had families to raise. Not so long ago.