Thursday, April 29, 2010

watch out, I'm going to wax political for a minute here...

Today is the 25th anniversary of Emily's List. The short explanation of the group is it's purpose is to get more women in the top seats of government in the United States. That's an extremely short explanation, but go to the link here, if you want to know more. And really, if you are female and a US citizen, how could you not want to know more? Which brings me to the real topic.

"I am not a feminist," said my friend [not naming names, let's call her 'Q']. She lay her credit card (which has her maiden and married name on it) on the tray. She is paying for lunch today. She can afford it. She's been working union for almost twenty years, steadily.

We worked together for about seven of those, so I know quite a bit about Q. Her husband, through no fault of his own, has been only working sporadically for years. She has two kids, one of whom was in company run daycare almost from birth. She supports her family and makes a pretty damned good wage.

Did I make a speech when she made that ridiculous statement? No. Because I was stunned.

I like Q. She's kind and smart and a decent human being. How can she sit there reaping the benefits of years of political strife and personal grief on the part of other women and deny affiliation with them?

Wouldn't that be something like a person of color claiming not to support de-segregation, or having the vote? I mean what the fuck?

I went home from that lunch deeply depressed. But then my daughter pointed out, "Q is old. Old people are stupid."


Which brings me to The Children.

On occasion, I come down for breakfast to discover a young person sleeping on my couch. Currently, we have one of those. Big heap of blankets, foot sticking out of them that is definitely a boy's foot. He came with a backpack, a blanket, a laptop and a 60 pound dog who I find, much to my dismay, has problems with gas. He works nights while pursuing a GED. He's bright, polite and a so-called 'good kid'. Why he needs to borrow sofa's is an odd little story but it's not what you'd think. He isn't a runaway, doesn't have some horrible abusive childhood.

My daughter, who would have been at home running an Inn in the Middle Ages along the pilgrimage route, finds these people, brings them here. We feed and entertain them. Sometimes they hang around. I don't mind. They give me hope for the future.

Because, and here's I think the core issue, they have a basic innate respect for other creatures. They haven't grown up learning to bury their feelings in a hodge podge of poorly thought out rhetoric. I hear them down there playing their video games and when one of the guys calls another a 'faggot' he immediately gets trounced by his piers who explain to him in linear simple common sense detail, why that word is out of line. Because it's mean. Mean=bad. Simple.

Of course then it becomes a joke and he calls himself 'faggot' periodically.

If you saw the kids protesting in the streets after Prop 8 was passed, some of those were these children. Not because they are gay or have a friend who is gay or because Emily's mom said they should (god, no, when I saw one of them on the news, I was immediately on the cellphone telling him to get his ass out of there before he got hurt). But because they know on a gut simple level, that the proposition was wrong. They don't need a degree in law or a convoluted sermon from some minister to prove this. Its obvious. Its mean and its inhumane and that's what these kids are against.

They are feminists. In the way that any humanist would naturally be a feminist. They respect the women in their group and expect the same adult behavior from them that they would from themselves. Its obvious, its logical.

Old people are stupid.


  1. This post actually made me hopeful - thank you. I don't actually KNOW any teens, and what I read/see/hear generally leaves me discouraged.

  2. In the last big election, at CSUN, the local state college where your average middle to low income teen goes here in So Cal, there was a line until well after 8:30 pm of kids, sitting patiently waiting to VOTE!

    I hear discouraging things too. They don't read, at least not like we do. They watch CNN. (scary, I don't like getting info from the tube) They come from so-called 'broken homes' and we've been led to believe that's a bad thing. My broken home teen is compassionate, intelligent and moral. I suspect the broken home thing is another anti woman prejudice. Better to stay with the dirtbag that abuses you than raise your children in safety, right?

    There I go again.

    Thanks for reading my little diatribe. I always warn people when I'm going to start so they can avert their eyes.

  3. Diatribes tend to be interesting, because people get all passionate. See, for example, TeddyPig. :)

  4. My daughter, who would have been at home running an Inn in the Middle Ages along the pilgrimage route

    She sounds like a great kid!

    And this, "I'm not a feminist," -- I'm like you, I just don't get this. I've been running into it, too, mostly with women that were born after 1970 (I *ahem* was born a little before that, ha, ha!).

    I think what they must mean is, "I'm not political or "I'm not an activist, but, I mean, have they forgotten how bad it used to be?

    They don't want to be seen as strident, but it's because of those early activists that things are so much better for women in industry, the military, the academic world, etc., nowadays and women as young as these ones can comfortably say, "I'm not a feminist" (i.e., I'm choosing not to think about, speak out about these issues because the battle has been mostly won).

    Like Chris, I'm glad to hear from your description that the even younger women (those born in the 1980s or 1990s) are turning out different, that is, having a social conscience, these days. And the boys, too! How cool is that?

  5. I think you're right, Chris. Strident, man hater, not attractive, god forbid. OMG But I'd rather be seen as strident than not acknowledge and feel GRATITUDE for the women who went before.

    I hear if from women of all ages. It was funny, after I wrote this little diatribe, I had a friend for lunch and she said something derisive about the appearance of a feminist on the tube. I was still slack-jawed, when the same 19 year old who sleeps on my sofa looked up from his video game and said to her, "dude, whats with the women hating?"

    history is on our side. ::pets own psyche:: its going to be alright.

  6. There's a great folk song by Libby Roderick called "Inspire Me" and it's about acknowledging the women who came before us. Actually, the whole cd that song is on is great - it has a song about Rosa Parks, one about self-esteem, and a nice twist on "America the Beautiful".