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From the daily archives: Thursday, March 15, 2012
GROUP 5/WEEK 3: Rosemary, Gilbert, Roxsana & Ulices
The thing that really shocked me and interested me the most in learning about the women’s rights movement is the persistence of sexism. I expected there to be sexism in traditional society, but I did not expect it to even be present in the counter-culture movements. Learning that a lot of women who joined the movement during the 1960’s, did so as a reaction to what they saw while involved in the civil rights movement really put things in perspective. I think that if more people were exposed to information like this, they would start to see how deep sexism is embedded in the patriarchal society we live in. Sexism being so accepted really made me sick to my stomach. I feel like there has to be a way to change this and make our society good for everyone that lives in it. I can’t believe I never saw it in front of me before, but now I see it everywhere I go. This is why I really like being involved in this ERA Education Project. I feel that I am helping, even in a small way.
FROM A MAN’S PERSPECTIVE, what interests me most about the women’s rights movement, is how obscure it feels. Not to say it’s small, but I think as a guy in a patriarchal society it is very downplayed, although ironically it’s been around for a good while now and probably has more supporters than ever before. That to me is a big indicator of how suppressed the idea of equal rights for women is. Oppressed by society as a whole as if in a sort of blissful ignorance that most people care not to be shaken out of.
I am almost certain men are not aware of it, or at least young men of my generation don’t know the slightest thing about it. I know I didn’t. Flip side of the coin is that just as many women may not be aware of what’s going on and that they don’t have constitutional equal rights. When it comes to civil rights, worker’s rights, gay rights, these ideas are covered day to day. Women’s rights on the other hand are given this side note worth, which to me, says a lot about the day and age we live in.
When it comes down to it I’m very uneducated on the topic, or at least was more so before taking this class. The truth is that’s the key word of the topic – education. People aren’t educated on these topics. They don’t know and we can’t get angry with anyone for not knowing something. But the fact that people simply aren’t taught is frustrating. Therein lies the issue and also the current cause. The ERA Education Project is crucial because so many don’t know the underlying truth.You can’t introduce an amendment to the constitution without knowing what it’s for. Though I will admit in my own personal opinion, that there is less room for debate when it comes to gender equality, but it’s just a matter of fact just as racial discrimination.
In the past couple of weeks this whole new world with women leading the way has been revealed to me. We’ve been getting to know the giants like Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth and Alice Paul, and the “girls next door” like Amy Richards and Jennifer Baumgarden who started the first girls soccer team, or first girl to run for class President in her high school and later went on to write books.
It has also lead me to recognize that feminism, despite the boundaries that still exist today, prevails in almost every woman: from my mother who makes the decision to work and go to school, to my girl friends who pursue careers before marriage. I know feminist men as well, starting with my father who supports my mother in her decisions as well as mine, to my guy friends who have encouraged me to go to school or cheer me on when I snowboard.
The problem here is not the lack of feminism; the problem is the lack of activism.
While women and many men embrace the feminist ideology in their everyday, most are not aware of many of the boundaries and gender discrimination that still exist today. Many people don’t know that the United States Constitution does not guarantee civil and human rights to women that are equal to men. Because I didn’t know who Alice Paul was I also didn’t know that she wrote and proposed the original Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in 1923. The ERA states “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”
It has been nearly 100 years that women have been fighting for civil and human rights and for the last couple of years this brutal battle has been quiet and under the radar! With the 2012 elections at play we have been hearing a lot of talk about women’s issues, but all coming from men! Where are all the women?! Where are all the men and women that are living feminist ideologies? Well they are all around, they are you and me, the problem is that we aren’t politically active. This is supposed to be a democratic government, a system that is governed and run by the whole population under the principle of social equality. That further underlines our problem, the lack of democracy.