Last week I spent the afternoon with a female relative. She’s strictly—no, foaming at the mouth rabid—for Hillary. “It’s time for a woman president,” was pretty much her non-stop mantra during the time we spent together. “Okay, but why be so pissed off about Bernie Sanders?” was my question. “She’s got balls,” she roared. This strikes me as the ultimate irony and the very heart of what the women’s movement was about.
In the car coming home I heard an interview with Nancy Jo Sales whose new book, American Girls, is a sobering expose of how hypersexualized and social-media ruled girls are today. Oh, girls, I thought, shocked and saddened at the same time.
Waiting in my mailbox was a Netflix disk—“She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry.
Mary Dore has made a riveting documentary that imho should be a required graduation requirement from high school—for teens—especially girls. It opens shortly before Betty Friedan’s landmark book The Feminine Mystique and pulls together some of the heroines from our suffragette past and the 1960-1970 women’s liberation movement. MY Movement!
I finally got to “meet” the women from the Boston Collective who compiled Our Bodies, Our Selves—my textbook for years. I revisited the women’s consciousness raising groups—one of them saved my life! Sharing my feelings with other women was like a rebirth.
Some parts were funny—how clueless and/or oppressive so many men were when the “women hit the streets”—hanging on to that peaceable time before women got “uppity” about work, sex, and their reproductive rights. Some parts were personally moving; my tears spilled. Going back to that time when who I had been told to be no longer held for me was tender and revealing.
How do these three “listening” experiences fit together? They show me that the women’s lib movement is not and cannot be over. In fact, much of what was gained has been either lost or is under grave threat—especially reproductive health. We are still fighting for what we wanted then—equality at work and the right to choose—any and all choices. And, not to be lectured to by a bunch of men—CEOs, expert panels, academics, media personalities—about what’s good for us.
Here are links to the website and the trailer for “She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry”