Monday, October 27, 2008

Me and Gloria Together At Last

Since I've become a mother, I've had a love/hate relationship with Gloria Steinem. I've never met the woman, but my feelings about her have been wildly variable. Of course I worship her for her astounding accomplishments on behalf of the Women's Movement. She's brought us a long, long way and for that we owe her an enormous debt of gratitude.

But I also have felt that she hadn't brought us far enough. Although women can now freely choose whether to have a career or be a full time mother, I've often wondered what good is it to have the option when the world -- our workplaces and our homes -- haven't quite caught up to accommodate those choices. I mean, Gloria isn't a mom. How can she truly understand the struggles that us moms face in the face of the choices we have today?

Seems that I was wrong. Gloria was on Oprah a couple of weeks ago (in a see-through top and hot leather pants, no less) and she seems to get that we're not quite done making things ok for women:

"Yeah but we have in this wave maybe 60 years to go...we have alot of distance to cover because men are still not raising children the same as women are and women are still not [makes odd gesture as if to say 'fill in the blank']...I mean we can't say it's over."

When Oprah asks Gloria how she feels about women today not really knowing the history of the movement and how far we've come -- if she feels she's failed in some way to get us on board -- Gloria gives a great line: "Gratitude never radicalized anyone." I made this same point in response to this whiny post by a Gloria contemporary. Steinem makes the point that feminism is not about doing it all, it's about women not having to do it all and that as women experience the unfairness and inequities that still exist, we'll get radicalized to make the necessary changes.

Well, I'm feeling pretty radicalized these days, so I'm more than ready to join the movement. Momsrising is doing some great things to change our workplaces and our laws. But how do we change our husbands (or our daughter's husbands)?

1 comment:

sarah said...

Great post, and thanks for your comment on my SV Moms post. I love MomsRising and do a lot of work with them - it's great to see people pumping up their efforts. Way to go!