I have waited my whole life for this. As a little girl growing up in the 1960s, I remember my mother and other neighborhood moms petitioning the PTA to allow girls to wear pants to school. Society justified paying men higher wages and salaries because THEY HAD FAMILIES TO SUPPORT. On TV, I watched protests against the Vietnam War and protests to support the Black Power movement. In elementary school, we participated in activities to celebrate the first Earth Day in 1970. As a teen, I watched the push for the Equal Rights Amendment, and as a young woman, I witnessed its failure to pass. It all made an impression and influenced the woman I grew to become.
The Rise of Patriarchy
Since Neolithic Times, with the advent of farming and the agricultural revolution, the status of women spiraled into decline as the mother goddess was replaced by the warrior god. With a few cultural exceptions, women around the world suffered from personal, professional, and legal repression, along with physical and sexual abuse at the hands of the patriarchy. It is not that all men are bad – most are decent.
The “Me Too” Movement
The past year has been truly transformational. Between the first Woman’s March and the marches and rallies over the past weekend, the “Me Too” movement exploded – forever altering the status quo. Like many other sisters, I shared my personal “me too” experience on Facebook and elaborated upon my opinions in my blog: “Manning Up to the Truth.” It is critical that we maintain the momentum by continuing to speak truth to power and by encouraging women and girls to pursue their dreams and passions. We must demand equality in the workplace and in politics.
The Fall of Patriarchy
Balance is the key. The time has come for women to be equally and equitably represented in business and in government. We must transition to this status immediately. Female sensibilities will transform the nation by bringing compassion and a cooperative vision to the problems that plague our country and the world. We do not strive to supplant male influence, we strive to share influence. We seek fairness and justice. It is time to set petty disputes aside and demonstrate to the male hierarchy the progress that can be realized when all segments of humanity work together for the benefit of all, rather than the benefit of the 1%.
Ultimately, We Will Live or Die Together
Male and Female.
Black, Brown, and White.
Citizen and Immigrant.
Gay and straight.
Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, Pagan, Humanist, and Everyone Else.
Historically, our leaders have maintained their dominance by keeping us divided: free vs. slave, rich vs. poor, urban vs. rural, red vs. blue, real America vs. the coastal elites. Lest we embrace our shared interests and values, we will perish. Where men have failed to reach across the aisle by embracing common concerns and challenges, I have faith that women can build the bridge between our differing ideologies by grasping hands and pulling each other out of the abyss.
We Are at a Turning Point in Humanity.
The environment is in a tenuous state. Will we be good stewards or reckless exploiters?
Nuclear weapons and hot-headed world leaders threaten global survival. Will we take a step back or push the button to ignite a nuclear holocaust?
Wealth inequality has decimated the middle and working class. Will we restore a balance to economic demographics or allow the elites to relegate the masses to serfdom?
The moment for action is now, and women are the solution. But ladies, do not be deceived. The male power structure will never voluntarily relinquish control. We must fight for our place at the table. We must persist. We must encourage our sisters who have been indoctrinated by fathers and husbands and societal or religious norms that pressure them to remain in submissive and subservient positions.
We must not allow this opportunity to pass!
Lech. Pervert. Creep. Women of a certain age are all too familiar with men of this ilk. Growing up in the 60s and the 70s, we came across them on a regular basis. They grabbed our asses, groped our breasts, and verbally harassed us. It was the normal state of affairs, and they largely got away with it.
To be clear, not all men behaved in this deplorable manner. In fact, most men have always acted like gentlemen, most of the time. Still, fathers warned their daughters. Mothers provided advice on what to do when you found yourself in “that” situation. And friends warned friends – the whisper network.
As women, we grew older, and the assaults subsided as attention was directed at younger, more vulnerable targets. In addition, the times changed. The women’s movement had an impact. Gender roles softened. Mothers raised their sons with different expectations. We had hope that our daughters would live in a better world.
Back in the day, women who reported rape or sexual misconduct risked it all. They were accused of inciting men’s bad behavior because of the way they dressed and the places they went. Victims were blamed and shamed.
Like many others, I shared my “me too” experience of sexual harassment at my workplace when my thirty-something boss kept insisting that I have sexual intercourse with him when I was 16 and working at the pizza restaurant in my local mall. I did not share my many stories of being groped, having men expose their junk, and surviving date rape. I had frank discussions with my daughters about owning their sexuality. I warned them to protect themselves when they wanted to engage in sexual activities and how to protect themselves from unwanted sexual advances. I lectured my son on how to treat women with respect. I reinforced to my students the mantra that “no means no.”
What disappointed me and actually pained me to the core were the “me too” posts on Facebook by younger women. While I fully anticipated that most women my age had experienced sexual harassment and abuse, I mistakenly thought it was a generational problem and that younger men were more evolved. Sadly, it was not the case.
The names keep rolling in: Bill Cosby, Donald Trump, Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Roy Moore, Louis CK. And on, and on, and on. Each with their own particular fetish: Anesthetize with pills, grab their pussy and forcibly kiss, don a bathrobe and demand a massage, intoxicate with alcohol, target teens, expose themselves and masturbate.
This story is far from over. I imagine that many men are living in fear that their past and present behavior will soon be exposed. The knot in their stomach is violently pulsing. They are experiencing the dread that women have known forever. Careers will be ruined and relationships will be destroyed. Some daughters will never look at their fathers the same way.