Friday, June 11, 2010


My Significant Other today told me about a man who came into his store. Whilst browsing and talking with a fellow employee, the subject of feminists came up- and apparently the man hates them.
Why? Because apparently, feminists are full-of-shit lesbians who don't shave and just wanna be a man.

Who knew? I certainly didn't.

I've got a close tie to feminism (and not just because I'm female). I have a story, in fact.
My great-grandmother, Ora (feminine Spanish for "gold"), was put to work when she was six-years-old in a cotton mill in Tennessee. Her father collected her wages every week, and she never saw a dime, nor an improvement in her life. When she was fifteen, she told her father to go to hell, she walked out of the cotton mill and into a new life. She picked her own husband, left him, and then picked another man....and she made him leave when he wasn't good to her children. She kept working, as she was a single mother. She wore pants, and she never allowed anyone to make any decisions for her. When she heard about the Sufferage Movement, she joined. She saved her money, left her children with her aunt, and traveled to Birmingham, Alabama, to march for the right to vote. Of course, she came back to Tennessee when the march was over, but she remained active in the movement from where she was.
My mother never openly protested, per se. She did smaller, subtler moves with a great deal of impact. My mother quit wearing a bra in 1962- in her words "anybody who's ever worn one can tell a damn man made 'em- they're the most uncomfortable things in the world". She wears them now only to funerals, graduations, and weddings. Everything else- you can forget it. She directed other women on getting birth control, and indeed advised it. She saw some of the same things Margaret Sanger saw, and believed wholeheartedly in it. A neighbor down the street (who, by chance was Catholic) was advised, after having a baby a year for 11 years, to not have anymore children, as it would kill her. Her husband threatened to divorce her for not doing her "wifely" duties, and, in an effort to keep her dignity, she ended up pregnant again- and it did indeed come at the price of her life. My mother also saw girls "just disappear in the night. They'd stay gone for months 'visiting relatives up North'". These girls had gotten pregnant and the families shipped them off to have their kids, force them into giving them up for adoption, and then returning them, with their supposed honor still intact among the community. My mother also secretly taught sex education to the women her age- she obtained (horror of horrors in the 50s) the Kinsey reports, and she shared them. It was generally an accepted practice that "good people" didn't read such "trash"- and she defied them. She also never accepted a wage lower than a male counterpart when she worked- "hell, why should I? Nine times out of ten I worked harder than they'd ever dreamed of. I deserve at least the same pay." She also boycotts horror movies because of the frequency of the show of violence against women. She avidly believes that it desynsitizes people to it, and thus makes it seem like less of a crime.
Then, her crowning blow to patriarchy: she raised me.

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