What women's rights look like when the two sides come together as one.
What women's rights are when women are no longer manipulated by party rhetoric.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Did Someone on MSNBC Defend Michele Bachmann?

Cynthia Ruccia

OMG!!! Will wonders never cease? This one goes under the category of "even a blind squirrel gets an acorn every once in awhile!!" I must confess to those of you who know me that, OK----true confessions here (I am SO embarrassed!!!)----------I WATCH MSNBC IN THE MORNING (Morning Joe) while I'm working out!! There, I've said it!! And please don't love or hate me for it.

MSNBC and Fox and I have a special relationship. When I was your run-of-the-mill Democrat of 40 years standing, I really loved MSNBC. I felt it was like home base. They said everything I wanted to hear, and I thought it was high time that there was a lefty opinion station for people like me. I'd work out and watch---perfect combination. But as we were leading up to the 2008 presidential race, I underwent my metamorphosis (see the details of that metamorphosis here), and the more that station revealed how sexist it was (see youtubes to the right of the columns for proof of that statement), the more I was too enraged to watch MSNBC anymore. It was too much adrenaline to get a decent workout---I was just furious all of the time. MSNBC was (and still is in my book) one of the biggest purveyors of misogyny around. I just can't stand it!!!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Why No One Listens To The Feminists Anymore

Cynthia Ruccia

The short answer? Because they're fighting the last war instead of the current war. I keep hearing military critics and historians say that one persistent problem is that we always fight the next war using the lessons of the last war and that we make alot of mistakes because of that.

The longer answer is a matter of how the movement itself has become a parody of itself, a shameful parody of what it purported to be. I read this toxic piece of garbage from the longtime, respected feminist writer Katha Pollitt and to me it embodies everything that has gone wrong with feminism.

I came of age during the formation of the second wave feminist movement of the late 60's and early 70's. I went to Barnard College at Columbia University starting in 1970, a school which was a hotbed of liberal and radical thinking and a place where much of the political fomenting of the age was occurring. I had already been deeply politically involved, and it was natural for me to have fallen hard into the women's movement as it was developing at the time. You can read more about that in my last post. I came to revere the Gloria Steinems and the Betty Friedans and the other heroines of the time. We were going to live a life that our mothers and grandmothers could only dream of if they could bring themselves to even think like that. And together we women linked arms and willed in a new era of opportunity for women, equal opportunity. A world where women would have the same opportunities to make a great living, go to school and study whatever profession we wanted, have legal protections against crimes against us. We were going to hold at least 50% of the CEO positions, 50% of the legislative positions, and we were going to elect a female president of the United States. At least that was what I thought was going on.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Why I Did What I Did in 2008--A Look Back

Cynthia Ruccia

As we embark on a new presidential campaign season, and as all of the calls for Hillary Clinton to run again grow louder with each passing day, I find myself reflecting back to the unbelievable life-changing experience I and so many others had in 2008. I thought it might not be a bad idea to revisit the path that brought us where we are today to better understand how to prepare ourselves for what lies ahead in the days and months to come. And enough time has passed to put some perspective on how the events of 2008 turned so many diehard Democrats into Independents, Republicans, etc. I still look back in wonder how the unbelievable happened to me, a person married "til death do us part" to the Democrats, a person who wasn't just a supporter but an activist, a candidate, a paid political consultant, an elected central and executive committee member, a prolific fundraiser, a supporter of all things Democrat, a person who wouldn't even allow my children to buy non-UAW made cars, who ended up leaving the party in disgust. I know many of you will see yourselves in my story.

If there is anyone reading this story who chooses to resort to knee jerk name-calling, you are missing an important opportunity to expand your thinking a little bit. If you want to start in with the "racist," "bitter old woman," "get over it you lost," kinds of labels, we've been called all of that and more in an effort to shut us up. It didn't work then and it won't work now. And if you are someone who assumes that if I don't sound the platitudes and mantras of the left than I am a creature of the right, you have a rigid mind that might benefit from taking a deep breath and trying to hear what is actually being said. It is a cautionary tale with important lessons that we can all learn.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Parity At Last---At Least On This Fall's TV Schedule

Cynthia Ruccia

I woke up today to see in my local paper, The Columbus Dispatch, a front page link to an article from the Contra Costa (Calif) Times about how more than half of the new Fall shows on the networks revolve around a female lead!! Something to celebrate!! Oh I suppose we could grouse about the portrayals in some of these shows such as the one about the Playboy Clubs and other such 50's themed shows. But maybe it isn't such a bad idea to show a new generation what it was like for women before the second wave feminists had their say.

Also, according to the article, more female-themed shows mean more women employed not only in front of the camera but also behind the camera. It's also a long way from the barely nuanced performances of women from not long ago. So although it isn't perfect (see the previous post about a discussion of perfection), it's a milestone all the same!!

Here's the link to the article.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Any Woman---Just Not THAT Woman

Cynthia Ruccia

I wrote a post the other day when Michele Bachmann won the Iowa straw poll that caused quite a stir. Although alot of people agreed with me in concept, I also received vile, vitriolic responses laden with violence, character assassination, and frankly, the worst responses that human beings can conjure up. It was quite a display of the dark side of the human character.

Before we go any further to those of you who haven't read much of my stuff before, please note carefully and absorb what I am about to say-----THIS IS NOT A PIECE ABOUT MICHELE BACHMANN. THIS IS NOT A PIECE SUPPORTING MICHELE BACHMANN. OK? For those of you who viscerally HATE Michele Bachmann, I want to make that perfectly clear. For those of you who strongly disagree with Michele Bachmann, please note one more time---THIS PIECE IS NOT A PIECE IN SUPPORT OF MICHELE BACHMANN. OK everyone? I say this a couple of times because if you're one of those who hate or just don't like Bachmann, I'd still like you to be part of this conversation and not close your mind just yet.

My real point today is I keep asking myself why it is that we demand a level of perfection from our female candidates that we don't demand from the male candidates? We do, IMHO, elect flawed men to office all of the time. We may not like what these men stand for, but there is a level of acceptance about these men that somehow we are able to live with them in office, leading companies, etc. that we don't afford to women. For many, women just have to be, well, perfect in every way or they're not worth anything. I want to take issue with that whole idea today.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Trouble in the Sisterhood

Cynthia Ruccia

As we 21st century feminists continue to redefine what feminism is and what we need to do to finish breaking all of those glass ceilings, I am continually confronted by one ugly truism----------and that is that we women are often our own worst enemy. How we got to be this way can be difficult to define, but I'm going to take a stab at it.

First and most importantly, we women often have a very hard time celebrating other women's success. We just get flat out jealous. I consider this jealousy thing partly to be human nature. However, the bigger part is that women have to share a smaller piece of the power pie. By this I mean that since men run practically everything, they hold most of the power pie. They get to choose which women they will give a small slice to, and as a result lots of great women don't get a chance to partake. As a result it leaves us in the position of fighting over what little share we get and resenting the "chosen" female. It seems to me that if we women worked together to gain parity, many of our problems would just go away. In truth, if the pie equals 100 parts, and women have 50 parts of it, we wouldn't be fighting over the 1 or 2 pieces of it. We'd have absorbed the fact that since lots of us can participate, we would have much more room to maneuver and lots fewer reasons to be jealous. Seems simple to me. But it is a huge problem.  

Michele Bachmann Kicks Ass!!!!

Cynthia Ruccia

I am jumping up and down unable to contain the glee in my heart tonight having just learned that Michele Bachmann won the Iowa straw poll. And I noticed that not everyone is jumping up and down with me. "What are you thinking?" some of you are saying to me with a look of total disbelief on your faces. "Michele Bachmann?------C'mon Cynthia----have you lost your friggin' mind?"

Noooooooooooo, I have not lost my mind. I am absolutely thrilled that Bachmann won tonight, and you should be too. Now I'm asking those of you who don't understand my point of view to please give me the courtesy of hearing me out. If you can't hear me out then you must be happy that the United States ranks #70 in the world in female representation in government. You must also be thrilled that we women hold 2.7% of the CEO positions in the Fortune 1000. You are definitely bursting with pride that we hold 24% of state legislative seats and only 6 governorships, that we hold 20% of senior management positions and that there are more companies than ever that have no women in senior management positions. If those statistics make you happy, knock yourself out celebrating them.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Abortion & 21st Century Thinking

Anna Belle

Last week Cynthia wrote a brave piece on abortion, which she referred to as the third rail of feminism. This is an apt metaphor. As with the "third rail" of a railway train, the third rail of feminism is electrifying and potentially fatal. But if we carry this analogy one step further, we can begin to see our way to thinking about the topic of abortion from a 21st century perspective. Instead of being bystanders stumbling upon the third rail and getting burned, as the metaphor is usually interpreted, we can see it from the perspective of the inventor or technician, who understands the value of the rail, and works to keep it a safe, useful, and functioning part of our society. To make this transition, we need to rethink what we've been told and what we've chosen to accept about abortion in America today.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

21st Century Feminism----A Call to Action

Cynthia Ruccia

We women's rights and women's equality supporters have a golden opportunity right in front of us these days. I've been writing about it for several years now in a wide variety of venues, and I've decided it's time for us to act. The action right now is phase 1, the first step in our march towards finally achieving the kind of economic and power parity we have longed for and has eluded us.

If you've read my stuff, clearly you will understand that I am not advocating a legislative solution. If we start acting by demanding that new laws be passed, we're going to gain absolutely nothing but derision, and we will end up in the same stalled place we are right now. In my piece Women Are Held Hostage By Party Rhetoric, and also in pieces about sexism from the left and sexism from the right, it is pretty clear that going the legislative route will cause the left and right to take up their positions throwing tomatoes at one another, and our intent will get chewed up in a partisan brouhaha. Worse, say we do put a piece of legislation out there, it could get repeatedly tabled while "more important things" are dealt with. As long as a piece of legislation has been drafted and submitted, it becomes a great thing for people to hide behind saying that they're working on women's stuff while doing absolutely nothing and blaming the inaction on the other side. Taking that approach would be insanity-----it has rarely worked in our favor of late.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Shout-out To The Men

Cynthia Ruccia

I'm not writing a long post today, but it's going to be sincere and heartfelt. I want to recognize the many, many men who support women's economic and power parity. Our movement has been mischaracterized as being populated by a bunch of man-haters. We've often been accused of alienating men who want to fight on our side. At the very least, we treat the men in this struggle as minimal allies, as people who need to just get out of the way and if they can live with that mini status, then they can join us.

I'm here to say today that if we have given that impression, we have been wrong. It can be easy for us to minimize our male supporters because our enemies are often, well, male. The obstacles in our path are, well, mostly men.

But it would be wrong to assume that all men are the same. I'm here to tell you ladies, that that is simply NOT true. For instance, a poll was run recently that said that while 8% of men said they would never vote for a woman for president under any circumstances, 12% of the women polled said the same thing. Clearly we seem to have a bigger problem with women!!! Who'd have thought that?