Fired Up for Women

VAWA Passes

Today the Violence Against Women Act passed.  286 to 138. The 138 that voted against it were all Republicans. Remind me again how any woman can be a member of this party in its current form?  Come on Republicans! Take back your party from the right wing nut jobs. They are ruining it for you!

Yes, I am a liberal. Yes, I am a feminist. Yes, I am a Green Party member. But that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate a intelligent, sane, fiscally conservative Republican. It doesn’t mean I refused to work with those on the other side to come up with something better than the status quo. I know that ideas can’t operate in a vacuum.  We learn more and make greater progress when someone is questioning our beliefs and ideology. It forces us to be concise, understand our position from the inside and out and view things from a different perspective.  Surround yourself with the same thoughts and nothing new will arise. Creativity and innovation require diversity. In order for any innovation evolution to actually occur, the people in opposite corners can’t be irrational wackjobs!! When we are so pigeon holed into our own beliefs we can’t see the sunlight, we are actually moving backwards, not fowards. This is today’s political deadlock.

Last night I watched Makers. Loved it. Loved every second of it.  I want to watch documentaries like that every single day. I couldn’t love Gloria Steinem and Hilary Clinton any more than I already do. It was interesting to be reminded that the Religious Right was birthed from the feminist movement. I always forget the connection. Phyllis Schlafly makes me so bitter.  Watching the movie reminded me so much of my college days. Working for Planned Parenthood, volunteering for NOW, feeling fired up, feeling strong, feeling like a bad ass chick. All. The. Time.

But right now I feel an immense sense of disappointment and failure. I was so very active in college. And then I did nothing. I started writing checks and buying memberships. I turned into a passive activist. I am the youth of the 90s that ended up taking things for granted.  I got complacent.  At the same time, part of me feels a little bit betrayed. I’m a member of this weird Third Wave feminist generation. As a daughter of the 70s I had the opportunity to go to college, I even played sports in college.  I reaped the benefits of their blood, sweat and tears. I was taught I could have it all.  My education is rich, my career path diverse and now, here I am thinking about family when it in fact may be too late. tick tock tick tock. You just may have spent too much time basking in your independence to actually start a family. Would I take it all back and give up liberation? Never. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

And the pendulum swings again.

Is the third wave of feminism over? Or are we simply evolving into someone, something new? There is so much work to do. The Women’s Liberation movement was just the beginning. If you think the fight is over, you’re wrong. We’re far from equal. I am employed at a public university with one of the best Women’s Studies departments in the country. We have a world  renowned Institute for Women’s Leadership (I actually got the opportunity to interview the Director last week- great stuff). Yet, I just found out that the male counterpart in my office makes 10K more than I do. We do the same exact job. This isn’t a big secret. We’re State employees, our salaries are posted on line to the public. It never crossed my mind when I accepted my job that I could possibly be anything less than equal. If you dig deeper it gets worse, the disparity in upper management, the tenured vs. non tenured professors…it’s shocking. The irony is a tough pill to swallow. The  Institute for Women’s Leadership has received private and federal grants to research women in leadership and gender workplace issues. Too bad they’re not contacting their own HR department.

There is so much more to do, locally, nationally and globally. It’s overwhelming, but when women gather together, there is no doubt we will change the world.  I am so inspired by the youth of today. They’re not lazy or passive. They have a big task to build upon what my mothers and third wave couldn’t finish. I love the explosion of feminist pride in social media (Twitter Youth Feminist Army, #Thankafeminist, unpacking the f word and so many more!).  All this women’s energy has helped me to get clear about a number of things in my life right now; my research direction, my commitment to volunteering with Phi Sigma Sigma and a commitment to stop being a passive activist.  It’s time to get fired up again.

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