Tuesday, May 15, 2012

What's Next? A Burqa?

Despite the fact that there are many education issues to cover, I have to speak up now before too much more  time passes.

Do you have a daughter?  Are you a younger mom (under 35)?

Speak up now because there's this sudden focus on women and their issues and what looks like some kind of effort to roll back the clock.  You must talk to your daughters about what rights women have fought for over the last 40+ years and how they cannot be allowed to be rolled back.

On the floor of the House, a Georgia lawmaker compared women to cows and pigs (he was trying to make a point about women being allowed abortions past a certain point if the child will likely be born dead). I am NOT advocating for abortion rights here - I am advocating for common sense and a respectful manner when discussing pregnancy or any other women-centered issues.  We cannot allow ourselves to be debased in this manner. 

It's Rush Limbaugh calling a law student "a slut and a prostitute" for advocating for women to have access to birth control (something 99% of UW women will use at some time in their lives) and that if she's going to be slutty, she should make a video for all to watch.

The latest from Ed Week? 

The California Assembly passed a measure 71-0 on Monday in recognition of the upcoming 40th anniversary of Title IX, but generated a bit of controversy in the process.

Despite the presence of Brandi Chastain, one of the stars of the U.S. women's soccer team that won the Women's World Cup in 1999, one assembly member couldn't hide his disdain for Title IX, the federal law most well-known for requiring gender equality in interscholastic athletics.

"We need to be honest about the effects of what I believe are faulty court interpretations or federal enforcement of Title IX, because it has led to the abolition of many male sports across the board in UCs and Cal States," said Assemblyman Chris Norby, R-Fullerton, according to the Associated Press. "And that was never the intention of this, to have numerical equality. It was never the intention to attain equality by reducing opportunities for the men."

The remarks visibly agitated Chastain (who was sitting in the back of the room), the AP reported.
I don't care if you are conservative or liberal.  Women need access to female health care and that includes birth control.  Girls need equity in their ability to play high school and college sports. 

I recall that my oldest niece, some 20 odd years ago, said she didn't care about feminism "because we have all the rights now."  She went to work and told me about 2 years later about issues of equity at her job.  I told her that's why you have to be aware of these issues and not dismiss anything else as just history. 

I don't think this is just about the Republican primary with many conservative views being on display.  I sense something else out there and it worries me. 

But a new generation of women are going to have to step up now or bit by bit, rights hard-fought for will erode.  Moms (and Dads) need to speak up and have a different kind of talk with their daughters. 


Christina said...

Are you surprised a Republican from Orange County said something reactionary?

Maybe Seattle schools' best bands should hastily learn and practice The Mothers of Invention's "Trouble Every Day." Coming from Anaheim, Dr. Banda will appreciate some southern California music tribute.

Well I'm about to get UPSET
From watchin' my TV
Been checkin' out the news
Until my eyeballs fail to see
I mean they say that every day
Is just another rotten mess
And when it's gonna change, my friends
Is anybody's guess

So I'm watchin' and I'm waitin'
Hopin' for the best
Even think I'll go to prayin'
Every time I hear 'em sayin'
That there's no way to delay
That trouble comin' every day
No way to delay
That trouble comin' every day

--- Frank Zappa

Anonymous said...

I agree with you on this point. I'm 53 and I was among the first generation of women to be able to choose my own life path. Younger women nowadays take this for granted. Since I am the principal breadwinner for my family my daughter assumes she too will have all these rights and opportunities. She also assumes that her other men are like her Dad - putting family first before career.

But I worry that younger women are not interested in preserving our rights. Just look at all the young women pouring into Mars Hill Church of a Sunday. I think we should be concerned.

-Ballard parent

Anonymous said...

It's not enough to teach all this to girls, please teach your SONS, TOO !!

-defend the rights of all

Melissa Westbrook said...

As the mother of sons, of course, teach ALL your children well.

Jan said...

Defend the rights of all (and Melissa): I agree. I have only boys, but I think we all need to do our best to make sure our boys understand that just as the loss of civil rights in the area of racial equality hurts whites as well as blacks, so too the loss of civil rights in matters of gender equality hurts men as well as women, and boys as well as girls. I KNOW they will understand if they ever have daughters, but I don't want to have to wait for that!

Anonymous said...

Right on Jan.

and not only that. Since males have more privilege and power in our society, they also have more power when they fight the oppression of girls, women and everything female.

Boys and men benefit from the privilege that is on the other side of the oppression of girls and women. Since they benefit they have a particular responsibility to represent and fight for justice and equality. At the same time though since boys/men are boxed in to certain roles and limited ways of being, the liberation of women is their liberation too.


Meg said...

Don't forget the Catholic church's investigation of an organization of deeply questionable ethics: the Girl Scouts.

I don't agree that girls today take for granted all the advances made in women's rights. But I hope there will be a day when they do.

RosieReader said...

We've had some rollicking discussions at the dinner table about the modern attacks on things like contraception. My girls were appropriately astounded that there was a serious effort to role back access to this important health care. They were the first ones to wonder why Viagra would be funded if birth control was not.

Anonymous said...

Burqa and thongs. In western countries, a burqa is a symbol of oppression and fear. In places where women were them on a daily basis, the burqa is more of a garment and less of a symbol. Western countries made burqa a symbol we should shun and fear, yet our western governments have been unable to actually move beyond the symbolism to push for real changes where women (and men too) are free of oppression, where opportunity and basic human rights actually exist. The geopolitics of the day trump such endeavor or at best, relegates it to rhetoric and low priority.

So yeah, burn the burqa and keep the thong. I can appreciate the irony. I've worn a burqa when culture dictates that I do so in order to do my job. I've worked alongside women who wear burkas as they go about their daily lives and some to jobs as doctors, engineers, crop scientists, farmers, and shopkeepers. For them, oppression isn't in the burqa. That's a luxurious debate. It's about the ability to go to school, earn a living, freedom to vote and be, and opportunity. It's more about personal and economic freedom. For that to happen, it will come at a cost to our western (and powerhouse China's) economies and comfortable lifestyle.