Where are you sisterhood?
Was it so hard to hold on to each other?
Was it so hard to forgive each other our human flaws?
We disappointed each other because we didn’t turn out to be divine as planned?
Are you once again alone with the struggle?
Making a living while being a woman too difficult?
I know it can be. A woman body is a full time job. Just to be healthy, we need to mind our natural cycles, bleeding every month is not fun. Two weeks tied down with the menstruation, one week pre-tension, then the bloods, and then the waning of the bloods.
Whoever says otherwise is lying. While we balance on high heels, secretly we hope our bloody pad wont move up to our back, or aspire to become shoulder pads. Bleeding is hard work. And it’s expensive. The cost of tampons, pads, the teas, the pills, the loss of joy in life, comes out of our own pockets. We finance a nation’s fertility. Not fair.
The government doesn’t pay women for being fertile, but it pays men to have erections. Viagra is covered in health plans. Birth control for women is not. Where is the outrage?
The other day I managed to get my hands on a precious old book called, “Handbook of Women’s Liberation” written by Joan Robins. This was the very first book I read when I arrived in Los Angeles written by a contemporary feminist sister. Back then it costs $2.95, today I got it for twenty dollars. But I was so happy it was avaible at all.
In order to hold on to your Goddess consciousness you have to build in your mind a place for her with feminism. This is how she sticks with you through thick and thin.
What’s in the book?
Ms. Robins gives us a quick background on the early feminists, the suffragists from the last century. It’s good to know whose shoulders we are standing on. It’s good to know what they have done right. They organized themselves, set reasonable goals, and were relentless in pursuit of their goals. Unfortunately the narrow goal of the vote was all they could get us in order to change the female social status from chattel to citizen with a vote. This took them 75 years. Only the youngest daughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Harriot Stanton Blatch, lived to see the vote won. Young Alice Paul drafted the Equal Rights Amendment, the very night the women celebrated their right to vote. That law has still not passed.
The short history of where the Second Wave comes from the Civil Rights Movement, and the Peace Movement where women have participated, only to be ordered back to make coffee for the male peaceniks and the black male revolutionaries.
There was a point when the women came to consciousness about how inconsistent that was with the goals they have supported. This is when the women left the movements of the males and created their own. There are wonderful pictures in the back of the book showing us these young faces, just like yours today, marching down on Fifth.
This is the Second Wave that invented the ingenious and effective C.R. Groups, consciousness raising groups, which I think we should reframe and reinvent for this huge wave of generation Z.
How is C.R. Groups different from study groups or discussion groups?
In the C.R. Group, the emphasis is on the personal experiences of each woman. We use what we learn first-hand from each other to politically analyze the status of women. “We wanted to build our own analysis of the conditions of women and from that derive a theory of action,” Robins writes.
I think our oppression certainly changed since 1970 when this book was written, but not so much in essence.
For example in the seventies, two-thirds of women were not employed. Instead we all labored privately; the unpaid labor of housewives’ and genital work (marriages).
Today the workforce is majority female workers, but the country is still run by old white males, who live in the fifties mentally.
Back then, women were not admitted to universities, or just not as many as men, today since admittance finally changed into merit based decisions, 75 percent of women comprise the student body in all collages and universities. Wahoo!
So we can pat ourselves on the shoulders, good work! Education is the key to liberation. Education is the key to independence. The key to human-hood for women. And we got it!
But here is a list what we have not dealt with yet, and these are huge problems.
This is the active behavior of men to hurt women. It starts in elementary school, and lasts a lifetime of anti-female propaganda. In our times, it’s very sophisticated, but hidden or not, its worse then ever before.
First we thought that only a few men, not capitalism was the culprit, who benefit from women’s unpaid labor. But male chauvinism is a cultural belief that males are superior to women. Most male god religions endorse this. Southern Baptists for example, President Carter just has written a letter of why he quit the church over their ingrained sexims.The Taliban teach the same thing, different male god … same oppression for us. Taliban kills us if we talk to a boy who’s not our relative; not long ago in Europe the church killed for six hundred years long women for witchcraft. Once accused, the women never came home again.
It’s a self-entitlement to feel superior to women, to make women serve and benefit males. Financially, in sex trades, children are the next target; born to poor mothers, men sell children to each other for sex and free labor. All men derive benefits from this enslavement of women, not just the pimps and johns, but the good men who do nothing culturally to control their brothers.
Back when Robins wrote her book, women could not foresee how to get out from under. But as herstory shows us, the collective female energies converged quite naturally and choose to go through the cracks of the doors that the Second Wave has opened for us.
What has become the norm are the personal solutions. We used to scuff at personal solutions versus the collective solutions, but in retrospect I think the female principle was right to fix our status with education first.
We are just not ready to attack the rest of the problems.
We tasted little of the return of the collective solution when we have voted for Hillary Clinton. She did get 180 million votes. That’s a good chunk of approval from women with jobs. Now if we just contemplate the Pro-Woman line, the bearers of the new society.
Blame. If we just stopped blaming each other and victims of violence, and see all women … the talented and the slow, the beautiful and the homely, the fat and the skinny, the PhD and the high school drop outs, the pregnant and the barren. We are all connected in the web of life. When you walk down the street, men don’t look at you and say, there goes a PhD. educated women. They still just see a female, any female, vulnerable.
Wake up and stay awake! Speak up wherever you are. Form the new C.R. Groups. So much work still needs to be done.