Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A Feminist Primer for
The 21st Century

I'm an Aries Rising and I've been one of the boys all my life. Rule # one: don't compete playing their game. You play your own. You call it. They are easily impressed, believe me. You need not fear them, even when they are in groups. Most of them are a hair's breadth from strangling on their neck ties anyway. They're just as oppressed as you are.
If you want to play the game well and advance it's also advisable to leave the feminine manipulation for other times, and often it's hard to detect the behavior, it's so habitual. Once you establish that coy male-female dynamic you're stuck with it. Not that feminine behaviors shouldn't be expressed, they just shouldn't be exaggerated, caricaturized, and used extensively for gain. On the other hand, tough imitations of male bravado won't do either. Know how to win, know how to lose.
Let's consider the pool hall, for example, a bastion of XY gamesmanship. I'm the worst pool player known to humanity, so I don't click the balls. I do enjoy the atmosphere, though, and I love the sounds. Love'em.
So I hang out with the boys doing my own thing, having a good time anyway. Main point: be yourself. If you can clear the table, by all means, beat them to it.

"The Women's Rights Movement marks July 13, 1848 as its beginning. On that sweltering summer day in upstate New York, a young housewife and mother, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, was invited to tea with four women friends. When the course of their conversation turned to the situation of women, Stanton poured out her discontent with the limitations placed on her own situation under America's new democracy. Hadn't the American Revolution had been fought just 70 years earlier to win the patriots freedom from tyranny? But women had not gained freedom even though they'd taken equally tremendous risks through those dangerous years. Surely the new republic would benefit from having its women play more active roles throughout society. Stanton's friends agreed with her, passionately.

Within two days of their afternoon tea together, this small group had picked a date for their convention, found a suitable location, and placed a small announcement in the Seneca County Courier. They called "A convention to discuss the social, civil, and religious condition and rights of woman." The gathering would take place at the Wesleyan Chapel in Seneca Falls on July 19 and 20, 1848.

The Women's Rights Convention drafted a Declaration of Sentiments. The Declaration of Sentiments ended on a note of complete realism:
In entering upon the great work before us, we anticipate no small amount of misconception, misrepresentation, and ridicule; but we shall use every instrumentality within our power to effect our object. We shall employ agents, circulate tracts, petition the State and National Legislatures, and endeavor to enlist the pulpit and the press in our behalf.
Stanton was certainly on the mark when she anticipated 'misconception, misrepresentation, and ridicule.' Newspaper editors were so scandalized by the shameless audacity of the Declaration of Sentiments, and particularly of the ninth resolution -- women demanding the vote-- that they attacked the women with all the vitriol they could muster. The women's rights movement was only one day old and the backlash had already begun!"
The women's rights movement of the late 19th century went on to address the wide range of issues spelled out at the Seneca Falls Convention. Eventually, winning the right to vote emerged as the central issue, since the vote would provide the means to achieve the other reforms. All told, the campaign for woman suffrage met such staunch opposition that it took 72 years for the women and their male supporters to be successful.

As you might imagine, any 72-year campaign includes thousands of political strategists, capable organizers, administrators, activists and lobbyists. The story of diligent women's rights activism is a litany of achievements against tremendous odds, of ingenious strategies and outrageous tactics used to outwit opponents and make the most of limited resources. It's a dramatic tale, filled with remarkable women facing down incredible obstacles to win that most basic American civil right - the vote."
History of the Movement: Living the legacy
Although there were many grievances, when women originally fought for equality they had a specific mission; to get the right to vote. It was simple and easy to focus on the prize. Now the goal is more diffuse which could be why organized political movements for women's liberation haven't taken off. In the long run, that might be a benefit, encouraging women to stick up for themselves in more unique and creative ways. What do women stand for? Some say they are nurturing and anti-war. Progressive and caring. But not all of them are and still they deserve equal access to opportunity. So defining the mission has been a problem and maybe each woman has to decide that for herself. Women who reject careers should be just as respected as the judge or the cardiac surgeon. And at this point in evolution if it takes enhanced effort to get into prestigious positions, so be it. Just do it.
Uranus in Aries is a perfect time to establish identity and equality, drawing on genuine strength, not an imitation of toughness. Brilliant strategy can be mastered with the Mars-Uranus combination. The optimum amount of aggression to employ, especially with the square to Pluto in Capricorn, is another lesson of value, for those who want it. It applies to men, too.


Anonymous midara said...

"Although there were many grievances, when women originally fought for equality they had a specific mission; to get the right to vote. It was simple and easy to focus on the prize."

I don't mean to be nitpicky, but this isn't necessarily true. I'm currently writing a thesis about female feminist anti-suffragists in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The feminist movement was hardly monolithic, and had consisted of several factions all focused on different goals, such as education, divorce, and suffrage.

I do understand and appreciate the point of your post. I just thought I would point that out.

16/4/08 10:44 AM  
Blogger jm said...

My source said that there was originally a list of many goals but that the vote was chosen as the main one as a means to get the others. It took several years, according to what I learned, for this to develop after the initial grievances were named. I mentioned that in the article, but I will also check some other sources to verify.

16/4/08 2:26 PM  
Blogger jm said...

The women's rights movement of the late 19th century went on to address the wide range of issues spelled out at the Seneca Falls Convention. Eventually, winning the right to vote emerged as the central issue, since the vote would provide the means to achieve the other reforms

Again, I'll do further research.

16/4/08 2:31 PM  
Anonymous Joe said...

As I recall, there were indeed many factions, among them Black women hoping to gain suffrage for Black women as well. That measure was widely debated, but ultimately, the issue of Black female suffrage was dropped for fear of alienating those in favor of general woman suffrage.

More recently, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) was designed to prevent discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation. ENDA originally included transgendered people, but like the Black female vote, transgender was dropped from ENDA in order to get the measure to pass at all.

Someone always gets thrown under the bus, apparently.

16/4/08 2:54 PM  
Blogger jm said...

Interesting joe.

My theory in all of this is how hard it is to legislate these things. The right to vote is easy to see and implement, but discrimination is difficult to prove so often.

It applies to the Civil Rights Movement too. The vote was the aim and now it's more difficult, proven by the difficulties of affirmative action and such.

Take my day. Some burned their bras and one can hardly legislate that bra-less women were supposed to have equal opportunity but it actually became custom as time progressed. It was unheard of for my generation to have their fleshy protuberances jiggling about untrapped. So I guess it's a mixture of social custom and change and legal activity. Point being, women now can vote, but many of the original grievances of the Seneca Convention are still operative. How do we successfully reform them?

So my point is that ultimately the subtleties of fairness in our society have to be taken into our own hands. Institutionalized discrimination is rampant, of course, but the way out is the question. All Aquarian ideals up for consideration in the coming years.

In ways, I think the individual quest for freedom trumps all and at its best can circumvent tradition. On the other hand, law is not always a guarantee.

16/4/08 3:58 PM  

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