Are you with Hillary, or against her?
As baby boomers (born post-WWII, from 1946 to 1964), Hillary Clinton and I witnessed the Women’s Liberation Movement. Not only from the high-gloss full-page color photography of Life magazine and a television, but also from our college days. We may have even participated a bit.
In those days, the outrageously far-out late ’60s and ’70s, sexist blowhards were called “male chauvinist pigs.” It had a nice ring to it back then.
Women were actually granted the right to vote with the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920. Yes, those ladies, able to finally wear shorter skirts, and those flappers with bobbed hair and cigarette holders, were allowed to vote right along with their debonair menfolk.
Unfortunately, women continue losing a somewhat bigger battle. The Equal Rights Amendment is a “proposed” amendment to ban discrimination based on gender. The first attempt was 1923, but it wasn’t ratified. Amendment modifications were reintroduced in every congressional session for the next half a century.
In 1972, the proposed ERA had widespread support and even an endorsement from President Nixon. It was passed by both the Senate and the House, but shy three states out of 38 needed for ratification.
Remarkable how most everyone thinks the Equal Rights Amendment had been ratified years ago. But the ERA Task Force of the National Council of Women’s Organizations keep trying. (More on that at a later date.)
Though the federal ERA still has yet to be ratified, 21 states have added their own ERA amendments. Since 1973, Washington has been one of those states.
It’s 2016 and we’ve got ourselves an intelligent, experienced and courageous woman running for President. And it turns out to be the craziest election anyone has ever seen.
Why so crazy? Is it because Donald Trump is so … irregular? Or is it because Hillary’s a woman wanting to be the leader of the free world? Peter Beinhart has written a noteworthy article, “Fear of a Female President,” for the October issue of The Atlantic. (This is where you need your seatbelt.)
“Hillary Clinton’s candidacy has provoked a wave of misogyny — one that may roil American life for years to come. Except for her gender, Hillary Clinton is a highly conventional presidential candidate,” he begins.
“The reaction to her candidacy, however, has been unconventional.”
Nothing else can “explain the intensity of this opposition. But the academic literature about how men respond to women who assume traditionally male roles does. And it is highly disturbing.”
Beinhart writes, “Over the past few years, political scientists have suggested that, counterintuitively, Barack Obama’s election may have led to greater acceptance by whites of racist rhetoric. Something similar is now happening with gender. Hillary Clinton’s candidacy is sparking the kind of sexist backlash that decades of research would predict. If she becomes president, that backlash could convulse American politics for years to come.”
Beinhart calls this a “gender backlash” that may not stop when she becomes president. “Being the first female president, needless to say, violates traditional gender roles.”
Donald has had a hard time with his female voters lately, keeping mostly his male supporters. The top trending topic on Twitter in response to the lack of women voting for Donald was #repealthe19th hashtag. In other words, repeal women’s right to vote. A bit more respect, guys?
Michael Moore wrote a recent op-ed for AlterNet that was very rousing. In taking on Republican leaders backing their Republican candidate, he says that while Donald was practicing his misogyny, sexism and alleged sexual assaults on women, these leaders actually “legalized” their power over women.
“You, the Republican legislators and your backers … have made sure women aren’t paid the same as men, don’t have paid maternity leave, or can’t get easy access to birth control,” Moore writes.
“You’re either with women, or you’re against them,” Moore declares.
If you have a good reason why anyone should be against women, please share with us.
If you haven’t voted, get your ballot in by Nov. 8. Your vote matters.
— Marylin Olds is an opinion columnist. Comments are welcome at email@example.com.