Women get a lot of lip service about being equal and fully valued members of society, although sometimes we have to wonder.
As we have advanced in the workplace, so have the fortunes of the men in our lives. "Mad Men" may be a popular TV drama, with its alluring evocation of the days when men were men and women were sexually available office underlings (or were at home wearing an apron). However, I doubt many married men would trade their wife's income for a chance to relive that era. They couldn't afford it.
Romney's comments followed the ugly debate about a federal policy requiring employer health insurance plans to cover contraception without copays from employees. The proceedings in
In this climate, even the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act is stirring
Heaven forbid that the law protect too many victims of domestic violence!
All of this is quite a shock for women of my generation, who were playing hopscotch during the struggles of the 1960s and '70s.
The feminists of those heady years didn't quite succeed in quashing male chauvinism. (I have had the pleasure of hearing an aging male editor say, "I'm not going to hire a woman.") But they fought the epic battles. They paved my way -- and I'm deeply grateful. Now it's up to new generations of women to defend our ground.
The rebuke of
What truly enraged women about the episode were the craven excuses for Limbaugh's comments offered by leading Republicans, including three of the four remaining presidential candidates. They couldn't muster the moral courage to stand up to Limbaugh -- because they desperately need his approval.
It would be convenient to write off these affronts to women as the last gasps of male privilege. The forces of patriarchy have lost, and all they have left is their resentment.
But we should remember that resentment is powerful fuel for political movements, and the fires of backlash are still burning on the American right. The challenge for women (and their male allies) is to hold up a mirror to the real America -- where the vast majority of women want and, at key points in their lives, use birth control -- and to expose the phoney arguments and bogus values of the party that would deny them that right.
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