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Words So Scary

Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.
Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification

Does anybody recognize the above language?  It’s very inflammatory, you know.  It’s the complete text of the proposed Equal Rights Amendment that was initially introduced in Congress by Alice Paul back in 1923 and has subsequently been reintroduced in every Congressional session for half a century.  (http://www.equalrightsamendment.org/)

A couple of things have made me think about this little piece of legislation today.

It’s Women’s History Month which in itself is a national embarrassment since women are half the population and make history all the time.  Since when is making history a sexist occupation, and women only need/get a month’s acknowledgement?  I used to have this argument about the (thankfully) now defunct  “women’s news” section of the newspaper.

Cover of today’s NY Times “above the fold” features a photo of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and IMF Managing director Christine Legarde.  In case you have been without the Internets these two leaders are dealing with a big mess over in Europe right now.  You might recall that Ms. Legarde took over the IMF after Dominique Strauss-Khan ran into a little trouble last year.

Although seeing world leaders on the cover of the Times should not strike anybody as odd but, I was also half-watching Up W/ Chris Hayes on MSNBC where the panel cited the statistic that the United States ranks right up there with Turkmenistan (at # 78) with the number of women in national parliaments.   (http://www.ipu.org/wmn-e/classif.htm) Hmmmmmmm….

……..Does that make you wonder why Elizabeth Warren is getting a groundswell of support in her run against Senator Scott Brown in Massachusetts?  Who wouldn’t want a smart representative who got the boot out of the Washington for taking on the bank lobby with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau?    Take it to the streets, girl!

Bruce Springsteen releases new album this week.  Wrecking Ball has some mad good songs on it that are scratching the surface of what’s really going on in our country right now.   I also find Bruce to be one of our country’s foremost feminists, giving voice to folks who go unnoticed by the world at large.. like poor working women.

Back in 1972 I was too young to really understand what all the fuss over the Equal rights Amendment was about.  In 1978 I had a college roommate whose father went on an absolute diatribe how women would be sorry if it passed.  How much it would hurt them, make them go into combat, create unisex bathrooms.  (yes, Trish the Dish, you were right about your Dad.  He was a jerk. ) But now I realize that people (especially people with their own ingrained notion of their own status) are deeply afraid of anything that would change the current balance of power, alter the status quo – even if the ultimate result is something so much better for everybody.  BTW, Dad Dish:  Although I’ve worked my whole life as a woman (I have no real choice in the matter), women are still making only 70 cents to a man’s $1, I’ve known quite a few women who have proudly served their country in the armed forces, and I’ve used a unisex bathroom with no ill effects.  It actually was a “family bathroom,” so presumably even a gay family could have used it.

So what is occupying the national debate right now?  Gay marriage and the requirement that healthcare should include coverage for contraception.  Really?  These are just distractions as far as I’m concerned – just like the arguments over those 3 sentences at the top of this post.

It proves that words alone are enough to rock someone’s world and it takes a consistent type bravery just to keep using them.  Word Up, All!

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5 thoughts on “Words So Scary

  1. It’s astounding how frightened people are of change, even if they know the current system isn’t working. I had to use a men’s room once, when I was signing up for boot camp. It may have been to humiliate me but when I asked where the bathroom was, I was directed to the only apparent bathroom. Well, that was interesting. I took care of business and went back to what I had to do. Hmpf. Showed them. Well, I didn’t SHOW them anything… you know what I mean.

    1. I understand exactly and agree. Why should a small thing like using the bathroom or where you sit on the bus or at the lunch counter be part of your place in society?

      1. If they are one-seaters, I think nothing of using the men’s room if the woman’s room is occupied. It takes us longer to pee; we are entitled to a few more potty-hours per capita (or per keister) than the guys. I also make it a policy to always let pregnant women cut in front of me if there’s a line. I’ve drifted a bit from Rosie’s astute politics, but etiquette’s important, too.

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