Women’s History Month: The past is present


Happy (belated) Women’s History
Month or — as I like to call it — Ladies’ Month. I have no good
excuse for being two weeks late to the party other than, well, it’s
2008 and us hard-working career gals are busy. But that doesn’t mean
slowing down for a second and paying our past its due isn’t important.
Sometimes, I think it’s more important than ever.

Of course, at this point someone
will ask, “Why even have a Women’s History Month”? Aren’t we
past the superficial need to celebrate one’s gender as a part of
our cultural identity? In theory, gosh, wouldn’t that be nice. In actuality,
so very much no. Go ahead and Google feminism. Among the top
results, you’ll find “Ladies Against Feminism,” “Feminism is
evil!” and “How feminism destroyed real men.”

Yes, because the plague of
fake men roaming the countryside threatening to paint your toenails
and wash the dishes has truly reached epidemic levels. It’s at moments
like these that I dig down and seek the guidance of my spiritual gurus, the

One need only peruse the current
headlines for a reminder that while we’ve come a long way, baby, we’ve
still got a long way to go. Whole dissertations could be written on
the media’s coverage of Hillary Clinton’s
presidential campaign. She cries too much. She cackles too much. She
dresses too much like a man. And so on, and so on. If the recent campaign
dustups over racism and sexism have told us anything, it’s that both
issues are still very real and very raw.

And we’re not above eating
our own, either. Take the recent opinion piece by Charlotte Allen
for the Washington Post. It’s endearingly titled, “We Scream, We Swoon.
How Dumb Can We Get?

This baby is a humdinger and, like the ingredients on a jar of Cheez
Whiz, needs to be read in full if you are to truly comprehend the toxicity contained
within. Here’s a sampling for those who enjoy their cheese food products in
small doses:

    “(I) wonder whether
    women — I should say, ‘we women,’ of course — aren’t the
    weaker sex after all. Or even the stupid sex, our brains permanently
    occluded by random emotions, psychosomatic flailings and distraction
    by the superficial. Women ‘are only children of a larger growth,’
    wrote the 18th-century Earl of Chesterfield. Could he have been right?”

And if you’re more the Velveeta

    “So I don’t understand
    why more women don’t relax, enjoy the innate abilities most of us possess
    (as well as the ones fewer of us possess) and revel in the things most
    important to life at which nearly all of us excel: tenderness toward
    children and men and the weak and the ability to make a house a home.
    (Even I, who inherited my interior-decorating skills from my Bronx Irish paternal grandmother, whose
    idea of upgrading the living-room sofa was to throw a blanket over it,
    can make a house a home.) Then we could shriek and swoon and gossip
    and read chick lit to our hearts’ content and not mind the fact that
    way down deep, we are … kind of dim.”

Adding insult to injury was
the Washington Post’s
online headline and illustration

for the piece. So outraged were us not-very-bright women that they actually
changed the headline the next day — not that it was much better.

If that didn’t get your blood
pressure pumping, then how about this slice of misogynistic cheese from
Dr. Laura Schlessinger on the Today show last week. In response
to the Eliot Spitzer scandal, she pulled out this
about who is
to blame when men cheat:

    "I hold women accountable
    for tossing out perfectly good men by not treating them with the love
    and kindness and respect and attention they need."

Antacid? Who has antacid?

So, this Women’s History
Month, the important thing to remember is to keep up the good fight and
keep moving forward. And who knows: With any luck, it won’t take until
2300 for us to see the first female President of the United States of

Enjoy Ladies’ Month, ladies.
Shots of female empowerment are buy one, get one free until the 31st, so, really, what are you waiting for?

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