Excuse Me… You So Did Not Say Feminazi!

I’ve been asked about the purpose of those odd title lines buried in my last post.  You know the ones I mean – those little reminders of how bad TV commercials can be in terms of stereotyping and their annoyance factor.

The titles started wanting to pop in about the time I finished typing the second paragraph:

For a woman of today, the opportunity to voice an opinion with a vote is something that is very often taken for granted, but enfranchisement just wasn’t always so.  It was such a short time ago that we American women gained that right.

Gonna Have To Get Militant On You

I badly wanted to add more to that paragraph.  I badly wanted to say that without the first baby step of the 19th Amendment, women today wouldn’t have many of the things we take for granted.  I easily could have gone into a really preachy sermon on birth control and managing our own reproductive rights, laws enacted regarding rape and violence against women, about women’s shelters, and about equal opportunity, to name more than a few.

And that last subject is a biggie as well, don’t ever think otherwise.  Just within my lifetime we’ve seen some changes.  I could’ve gone on at length on the subject of women in the workforce.

Here’s a scenario – all of a sudden you find that you’re a single parent.  What are you going to do?  Sit around and hope the child support gets paid while trying to survive on welfare payments and food stamps?  No, you’re going to have to get a job, and not just a low-wage, low-self esteem job – a real job.  You’re going to need the knowledge and possess the ability to compete for that job, and you’re going to have to carry on the fight for the women that come after you.

Let’s go back a few years and take a look at the way American women stepped out of the home and into the factories during WWII.  They weren’t keeping the home fires burning, they were keeping ‘the boys’ supplied with guns and ammunition, planes and jeeps,  tanks, ships and uniforms, and they managed to do it all while living on ration stamps.   When the war was over and the men came home, they took those jobs back from their wives and sweethearts – and with a pat on the head and a not-so-gentle shove, women found themselves right back where they started, grateful that their menfolk had returned, but back in the kitchen nonetheless.

File:We Can Do It!.jpg

1942 Poster for Westinghouse
By J. Howard Miller

Rosie the Riveter was created during that war, but she wasn’t just another poster gal, she later became the embodiment of a movement – “We can do it!” – became a collective shout aimed at women everywhere.

May 1943 Saturday Evening Post
Cover by Norman Rockwell

Rosie as portrayed by Norman Rockwell: he posed Rosie in a position similar to the prophet Isaiah as painted by Michelangelo on the ceiling of the Cistine Chapel.  Rockwell continued to play with symbolism and put a copy of Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler underneath Rosie’s foot, clad in red sock à la Van Johnson, (a popular film actor of the era) and penny loafer.

Stepping Down From The Soapbox

I enjoy keeping house (okay, that’s a lie), and I enjoy planning and cooking meals (now that’s a really big lie), and I take a lot of pride in my job and the knowledge that I’ve gained over the course of my working years (ah – here’s a nugget of truth).   But all the while I remind myself that to the women of my mother’s generation, most of the opportunities that I enjoy were not available.

Let’s wrap this thing up: those tag lines from commercials were simply indicators that a more cynical side of me was trying very hard to be heard, and that I was having a bit of a struggle suppressing it.  Now the cat’s out of the bag and if you stayed with me through this post, you have the answer to that mystery (and you got at least part of the sermon after all).

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2 thoughts on “Excuse Me… You So Did Not Say Feminazi!

  1. akagracie

    I’ve been wanting to comment on this and the previous blog post for a while now, but had to wait until I was calmer. Love what you had to say, Jo, and thought the section headings were great. Feminazi? What Dittohead used that phrase? Yes, we’ve come a long way (and don’t call me Baby), but the fight for equal rights for all persons is still in the early stages.
    Oh no – will stop now before I start quoting statistics and talking about my experiences in the trenches of the ERA battle.

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  2. jotokla Post author

    It is a sensitive topic for all of us, and until we achieve true parity, I think it should be. But sometimes, I must admit, I’m more twitchy than touchy on the subject.

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