Category Archives: #EachEveryWoman

From ‘That Girl’ to ‘That Woman in the Arena’

I used to know three things beyond a doubt: the Berlin Wall would never fall; Nelson Mandela would never be released from his South African prison; and the USSR would never give up communism or any of their states. Yeah well, in three short years from 1989-1991 all three happened one right after another.

Glibly, I also used to say, “Oh, sure, not in my lifetime but one day a woman will be president of the United States.”

Uh huh, I was THAT naive. Or, that conditioned. But when I look back over the years, I can see the portrayal of women changing across the TV screen, helping to pave the way for the idea that a woman can be a world leader. Now, these are just the shows I watched growing up. (Yes, I know there are many other wonderful female characters that deserve recognition, too.)

1ThatGirlThe first time I remember watching an actress portraying her own woman, albeit still worried about daddy and boyfriend opinions, was Marlo Thomas as That Girl. (1966-1971)

 

HOWEVER, she was outclassed, in my humble 1.5NichelleNicholsasUhuruopinion, by the powerful Lt. Uhuru on Star Trek, Nichelle Nichols. A lady and an officer. (1966-1969)

 

2Mary Richards Desk

Soon we had the Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970 – 1977). Now, THAT was independence. “Oh, Mr. Grant!” She often held the moral highground.

 

3maude

Then came Maude, portrayed brilliantly by Bea Arthur. She had the audacity to not take crap from any man! (1972-1978)

 

4WonderWoman

Lynda Carter WAS Wonder Woman (1975 – 1979). Wait! What? A woman superhero? *boom – head exploding*

 

5cagney and lacey

But, no woman should ever forget the legacy of Cagney and Lacey. (1981 – 1988) Sharon Gless and Tyne Daly were tough cops doing a man’s job in a man’s world with the sense and sensibilities of women. Yes, we can!

 

G6The Golden GirlssBea Arthur, Rue McClanahan, Betty White, and Estelle Getty were The Golden Girls, showing that female sexuality, dreams of success, and the ability to be funny doesn’t fade with age. It also reinforced the idea that friendships between women are strong, enduring long after divorces and widowhood. (1985 – 1992)

7Dana Scully The X Files

 

A skeptical, no-nonsense, fact chasing woman! The voice of reason, yet willing to suspend disbelief in search of the truth. She even reined in her loose cannon partner. Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully on The X Files (1993 – 2002)

 

8Xena and Gabrielle

 

Be still , my beating heart. Lucy Lawless as Xena: Warrior Princess and Renee O’Connor as Gabrielle. Their sexuality burned up the screen, as did the idea that women could be very effective warriors. (1995 – 2001)

9Captain Janeway

And finally, Kate Mulgrew as Capt. Kathryn Janeway on Star Trek: Voyager set the new bar. Women could captain spaceships! And only twenty-nine years after Uhuru took her place on the bridge. Now, that’s progress. (1995 – 2001)

 

After 2001 I pretty much quit watching TV in order to write, so forgive me for not going forward. Buffy, Ally, The Gilmore Girls, and all the other powerful women all the way up to Agent Carter, have led up to this decisive moment. And now we are:

hillary-clinton-2016-president-election-770x470

Yes, All Women

As I’ve shared with you, I spent the long Memorial Day weekend at WisCon, a convention of feminist science fiction/fantasy enthusiasts. It was a growth experience that caused a steep rise in my personal learning curve.

While I was hip deep in discussions about diversity and privilege, how to reach readers and sell myself, queer radical theory and medieval POC, a shocking act of misogyny was unfolding in Isla Vista, California. The #YesAllWomen phenomenon began to grow, forcing a public discussion that was far more divisive and dismissive than the ones going on all around me.

Many people have addressed the messages posted on #YesAllWomen (if you visit this page, please do not post for reasons you will see below) as well as the truly ugly misogyny displayed in the first days at #NotAllMen. There have been some excellent blog posts and ezine articles discussing both sides of the issue of whether or not women have the right to complain about being treated badly by men.

Yes. You read that right. The discussion is not about how women are hurt by our rape culture and male privilege, it’s about women even bringing the subjects up at all. Some outrageous statements were made that basically shook down to ‘if women would sleep with any man who wants them, men wouldn’t join anti-women websites, write manifestos about how evil they are, or even take a bunch of loaded guns to hunt down any woman on the assumption she won’t go to bed with him’. Excuse me while I, and the entire rest of the female populace of the world, cry BULLSHIT.

Okay, and then there are the feminist allies who also derailed the conversation by insisting they be recognized as ‘not like that’. Women who posted their real life experiences were hunted down and hounded by men who demanded they stop being so angry at men. ‘Only some guys do that, so you should only be angry at THOSE GUYS.’

Um yeah, maybe, but even feminist men are not innocent of this aura of privilege all men across the face of our planet have, that women are denied from birth. You all, every single one of you, benefit from this system in ways so subtle you don’t even see it. By laughing at certain jokes, attending mainstream movies, participating in, or standing by in complicit silence while other men, and even unaware women, hold conversations where people are seen as ‘other than’ or ‘less than’ any man, you become part of the problem.

So, good men are upset. They want to be told how to fix the problem, how to stop the pain that the women they love suffer on and off throughout the entirety of their lives. They want to help. The only problem is, that’s not the discussion at hand right now.

Women want to be heard, in our entirety and with every voice we have. We need to tell our stories, so that in the sheer strength of our numbers we find solace in not being isolated, set apart from or worse, against each other. This is our opportunity, a time to talk as women, to women, about being women. I want to hear from others like me in gender, and unlike me in so many other ways. I want to have my eyes opened to my own privileges, to see them for what they are and to work so all women enjoy the same privileges an accident of birth granted me. I need to rant about wrongs done to me, and empathize with the outrageous experiences of others. I want to weep on womanly shoulders and offer comfort with my feminine arms.

I have needed to have this conversation for fifty-seven long years, and I just don’t have the time to be pulled aside and distracted by the needs of my male friends, no matter how loving and supportive they are. Guys, you’re on your own for a while. I am not available to tend to your wishes (talking to you right now), wants (worrying over your feelings), and desires (to see you as heroes). I’m busy with more important stuff. Talk amongst yourselves and look within for answers. I see and recognize your statements of support, and somewhere deep inside me I thank you for them. But I don’t want to talk to you, not at the moment.

I, and all women, must have this time to ourselves to mourn our dead and missing, to identify and localize horrific current events, to finally come to terms with the unfathomable depth of misogyny running through the cultures of the world. We need to self-identify and help our resistant sisters to lift the veil of our male centered societies from their eyes. We will heal from this and rise stronger, ready to reach out to allies and take up the intense struggle necessary to secure the safety of every, yes, all women.

And in an ironically infuriating addendum, I must report that the #YesAllWomen HT is being abandoned because its creator has been frightened sufficiently to request no one post to it any longer. Crazy people are making insane threats to her, and her family’s, safety. Her situation has become a stark example of why we need to tell our stories and reclaim our strength, synergizing courage in numbers.

#EachEveryWoman is an excellent place to be right now.