Archive for » August, 2011 «

National Organization of Women surprised me today

It looks like feminist-claimants like Sarah Palin have stirred National Organization of Women to speak intersectionally. I may be particularly surprised after reading these notes from the trenches of trying on trying to deal with white feminist privilege in non-profit organizations from DailyKOS. I wonder if NOW is doing anything more than sending out surprisingly with-the-decade emails.

I wonder if their attention to poverty is at all connected to Smiley and West’s Poverty Tour bringing class back into the public American conversation after decades of McCarthyite chilling.

Today you are going to receive tons of requests for donations from women’s organizations because today is Women’s Equality Day. We aren’t asking you for any money. Not because we don’t need it; we do. But we aren’t asking because the equality path we have been on must end!

We are a long way from women being fully recognized as fully human in this country. There are many reasons for this, but one is especially highlighted today – the definition of equality. I know what our definition of equality is – that all human beings are born free, equal in dignity and rights, and must enjoy the equal protection of the law against discrimination based on sex, sexuality, gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, age or other actual or perceive classification.

Sadly, this year actually shows huge gains for the kind of equality too many of our mothers and grandmothers worked for (equality only if you can prove you’re like a man)…more women have reached the ranks of millionaires and billionaires and more women are running for higher office. But is that what our mothers and grandmothers really wanted for women? Is that what we’re fighting for – a world where women occupy half of the 1% of 1% who own more than 99.9%? Is our job done when women participate “equally” in an economy that requires women’s free labor and forces 90% of women children and elderly to live in poverty ? No!

Is it equality when women running for the highest political offices believe that other women’s bodies should be controlled by an ever more intrusive big government? Is it equality when women claw their way to the top of predatory corporations exploiting other women, children, the disabled, the infirm and the elderly? No!

We have to stop celebrating kyriarchal* equality because the forward momentum we have achieved is driving us down a hole with no ladder out! The way forward is not to leave behind the 99.9% of women and their families. We must stop rewarding the women who continue to promote the kind of feminism that excludes women of color, young women, poor women, sick women, uneducated women and any woman who doesn’t have the right pedigree.

We must work to become intersectional feminists; understanding that our liberation is bound to each other’s liberation and knowing that the time to achieve success wasn’t yesterday and isn’t tomorrow. The time is today.

Register to vote, work, act to insure that everyone you know registers to vote, then work, act to educate everyone you know and encourage, facilitate others to do the same because when people lead, leaders follow. Women must lead moving all us toward the path of real freedom and equality – a path free from dominance.

Wow – Oprah’s a billionaire! How’s that working for YOU?

Linda Long
Action VP, California NOW

Think. Talk. ACT!

* kyriarchal: the structures of domination working together as a network – not just one group dominating another.