Sitting in a cafe drinking a cup of dark roast with, yes…hold your breath, a notebook and a retractable pencil, I delve into the depths of Feminism in today’s culture. Immediately I am distracted by what I thought had gone by the wayside, the spoken of, but rarely seen, phenomena of two young women sitting together at tables peppered throughout the coffee shop. With their double non-fat soy lattes, manicured hands, and boutique couture. Bringing to mind an episode of “Sex in the City”. Yet, quite hopeful for this cynical 40 year old woman. Outwardly, a picture of my youth minus the manicures, $5.00 coffees, and haute couture, when groups of us, the unwashed 3rd Wave. Hyper-involved, hopelessly dressed, and poor. Gathered at grungy smoke filled coffee houses, owned by failed musicians turned baristas, before being devoured by bohemouths like “Starbucks”…much like our movement.
There we sat, laid, splayed, or jumped about discussing politics or arguing over the best way to organize our protest to protest a Pro-Life protest at the local clinics. The men arguing that they should be the perimeter and following behind us when we walk women in, “for our protection”…raising howling laughter, and awareness in the other patrons who would seem to edge closer and closer to our kinetic energy.
However, today we have “them”, the “Millennials”, hopelessly uninformed or hopelessly disinterested. Sanitized, seated quietly across from each other at Starbucks mindlessly clicking, tapping, tweeting, beeping, and giggling. Not a word actually spoken between these young women. As their lattes became cold and curdled, they were enraptured in their phones, tablets, notebooks. Sitting across from one another texting on their iPhones, Galaxys, etc. to anonymous parties, young men undoubtedly from the blushing, giggling, and squealing on the other end of their endlessly clicking, tapping, tweeting, and beeping apparati. Mindless technological automatons. Because that’s how they “talk” now. Forever in cyberspace, with no clue that disgusting, hateful and careless rants are real and really out there forever. Nothing is real anymore, just words on a 3 inch screen of a PDA, tablet, or notebook.
Thus the fundamental “element” of our culture of today, NO ONE TALKS! No one writes, on one reads paper books, that is unless they contain over-sexed vampires, and most importantly no one relates. It appears that women sit across from each other as props, (God forbid you go someplace alone) not as a catalyst for political change with the free and frank exchanges of views spoken with other like minded women, hell, even other unlike minded women. Communication of this age, this culture, has been reduced to “wt r u doing later 🙂 “, @ Stbuks w KT <3, Hook up @ 6 😉 … and on and on.
I have a twenty three year old son who hasn’t spoken to me on the phone since he got one. You can call him thirteen times in a row and no answer, text him and you get an instantaneous reply in some kind of mutant short hand that takes Cherokee code breakers to decipher. This, brought me to my immanent opinion of the reason for the state of being with feminism and the younger generation. These young women, teenagers, and girls all with cell phones and computers have no essential relation to not only the world around them, but to the other women around them. There is nothing essential in this Text Message Culture. The elemental I refer to is, the experience of natural human relation, the free flowing deeply primal, physical, and emotional bonding with other people. Missing this essential and vital piece of emotive social growth is creating a society of young people without the desire to make a change, endeavor to relate, and a obvious detachment to humanity.
That being said, this technological progress has also managed to course into the vein of society as a whole. All age groups are being infected with this “technology torpor”. To my shock and dismay, I have found my mother has been “communicating” with friends via email for at least three years now. She told me that ninety percent of the women she fought side by side with in the early years have succumbed to the apathetic allure of email over emoting. I was flabbergasted, my mother has always been my hero. My mother was, is, and always will be a feminist activist. As a second wave feminist, my mother was involved in the lawsuits that became the “Pregnancy Discrimination Act” of 1978, I happened to be involved(I claim feminism via in utero). A call to arms in forming the Michigan Teachers Union, in which my grandfather, a Chief Union Steward for the UAW, supported and cajoled the UAW to become involved in it’s development. People calling our home with death threats against my mother. I remember being small and walking or should I say riding(stroller) picket lines with signs. My mother fought, and still does, and it all started with groups of women talking and relating to their feelings of being left behind, demoralized by objectification in the workplace, and so much more. So imagine my surprise when my mother compliantly went into the good night without so much as a picket or a poster, but what choice did she have when all of her friends were lost in cyberspace.
If this is happening to our predecessors, imagine how lost the majority of us are. I was raised by politically active, educated, well traveled parents. I was surrounded by their friends growing up, musicians, artists, and free thinking “sisters”. With a regularly full home of these women and their equally liberal husbands, I had the privilege of knowing where we really stand. So, I fought owning a computer and cell phone until 2007, I felt I had enough exposure of both through work. I was happy with a television connected to a VCR and a DVD player and a receiver accessorized with a dual cassette player, and record player. Growing up, it was reading, playing games, playing music, listening, to music, creating, writing, doing, and daydreaming… and daydreaming big!! Most of the people I know think I’m stuck in the land before time, I prefer to think of it as the land of real time. Not fast forward, instant gratification, take life for granted time. Which brings us to the Fundamentals…
Women were once the most revered and powerful entities on the planet. We were worshiped as Venus’, the goddess of fertility. Our ability to create life and our ability to come together as a communal tribal counsel and “run” villages, create marketable goods to be bartered with other tribes, to keep everything stocked and orderly. We were not only goddesses, but counsel and community. We, as women also revered one another as sacred sisters. We raised each others children, taught each other weaving, pottery, and other skills and passed them down to each subsequent generations. The advent of organized religion were threatened by the power women had over “government” and the reverence that was had for our abilities to not just create life, but to see the grey in a world that men saw only as black and white. Hunt, fuck, fight and then off into the good night for months at a time.
Something had to be done to render us powerless and harmless to men in government. They could not wage wars when we didn’t meet the minds of men. Thus organized religion put us in our place. We were to cover our faces, look down when we walked…10 paces behind the men we weren’t allowed to talk to in the first place. The end of our counsels and community. We began the downward spiral into “dirty” and “evil” creatures. Cast off to exile during menstruation because what had been the essence of creation became the “vile sin” we were to suffer for our role as temptress leading man into temptation. When women dared to gather together, fore in our core we were from the beginning meant to commune, and would inevitably succumb to our elemental desire to experience the kindred spirit only another woman can offer, we were covens. Witches, that were unholy and casting spells upon people creating illness and strife. To end with torture and death by hanging or burning or both. Or branded as whores and made to live the life of the scarlet harlot. During those primitive times, the violence was a show for all to see.
Today it’s hidden in the media and legislation, dumbed down by government language, sanitized for mass consumption and fed to us like baby food through our computers, phones, and television sets. The only reason WE as women can even own iPhones of our own, computers, and apartments to live in complacency, is our predecessors. The 1st wave feminists and a big war started the ongoing fight for our true and solid places as heads of government and community leaders and the idea that one day the ignorance and fear that branded us as “less than” will wash away with the free and frank exchange of ideas in government and coffee shops. They identified the basic issues of the day, unified and used action to use the media to open a dialog instead of allowing it to separate them. They were clear on their intent, and didn’t have 100 irons in the fire, and because of that things were accomplished. “Deeds not words”. They wrote, read, met and committed themselves by using their time and there minds. The 1st wave feminists not only called themselves sisters, but they treated each other as sisters. Family, loyalty, love, honor, and respect.
Today, “we”, society have an enormous deficit in respect for our sisters, loyalty, love, and honor… it’s time we reunite. Legislation is not in our favor, it’s time for “Deeds not words”. Men, join the fight for your strong woman, help her reclaim her power.