Raised by Republicans, I was no Red Diaper Baby Feminist nor, having grown up in the complacent suburbs of the 50s, can claim an early awareness of social injustice. And yet from an early age—at least this is how I remember it—I knew that being a woman mattered. I can remember in junior high, maybe at UU Sunday school, discussing a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt or Eisenhower or . . . to the effect that American women were this country’s greatest untapped resource and, being eleven or twelve, thinking, “Yup! True. And when I get old enough, I’ll be a part of the tapping. I’ll be a part of Something Amazing!”
And I am. Although It’s taken way, way longer than I’d imagined when in junior high. And at that age and easeful time of my life, how could I have possibly imagined the power, the rage, the unspeakable cruelty of sexism? (Writing this, I realize that that the young, cosseted, idealistic eleven-year-old me still lives and breathes, sometimes. She’s the me so bewildered by horrific headlines: “How can this* be?”)
I see this Something Amazing every day: in the paradigm-shifting work of Michelle Alexander and Mothers Out Front, in the voices of Elizabeth Warren**, Rachel Maddow, Annie Hoffman, my yoga teacher, my strong, realized granddaughters.
And I see it in the faces, the smiles and nods of the women I pass by everyday, women from all over the world, women of all ages and ethnicities and classes and sexual persuasions, women in flowing robes and tight jeans and Birkenstocks. Not everyone, of course. But—and this may be Just Me—I see Sisterhood. I see silent acknowledgement of “Yup.”, a female version of a secret handshake.
* For example
** This link’s worth watching on SO many levels, particularly the “Looking great!” comment. Really? You went there? “How can this be?”