The times they are a not-changin’

16 Jun

These two photographs were included in a recent Huffington Post op-ed piece written by blogger Marlo Thomas–“That Girl”!!!

Marlo begins her piece by saying that Wienergate, this month’s John Edwards’ trial, Schwarzeneggar’s love-child, and DSK’s IMF scandal are good things for women everywhere.

This declaration is made despite the facts that sexting, being a dirty twitterer, having an affair with your videographer and allocating funds for it via your presidential campaign, having a decade-long affair with your housekeeper while your wife does whatever it is a supportive Kennedy wife does, and raping your chambermaid do not appear to signal that women have made great strides in terms of human rights. (Do not forget the love children in the second and third examples).

For “That Girl” it is these very facts, and the outrageous, loud and vociferous responses they have evoked that signal that the times are a changing. Obviously, these types of things have been happening as long as men have been pontificating, measuring, speechifying, and flexing; it is now that some women are shouting back. These shouts are becoming more and more noticeable: sometimes availing themselves in the forms of the beautiful thumbs-downs being gesticulated in the above photographs.

So, let’s look on the bright side! Women are organizing, drawing attention to themselves (and sometimes their anger), and–shockingly enough!–not showing up at the podium alongside their man.

But is simple whistle-blowing enough? Arguably, on an evolutionary, relativist, progressive, or historical scale, mere vocalization of the dismal facts on the ground is not that large of a shift. Indeed, speaking truth to power is the perhaps only the beginning in any attempt to overturn it.

Further, how are we not there yet?!?!? As a society, it seems that Americans often like to look back at the recent past and its errors and horrors and exclaim–my! how much things have changed! But in considering these recent ridiculous examples of men in power behaving absolutely egregiously (and as if there is no oversight whatsoever), it becomes a little difficult-strained if you will- to believe that the roles of women in society (and women themselves individually) have experienced great strides in terms of egalitarianism.

The more I write about it, the angrier I become. When I first read That Girl’s piece about an hour ago, I felt optimistic; the time to be silent is finished, women are now speaking up!

As I have written down these feelings of support and optimism, said feelings have begun to sour. The time to be silent was finished decades ago! and we’re still having to resort to being happy at not being silent in 2011? It would appear that our expectations have not really changed since the second wave of feminism….


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