Copyright © 1998 Henrietta W. Hay
The Battle Goes On . . .
June 26, 1998
Being in the minority which really is the majority does get complicated
sometimes. After millions of years of development of the human race it
is still a novel idea to think that men and women, different though they
are in many ways, might have certain rights in common, such as earning
a living in whatever field their talents and ambition lie, running for
public office, and playing basketball for money.
Every time I think the battle has become rational, somebody kicks it
off again. Moses did it this time. Actually his name is Charlton
Heston, but he thinks he is Moses, or maybe God. I recently heard him
ranting on TV. He was deploring all the sinful activities of our modern
culture, chiefly "those" women whose only object in life is to hate men.
I suppose there are women who hate men, and men who hate women.
Fortunately, I don't know any of them. But sexual prejudice does still
exist. It has been hard for both women and men to work this out, and
there have been a lot of ups and downs.
This week Kathleen Parker, who is usually fairly restrained, weighed in
with a new word to go with the "f" word (feminist). This one is "u"
word. She seems to blame the "Feminist Uterati" for all the children
without fathers. I have no idea what the word means, but since
literati means scholarly or learned people, I suppose uterati means
people with active uteri. That's even more offensive than Rush's
"feminazis" because it comes from a woman. Get a life, Kathleen.
In 1972, Pat Schroeder went to Washington as a Congresswoman from
Colorado. In her new book, "24 Years of Housework and the Place Is
Still a Mess," she tells of some of her adventures. Just 26 years ago
"the ladies' room was at the other end of the earth , constructed out of the original Speaker's lobby in the old
Capitol, and it looked as if it hadn't been updated since the inception
of indoor plumbing." The women had a lucky break, however, when Queen
Elizabeth II came to visit. The good ol' boys allowed some new curtains
and paint in the ladies' room. Possibly the Queen did not notice the
quality of the plumbing. Now that we have 60 women in Congress, I
assume the ladies room is more modern. There may even be two of them.
On the up side, a piece of good news was released this week. Well, good
means a little better than really bad. The wage gap between men and
women shrank by 3 cents. In the first quarter of 1998, women earned 76
cents for every dollar earned by men, 3 cents more than in the same
period last year. In 1969 women made just 63 cents for every dollar
earned by men. In 30 years we gained 13 cents. And this is America,
the land of the free.
On the down side, the Southern Baptists amended their statement of
beliefs to declare that, "a woman should submit herself graciously to
her husband's leadership." I find myself wondering how many Baptist
wives had their fingers crossed when they cast their voice votes on this
one. They say that this is literal interpretation of scripture, but
somehow I think we're looking at different books. For an example of a
marriage that is solid, loving, human and funny, I prefer the comic
strip Sally Forth.
A recent news story says that discrimination in dummies is going to
Presently only male dummies are used in testing air bags, but now they
have added female and child dummies. Maybe it took a dummie to realize
that of the 105 people who have been killed by inflating bags, most are
women and children.
Not long ago my soccer playing teenage consultant (female) said that she
was going to learn to sew this summer. She asked me whether sewing
would take her back
to the traditional role of women. I assured her
that opening new doors for women does not mean closing the old ones. I
just hope she can learn to sew as well as Calvin Kline.
I hope that by the time my granddaughter is my age we will have
entered into a cease-fire era and men and women can exist as individuals
and not stereotypes. I'm getting tired of the "f" word.