Yesterday’s post generated such rich and thoughtful conversation, I'm reluctant to let it go too soon. Herewith some short takes on some of the comments you left:
The first is in the order of housekeeping: Alexandra Grabbe “has decided” I should use the word “senior” and not “elder” because I’m 65, not 92. As I have explained in the past, senior and senior citizen have become pejorative phrases dismissive of old people.
We use “elder” on Time Goes By in an attempt to resurrect a fine, old world that has fallen into disuse except to identify tribal leaders of native cultures, although it is also commonly used in discussion of violence against old people – “elder abuse.”
“Elderly,” by anyone’s definition, refers to frail which elders may or may not be.
And so, Time Goes By will continue to use and promote the word elder to describe people older than mid-years. As joared pointed out in her comment, language is important. Those who read the repeated use of respectful, accurate language will follow suit and in time, attitude and action will begin to match the language.
Women Supporting Women
I must disagree with Rain who says, “If a woman isn't elected president, it's because women aren't voting for her as women are in the majority.”
Eventually, a woman will be elected president, but I hope with all my heart that it will not be only because she is a woman. I suspect Hillary Clinton will be re-elected to the Senate this year on that theory. But if I were still a New York resident, she wouldn’t get my vote based on her craven political record – which is all that counts in voting, not gender.
To Rain’s broader point however, sometimes women don’t support one another when they could and should. Or, sometimes, they actively oppose women. I once worked for a woman who promoted only attractive, young men (and not women of any age) whether they were capable and prepared or not with, occasionally, disastrous results. It was so obvious over several years that we laughed about it – between our rage and tears.
Chancy left a note to be sure I wasn’t disrespecting women who choose to be full-time mothers. Of course not. The whole point is the choice. But it’s clear that some young women still don’t respect others who aren’t aiming to be masters of the universe.
Last week, in a “My Turn” column in Newsweek, a woman named Linda Hirshman contended that without paying jobs, women cannot "…influence, honor, compensation, a way of being political and a hand in shaping the world." It’s obvious Ms. Hirschman needs an attitude adjustment and Newsweek readers made that abundantly clear in their responses this week. [Scroll down to the header, “The Mommy Wars Rage On.” May require a Newsweek subscription; I’m not sure.]
The Difficulty of Change
Regarding Alan G’s point about women who rejected feminism in its early stages 40-odd years ago, we humans are stubborn in our beliefs and opinions. It takes a long time to let go of the ones that no longer serve us, even when it’s obviously time to do so. That’s why, as noted yesterday, social movements take so long to catch hold.
But I don't want us to criticize the women of the 1960s who clung to the long-prevailing zeitgeist that “a woman’s place is in the home.” Most obviously, many had already raised their children, had no career skills or any role models for working outside the home. It just wasn’t done by their generation of women.
Others, who were younger, also didn’t have the skills for even simple clerical jobs. Before the women’s movement changed the economics of family so that today it takes two incomes to raise children and put them through college, women rarely attended college. The attitude toward the few who did was that they were taking a place at school that a man more rightly deserved.
My point is that if you weren’t there, or if you memory has slipped a bit, it wasn’t easy for women then to just go to work if they wanted or even to get an education to prepare them for it. So let’s go easy on those women many of whom quietly, even silently, supported the movement but had no means to become an active part of it.
Finally, to duz7’s point, ongoing vigilance is necessary. Forty years does not social acceptance make and it is continuous conversations such as the excellent one yesterday that keeps an issue active and growing.
But, dus7 – we part company on shoes. Those strappy, three-inch, spike-heeled shoes thrill me. They’re gorgeous and I’m only sorry that at my age, I’m no longer willing to suffer the pain of wearing them that I did until ten years ago. I don’t just like those sexy, impractical shoes, I love, as you can read in this post from 18 months ago.