Past isn’t past – what women couldn’t do less than 50 years ago

I came across this list recently that notes 6 things women could not do fifty years ago. The one that irked me the most was the fact that it wasn’t illegal to deny women credit cards until 1974. This is among many other things women couldn’t do fifty years ago – things that limited our independence and our ability to have a life without a man – and let’s face it, if you need to have another person just to have equal access afforded to you, you really don’t have access to equality or a full life no matter what.

There are other lists like this that venture further back into time (though still, not that long ago). And to be real, there are still many things American women can’t do (some because of actual rules and some because of social norms).

And this is why I’m puzzled by #WomenAgainstFeminism. I am not saying I don’t believe in their rights to their own opinions, I’m just saying I don’t get it. I don’t understand the logic behind it. Do they think that those lovely misogynistic attitudes that prevented women from voting 100 years ago and prevented women from having a credit card 41 years ago have just gone *poof* and magically disappeared? If only it were that easy. But it’s not. Those attitudes persist. And that’s why those lists of things women still can’t do continue to persist with no foreseeable end (like report a rape without being blamed – never mind the rape-culture induced fact that implicit in this fact is the fact that women are still being raped and/or worrying about being raped).

Things can change. Just because there’s no foreseeable end to misogyny and institutional oppression of women doesn’t mean the end isn’t out there. And we don’t need everyone on board to end the oppression of women. Women and male/other gender allies have succeeded in making enormous gains in the face of tremendous opposition. But more support also doesn’t hurt. And so I ask women who are “against feminism” to really consider their stance. Why do they not support feminism? Is it because of lies misogynists have spread that feminism is just a bunch of whiny, men-hating women? If that’s the case, learn more about what feminism really is. Or is it because it’s so painful to acknowledge the societal disenfranchisement and violence we, as women, experience? Admittedly, it’s no easy pill to swallow but facing misogyny directly is the best chance we have of ending it and making it so that some of us don’t feel forced into denial to begin with. If in the end, you still disagree, what can I do? Like I said, feminism has made strides regardless of how much support (or not) their causes get from society. We can do it without you, but we’d welcome you to join us too.

My Grandma, a woman who was born shortly after American women earned the right to vote.

My Grandma, a woman who was born shortly after American women earned the right to vote. She was considered a “tom boy” in her day – and she rocked!

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