You’ve come a long way, baby!
Seventy-eight million of us baby boomers who grew up in United States during the 1970s remember this slogan as an iconographic hallmark from the feminist movement, an unofficial benchmark signifying that women were emancipated and free (if you considered smoking and wearing pants the epitome of freedom). And while it might make us feel good forty years later to think we’ve come a long way, baby, thank you, Rush Limbaugh, I can’t say with any real confidence that we have.
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It’s true; I am a female American and have inherited certain privileges built upon the bloodshed, sweat and toil of my ancestors. I am free to speak my mind, to vote, to marry for love, to use birth control, to own land and, alas, to smoke and wear pants. Few would argue that in the 3.6 million years since we started walking on two legs (according to possibly our first ancestor, an Australopithecus called Lucy) that in some significant ways we have made progress.
For example: men are less likely to club us in the back of the head, drag us back to the cave and mount us without permission; most of us don’t find it necessary to take a bow and arrow to a local city park to hunt and spear the wildlife for lunch; you hardly ever hear about a woman being burned at the stake for having a “gut feeling” or “following her inner voice”; and ritually cutting out women’s clitorises is now illegal in the US, which I suspect is largely thanks to Eleanor Roosevelt’s major contribution in writing our universal declaration of human rights.
Thanks to women like Eleanor I have a choice today. A choice to take a stand and express my disappointment and outrage against this or any other flagrant abuse of power and privilege. And I refuse to take another step unless it is forward. I refuse to stand by and do nothing, including letting my sister carry the burden alone. I will accept no apology other than right action. Now is the time for us to take a stand and remind our brother that the line has already been drawn. It is not acceptable to defile another in the name of freedom of speech. This is not freedom and this is not right use of speech; one of few true freedoms that defines our country.
Let me remind you here and now, sir, on whose back you have stood; the very back that has protected you until now and gives true power to the people. The following are our rights as human beings protected by law and according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
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• All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
• No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honor and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.