Skip to main content

Search the Special Collections and Archives Portal

Speech transcript about women's rights, 1975



Digital ID


betfinnlrwr of our bl-centenlal year, a tine like moat celebrations to reflect upon our past and Its promises for our future, to reflect upon the lon/a:-espoused principles of Independence and government by the people,, upon rt an often declared commitment to Justloe, fair play and freedom, ?p?r upon a national pride In our unique national morality, wlch we have / broadcast to the world community. As an Amerloan woman In this 20th deoade of American history, I can wily say.bullshit,...polltey referred to henceforth as The struggle for women to be Included as equals In tfcmxftasTtmn America has been heard since the beginnings of our oountry. Abigail Adams made the point In 1776 when she wrote to her husband John: I oan not / ? *??? say that I think you very generous to the Ladles, for whilst you are proclaiming peaoe and *oo<i will * - m>n. Smanclpatln* all Nations, you Insist upon retaining an absolute power over Wives. But you must remember that Arbitrary pcwer Is like most other things whloh are very hard, very liable to be broken- and notwithstanding all your wise laws and maxims, we have It In our power not only to free ourselves but to subdue our Masters, and without violence throw both your natural and Legal authority at onr feet. You all know the tale. July *fth marked the noble declaration that all men are oreated equal. Abigail's declared Intention to use "our power" still remains a dormant admonition. Despite the brave efforts of strong leaders like Elizabeth Stanton, Lucretla Mott, Susan B. Anthony, and the thousands of Amarioan women who have fought for equality, John Is still the master In this enlightened year of 1975. How does It happen? Right from each begging life. As Walter Karabian has written the Pepperdlne Law Review of 197^ " Sex descrlmination starts youngi and once it starts, it is ever present. Scene One: Nervous father ar 1 '"llir* at the children". (click) And I hardly need to tell you what the impact of television does to our self-lmajre and our status. Women hav? little value ^n this make-believe world of crime.violence and continuous depravity. They are week foolslh persons who cannot function w^ll outside of their home environments. They crack under stress. They ?re either stars with sex appeal or supporting cast members without major significance-. Two or three policewomen, a new woman attorney, and a n u t couple of other exceptions hardly make up for the moppers and dusters, shoppers and scrubbers, lotion users and beauty x loungers of the tv advertising messages. As Chief Ironsides said with crreat oonoern, and his young staff nodded, "what makes a healthy 10 year old like Pip (girl, of course) play witch Instead of house?" (click) Healthy ten year old girls should be playing house. Girls, girls, grlls, girls,girls. We are all ten, at twenty, thirty, fortv. or rnine&y, - g ' ? JlWWmtf* weatiteralrls. Dr. xrirls, and lawyer girls, senior citizen prirls and entertainer girls.,as if puberty never takes place in the woman body. A CBS national reporter (male, of course) dexcriblng the scene of Kissingers return with the President and his wife, the Vice President and his wife, and many other high officials of the President's cabinet in attendance, r** let the national radio audience know ?Ktlncdonnr how Kissinger descended from the plane, shook hands with the men; and kissed the girls.....Itaz hew effectively he puts a lollipop and a baloon in Betty Pord*s hand. In agrarian societies, important polioy decisions that effect the welfare of people are made in the heme environments and woman often share in the decision making process. In our industrialized society, such decions have long been removed from the home scene, and women who are Pink blanketed Into the mother/wlfe/homemaker role will have no part in xnisto forming policy that shades our lives. And men will contue to be domlnanat, hard headed, rrotectlvR, a^d all thos? other thines thnt they have learned to be. t?-es oack and forth in the waiting room of the hospital maternity ward. A nurse enters. Father: is it a boy? Nurse: No, a girl. Would you like to see her?" Father(disappointed): Uhh...sure. Which one is she? Nurse: "She's the third one from the left, the one in the little pink blanket". Stop.' it's too late; its's already begun. From the moment a child is wrapped in that little pink blanket, she is condemned to a life of illogical and unfair restrictions. In the future shw will be told what she can or cannot do, where she should or should not go, what she may or may not try....not because she Isn't able to do what is forbidden her, but merely because she Is a wo?an.(end ofquote) How is this accomplished In this enlightened year of 1975. By laws, of course...but more on this later fron Jean; by ecnomlc discrimination.... which Thalia will explore; by condenscending amusement for our emotional clamor, or flattery and affection; by even the old adage that women really control the nor, behind every Rood man (click) women oontrol the purse strings ;cllc?) an* similar , * r, t\Ak*r? vhat still works? and most of all by words (men's words) that bind us by the pink blanket stereotype; st more strongly, it would seem, than the shackles of black slavery. From the textbooks we learn, as Dan Lacy points out in a recent Saturday Review. Boys are bold achievers; girls are passive observers. Boys win at baseball and footfcall while girls watch in admiration girls are easily frightened, and brave boys save them from danger. Boys ?ake rockets and peer through mlcrosoopes; girls play with dolls and teacups. Boys are tousled and dirty from boisterous contact with life; girls are pretty and pa clean, made of sugar and spice and everything nice. A recent New Jersey study of 2?60 textbook stories for elementary school children revealed only three women as working mothers. They inform boys of 1^7 Job opportunities but tell of only 36 for girls. Dr. Emily Taylor, director of-the Office of Women in Higher Education. American Council on Education, criticized the prevailing imaare of women in textbooks as "helpless ,1 osinpr things , dropping things , breaking things ?a?xx?TjxtyrmKtxxttaitTAktinitixlui*xl?r***Kxt*rtf?ix Aff 1 rwaMve action, then, f i z x u n becomes Increasingly necessary to subdue the tyranny of words, and Images, and stereotypes on behalf of the Ion* declared mttXHMl morality of Justice, Independence, flar play. Individual freedom ...a freedom that permits true freedom of choice, freedom to be -different, freed cm* as the record proclaims to be me. *And let me say to you all... .congratulatIons. I applaud your suocesaaa In breaking through the stereotypes. In building successes not only for yourselves but for all women. Lest we be looking baookward 100 years hence at yet another period of olamor that never really did It we must be ever dellgentj we must be truly believing that we oan not wlm for ourselves If we do not win for all women. Isn't it about tlme?J And let. me bol<i1? ac - r give women the breaks MtaBl?XWMWt?>l?XilUX??tKnWltantl?lM*l?fXM*OTtW need a speaker choose a woman? so often we look for the person of top authotlty to deliver the true message...Invariably that will be male and promotion of that Is promotion of the old status quo got a news story you oan't use yourself, or an Idea, or a pleoe of lnformatIon....give It to a woman...that will help her In her Job, and help her win for all of us have a skill that you oan share...share It with a woman reverse the trend of self-denial and patience, long woman js pattern In her relationship with men; turn these customary actions. If you will to the relationship with women. Over and over again I see even the most clamorous of women tnqp for equality, drop everything onoe a man tx appears on the soene....ending the conversation abruptly, asking the woman on the other end of the telephone to wait while she serves a man...ralnforclng the Image that woman are nxxlxwrex not as valuable be compassionate towards women, wherever they are and hr>wever far alonp; - they have moved towards freedom. We who have spent two centuries In compassion for men....oan we do less for our sisters? watoh for the signs of a new tyranny within the sisterhood...that compel us Into new stereotypes...the heterosexual who demeans the lesbian, the lesbian who has no i l l i M i use for the heterosexual.. .the worn*' who deny the women libbers... .haven't you heard " If It weren't fo~ those libbers, we would have done,click,click sisterhood can be oowerful. It must be powerful. It can win