Who else remembers Take Back the Night Rallies? They were BIG when I was in college. Many, many women (and some good men!) filling the streets in huge numbers. They still exist, but definitely not to the same extent. I have a lot of good memories of those old days. It was a wonderful time to be in college! Second wave feminism was in full swing. I remember all the consciousness raising classes, the assertiveness training classes, lots of marches. We even had a building just off campus called the Women’s Resource and Action Center (WRAC). The name pretty much explains its purpose! There were lots of feminist publications, both local and national, and I can tell you they didn’t feature hairstyles or shoes!
And I most definitely remember the symbol in this ad. The woman’s sign with the top fashioned into a moon (for taking back the night), and the FIST in the middle. We were TAKING back the night, not asking men “pretty please give us our rights but we’re not really serious because our whole goal in life is to sexually attract you!” Where is that fist NOW? (No pun intended, but we really COULD ask NOW that question)! Note: The photo below is NOT from that previous era:
Ack, don’t even get me started on intersectionality and women having to solve all the “isms” in the world EXCEPT sexism. But speaking of NOW, check out this website listing their history year by year. I encourage everyone to notice the themes of their work over the years – you’ll notice that while most of their historical work focused on WOMEN, the most recent work included an anti-war march and opposing immigration reform measures. Well, that’s okay – I’m sure the anti-war groups and the anti-immigration-reform groups are having rallies for women’s rights in return! (Excuse me while I laugh hysterically!) You may also notice that while the site is copyrighted through 2012, the last year for which they have listed their work is 2006. You know, had I supported the notion that Obama “is what a feminist looks like”, I think I’d start hiding some recent history, too!
It really makes you feel despair. We’ve got Obama, who is doing the right’s work for them. We’ve got the people on the left, who don’t make a peep, because they think they can’t protest a guy who SAYS he’s a democrat, and of course as we all know, any criticism of Obama is racist. And we’ve got the useless 3rd wave. And we’ve got some crazies running for the republican nomination. It really is the perfect storm – for attacks on the good ship Woman.
But there may be hope on the horizon. Two things happened recently that piqued my interest.
This is San Francisco philanthropist Susie Tompkins Buell. I’d never heard of her before, but apparently she was a huge Hillary supporter. She disagrees with Obama’s handling of environmental issues and has decided to withhold donations to him. She is mega-rich, so don’t think he doesn’t know! Now, judging from some of the comments to the article, apparently not all environmentalists agree with her view of what is “environmentally friendly”. But what I like about this woman is how she has now chosen to use her donations. She is not just withholding donations from Obama and the DNC, but she is instead sending them directly to individual candidates. I think this is a wonderful answer for people who are fed up with the parties! Who needs the
middle man traitors?
Here’s a photo of the second thing that gave me hope.
Virginia’s lawmakers have had an extremely busy month pissing all over the rights of women in the state. And today, when lawmakers made their way into or out of the capitol, they were greeted by over 1,000 protesters— mostly women— linking arms and standing silently in protest.
Over 1,000 protesters! And the legislature decided to put off the vote! Hooray! These women and men are Taking Back Women’s Bodies!
The perfect storm has opened the floodgates, and all the crazies are jumping on their opportunity to control women and their bodies. We want Obama out, but we don’t want a crazy right winger in office instead. But maybe there’s silver lining to the clouds on the horizon! It’s starting to look like Santorum and Gingrich, as well as these crazy legislators, spouting off their nonsense is finally awakening women.
Maybe women are about to raise their fists again. Maybe 3rd wavers are learning how to MAKE one.
(This website is under construction, but it is going to have oral herstories from past Take Back the Night participants, starting from the 70s – might be very interesting!)