Reblogged from KyLand
In 1992, thanks to outraged spurred by Anita Hill’s accusations of then-nominee Clarence Thomas in front of a panel of male senators, a record-breaking 4 women were elected to the US Senate. This unprecedented election led to the year being dubbed “The Year of the Woman.” 20 years later, Congress had another record-breaking year for women, bringing the number in the Senate above 20 and in the House nearly 80. In the London Olympics, the women of the United States won 29 medals, a count that would have put them in third overall if they were a country on their own. A women was named CEO of Yahoo!, and a woman was awarded the Woodrow Wilson award for best book on politics and international affairs. There is a woman as the Secretary of State, and driving in NASCAR.
However, tragically, it is not this positive news that has led many to call 2012 the “Next Year of the Woman.” All of these positive contributions and achievements were overshadowed by the controversy surrounding all things women this year.
Anne-Marie Slaughter wrote passionately that women can’t have it all (something I already addressed), Congress repeatedly politicized women’s reproductive rights, political candidates tried to legitimize rape, a young girl was shot in the face for going to school, the realities of gang-rape cover ups were thrust front and center in the US, India and throughout the world. Oh yea, and Lance Armstrong’s most egregious confession apparently centered on whether or not he called Betsy Andreu fat.
There has been little that has polarized the American public like the place and rights of women. Suddenly everyone had an opinion. Talk radio junkies called college students sluts and whores; the New York Times was concerned with the Secretary of State’s hair; the DoD’s announcement of the opening of Combat roles to women was met with jokes about PMS.
Throughout my life, I have had a bit of an involuntary adverse reaction to the term “feminism.” To me, it always seems academic, detached, and removed from the hardship and ugliness of reality. It was the realm of those who studied “women’s studies” but were afraid to venture outside the classroom. The word for those who like to protest “egregious wrongs” but prefer to live in the comfort of their suburban bubble than take on the pain of the fight. Feminism has become a water-downed term to make people who want to feel good about themselves able to do so without taking any risk. It gives social and political clout without possibility of failure or loss.
For 2013, I hope we, as woman, can take on the challenge to return outrage-spurred action to feminism. If 2012 was proposed to be the new Year of the Women due to the negative controversy surrounding women in the press, I hope 2013 can be the real Year of the Women due to action.
To launch my part in this, I am excited to have a part of Shannon Galpin’s new endeavor, Combat Apathy. Focused by the slogan “it takes an army,” Combat Apathy is rooted in action. It is rooted in outrage. It is rooted in woman who have committed their lives to letting their doing doing the talking. It is comprised on women who are not perfect, but defy the notion that they can’t have it all; women who have been told to “reevaluate their life choices” and keep on living; women who fully embody the sacrifices they have made to pursue the life other only study as a social experiment.
Hillary Clinton famously coined the phrase “it takes a village”. For 2013, I propose that “it takes and outrage.” For every outrage produced by the media stories of 2012, let there be action in 2013. Let the focus be on women doing, rather than women being pawns. Let it be full of stories of the power of women in the political, athletic and academic arena. Let us show what action outrage can spur, and make a real year of the women.