A few weeks back on a marketing blog, I wrote a post about how “Bic for her is not for me.” In the post I talked about current politics and how women were being marginalized in this election (reference the “legitimate rape” and “women can stay home with their families instead of work” statements, to name a few) and how this attitude was now being reflected in marketing.
Bic for her pens are pastel pink and purple colored pens that are slimmer (for our delicate hands, no doubt) and which write in PINK AND PURPLE ink!!! Seriously, someone at Bic headquarters actually said and convinced the marketing people that GROWN women would like to write with Barbie writing utensils when they sign contracts, reports, or even when they write their novels.
Well not this woman. My man-sized blue gel pens work just fine, thank you very much.
I see a disturbing trend and it frightens me to no end. Women are being marginalized and demeaned in politics and now it slipping over to our main culture. Pretty soon my daughters are going to think that there is nothing wrong with making grown women look (and act) like little girls, or have a country where medical decisions are made for them with the belief that someone else knows their values, life, and medical conditions better than they do.
This weekend I went to a local political event (I live in NH remember) where a panel of women were talking about women being leaders. The name of the event was “Natural Woman, Natural leaders” and it was hosted by Carole King (yes THE Carole King – who has always been a personal hero) and consisted of Gubernatorial candidate Maggie Hassen, 2012 Project Mary Hughes; Executive Director NH Women’s Fund, and Congressional candidate Carol Shea Porter. President for the Center for American Progress Neera Tanden served as moderator.
It was all very civilized. “We need more women in government. We need more women as leaders.” Blah, blah, blah.
What I didn’t hear was the outrage against the current political and cultural assault against women.
So when the question and answer time began, I stood up first and said exactly that. I talked about how in politics and religion we seem to be going backward with regard to women’s right (which was pointed out several times during the evening to really equate to human rights.)
How unbelievingly we were being told what our roles are to be in society whether we agree or not.
And how the culture is starting to pick up on this thinking that it is okay to expect women to use the pink and purple, more delicate pens. Today pens, tomorrow who knows?
The problem is that women are too damn civilized, I told the panel. It’s the reason John Kerry lost the election, instead of fighting back at the Swift Boat attack ads, he simply thought that intelligent people would *know* that the statements were false and so he took the high road of not dignifying the attack with a response.
And he lost.
If this assault on women continues and we remain quiet, we will also lose.
It is only with an organized, sustained and collective outrage that our point will be heard. Although we need to be diplomatic, we also need to point our fingers at the big guys’ chests and say “How DARE you talk about me that way! How DARE you invent that kind of a future for my daughters!!”
The panelists returned with a measured, intellectual response of how things are changing for women, that that’s exactly why women have to get involved in politics. Blah, blah, blah.
It’s the same kind of Democratic high road stuff that sinks elections and in this case, could very well sink the future of women’s rights in this country. It’s the thinking that intelligent people, truly intelligent people will know better and will not “fall for this”
Well guess what? If even the most outrageous lie is told again and again, people are going to start believing it.
To say that I was disappointed with the response is an understatement. There was no fire, no outrage, instead there was more civil discourse. But when you are pitting yourself against the biggest bullies in the playground, “fancy talk aint’ gonna get you nowhere.”
But then an amazing thing happened.
One by one, members of the audience referenced my remarks in their questions.
“Why is it that the Democrats never fight back?”
“Why aren’t women united about this topic?”
“Where are the young women in this audience? Why aren’t they concerned about their rights?”
“Where is the outrage?”
And after the panel, many women came up to me to tell me that I was spot on in my remarks and that they also fear a very different future for women.
Now that’s what I’m talking about.
At the end of the event, Carole was at the back of the room signing her book. When I got up to her in line, she recognized me from my remarks and we exchanged a few words. I asked her to write something special in my book and she very willingly agreed. This what she wrote, making her one of my most favorite people in the entire world.
Look, I have kids. I try to be careful about what I say in public because I know that words and actions trickle down. But you know what? I can’t be quiet about this one anymore.
I have two young daughters and it is their future that is at stake. I need to speak up for all of the members of my flock, wherever they may be. I have finally decided that I’m mad as hell on this topic and I’m just not going to take it anymore.
Hear this natural woman roar.