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“I’m a part of the women’s movement, even if nobody knows it but me” – Judy Blume

February 26, 2013

Last year, I wrote a research paper about Marlene Sanders and Barbara Walters for my history class. We could choose our topic, and I wanted to relate mine to journalism and women’s history because both apply to me. I chose to write about how Sanders and Walters broke the glass ceiling for women in television journalism because without them, my perception of what can be my future would be vastly different. They paved the way for female journalists, and because of them, television was never the same.

Tonight, I dedicated three hours of my life to watching the PBS special “Makers: Women Who Make America.” It featured the stories of the women’s movement and was basically three hours of me being shocked by how grueling life was just 50 years ago and awed by how inspirational these women were. They truly charted a new course.

I consider myself a feminist, and while this documentary did make me realize I need to rethink some of my beliefs, it only strengthened my tie toward this movement. I finally said the statement “I’m a feminist” in my western civilization class last semester when we were talking about the negativity surrounding the term today. I think the problem surrounding that is best summarized by the end of this documentary, which featured one feminist figure noting that she feared women of today would have to lose everything before they realize they will have to fight to get it back. That’s a scary thought, and regressing to where this country was in the 1960s is a scarier thought. That’s why I think watching this documentary is important: it informs my generation of this movement that changed the nation and introduces my generation to the figures whose inspirational stories continue to change the world.

The highlights, as I saw them:

“When I started to write, they laughed at me and said, ‘What makes you think you can do this?’” Judy Blume started writing in the 1960s. That’s not that long ago, and it’s incredible to think that women entering any type of profession other than the stereotypical ones was so frowned upon so recently. But she sure showed them.

“I no longer accept society’s judgment that my group is second class.” Gloria Steinem is probably one of the most well-known feminists, and this statement is so powerful to me. If it weren’t for women like her who had the courage to stand up for what they knew in their hearts was right, it’s very possible I wouldn’t be where I am today.

“I have a brain, I have a uterus; they both work.” Pat Schroeder showed the country that women did not have to be relegated to the home; in fact, women could do whatever they wanted to, even serve in Congress. Such a simple yet influential statement.

“What women were looking for was not the guarantee that they would succeed but the opportunity to try.” Linda Alvarado recounted the beginnings of the construction company she founded, and I was immediately impressed. All these women wanted was the opportunity to do things that people of my generation take for granted.

“You’ve got to beat the drum loudly. Nobody listens to you when you go quietly into the night.” Oprah, good ole Oprah, bringing us words of wisdom always. Women had been taught to be submissive and passive and speak only when spoken to, but because there were people out there – regular, everyday people – willing to be the ones to break that glass ceiling and beat that freaking drum, here we are. It’s not perfect, but it’s better. And we must keep beating the drum.

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From → Sophomore

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