Monday morning here in Suburbia dawned dark, rainy, and cold, the first real cold snap of the season. I love fall in Suburbia–the crispness in the air, the changing leaves, the bright blue skies. Today had none of those. My friends to the north will laugh, but I was thankful for my heated car seats this morning with temperatures dropping below 50. It always takes me a while to adjust to each new season. I know that 50 will feel incredibly warm in just a few months, but today, especially with brisk winds, it felt incredibly cool.
The obvious inclement weather was not enough, however, to keep me from having to remind Soccer Boy to wear his jacket when we got out of the car at his school today. What is it about boys and warm clothing? He insisted that shorts and a t-shirt would be just fine for him today. We compromised with jeans, a t-shirt and a jacket. I informed him that he could wear it or not once he was at school, but that I was not going to be that mother who didn’t send her kid with a jacket on the first cool day. Hey, I have a reputation to uphold around here. And, I just asked him about it, and he confessed to actual wearing of the jacket. Score one for mom.
And, now, because it’s my blog and I can, I will move from general weather-related drivel to politics. My day at work was fairly non-eventful, and I was happy to get home this evening after picking up Dancer Girl from her ballet class. Adventure Guy had picked up the other kids and was making dinner when I walked in (does it get any better than that, I ask?). But I was distracted by the fact that he was watching the O’Reilly Factor, an uncommon event around our house.
I asked him why he was watching, and he said he had turned on the news to get an update on the California fires and then got sucked in to a conversation about intelligent design. But that’s not what grabbed me. Instead it was the conversation that O’Reilly was having with two women contributors, one Democratic, one Republican, about feminism today. He directly asked each of the women whether or not she was a feminist. Though the Democratic woman hesitated, obviously expecting an attack, they both fessed up to being feminists, and the Republican woman, a former White House aide, was very direct about her views even telling O’Reilly that she believed he was a feminist since he believes in equal opportunities for women. Now, I might argue with that representation of his beliefs, but I thought it was an interesting conversation. Both women indicated that “feminists have changed” since the 70s when they were portrayed as angry, bra-burning, man haters.
I’ve always been proud to call myself a feminist, even in the face of the label being bandied about contemptuously by many people I know. I know I’ve benefited from the work of those women who came before me who fought for many of the things we often take for granted. I’m thankful to live in a time where I can express my own political views and vote to back them up, have a family of the size I choose, attend college, and work outside the home. Many, many women in the world today don’t have those opportunities, and it wasn’t long ago that many American women didn’t have them either. My own grandmother was born in a time prior to the 19th amendment; my mother worked in a time when pregnant teachers had to quit their jobs; and I myself was born pre-Roe vs. Wade.
And what scares me most is the pendulum swing that’s brought us to 2007 when Ann Coulter, joking or not, promotes taking away women’s right to vote and the Supreme Court upholds an anti-abortion law that doesn’t take into account the health of the mother. It’s at times like these that I know it’s far too soon to rest on our feminist laurels, patting ourselves on the back for being more polite than our bra-burning protesting predecessors. Because I don’t want my daughters to ever look back and realize their mother had opportunities and rights to which they can only aspire.