Marching for Women’s Equality and Lives, Circa 1989

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

I’ve been busy over the last days talking to relatives and neighbors who have either lost a job or are not finding a job since graduating from college.  They seem to have a sense of inertia, without a clue as to what to do.

I give them a real pep talk, with practical suggestions. I lost a couple of  jobs due to recessions…back in 1975 and again in 1981.  I was willing to take pay cuts, start at the bottom, take courses, learn how to write several types of resumes, switch fields and move if I had to.  The people I have talked to don’t seem to have that sort of drive and I’m not sure why.  Things are worse now in term of a future which doesn’t bode well for a return to normalcy, of course, but I’m struck by the sense of disbelief that seems to be hampering these folks.  It’s crippling them and they aren’t prepared to look at themselves and be willing to alter their set-in-stone plans.

The same sort of paralysis seems to extend to women these days.  Sure, we’ve been sold out by the national organizations, but the misogyny and attack on women’s health seems to be quite acceptable these days.  I can’t quite understand this sort of thing, since I came up through the days when we were fighting for our rights.

I was rummaging through a drawer and found a button from 21 years ago nearly to the day.  It was a march on Washington, one of several I went to.  I remember riding on a bus put together by the local chapter of NOW.  Many women’s groups joined together. We were all fighting mad in 1989.

I’m still angry and now I’m also broken-hearted.  This button brings me back to a day when women were galvanized and had a voice.

I wonder if these days a march on Washington would be even able to be organized, if there would be any interest… and if it actually occurred, whether it would be ignored by the media.

Something is very wrong, very wrong indeed…

When we were marching...

6 Responses

  1. Now that you asked, I was indeed in that crowd!

  2. I was in so many I don’t even remember them all …………… I do not understand the lack of motivation and cohesion .. SO MANY of us felt the same without so much as an explanation……

  3. I have been working in equality for the past twenty years. Some of the research i have carried out has been looking at the pschology of inequality. Motivation and lack of motivation arises time and time again.

    Without going into a lot of detail, as our society and people experience inequality our intrinsic motivation falls and our time horizons shorten. So we become more interested in what tommorrow or what next week, next month hold rather than years etc.

    I would be interested in what people think

    For some people I have worked with the furthest they plan ahead is a week. So the motivation goes as well.

  4. I think sometime during the 1980s when the culture of fear took over again in the United States (resurfacing from the 1950s early 60s) and the rise cable television and video games, kids became increasingly inactive. Parents at the time bought into the fear, driving kids to school, not telling them to go outside and play and be creative–to think of something to do instead of complaining about being bored. They were into their own “greed is good” and conspicuously consuming worlds and working long hours (especially women in the workplace plus the home). It was just easier to buy the kid something so he would shut up or to ease the societal guilt heaped on them for not being a stay-at-home mom. An entire generation grew up having things given to them without having to earn them. Plus they became accustomed to accomplishing, is it were, things with a flip of the joystick or push of the button or a click of the mouse. These behaviours were learned and reinforced and become the societal norm. The kids of the 80s are now parents and lack certain skills to pass to the next generation.

    All of the above exposition is, of course, a generalization and may not apply to any given individual.

    I did not make the 1989 march on Washington, D.C., but I was at the one in ¿2003? ¿2004? and also rode a NOW bus. I was more active on a group level for women’s rights in the early to mid 90s.

    • I went to several marches also and still have my Becky Bell wrist band…

      As for today’s bunch…I have nephews who don’t get it that they may have to actually train in something other than the “artsie” stuff they continued in college after being “stars” in high school,

      One has a serious heart problem and really has no idea of how to cope with his future, nor does his twin brother who is “engaged.” They are basically doing the crap they did in high school and not motivated to “reinvent” themselves… They’ve regressed.

      I keep trying to knock some reality into their heads based on my own experiences with job losses and career changes, but they don’t really listen.

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