I grew up during the second wave of feminism. Once upon a time, less than 40 years ago, women weren’t on corporate boards…or in leadership positions…or even doing the same jobs as men. My mother fought a glass ceiling in her big time corporate career-just in my lifetime. Her company did not have a maternity policy when she was pregnant with me. That was a scant 45-ish years ago.
Today is equal pay day. That is, today April 12th, I and other women symbolically had to work to earn as much as a man in 2015. I’m one of the lucky ones, I work for an organization with salary parity. Not all of my sisterhood is as fortunate. I know a lot of people roll their eyes when someone mentions feminism and feminist issues, but there is still a lot of work to be done.
While the doors of opportunity have opened over the last 50-60 years, there are still areas that need improvement. Our current political climate has exposed a lot of cracks in the foundation that equality is alive and well. There are a lot more of my fellow Americans who are throwbacks to such a “quaint” time in our history. One particular political party has brought them out in droves, dragging their knuckles to rallies and campaign events. The vitriolic speech being used by both candidates and supporters are living proof that feminism-including attention to the wage gap-are still relevant issues.
Both of the top candidates in the not so loyal opposition have stated some pretty misogynistic views. One likes to attack a female anchor repeatedly, another likes to spew hatred, and both are trying to turn back the clock. One has a consistent voting record against women’s rights issues (including healthcare, crime and wage equality).
There’s a direct correlation between being a feminist and my musical taste. Being part of the hardcore scene, there were a lot of other females involved-both in bands and as fans. I never really worried about things at shows (unless rednecks or skinheads showed up) because the scene took care of its own. Having role models like Exene Cervenka, Poly Styrene, Debbie Harry, Siouxsie Sioux, Lydia Lunch (and later on, the Riot Grrrls) made being a snowflake more manageable. Most of my political indoctrination came by way of being part of that scene as well. I remember being a part of Rock Against Reagan in 1984, and realizing that there were others just like me, behind the Zion Curtain. That was a turning point in my life, quite honestly.
Music and politics probably have always been intertwined in my DNA, having grown up when I did, with the mother I had. When I was a teen, I had some of the greatest bands (including the only one that matters) being active and creative. Today’s music scene for the Jedi…meh, not so much. The Biebs, Swifty, all nicknamed and tabloid ready. I think that the lack of great music might also correlate with the rise of these low information Neanderthals taking over civil discourse.
This morning, a call in radio show-which leans moderately right-was discussing the wage gap issue. I was disheartened by the listeners’ responses on discussing how the Equal Pay Act was a mistake and that’s what’s bringing America down, that women shouldn’t be allowed in certain professions because it’s “mans work” and so on. Obviously these people think in Archie Bunker sound bites, but the sad truth is that there are a lot of these would be voters out there that feel this way.
And this is why it’s so important to make your voice heard.