Saturday, July 21, 2012

Mary Jo

Someone I've never met but felt I got to know through her blog has passed away. I only know her first name, Mary Jo, and that when she began her blog she was 56 years old and had just been diagnosed with Stage 3 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. Mary Jo started her blog "Put on your big girl pants and just get on with it" on October 19, 2010 with the hope of sharing her journey and experiences while fighting the disease.

Her story touched me personally because my Mother was a two-time breast cancer survivor and that dark cloud of breast cancer now hovers over me and many of the young women in my family due to genetics. Reading about Mary Jo's treatment -the highs and the lows- was inspiring to me. The unending support she received from family and friends was touching and makes me wish I could tell her husband Ron, especially, how much Mary Jo's blog has meant to me. She put up a good fight.

Her blog is still there along with the comments from family, friends, and strangers like me. Mary Jo was a brave, brave soul, her last blog post was June 15, 2011, she passed away on March 17, 2012.

Thank you Mary Jo.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Ignorance or Hypocrisy?

A dear family member for whom I have enormous love and respect, posted an anti-Obama sentiment on her Facebook page recently - which is her right, it’s her Facebook page. Those of you who faithfully follow my blog (all 2 of you) know that I just cannot keep my mouth shut when it comes to politics, so I posted a comment wondering how any woman or person of color could ever vote for a Republican.

One of her “friends,” obviously a young and proud Republican woman, replied to my comment using the words from the Helen Ready song “I am Woman” to bash President Obama. I’m guessing this friend was born after the early 70’s and I’m sure thought she was being quite clever by quoting the words “I am woman, hear me roar…” from the song written for the early Women’s Liberation Movement, a movement I was very much a part of in 1972, at the impressionable age of 18.

The Women’s Liberation Movement challenged the prevailing notion that women were supposed to spend their entire lives engaged in housework and raising children. It demanded equal pay for women in the workplace, publicly funded child care, and the legalization of abortion. It challenged sexist stereotypes of women and the ideal of the traditional nuclear family, which often tied women to abusive or oppressive relationships. While the Ozzie and Harriet myth of the nuclear family—with a male breadwinner and stay-at-home mom—never really existed for many working-class Americans (certainly not in my home growing up), the women’s liberation movement forever altered people’s ideas about the role of women in society. Ironically, this same movement today has allowed many women the choice to be stay-at-home mothers (if they can afford it) without the stigma of being seen as lazy or leeching off their hard-working husbands.

It makes me angry that these young neo-conservative women are so ignorant of the fight that went on before they were born and the rights that they take for granted today. Do these young hypocrites really want to turn back the clock to reverse all of the gains that women have made in the past forty years? Would they truly be willing to give up what would be necessary to restore the so-called Republican “Family Values” agenda, because to accomplish that we’d have to restore the cult of virginity and the double standard, ban birth control, restrict divorce, kick women out of decent jobs, force unwed pregnant women to put their babies up for adoption, and make out-of-wedlock children legal nonpersons.

The Republican “War on Women” is very real, from wanting to cut nearly a billion dollars of food and other aid to low-income pregnant women, mothers, babies, and kids, to a spending bill that also takes aim at elderly poor women (two-thirds of the elderly poor are women) that cuts funding for employment services, meals, and housing for senior citizens. Is this what these young female neocons want?

Ignorance or hypocrisy: which is worse?