Did you know that the month of March has been designated as “Women’s History Month?”
Isn’t that great! Aren’t you excited?
Okay, I confess. I didn’t know it either. And, unless there was a way to connive a nice celebratory dinner out of my spouse, I probably would have totally ignored it. But, when I think of it, maybe this is a good thing. Maybe the advances and contributions made by women over the years is now such an endemic part of our culture that it no longer needs to be recognized by the President or whoever signed the friggin proclamation. Still, as an award winning, internationally recognized blogger on women’s rights, I suppose I should take a minute and opine.
One thing I ain’t gonna do is talk about what legal abortion has done for women. I’ve written about that issue before. We all know by now the impact Roe v Wade had on women’s health and, yes, I know there is another human thing involved that is being killed/terminated/annihilated/whatever – but I’ve written about that also. So, let’s do something different and talk about the advances that have been made in women’s sexual health in general.
Remember how every once in a while a young girl in your high school just stopped coming to school for no apparent reason? Remember how the rumors started spreading around the cafeteria about how skinny, pimply faced Betty had “gotten herself into trouble.” The news would be communicated in whispers, rolling of the eyes, knowing nods of the head. Well, Betty had actually gotten herself pregnant! Then, at some point Betty might come back all shiny and new and you would know that she had had an abortion, probably somewhere far from her town . Other times, however, Betty would not return at all. It was all so sad.
Then there was – dare I say it – masturbation. We all did it and – dare I say it again – it was even fun. But in those days it was no less than a mortal sin. Maybe it still is (note to Pat: check your Bible.) But in those days we were constantly warned to not engage in that “self-defilement” or “self-abuse” because, if we did, then we would go blind, go gradually insane or, worse, hair would grow on our palms! Things are a little different now, huh?
I remember in Catholic school how the nuns would try to convince the girls to retain their virginity until they got married. I remember a time when Sister Heloise showed a flower to the class and proceeded to slowly pick off all the petals, one by one. She then asked one of the girls to come up and replace the petals which, of course, she couldn’t do. “And it is equally impossible to get your virginity back,” was Sister Heloise’s stern warning. “What man wo
uld want a flower with no petals?” she asked the stunned crowd. Oy vey.
Well, things have changed dramatically but, unfortunately, in some parts of this country we seem to be regressing when it comes to women’s sexual freedom. Of course, you’ve got the Tea Party and the other whackos to thank for that. Still, I am now sixty one years old and, despite some blips on the screen, there has been an incredible amount of change over the years. Ours is now a much healthier society in terms of not just the sexual lives of women but their professional lives as well. Indeed, I won’t begin to bore you young folks out there about how women were treated in the workplace just a few years back. Actually, if you want an education go see some episodes of “Mad Men.” It’s all true.
Women are clearly in a much better place these days and, of course, more progress needs to be made. But I’ll leave those fights up to the next generation.