The hour is fairly late, but I would rarely miss an opportunity to write in the stale air of the humid Wisconsin countryside. I sit in the front porch, lit with small garden lights of various shape, looking out amongst the black abyss in front of me. If I focus my eyes just enough, I am able to see the outlines of trees surrounding a still, glassy lake. This is my sanctuary. Call me crazy, but I truly believe this to be God’s country. This is all, of course, rather irrelevant. But I am using this week of vacation time in the north woods at my humble log cabin wisely as I prepare for research overload. I am fully stocked with a large, vintage suitcase full of my research materials. According to my schedule, by next Monday I should have completed all of my general research. Whether this goal will be accomplished or not is quite up in the air at this point for I have added two large books to my stash and have nearly 400 pages to complete in Tom Brokaw’s Boom! I certainly do not want to rush the process along but I need to maintain some sort of order.
I have especially become excited because I have entered into the meat of my research journey! The subject matter I have been anticipating most: feminist movements. I was utterly entranced by Tom Brokaw’s accounts on the plight of gender equality and encouraged by his views on equality within the marriage structure. What grabbed me most, by the throat unfortunately, was hearing of mothers who ran the household, kept the law, worked full-time hours, bringing home the “dough,” but never earned the title of “head of the household.” It was strictly eserved for men; sometimes, men who didn’t deserve it. And to my surprise, while most women were upset by the inequality in the home, society, economy, and work place, very few stood up in an attempt to bring about change. Most were actually offended by the feminist title because of extremists who squandered their free will. One of such women, by the name of Shulamith Firestone actually believed in the elimination of sex distinction, which called for the removal of genitalia. She was raised with a negative view of motherhood and sought alternative means for birthing. Brokaw also pointed me to what I expect to be a great resource on the women’s movements of the 60s: a book titled The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan (1963). It gave women a voice for their frustrations and asked them to look at their lives of baking pies, cleaning house, maintaining order and ask “is this all?” It became an instant best seller, to the surprise of men, and still has influence today. Of course, I now own a copy.
This is only the start of this incredibly epic journey (in my strange opinion). Let it continue.
Fun 60s Facts:
Newspaper ads separated jobs by sex
Bars refused to serve women
Women were denied credit/loans from banks
Dr. Edgar Berman claimed, on television, that women were too tortured by hormonal disturbances to assume roles of significance or leadership, such as the presidency