As a girl growing up on a farm in the 1970s, I was a bit different from my girlfriends.
From a relatively early age, I was addicted to the politics of the nation over those of high school. Instead of watching Happy Days, I was glued to the Watergate coverage during the summer of 1974. I eagerly anticipated the arrival of my weekly issue of Time Magazine more than picking up Seventeen at the drug store.
My life, as I have lived it, is in no small measure a result of the Ms. Generation.
I watched in awe as Gloria Steinem led the way, along with so many others, to make it easier for me as a girl on the verge of college to have more options for my life than her generation had when they were teens. I felt she was fighting the fight for me and I was grateful. It gave me confidence that my impractical decision (as some in my family called it) to major in political science would help me fight the fight for any daughters I might eventually have.
So when Gloria Steinem, or her organization, calls, how can you not answer?
Progressive voices are getting short shrift in our media world full of O’Reillys and Limbaughs and Coulters. Sure, we’ve got Keith Olbermann and Arianna Huffington, but I’m afraid they’re vastly outnumbered. So the Women’s Media Center has put out the call to progressive women’s voices to change that.
Bloggers, activists, academics, and policy experts are going to give a collective voice to the issues that are important to us – to make sure that the Fox News opinions aren’t the only ones out there. Don’t worry, we’re not talking about the flame-throwing kind. We don’t need anymore firefights.
So, as part of that, I spent the weekend with a room full of some of the smartest and most articulate women who are already advocating on issues like immigration, engaging the “youth” vote, and policies that are truly friendly for all families.
One of the biggest things I came away with is that so many of us already have the essential tools to be effective advocates for the issues we’re passionate about – we’re smart, we’re well-versed in current events, we have causes that are important to us AND we have blogs!
But as useful as this blogosphere is, unless and until we can get our faces and voices and writing in the main stream media, our issues will continue to get pushed to the bottom of the priority list in favor of the ones who making more noise – or whose noise is getting the attention.
So we’re going to try and hope that in this incredibly important election year, we can get the candidates and voters to pay more attention to issues like health care for everyone, getting more voters to turn out (though things seem to be going pretty well on that front at the moment), toning down the rhetoric on immigration, and many other important issues.
It’s time to stop being ignored by making a planned and well thought out effort.
Coordinated and targeted. I’m hoping we’ll keep going after November.
Plus, the icing on the cake? I got to meet Gloria Steinem!
And for the girl who embraced the “Ms.” label while her high school girlfriends were planning their weddings — for the woman I am now who has always looked to the fights that Steinem fought and the ideals she has talked about — it just doesn’t get any better than that.