Native Writes: Run, women, run

If reincarnation exists, I know I lived in the Victorian and Late Victorian eras, when too much was not enough.

I don’t know much about Queen Victoria, but she was a woman of great influence.

From listening to and watching national news, I can’t think of a woman with that much actual power since her death.

More and more, females are stepping into the spotlight, but there’s still a male chuckle when she talks about issues.

Victoria had her own era and somebody must have learned her secrets, since shops are thriving selling delicate lingerie and underwear.

Laws have been passed requiring equal rights for everyone, everywhere, but they’re still weak in the bedroom, boardroom or courtroom. Most women won’t make waves, content with what they have, even if it isn’t enough.

If a woman is willing to step forth, be publicly identified and make a report, knowing she will probably be terminated, mistreated and tormented, she deserves respect, yet when women speak up and dare to be different, men squirm in their seats.

Back in the mid-1970s, I decided to demonstrate my feelings about female equality in a public, passionate way. Accepting a brassiere from a friend more mammarily endowed, I squirted lighter fluid in the cup tips and set fire to it, waving it and shouting, ERA, ERA (equal rights amendment) NOW!!

People stopped to stare and a good friend stayed until the fire was extinguished. When all was done, my bangs were singed, I had a slight burn on one finger and my face was streaked with soot. “So what do you think?” I asked my friend. “Wasn’t your bra, was it?” he asked.

The struggle for women’s rights is nearly 140 years old and women are still being forced to burn their figurative bras.

In 1848, female reformers, called suffragettes, addressed social and institutional barriers that limited women’s rights, including family responsibilities, a lack of educational and economic opportunities and the absence of a voice in political debates.

The debate rages on. Women are still not considered smart enough to control their own lives, loves and bodies.

The years and personal circumstances have calmed my fervor and I am privileged to have been educated and remain in work that I love, but I see younger women remaining quiet when they shouldn’t.

There are few younger women in Congress and the older ones plod on, trying to shine light on society’s problems and facing opposition at every turn. The shrew seems to have been tamed.

Men in Congress give female leaders nicknames and one outspoken female was told to shut up so a man could talk. As the elections of 2018 approach, all 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives and 33 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate will be contested, along with 39 state and territorial governorships and numerous other state and local positions.

Ask who is going to replace Colorado’s governor, then listen as many male names are mentioned. Women abound in local positions, but their names are removed from the mix as the posts go higher.

Sure, there are some, but not too many and certainly not enough. Run, women, run and make the men have to hold up their hands and make sense.