Is this our contribution?

Linda Hoffman, Two Cents Worth

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The earliest recorded movement for women’s rights was in the 1200s when Queen Helen of Anjou opened schools for women.

Until the 18th century only a handful of advocates were active in a few countries. Gradually, committed groups of women and a few men in all countries were standing up and demanding to be seen and heard. Feminists, activists, suffragettes, abolitionists all worked toward the same end – equality.

We are familiar with Elizabeth Stanton, Carrie Chapman, Emily Stowe, Nellie McClung, Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem but many women, over the centuries fought so women would have the right to be educated, vote, study medicine, have opportunity for employment, own property, hold office, have access to birth control, have reproductive rights, to be considered persons.

As we all know, the job is far from done. Much like with the civil rights movement there are those who oppose changes necessary to establish parity. They are afraid of losing advantage, control, power, superiority. They just don’t understand the fight was not to be considered better; we just want to be treated the same.

Recently, I checked into what all the fuss was about over a couple of female rap artists’ controversial collaboration. Now, I admit I am not really up on this musical genre. Much of it always seems so volatile and crude. I have been told rap reflects a way of life. It represents life on the dirty, mean streets. As far as I can tell successful artists no longer live on those dirty mean streets but that attitude continues to be pay dirt.

I researched “WAP.” I know generations of women struggled and sacrificed to give us rights but I don’t think this is what they had in mind. I think the movement was to prove we are as worthy and as valuable as men. I don’t believe this helps and may do damage.

Now, I know I am old. I do not believe freedom of expression and free speech means we abandon decency, honour, dignity. To me this approach demeans us, shames us. I think women have a much more powerful, influential and crucial purpose.

All those thousands of women over many centuries did not fight this battle so we could be as bad as the worst in our society but to be recognized as good as the very best.