“Women weren’t given the right to vote. We took it.” – Gloria Steinem
When I was much younger, a child of seven or eight or nine maybe, I vaguely remember an argument between my older brother, Peter, and myself regarding the general topic of men vs. women. His position was that men were better than women at everything. And my position? Well, that’s one of the fuzzy parts. I can’t really remember having a position per se except I do remember desperately going back and forth with him trying to think of things women excelled at over men. I was having trouble. Finally, after several back-and-forths, I thought of something I felt was a sure thing – cooking. Women were better cooks than men! All I had to do to prove it was suggest my brother look around our mid 1970’s Upstate New York working class neighborhood. It was the mothers, not the fathers, who cooked all the meals in all the homes up and down our entire street. My brother listened carefully as I made my argument and then he pounced. Yes, the women in our neighborhood did cook the meals; that was true. But it was, once again, his team – the men – who worked professionally as chefs. How, he asked stealthily, could I explain that? And, you know, I couldn’t.
I felt something snap then, like a bone breaking. And I felt a great tiredness, too. Why couldn’t women win even in the category of cooking?! And why was my older brother always right and why did he have to win most of our arguments and especially why did he have to win this one?
It was a decade before I read my first issue of Ms. Magazine. I was in the library at Auburn High School and there was a copy of the magazine out on one of the library tables and I was drawn to it by the cover though I have no visual memory of which particular issue it was. I only remember sitting down and reading it and thinking, “Wow. Wow, wow, wow.” And then the knowledge came. There was a Mother Ship out there somewhere. I was clearly not on it but, nevertheless, it was out there and perhaps one day, I would make my way to it and, more importantly, to the people on the ship. And make my way to the Mother Ship I did, externally and internally, too.
Women’s History Month has been celebrated in the United States for several decades now; it has functioned as a way to focus our attention, both nationally and personally, on the women who have made a difference. This month, Auburn Public Theater joins the cause by screening the following four films: SILKWOOD, NORMA RAE, PINK SARIS and FRIDA. We hope you will consider attending one, two, three or all four of these fine films. And, here’s a thought – do you know a young girl who you think might benefit from the power of example? Maybe you have a youngster in your life who may be engaged in a debate with her older brother, let’s say, and could use a viewing of one of these movies to give her the leg up she’s been looking for in a certain argument about who’s better, boys or girls? If you happen to know such a young girl, bring her along. And keep this in mind, too. Bones that heal after breaking are stronger than bones that have never been broken. Don’t you love that?