I’ve never been much of a fan of the Catholic Church or any organized religion that suppresses women and teaches them that they’re subservient. But this week I read an article about how Pope Francis is taking aim at the ideologically obsessed Christians. He’s actually calling right-wing, fundamentalist Christianity an “illness. I’ve certainly given my opinion on that topic. In September, Pope Francis attacked “savage capitalism” and took up the plight of the unemployed against a system that worships money. Earlier that month, the Pope also criticized conservative Catholics for focusing so much on abortion, same-sex marriage, and contraception. And in July, Pope Francis put the brakes on hating gay people, saying that we shouldn’t judge or marginalize them. Clearly, Pope Francis isn’t fond of the extreme ideals of the Christian Right. He supports helping the poor. He believes in economic fairness. He denounces hatred of gay people. He thinks the war against abortion and birth control has gone too far. This was a huge revelation coming from the Catholic Pope. And it got me thinking about all of the other amazing things that have happened this year, especially for women. I mean if the Pope can actually say out loud that there is too much focus on abortion and contraception and agree with me that there is a serious bunch of whackos on the right, then anything is possible. So I decided too look back over the year and find my attitude of gratitude, as a friend likes to say. 1. I have heard the word feminist used much more this year than I have in recent years. The definition of feminist means that you believe man and women are equal… pretty radical. But somehow over time that word got hijacked into meaning that you are a man-hating hag who wants to castrate all males of the species. I’m pretty sure that was Rush Limbaugh’s definition. Thankfully I’ve really been seeing it used in its true form…. A feminist being the radical notion that women are people. Even Beyonce said. “I guess I am a modern-day feminist. I do believe in equality.” "John Legend said, “All men should be feminists. If men care about women's rights the world will be a better place. We are better off when women are empowered — it leads to a better society."
2. After one of her superiors threatened to fire her if she didn't slim down, Academy award winning actress Jennifer Lawrence was pretty angry. She told Harper's Bazaar UK that "If anybody even tries to whisper the word 'diet,' I’m like, 'You can go f**k yourself.'" This inspired young women across the country to do the same thing. I’ve even heard several actresses objecting to having their images airbrushed. I’m hoping that it’s a trend.
3. After the fatal, brutal gang rape of a student caused international uproar and mass protests, the Indian government took drastic action. On March 19, the parliament passed an anti-rape bill that doubled the punishment for rapists. This set the stage for a global conversation about sexual assault and the persistence of rape culture across borders.
4. I saw the most amazing commercial targeted towards little girls. It was created by Goldiblox and it was so creative and empowering for girls that I had to watch it several times. Instead of the usual pink and frilly and dolls and tea sets, it showed the ingenuity of little girls. Their website says, “We believe there are a million girls out there who are engineers. They just might not know it yet. We think GoldieBlox can show them the way.”
5. Wendy Davis. Seriously do I need to say more than that name? After Republicans tried to pass an anti-choice abortion bill that would shut down one-third of abortion clinics in Texas, Davis took it upon herself to filibuster the heck out of that law. Though the legislation ended up passing over the summer, it inspired Davis to run for governor and she’s vowed to reverse that bill the minute she gets into office. Not to mention that Rick Perry’s wife came out as Pro-Choice. …. That was the cherry on the cake.
6. Gloria Steinem, The writer, feminist icon and co-founder of Ms. Magazine has been fighting for equality for more than four decades. Was awarded the “Presidential medal of freedom”, by President Obama. This is the highest civilian award given. She received her award in November at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. where she was the first woman to have ever spoken at the Club back in 1971 when the Press Club finally admitted women. When she accepted her medal, she said it "was a medal for the entire women’s movement."
7. The Affordable Care Act… better known as Obamacare was a huge success for women this year. Despite a bumpy roll out, which is pretty normal for any major program like that, this is a huge victory for women. We will no longer pay more for insurance just because we are women. Since we frequently do earn less income, this will provide health insurance for us and our families at affordable rates. Free preventative care, which includes birth control. Maternity care… you probably didn’t know that only 12% of the current plans on the individual market include that. …. The Right wing wants to force women to give birth, but they don’t want insurance to cover the cost of that pregnancy and birth, or pay a woman equal wages to support that child or even allow birth control to prevent the pregnancy to start with. Sorry a core issue for me. …. Getting back to the things I appreciate.
8. The Senate has cleared the way for Janet Yellen to become the Chair of the Federal Reserve. … this is huge. We’re talking about overseeing the world’s economy. This is the first time in our nation’s history that a woman has ever held this high level position.
9. On July 12, Malala Yousafzai celebrated her 16th birthday by delivering her first speech since she survived a bullet to the head by the Taliban. Her words inspired millions around the world, especially after she made some enlightening feminist statements like, "We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back." She was on Time Magazine’s list for ‘Top Person of the Year’ and she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize… which she should have won in my opinion.
10. California Woman 411. Having the opportunity to do this show and meet some of the most inspiration al women around is such an amazing thing. And I truly appreciate this station. So many of the Progressive talk stations are under attack around the country. I recently heard about the progressive talk station in Los Angeles being converted to a Sports station. The Right Wing does seems to have a monopoly on talk radio and it’s pretty impressive that RR Broadcasting maintains their commitment to KPTR 1450 AM.
This list isn’t inclusive of everything that should be mentioned and it’s not in any particular order. Depending on the day or the mood each could be more relevant. But I think that as this year draws to a close, it’s important to look at the achievements and the progress as we continue to call out the changes that need to be addressed.
We have to remember that "Feminist" is not a dirty word, contrary to what the misogynist on the right would have you believe. If something isn't fair or isn't right, you don't have to keep quiet and act like a 'lady.' Speak up and say NO to things that you feel are wrong and you’d be surprised to find that you’re not alone. I am an optimist. I believe the glass is half full and you have to look for the good. But that does not mean denying what’s bad and doing what you need to do to fight for change. We all have to find our attitude of gratitude list.