I’m amazed! I thought we won these battles a long time ago, yet I see on the evening news that state after state is closing in on women’s freedom to choose. A woman should have a choice about what to do with her own body. Is this a time warp and it is 1960?…Otherwise there is no excuse for this nonsense.
For a while, I was a home teacher and one of my students was a shy, lovely young woman who had been told she couldn’t come to school because she was pregnant and might “contaminate” other girls.
She got caught in an unwanted pregnancy and chose to carry the child to full term. No matter what her choices were after the child was born, this was a setback for her and her life plans. It was a long time ago.
We all face setbacks in life and she had the intelligence to manage better than most unwed mothers. If it was her decision to keep her child, she was headed toward poverty, according to the statistics. If she chose to have her child adopted, that was fine although there could be psychological issues. She had some difficult choices to make.
I didn’t know her well and we didn’t talk personally. She was a good student and I tried to teach her well. I remember I thought it was very unfair to kick her out of school but life was very unfair for women. It’s a sure bet that the baby’s father didn’t have to leave.
Abortions were still not legal and I have no idea if she would have wanted one but the point is, she didn’t have a safe choice. Every woman deserves a choice!
That was a long time ago and times have changed. Teens now are usually allowed to finish school and some of the girls are allowed to choose a special school where they also get parenting classes.
I wrote a book called Young Parents once and I learned from the research. If the girls choose to keep their kids, they were statistically doomed to poverty for the remainder of their lives. Of course there are exceptions but most teen parents struggle for years. Almost none have a baby’s father who stays in the picture.
When I taught high school, back in the Sixties, I heard kids say you couldn’t get pregnant the first time. Some of those kids also believed that you had to “really enjoy it” before you could get pregnant.
Those kids were sixteen years old and it was more than fifty years ago. United States Congressmen and State Representatives are a long way from high school. Some of them spouted ideas on the news that were more nonsensical ideas than any I have ever heard from a teenager.
Why are they really against Planned Parenthood? Why are they attempting to whittle away at abortion clinics? I can’t believe they are motivated by religion or they’d be more religious about helping the children who are already here. I think they must believe that their views will bring them more votes from people who fear change.
These fearful voters are the same ones who are routinely trying to keep poor people from voting. They also want more guns and they are anti-immigration and the list goes on. If dinosaurs ran for office, the change-adverse voters would rush to vote for them. Oops! Dinosaurs do run.
Resistance to change concerns me but I really get hot about the shutting down of abortion centers and the persecution of Planned Parenthood organizations because I have a great long term memory.
In my day, girls were routinely blamed for getting pregnant. We were supposed to know better and understand that boys had “needs” that would drive them to distraction. It was up to us girls, when we went on a date, to keep our wits about us and our knees shut.
During this last election, I heard several political figures spouting the same nonsense. I even heard one candidate claiming that women cannot get pregnant if they are “legitimately” raped. That is probably based on my 1960’s students’ belief that you had to enjoy it before it worked to make babies.
If my news station is to be believed, that is a fairly common belief today. I had never heard that particular canard until recently, but apparently it has been around a long time in the right-to-life circles. Do they old guys still chuckle and say, “If rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it?”
All of this is just another alarming sign of the age-old prejudice against women. Whether it is a judge who blames the rape victim because she wear the wrong clothes or the neighbor who blames the teenage girl for going out with that wild boy, it always centers on the idea that it is all her fault.
How about your family? If you have children and grandchildren, what are you teaching them? Do you tell the girls to be careful and the boys to have fun? I hope not.
As a retired Religious Science minister, I’m supposed to look on the positive side and I usually do. The positive side here is that it will all change despite some people’s attempts to block progress. And I’m positively glad to know that New Thought arose, to make progress and accepting women as equals was part of that forward movement.
Many feminists deny all the traditional teachings as being anti-female and patriarchal. Their interest is in ancient teachings featuring goddesses and that is an interesting development. I’m glad they are doing it but I’m happy to see there are other attempts to the nonsense in the dominant religions.
Some people see the Bible as an old fashioned book that promotes men into leadership positions of power. They say blaming the woman is a common theme in the Old Testament.
True – there are a lot of stories about women enticing men to sin, probably because men wrote the book. Whether it is Eve, Delilah or Jezabel, these Biblical characters are nasty ladies. Some of the traditional churches seem to hang on to those attitudes, stating that women cannot be priests or ministers and the man is head of the household.
But most of the traditional churches are moving away from those beliefs based on stories written thousands of years ago. Protestant seminaries are crammed with women studying to be ministers. We are living in more enlightened times.
I don’t worry so much about what the churches say anyway. If someone chooses to believe that sex without a desire to conceive is a sin and not use birth control, that is personal business. It becomes impersonal when freedom of choice for every woman is threatened.
I think this is a good time to take a good look at the issue of women’s rights in general and check out your own attitudes about sexual behavior. Is it all the woman’s fault in your world?
Do I want to change any of my personal attitudes?
Do I want to investigate this issue?
Do I want to tell my legislators how I feel?
On Monday, a friend called and said, “ Your book, Dreams Can Come True, was on the Today show.” There were several messages from other friends who saw the show. I am always amazed at the powerful reach of TV.
Later that day, my daughter sent me a clip of the show and I watched it. If I can figure out how to do it, I will put a link out later this week.
The reason the book was on TV is that the Today Show has a new host – Savannah Guthrie – and they were introducing her to the audience. Apparently Dreams Can Come True was her favorite book as a young teen.
The other host, Matt Lauer, read from the back cover and tried to tease her about the plot which is all about wanting to be a cheerleader and catching the most popular football hero as a boyfriend. I was happy when she defended the book, saying, “It was a good book.”
I was also bit dismayed at how much trouble they went to make their new host look like a silly girl. After all, the woman is an accomplished journalist and she’s read lots of other books since she was in 7th grade.
It threw me back to those days (1982) when I was a member of the National Organization of Women (NOW) and we were trying to pass the ERA Amendment. NOW kept calling me and I kept sending them money. My contributions came from the money I was making writing teenage romances.
The book is out of print now and it was fun to see the cover on a national TV show. We all enjoy our 15 seconds of fame. I hope it was helpful to Ms. Guthrie and the thousands of other young women who read it back then. I’ve always been proud of my career as a writer for teenagers, even though I moved on to spiritual writing.
In those days, I was happy to be making good money at a craft I’d struggled with for years. I was able to write books girls loved because I had been a teacher and I knew teenagers. It never seemed inappropriate to me to write about a young girl’s search for popularity and young love. They always learned some life-lessons along the way. Lessons in self-reliance and integrity, as well as how to get what you want.
I’m not sure I’d be able to write most of the stuff that I see pushed on TV now. That is because I have changed and times have changed. I am older, more deeply involved in my spiritual teaching, and I haven’t been in a classroom for more than 35 years. As I said, times have also changed. But…
Times haven’t changed – up until now – as much as I wanted. While there are some gains in women’s lives, we never did get the Equal Rights Amendment passed. Women still make 77 cents on the dollar that men make in the same jobs. While there are more women in visible TV spots, they are nearly all beautiful. There are still not many women (beautiful or not) politicians at the state or national level.
What’s more, it seems as if the gains we made over the years are being pushed back as fast as politicians
(who say they are all about jobs but spend their time pushing against equal rights) can push.
I am concerned that our political future may be deeply impacted by unlimited and undisclosed contributions from a few “fat cats”. It was not the future I expected back in the 70’s and 80’s when the lives of women and other “minority” groups seemed on track to get so much better.
If you had told any of us who were working for the passage of the ERA amendment that the rights and support of women and children would be in grave danger now, we wouldn’t have believed it. Access to abortion, birth control, child health care, and nutrition programs is absolutely important to the health of this nation.
I don’t care how much people long for the good old days that never existed. Nostalgia for simpler times is a poison pellet this country must not swallow. Believe me, there was never a time when all girls wanted was to be popular cheerleaders. Those teenage romances were about as realistic as the Cosby show.
I love to watch old movies and am almost addicted to screwball comedies of the Thirties but I don’t believe that people lived like that in real life. They were simply entertainments. We should never confuse entertainment with fact. Plus, time can never run backwards.
That said, I am very happy to have Dreams Can Come True acknowledged as, “a good book” by a successful and visible child of the 80’s. It is always amazing and wonderful how wide those pebbles we toss into the lake can go. I wish her well in her new spot.
As for my own current career. I will be speaking on Rev. Beverly Molander’s radio show next Monday at 1 pm. You can access the show by going to http://www.unity.fm/program/AffirmativePrayer. That invitation came because of the book’s brief appearance on the Today show.
I am finishing up my Emerson class this Thursday and it has been wonderful to revisit that fabulous thinker and his friends. This has been an exceptionally bright group of students and they especially enjoyed watching my lectures that I made 20 years ago. I especially enjoyed being reminded of that 110 pound weight loss.
My meditation coloring book is done and I will be writing about it soon.
I will be speaking in church on Sunday, July 29th, and I think my talk will be about Summer Reading. Any suggestions?
What was your favorite book as a kid?
What is your favorite New Thought book?