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Right Wing Conservatives And Women’s Liberation

I have copies of court documents dated 1886.  They are the history of my Great, Great Grandmother’s struggle to keep the bare necessities in order for her children to have food in their stomachs and a bed to sleep in at night.

My Great, Great Grandfather owned a liquor store in what was then called Riverpoint, Rhode Island. Like any businessman he had creditors who would have been paid from receipts his wife would garner through running his business after he died. However, those creditors, being intelligent men of their times, didn’t believe that a woman could run a business. To protect their investment, they closed the liquor store and forced her into court in a bankruptcy proceeding.

The court appointed a guardian to protect her interests. On her behalf, he petitioned the court to allow her to keep her household goods. They consisted of dishes, pots and pans, bed linens and furniture. She had 5 children she had to care for although, my great grandfather was nearly an adult. There was no mention of money with which to buy food, just the normal household goods that we all use daily.

After the petition, there is no further mention of what happened, but we know she married a man with tuberculosis who was many years her junior. She was 44, he was 26. By then the store was in her name. Good thing, because he died shortly after.

How she managed to accomplish taking control of the business and her own destiny on some level is lost to us over time.  As is the very necessity for this type of struggle in this day and age. We, thanks to more than a century of advances in Women’s Rights, are no longer confined to the role of chattel. We are not property.

Those advances, that we take for granted, exist because of decades of Democratic and Republican Politicians that could be convinced to help further our rights by passing amendments guaranteeing those rights to women. Frankly, the Women’s Movement was aligned more often with the Right than the Left so it seriously surprises me that today’s Right is working so hard to erase some of the very standards they helped establish.

Conservative women, like Michele Bachmann, have benefited from those decades of struggle and yet, she appears to feel the need to set that movement back. How far back remains to be seen, but I see little difference in her attitudes than those of the men who felt that my great, great grandmother was incapable of running a business without the guidance of a man.

We’ve all ready seen the attempts to interfere with women’s rights over their own bodies. How far is she willing to go? Does she consider herself subservient to her husband, or equal? Who exactly makes the decisions within that relationship? Is she simply following the bidding of Marcus Bachmann, or are we seeing the ridiculousness that is Michele?

It was a mere 5 generations ago that my female ancestors struggled with their lives in a way that none of us can begin to understand. It’s not something I’d like to see any hint of returning.  I have to ask myself just exactly how important is all this when I go to the polls. What is the legacy that we could be leaving our granddaughters if we stand idly by while others vote the likes of a Michele Bachmann into the Oval Office?

 

 

4 Responses to Right Wing Conservatives And Women’s Liberation

  1. Butterose August 17, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    OK, you explain to me what part of Roe V Wade IS THE LAW that you don’t understand. Also, while you’re hot on unfunding Planned Parenthood, might like to look at how many low income women get their birth control there. No low cost or free birth control means MORE of those women having babies without benefit of husbands.

    I’m old enough to remember how many of the Moms of my friends had black eyes and bruises. One of them actually lost her Mom to a fall down some cellar stairs. Broke her neck. Of course she had a little help from her fine upstanding politician husband. Pillar of the community and of his church. The very places that Bachmann and her TEA PARTY buddies think we need to go back to.

    You have no idea what it was like for women even just a few decades ago. If you big boys hadn’t been so quick to think you could treat your wives like children to be beaten once a week whether they needed it or not, quite possibly women wouldn’t have needed to be protected from you all.

  2. CO Pioneer August 16, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    What a load! Just because she is a Christian Conservative. If she breaks the glass ceiling and becomes POTUS (20,000 times better than the *politician* we have now), wouldn’t that say something for women’s rights? Your Assumption that she would “set the movement back” has no proof other than typical liberal conjecture.

    Liberals only want to take away freedom of speech by shutting down anyone that disagrees with them. Abortion is the cause of more hardship in this country than any other wrong decision. 70+% of young black moms are single moms…great, just great. Thanks women’s lib. The destruction of marriage has so many terrible unintended consequences (like all issues dear to the heart of liberals).

    You have a choice! Don’t get pregnant if you don’t want kids!

    Norma McCorvey now understands roe v wade was a horribly wrong decision? Can you expound upon that?

    Real Equality is what Conservatives want, not this squishy entitlement mentality that we are a country of hedonists that don’t want to take any personal responsibility for our actions.

    Next time Michele Obama tells me not to eat a cheeseburger because it’s bad for me, I’m going to scream, “It’s MY BODY!” Stay out of my kitchen! Hypocrites.

  3. Butterose August 11, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    There were some very good English female monarchs. Elizabeth the First comes to mind. She knew how to protect herself and used that knowledge wisely.

    I look at the state of the women’s movement today and what Congress is doing with it’s underhanded attempts to circumvent Roe Vs Wade through other means than a repeal. I wonder how these women in Congress, who got there due to that movement can sit there and go along with dialing it back?

  4. admin August 11, 2011 at 7:49 am

    The history of women’s rights has always been very complicated…some cultures valued women, ie. England and Scotland were never shy to have a female ruler, and many Native American bands valued women…and some cultures treated women worse than their farm animals…and still do. In the history of America it seems that every person or group that wasn’t male, white, Anglo-Saxon, had to fight to get rights, whether it was the Native Americans, Irish, Africans, Women, Chinese, Mexicans, Italians, even children ( child labor ), etc etc etc…

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