I just had heard it one time too many..."I'm all for equality, but I'm not a feminist!" I think it is just inconceivably stupid and short-sighted.
I know women who don't like to associate themselves with feminists. They don't want to get dragged into the fray with those noisy, pesky, messy trouble-makers. Oh, no, they're much nicer than that. They think we have already achieved everything that needs to be achieved and they did it all by themselves. Because they are so smart! And clever! And they never needed anyone to give them anything!
It just makes me want to start screaming at their stupid little ungrateful idiotic selves. Their sense of privilege makes the fur stand up on my neck.
Let's take a little trip down feminist memory lane.
How bad were things for women before feminism? Try this on for size: when former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor graduated from Stanford Law in the 50's, no one would hire her. Because she was a woman. She took a job as a legal secretary.
Sex-segregated want ads were legal until 1968. There were many jobs that were just not open to women. There was no recourse. No one to appeal to. And that was okay.
A married woman who wanted to establish credit in her own name usually could not. It wasn't until 1974 that a US law prohibiting discrimination in lending was passed.
Spousal rape was legal. The first law in the US prohibiting spousal rape was passed in 1976. Until then, if you were married, your body was your husband's to do with what he wanted.
But now everything is better, right?
Right now in 28 states it is still legal for employers to ask about your marital status and whether you have children or not before they hire you. Is that right?
Women have made wage gains, but still only make 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. No big deal?
Over a lifetime of work, the 23 cents-on-the-dollar we're losing adds up. The average 25-year-old working woman will lose about $455,000 to unequal pay during her working life.
And because we're paid less now, we have less to save for our futures and we'll earn smaller pensions than men. Half of all women with income from a pension in 2002 received less than $5,600 per year, compared with $10,340 per year for men.
I know, boring statistics. Always complaining, those icky rude feminists. Why can't they be more positive??
Don't get me wrong. I'm thankful for all the gains women have made. Women are outpacing men in getting university educations. Law and medical schools all over the country are filled with female students. Opportunities are better than they ever have been for men as well as women.
But there is a long way to go in our country and an even longer way to go in other parts of the world. If you think things are fine as a woman here, just take a look around and lend a hand to our sisters somewhere else. Female genital mutilation. Sharia law. Domestic violence. Rape. There are plenty of things to stand up and shout about.
Because we have gained so much from their efforts, I think we owe early feminists a debt of gratitude that can only be repaid by continuing their work. Only when every woman and man is treated with equality, dignity and respect will our task as feminists be done.