Sunday, 29 June 2008

green & purple

I find, reading about Millicent Fawcett [see stitch in time] that there is a difference, jealously guarded at one time I expect, between a suffragette and a suffragist. I have not heard of the latter - it seems they were the non-violent wing of the revolution.
Just goes to show that if you want to get noticed, you have to make a splash, preferably of blood, sweat or tears.
At one time I marched - abortion, peace, ban the bomb, housing-before-townhall-car-parks.........topics large and small.
One thing i noticed even then was the preponderance of young men keen to sweep all before them. In time I began to wonder if the testosterone was the main stimulant, rather than the principle.
It wasn't until I had kids in the 70s, that I began to make sense of it all.
Until then, an only child, then a teacher in my own little empire I didn't really suspect that my frustrations may have political connotations. I just thought I was inadequate; terrified of not having a boyfriend, my main aim to be married and thus worthy.
Having children finally made me realise the dependency of my position.
I was reliant on my man, the system, the culture to support me, as I was suddenly in full time support of my kids, they had to come first.
I have always been self centred, willful but once a woman has kids, I felt I was vulnerable ......... No longer a free agent, had I ever been a free agent?
We moved to Carlisle and in a bid to meet people [women?] I joined a new group, the Carlisle Women's' Action Group, we read Against Our Will by Susan Brownmiller and suddenly it all made sense.
Now, I find when talking to other women my age, they couldn't remember what the symbol for Women's' Liberation was.
The green and purple of the suffragettes also had to be dredged up from the recesses.
This week it is coincidentally 80 years since all adult women got the vote.
What would Millicent say if she knew older ones don't remember and younger ones feel it is irrelevant.

No comments: