by Barbara A. Hake.
The names Roy Moore, Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Matt Lauer, Al Franken, John Conyers and, yes, Donald Trump, should make every woman cringe, as I do, and every man look in the mirror.
While Roy Moore was trolling the courthouse looking for pretty, young women, and Harvey Weinstein was abusing his power and position in Hollywood, women all over the country were being abused and dishonored. That is NOT a new story. I use these particular examples because of their recent notoriety.
When our Founding Fathers wrote the Declaration of Independence, stating that “all men are created equal,” women and people of color were still, in many minds, considered chattel. Suffragettes fought to be heard and for women’s right to vote and some died in that effort.
From Sojourner Truth’s “Ain’t I a Woman” speech in 1851 at the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention to Hillary Clinton’s acceptance speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, women have raised their voices. But have they been heard??
Four decades after Ms. Truth’s death, the 19th Amendment was ratified in 1920, finally giving us the right to vote. It took 96 years before a woman could stand at the podium and accept her party’s nomination to run for President. This is unacceptable in a world where women have been leaders of their countries decades before we “progressed” to this point. Think Golda Meir, Indira Ghandi, Margaret Thatcher and Angela Merkel!
So we need to band together, not tear each other down. If someone says something inappropriate to me, or someone in earshot of me, it is my obligation to call them out on it. If a man gets “handsy” or suggestive, I have every right to confront him and, in no uncertain terms, let him know how inappropriate his actions, or suggestions, are.
We have every right to earn equal pay as any guy out there. Case in point, I was appalled to learn that when they re-shot scenes from “All the Money in the World,” where Kevin Spacey was replaced by Christopher Plummer, Michelle Williams got $80 per day while Mark Wahlberg received a whopping $1.5M. And Ms. Williams had offered to do the re-shoot for no salary!
They were both represented by the same agent/office, who obviously do not see women on par with men. This is a case where the spotlight was on the movie industry and they were applauded for replacing Spacey, but now take five steps back for this failure of equitable pay. And how much more often does it happen in our workplaces, where we “regular” folk ply our trades?
I feel that we no longer have to stay silent about actions taken against us, crossing the lines of propriety in business, political and social circumstances. We no longer have to be the “good girl,” too polite to call someone out and just take what is demeaning and crass.
And it is time that men speak out, too, in support of their wives, sisters, daughters, friends and not shrug it off as just guy actions. We have seen where tossing off comments as “locker room guy talk” has brought us. One of the worst offenders/demeanors of women now sits in the Oval Office.
Women have stepped forward for years and no one listened, or shut them down. Finally our voices are being heard and we need to keep the momentum flowing. We, as Democrats, must continue to take the lead to make sure that no woman is ever made to feel less than equal!
Barbara A. Hake is First Vice Chair of the Horry County, SC, Democratic Party