Women Emerging – Building Our Future – 3
When I was in graduate school in the 1960s there were not a lot of women psychologists and few women in my graduate school class. They seemed ill at ease and I think they sensed something like not belonging. The horizon did not suggest change of their position. Little did we know.
Something Was Different
As I noted in part one of this series, my guide in my first job after getting my Ph.D. was a black woman. I hadn’t been searching for major changes but found them. Yes, I was looking for a new way to deliver mental health services but the possibilities offered were beyond what I had expected. And, honestly, I had not been yearning for a new day for women. But it was developing.
Of course my perspective was not their perspective but quickly I could see an advocacy for change on their part. Some of the women were angry and they were beginning to stand up for themselves.
Women’s Liberation was what it was called at the time and, for a reason I will never understand, it resonated with me at once. At a convention I heard women were meeting and went to attend. But I was turned away and now I understand why. Men were often arrogant and wanted to assert their power. So, the women needed to meet together first while they laid their own plans and learned to be assertive, even demanding.
That period was the beginning of what I repeatedly call the long wave. It seemed to go underground for awhile but never disappeared. Gradually women gained position and acceptance at least among some men. But, many of us continued to view a problem with older white men. Racism and sexism were part of their problem and we are still working on it.
Broadening the Movement
And now the women’s movement is multifaceted with women who are willing to assert in general and specific ways. Suddenly we are in touch with the #MeToo movement. It took ever so long to get here but women are now speaking out about the sexual abuse they have suffered. At last they seem to feel safe enough-sometimes.
I think we are going to find there is a long way to go. Surely we will see unexpected revelations and certainly there will be many things exposed. But it seems unlikely we will turn back now and it is all, in the end, a breath of fresh air even if the revelations may sometimes smell badly.
What of Men?
Are men supposed to support the movement? I ask that obvious question because we should not just be observers. Support is indicated. We are seeing that we are opening the full inclusion of women and that means bringing in the full potential of 50% of our population.
But there is another question. Are men to simply approve and support or are we willing to face ourselves? Are we willing to examine the male culture with all its strengths and unfortunate proclivities? My view as a man is that there is often a shocking lack of morality, there is often intimidation which may, for example, be related to the demand for devotion to sports. It seems we have not yet examined things enough to really understand what happens to us and the revolution which is needed among men for men and all of us.
It is not enough to welcome women to equality. In fact we are still a long ways away. But, from my perspective, all of us must face the arrogance and assumptions of superiority of older white men. Our country will soon tip from a dominant white culture to a multiracial society. On our way we have to face the reality of the dominance which there has been for far too long. And it would certainly help if older white men would face themselves.
Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt
Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page
Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt
Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership
Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt