Archive for the ‘Minnesota NOW’ Category

Ladies unite for the War on Women!

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

The following is a guest post by Mrs. Matthew Black, member of the Twin Cities chapter of Ladies Against Women.  Though I object to everything she wrote here, she threatened to reveal my eBay username if I didn’t allow her to post this unedited. –SD

On April 28, 2012, I was invited by local ladies of my acquaintance to attend an event relating to this War on Women that everyone’s talking about. I usually don’t express myself in public in this manner (preferring to let my husband speak for me, of course), but I felt that a War on Women was something that the ladies and I could get behind. Here we are:

Photo credit: a young man who was thrilled to be of service

Mrs. Ballentine looks depressed because she accidentally left her pearls at home, the poor dear.  I would chide her for this oversight if I weren’t guilty of a crime against decency myself–the wearing of white shoes before Memorial Day.  I share this unretouched photo in hopes that my gentle readers will learn from my mistake:

Photo credit: Mrs. Robert Rolle

It will take a little more than a wardrobe faux pas to keep me from speaking my mind about this War on Women.  As I said in my remarks, just about everything wrong with America can be traced back to the day in 1920 when non-male adults were given permission to vote.  On this issue I agree with Miss Ann Coulter, though I don’t make it a habit to pay attention to women who don’t have the sense to get married at least once.  Even vulgar trollops like Misses Madonna Ciccone and Britney Spears have been married twice each (just not to each other, for heaven’s sake).

Photo credit: Mrs. Robert Rolle

Confidential to strapping bachelors and wealthy widowers: Miss Emily Johnston, the young lady holding my umbrella, is single and looking for a breadwinner who will allow her occasional use of his Kohl’s card!  Interested gentlemen may send resumes, sperm counts, and credit reports to

The crowd really seemed to enjoy my story about how I reacted when people assumed I supported Michele Bachmann for president.  The very idea of a WOMAN president gives me horrible gas.  It twists me up so that I can’t help making faces like this:

Photo credit: some feminist in cahoots with Sen. Sandy Pappas, a speaker at the rally

Here’s something that keeps me popping Tums late into the night: I assumed a member of the Minnesota legislature who goes by “Sandy” must have the first name Alexander on his birth certificate.  Was I ever wrong!  This Sandy creature and Michele Bachmann are two of a kind–women who forgot that they are supposed to be working in the kind of house that has a white picket fence around it.  Leave the state and federal Houses to the menfolk, please!

It’s my great hope that this day of rallies in support of the War on Women will alert ladies and the gentlemen who support them to the danger posed by women legislators, contraceptives, and the unmarried.  I invite ladies across the country to join me in not voting on November 6.


Mrs. Matthew Black

Zoe Nicholson on intergenerational feminism

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

One of the great perks of my position as Minnesota NOW president has been making the acquaintance of activists across the country.  Few have knocked me out quite like Pacific Shore NOW member Zoe Nicholson, though!

Author of “The Hungry Heart,” a diary of the 37 days she fasted for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment, Zoe is also a board member of the Veteran Feminists of America, founder of  The Bridge Project, a featured subject in the LGBT equality documentary “March On!” (which has its Midwest premiere April 13, 2012), and a popular speaker at schools and events nationwide.

As a matter of fact, she’ll be delivering the keynote address at the combined Minnesota NOW and Prairie States Regional NOW conference, held April 14, 2012, with a presentation she calls “The Life of an Activist.”  She kindly agreed to share some of her thoughts with me for my blog readers.

What follows is just the beginning of our conversation…



THE RADICAL HOUSEWIFE: I want to start with your thoughts about intergenerational feminism.  I admit that one of the first thoughts I had when I finished “The Hungry Heart” was how damned exciting the Second Wave must have been!  How do we resist the urge to think of the feminist movement as something that had its best years in its past?  

ZOE NICHOLSON: There are many answers but at the root is a call to embrace and participate in change.  Society is breathing and changing just like each of us.  The U.S. Women’s Movement (shall we call its birth 1848?) is a living breathing entity who is unfolding, advancing, evolving.

In 1967, women marching on Wall Street for credit, marching on 5th Avenue for jobs, meeting in homes to share stories was really about the oppressed collecting their energy and focus to advance social change.  Today the tools, the ground of experience, the venues may be different but the movement is the same.  Women, and the men who love them, are collecting around issues making social constructs quake.

There is an illusion that nothing is happening now to rival 35/40 years ago.  If you judge on stars, single charismatic people; Millett, Steinem, Abzug, Friedan, yes that form of igniting action is over.  But that is just a longing for nostalgia, like Mad Man or Marilyn or easy bake ovens.  We are in a great shift of how information is collated, distributed, interpreted and inspires.

Today we are driven by conflict, issues, ideas, crisis, oppressions.  Just to name a few, look at Slutwalk, Occupy, Dreamers, Keystone.  We may clamor for a leader but, ultimately, that is not what is creating the motion ~ it is the oppression itself.  Let’s be sophisticated enough to say, without apology, that the GOP War on Women is the galvanizing force for 4/28.  We are not celebrating that a Toronto woman was told to not dress like a slut but it was our call to action.  It was not a single person standing in front of a microphone, or in the paper, or on a talk show that got us to say, “enough is enough.”  Ideas are our new stars.  Equality is our now both our end and our means.

I want to be clear that I am NOT saying we are reactionary only.  That would be only returning in kind.  I am saying that we are now free from mimeo machines, bulk mailing, home gatherings.  We are enabled with the whole world of electronic communication and just ask the Congressional switchboard how that’s working when a tweet goes out recommending we all call on a certain vote. [Susan B.] Anthony taking the train, waiting for a letter from Elizabeth [Cady Stanton], traveling the West to tell women about the vote – oh how she would have been enabled to reach across the country from a keyboard.  And in the doing, we might have not noticed who said what, we are content driven now.

You ask about our best years.  They are straight ahead.  Everything that has happened since 1848 is on a trajectory.  Women standing in front of Wilson’s White House, Ms. Paul force fed in prison, lesbians held at the gate of Houston 1977 finally invited in, 89 years of work to explicitly include women in the Constitution,  oh, too many to list; are all on the move to change the human paradigm to full equality.  If you are not excited and inspired, you are looking in the wrong direction.

For more from Zoe, watch this space, or check out these links: 

Online With Zoe (her wonderful blog)

MARCH ON! The Movie (a truly great film by Laura McFerrin about the National Equality March of 2009)

Zoe’s Amazon author page, including the brand-new edition of The Hungry Heart for Kindle (a document of the Second Wave that I probably can’t recommend enough)