Helen Reddy Should Be Proud

During this past year we had to face that the war on women still rages,that it rages over generations and centuries, that the campaign will be a lifelong one, the battles seem to go on forever, and "the other side" sanctions the use of snipers, terrorist tactics, and limits the concept of collateral damage to fetuses.  We must not become complacent or allow our daughters and their descendants to forget the the ever so recent introduction and tenuous status of the concept of women's rights into our culture.

As a later born baby boomer, someone born at the height of the Post World War II Baby Boom, I remember the winter 0f 72/73 from the perspective of a member of a sophomore class in high school.  I remember January 1973.  I heard the whispers about girls, and they really were just girls, my age who were absent from school, with no advance notice, on quick trips to other states  to go "shopping" with their mothers.  These were the girls whose parents had a bit of disposable income, or the ability to come up with it on very short notice.    Most people did not have credit cards, and travel was not as common place as it is now.  It raised eyebrows.  Girls who did not belong to upper or upper middle class families went to shady practitioners close to home with money gotten through means that left them beholden to someone for the assistance and keeping their secret.  Or they travelled, most often out-of-state" to live with "aunts" for a few months.  These girls then returned home by themselves bearing the new status of  women at a very young age, probably to be victimized or re-victimized, by predators who lurked, often in plain site as "respectable" community members, for just such young tarts.  Or they stayed in the community and had the child.  Or they married rapidly, eloped, and had a premature baby, although the only premature aspect of the situation was their status as wife and mother.

I can't help it.  I view the ruling of the Supreme Court of the United States of America which occurred on January 22, 1973 through memory's lens, that of a 15 year old girl who had not "gone all the way" with the amazingly sexy boy with whom I was "going."  I viewed those times in which I lived in terms of the shattering of lives I had already witnessed.  I viewed it in terms of the panic and sadness I had seen in friends' eyes.  I viewed this in terms of being a girl who, because of the ruling issues on that day, would never "have" to be trapped into a lifelong relationship with some schmuck who was just as likely to have forced himself upon me or  lied to/coerced me.  This did not have to be a fully conscious realization to be true.  The Zeitgeist had changed.  No one can unchange something.  I remember when it changed.  My health was my own, even if someone inserted themselves, forcibly, into my personal timeline.

The spirit of the times was in full frontal flux.  A few months before this historic ruling that pronounced equality in access to health care procedures for all as a legal right, a song by Helen Reddy was released by Helen Reddy following her instincts and insights, came to America to achieve something.  It turns out she was to write and sing what is often called an anthem of "women's liberation."  What it really was: a Clarion Call of the generation who would have to walk most of life's path after the unimaginable the shift that, at least to my mind, was occurring in a "7 plus or minus 2"  year time vortex centered around 1970.  It was I Am Woman. It topped Billboard's pop charts reaching #1 status on December 9, 1972.

Helen Reddy should be proud.  She should be proud she was attuned to the times well enough to encapsulate major change as it was happening and, in fact, to build upon that change by amplifying its essence through song.  Helen Reddy should be proud of her little Baby Boomer sisters who internalized the reality, hope, and celebration contained within her lyrics.

Helen Reddy has come a long, long way since that moment too.  I suggest that Boomer Women, and those who love them, do two things which I am fairly certain Helen would support.

1. look back four decades of time to when the ruling was made and attempt to understand why things had to change  -- it was impossible for a woman to have equality in and before the courts because pregnancy ran its course before a woman could receive judicial resolve of issues surrounding that pregnancy.   I think it might inform lots of people to read Blackmun's quoting of McKenna in 1912, wherein it was noted that , as the Wikipedia article I quote states, "that pregnancy would normally conclude more quickly than an appellate process: "If that termination makes a case moot, pregnancy litigation seldom will survive much beyond the trial stage, and appellate review will be effectively denied." "  And, if I may be so bold, I will prophylactically suggest that: "if you cannot understand the language in the ruling, well, perhaps you do not have the standing to comment upon it.  

2. pass these suggestions to the religious right who always seem to comment when we talk about things like women's health and history.

  • Keep your religious views out of my civil liberties.
  • If you hate abortion, love contraception.
  • Find a 21st Century representation of your Deity rather than using terminology from the days of feudal lords.
  • Remember there is a religious left.
  • If you are Christian, focus on the New Testament.

Remember the times that make up history.  Be ready to remember Reddy.


 This is a repost from my new site at: http://boomher.com