The big banging “F” word and millennials

The week before last, near the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court, a whole lot of the “F” word was thrown around at a rally. I heartily approve and you don’t know “F” if you don’t. This is where I’m supposed to reassure you that I’m not going all potty-mouthed to make a point and offer comfort that you’re not alone in your ignorance. Yes and no.

Yes, you pegged me as an avoider of public swear fests. But, I was sorely tempted last week when The Today Show put their ignorance on display over the “F” word – feminism. Wincing, I watched “media professionals” strain to acknowledge the history behind the intentional hijacking of the word. This was followed by hyping a few social media pages of a relative handful of “anti-feminist” young women. The pros topped off the segment with the dubious invitation to talk about this state, mercy me, this face-palming state of modern-day feminism. Did I mention I was sorely tempted?

Seriously, you want to talk about today’s feminism on the back of two pages that reflect the vestiges of a fossilized campaign that managed to promote misunderstandings about feminism. You trumpet these pages as evidence of a growing millennial movement of young ladies who feel they are equals holding the same rights and enjoying the same opportunities as young men; hence, “women don’t need no stinking feminism” is the new state of feminism.

No, don’t look to me for comforting platitudes that you’re not virtually alone if you can’t see the reality of the state of today’s feminism. Or, you see something else because you’re hawking something else that you think will boost bad ratings.

The reality is that a “Big Bang” echoed across this nation in the last few weeks built on several years of assaults on women’s equality that infiltrated once safe places. This nation was blasted awake to the dangers of women not being fully included in the Constitution. Women and men woke up to the fact that activist legislators can “roll back” women’s rights and activist judges can surely “roll over” them. Modern-day feminism is in a modern day revolt. A revolt smartly capitalizing on millennial technology to fight being dragged back to a yesteryear point in the ongoing struggle for full equality for women.

Millennials are beginning to use hundreds of sites and a full continuum of applications wielding the Big Banging “F” word like a social justice hammer. Thousands of young women and men have joined the conversation burning up networking platforms pushing for political action for equality between the sexes. They get it. Interdependent equality secures the well-being of both sexes, a fundamental truth they are determined to see actualized though it eluded generations before them.

From the Feminist Majority Foundation blog reporting on the rally on July 24, 2014, 

This morning, Congresswomen Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Jackie Speier (D-CA) led a solid crowd of Equal Rights Amendment activists and supporters just beyond the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court. 

“Recent Supreme Court decisions have sent women’s rights back to the Stone Age,” Rep. Speier said in a release issued on Tuesday. “Justice Scalia reminds us that the Constitution does not prohibit discrimination based on sex and that corporations have more rights than women do,” she continued. 

“We have had to fight, and fight, and lose, and fight, and lose, and get up and fight again, and win, and have it cut back, and fight again, and do it over and over and over and over again,” said Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women, at the rally. “If we had an Equal Rights Amendment, we wouldn’t have to be spending all of our resources, and all of our energy, and all of our attention, just getting to a little bit more of equality.” 

“As it stands, the U.S. Constitution makes no explicit reference to “women” or the rights of individuals on the basis of sex.” 

But that could all change. They were there in the crowd at the rally. Exciting, fresh voices of feminism side-by-side with known voices of feminism launching the new wave of the push for the Equal Rights Amendment. A witness that the long arc of the Moral Universe is bending towards justice between the sexes.

Go Millennials. Bend it baby, bend it. That’s the new state of feminism. 


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Marena Groll is a liberal feminist, former educator and life-long United Methodist. A native daughter, she holds high bar-b-que standards y’all.

Columnist Marena Groll