SIMULTANEOUS DISCHARGE OF ALL THE GUNS ON ONE SIDE OF A
WARSHIP . . . ANY STRONG OR COMPREHENSIVE ATTACK, AS BY
CRITICISM ... A SONG, CHIEFLY IN I6TH- AND 17TH-CENTURY
ENGLAND, WRITTEN.ON A TOPICAL SUBJECT, PRINTED ON BROADSIDES, AND SUNG IN PUBLIC . . . , BY A PROFESSIONAL BALLADEER .
THE RANDOM HOUSE DICTIONARY OF THE
ENGLISH LANGUAGE, UNABRIDGED EDITION
As a new member of NOW, I find that I have two conflicting feelings about
becoming a feminist. On one hand, I feel very good about working for me;
on the other, I am becoming more than a little paranoid.
I had gone to the first orientation meeting feeling I was drowning --
the waves were lapping against my nose. Raising a daughter, trying to
keep a balanced budget, running errands, and coping with a fulltime job
has given me plenty of exposure to the deeply ingrained attitude women
should not want to make it in the world without the "protection" of some
man -- any man -- and they certainly shouldn't enjoy it!
My independence was hard-won and a long time coming for me. I felt
so alone because I had chosen a way of life that is still considered
unnatural and unusual. At NOW meetings I have met so many women, from
Ph.D.'s to fulltime housewives, who feel the same way I do, and I don't
feel so eccentric or so alone anymore.
There is always the chance I will never want to marry again, but regardless, I want to have the best life for myself and my daughter that
I can possibly provide. NOW has shown me that women simply do not have
to accept attitudes and practices which tend to rob them of equal pay for
equal work, equal opportunity for credit, and ownership of their own
I am so glad to be in the Movement. I have never been a "joiner."
Garden clubs and card parties have never appealed to me at all. I once
joined a sorority when I was in college, but was so inactive that they
elected me to a minor office just so I would show up for the meetings.
NOW is something different. It isn't a social club, although you find
good society there; and it isn't one of those busy-work clubs for women
to get together on any excuse to combat loneliness. I feel NOW is a
civil rights group in the truest sense with serious intentions and
necessary goals, and I certainly don't feel like I am wasting my time.
As for paranoia, well ... I have found a large, yellow streak of it
lengthwise down my back. As ashamed as I am, I must confess to it. I
have found it difficult to mention to some of my acquaintances that I
am now a card-carrying feminist. Reactions have ranged from, "Really?
When do they meet?" to "Come on, now... you don't think you're as good as
a man, do you?"
Could I lose my job? Will any man ever want to date me? Will my
friends shun me, my daughter be teased at school? Will I be mentioned by
my relatives in whispers? Is it, or is it not, worse than body odor?
So here I am bucking the system, and I'm also looking over my shoulder.
I hope these fantasies will fade with time and experience in the Movement. I have already found that it isn't so much the men who are up
tight about women's liberation, as it is the "Doris Days". You know the
kind I mean. They smirk and say, "Well, of course, I'm happily married,
so I don't feel discriminated against." I wonder what they plan to do if
they are widowed or divorced and need to get credit in their own names,
or jobs. It can happen to any woman, and it happens every day. I have
heard two women come right out and call the movement "crap", so I think
that the idea of freedom and its accompanying responsibility frightens
some women very much.
We have all been carefully taught that we must have the approval of
men, that it's no wonder I look over my shoulder. We should all have
chronic neck strain by now. I am not so sure, though, that men -- a
general term if there ever was one -- will not approve. It depends on
the man and how secure he is in his masculinity. I haven't heard very
much vocal opposition from men; in fact, I've heard a few "Good for
you's". and l'm certain the number will grow.
Barbara Lane Farley
PRESIDENT: Parrish Hirasaki
VICE PRESIDENT: Peggy Hall
SECRETARY: Muncy McKinney
TREASURER: Ann McClung
TASK FORCES AND
National Organization for Women
P.O. Box 58202
Houston, Texas 77058
If you have a question about Houston
NOW or any aspect of women's rights,
call one ot the following numbers:
MINIMUM WAGE. Senate passed bill
extending coverage to domestics
and increasing wage to $2.20.
Bill to go to conference. House
bill does not include domestics.
CHILD CARE. Senate passed modified version to meet Nixon's
objections. House has not acted.
WELFARE. HR1 passed House. Considered by Senate Finance Committee. Opposed by National Welfare