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Houston Breakthrough, February 1979
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Houston Breakthrough, February 1979 - Page 13. February 1979. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. December 9, 2019. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/6029/show/6010.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(February 1979). Houston Breakthrough, February 1979 - Page 13. Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/6029/show/6010

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Breakthrough, February 1979 - Page 13, February 1979, Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed December 9, 2019, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/6029/show/6010.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Houston Breakthrough, February 1979
Publisher Breakthrough Publishing Co.
Date February 1979
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women
  • Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
  • Newsletters
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • periodicals
Language English
Type (DCMI)
  • Text
  • Image
Original Item Location HQ1101 .B74
Original Item URL http://library.uh.edu/record=b2332724~S11
Digital Collection Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the UH Digital Library About page.
File Name index.cpd
Item Description
Title Page 13
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  • image/jpeg
File Name femin_201109_547am.jpg
Transcript Patricia Butler, Spokesperson, Bay Area NOW: "Problem: the Carter administration's conflict with the National Women's Advisory Committee arose over the committee's determination to advise the President (and the public) on women's stake in national issues, not just on 'women's issues,' as viewed by the administration when it established the committee with a vague mandate-and no noticeable budget-to carry out the resolutions of the IWY Conference. What strategy could the administration find to re- confine the committee to the intended sphere of 'women's issues'-job discrimination, displaced homemakers, etc? How could the committee be taught a tough lesson in conformity, without causing it to disband? "Solution: find a prominent leader on the committee to fire—but choose a leader easy to isolate, a leader unpopular with the public and with some members of the committee itself. Bella Abzug was the obvious choice. The news business had long since thrashed her for daring to be as ambitious and aggressive as any male politician, and Abzug's liberal political views were doubtless distasteful to member representatives of the more conservative women's groups. "Results: The Carter administration played it right. The public supported the firing, even calling it brave of the President to face (via two assistants) the terrible Abzug. News reports focused, not on the Carter administration's indifference to the committee's concerns, but on Abzug's personality. In Houston, reporters not only got the expected laudatory comments from anti-feminists, but feminist leaders, probably caught as unawares as Abzug herself was, distanced themselves from her. The Carter administration had successfully divided women, but kept the women's committee fairly intact, its chastened members now surely convinced of the wisdom of orthodoxy. "Conclusions: As a consequence of its success, the feminist movement now encompasses a wide range of political philosophies and leadership styles. To achieve its goals, however, the movement must accommodate differences and refuse to fly apart when threatened with public (male) disapproval or ridicule. As long as a veteran feminist leader's effectiveness can be destroyed simply by labelling her 'unladylike,' the movement will continue to suffer unneccessary setbacks. " Joyce Cragg, Chairperson, Harris County Women's Political Caucus: "Have we come such a long way that we can bicker and quarrel among ourselves about losing Bella Abzug, a feminist fighter? Are we allowing ourselves to be brainwashed with this new negative attitude on feminism? "Just how far have we come? The latest statistics show that the salaries of women are lower in comparison with men than they were 10 years ago. The ERA is still not passed, in fact we are fighting to keep ERA from being rescinded in many states. The Pro Lifers have become exceedingly strong against abortion and also are calling for a constitutional convention. Title IX is still not being enforced as it should. The Equal Employment Act is still not effective. We have two women governors, one elected woman Senator and we lost women in the House of Representatives. From the preceding you can see that we have not come a long way. "I am dismayed that we as women did not immediately jump to Bella's defense, especially for the shabby and deceitful way that she was fired. Here is a woman who has worked long and hard for the women's movement; who has had her own neck on the chopping block time and time again for the movement; who has spent years of her life and her money working for the movement; and in gratitude we fight about making public statements backing her. I say that we have not come far enough to lose onewoman to the movement and that least of all can we afford to lose a fighter for feminism like Bella." Lynne Mutchler, acting President, Southwest Houston Chapter of NOW: "I always liked the names the press has tagged her with-'Bellicose Bella,' 'Battling Bella'- for their alliterative effect as well as what positive meaning is in them. Bellicosity is often necessary in politics and Bella has always battled for the causes we know to be essential. I like the press image of Bella Abzug because it shows strength, while I deplore the negative connotations that because she is a woman she must not be battling or bellicose. "It is Abzug's press image which President Carter obviously was reacting to when he chopped her off. He did not know or did not believe that Abzug has been the administration's advocate on the committee, counseling the committee not to insult the administration on several occasions. "Clearly, Abzug's aggressiveness and abrasive personal style make her no easy person to work with. From the floor of the National Women's Conference in 1977, I saw her, backstage as well as out front, dominate the convention and make it tough for delegates at both extremes. But, because of or in spite of her domination, the conference succeeded better than my expectations and she deserves our continuing support. "The President deserves our censure and contempt for his spiteful act. He has a right to appoint and fire, and he may, if he prefers, choose women whose public behavior is more ladylike, but I feel insulted by his peremptory dismissal of 'Beautiful Bella.' " Iris Sizemore, Chairperson, Women's Group, First Unitarian Church: "Members of the Women's Group at First Unitarian Church knew that we could not react to the axing of Bella Abzug by focusing on her personality. We chose to close ranks and support women overcoming their silences, by springing into life, speech and action. "Disappointed and mad as hell, we evolved a quick network to send mail- grams and POM.s expressing our anger. One woman wrote: There is no 'going too far,' so that as we grow and change we expand into other issues and dare criticize foreign policies and economics. Another sent: My focus is simple: to fix the problem, not the blame. We do not need false posturing and will not settle for a 'piece of the pie' equality in an unjust society. "Our desire for freedom and for the power to create a humane society will survive even the mistakes of President Carter. We can stop being grateful for crumbs of reformism and tokenism and see the totality of the big lie. "Our feeling of indignation was heightened by the apparent support of the President's action by those feminists whose comments were quoted in the Houston Post. The thing that saddens me is that we have no feminist code of ethics-that it is after all, safer to attack just women. "As Robin Morgan writes in Going Too Far, after so many centuries of spending all our compassion on men, could we not spare a little for each other?" By Auih for The Philadelphia Inquirer February, 1979 13 Houston Breakthrough