What a wonderful series. How have I not seen this until now? I made it through all three episodes available on PBS.org this weekend, and was blown away. I’ve always considered myself something of a feminist, so I was embarrassed to find out from a TV documentary just how woefully ignorant I am of the women’s movement in the United States.
The series first aired beginning in February of 2013 and covers from WWII through the present. It is absolutely fascinating and well made. It also made me very, very angry to see just how nasty a fight women have had so far. For example, I didn’t realize that until are recently as my own childhood, there were essentially no laws on the books protecting women (or anyone else, for that matter) from domestic violence and rape. In the 1970s, there wasn’t even a term for domestic violence. Heartbreaking. I’m glad we’ve come so far, but oh, boy do we still have a very long way to go to achieve equality.
What I found most interesting is how cyclical the fight has been: a push for rights, achieving those rights when enough support is achieved, and then the backlash. Two steps forward and one step back. Women going to work in WWII, gaining recognition and respect, then being fired and pushed back into the role of housewives in the 1950s. Getting the ERA through congress and most of the states, and then women leading the fight against it in the last few states and getting the whole thing shot down. And on and on. To the current day, where sexism is still rampant at home and around the world (if you don’t believe me, check out the global Everyday Sexism Project or ask any woman who has ever done Cosplay at a con), and many countries in the developing world still treat women as property or worse.
If you’re interested, the series is free to watch online on PBS:
And since I now feel the urge to do more research into this history, I’ll post anything else interesting that I find.
Have you seen it already? What did you think?