Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Unspecified March: A Cause Worth Marching for

Keys in hand and a stomach growling, I left the house like any other Saturday letting my afternoon hunger guide my trip around town to find something to eat. I saw a little bit of traffic to the right so I went left--a block later, though, I came to a stand still of traffic while a pink mob of picketers crossed the road near the city offices. Utterly confused, I'm looking around to see what the fuss was about trying to make sense of it all: I wasn't able to. There were young adults, old adults, and children. There were men and women. There was a lot of pink. There were anti-Trump signs, women's rights signs, signs about Planned Parenthood, signs about date-rape. There was even a sign detailing how good of a sign that sign was. There was just a lot of pink.

Image result for pussy march

So, I got my Chic Fil A and headed home to eat in confusion because apparently I missed the memo about peace. For a week I stewed over this. What kind of march was this? The media is saying that it is the largest activist march in history, but for what? Was it an anti-Trump march ("not my president" signs) due to the inauguration the day before? Was it a women's rights march ("women's rights are rights not privileges")? In our history books, there was always a specific reason listed for such a demonstration (Civil Rights, Women's Suffrage, etc.), but this record envelopes much ambiguity.

The next Thursday, I was getting ready to watch one of my new favorite shows, Life in Pieces, with a coworker, but it was postponed as the network was doing a Mary Tyler Moore piece after the recent news of her death. My coworker got very nostalgic saying that that was the show he grew up watching and that I wouldn't ever know how great it was back then. At first, I was just upset that I couldn't watch my favorite show, which includes one of my favorite characters--an intelligent, beautiful, independent woman who is a lawyer, wife, and mom, but before we turned it to something else, the commentator for the Mary Tyler Moore piece had just said, "She was a role model in feminism, breaking the glass ceiling before it was ever a thing."

Image result for mary tyler moore show

Two things came to mind that we started discussing. The first was something I'd thought about before when someone from an older generation swears that a certain television show was better "back in their day", but a major piece of that equation is that there weren't as many shows back in the day to overshadow them as today. It's easy to dominate something without a lot of competition. This led me to think about to the commentator's words about Mary Tyler Moore's feminism. She was a very influential feminist, and her role in the show displayed that and shined for the country to see; however, it's only one type of feminism.

The Sellnow chapter explains different types of feminism and even the phases they went through over the years. I feel that as incredible as Mary Tyler Moore was for the feminist movement, it has a cap to it. Now, don't get me wrong--I'm not trying to discredit her or anyone. Simply put, pop culture and television influence has developed tremendously over the years that this one show in the 70's (of a much fewer number than today) only showed one type of feminism. Mary Tyler Moore showed what a feminist did and how they looked. She ended her engagement, got her own apartment and her own job, depending on herself.  Again, this isn't a bad or inaccurate depiction of feminism, and it was definitely groundbreaking in the 70's to see a television show centered around this woman; however, I think when people today limit feminism to this picture of a successful working woman without a mate (not even dependent on one but just being with one), it becomes counterproductive to the ideology of feminism--women can do or be whatever they want to be rather than typecast into specific gender narratives. So, I think back to the unspecified march with signs about any and everything. It shouldn't have to be about any one specific thing. It doesn't matter if it bounces between anti-Trump, pro-feminism, or even throwing in any of the other movements that were also chanted. The single thing that was specific was that people were voicing what they believe in.

Discussion Questions:

How has feminism in television developed over the years? What different forms does it take?

What effects do you think feminism examples in tv influence our views of feminism? And if so, who is promoting those types of agendas? Is it a good/bad thing?

What is one thing you would like to see more in today's feminism?

No comments:

Post a Comment