Demanding Equality from Ourselves
Have you ever watched The West Wing? If you haven’t, you absolutely must. It’s streaming on Netflix right now, so you have no excuse. It is unequivocally my all-time, list-topping favorite show in the entire world! It’s witty, dry, sarcastic and such a timeless and transcendent piece of art that it will live on, surpassing any other political show that came before or since. One of the reasons I will forever be obsessed is the way it portrays its female characters. Now, I will say the ratio of men to women is woefully low, but the two females that stand out to me the most carry the weight for all womankind.
C.J. Cregg, White House Press Secretary, turned Chief of Staff, played by the incomparable Allison Janney, holds her own against five strong male personalities within the administration, not to mention countless international heads of state. Her wit, charm, and ability to tell the truth to power and remain elegant proves it is possible for a qualified woman to hold high public office without being considered shrill or a ball buster, only looking to climb the ladder because she’s a woman and believes it is her due.
Ainsley Hayes, Associate White House Counsel, member of the opposing party and a publicly known critic of the administration, is played by the charming Emily Proctor. She stands on her principles and belief that women do not need any assistance being successful in the workplace, whether in the high levels of government or elsewhere. Her opposition to the 14th Amendment, better known as the Equal Rights Amendment, should be the battle cry of women today. In response to the question of why she (and 40% of all women) oppose the ERA she says:
"Because it's humiliating! A new amendment that we vote on, declaring that I am equal under the law to a man. I am mortified to discover there's a reason to believe I wasn't before. I am a citizen of this country. I am not a special subset in need of your protection. I do not have to have to have my rights handed down to me by a bunch of old, white men. The same Article 14 that protects you protects me. And I went to law school to make sure."
Boom! Can you say mic drop?! Rather than try to emasculate the male gender or beg and plead to be included in their boy’s club, take a page from Ainsley’s way of thinking. She waits for no man; she knows who she is, what rights and protections she has and lets her actions speak for her. She went to Smith College, the birthplace of feminism to argue against something that gives women equal rights. Why? Her belief that women in requiring those rights from men are consenting to the fact that they did not have them in the first place. Something to think about the next time women demand equality from men.
A passionate and entrepreneur-minded writer who loves the power of the written word. She puts that power to use by tackling the tough questions with no-nonsense and clear thoughts and opinions. Put succinctly, "Writing is simply speaking through my fingers" -Isaac Asimov.