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  • 09/22/2003
  • WildlandFire.com Team
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Abby, there is nothing you have said that I disagree with, with the exception of your suggestion that “things have changed.” I would very much agree there has been an evolution, and yes, that connotes “change” but certainly not a total one. And it certainly does matter what industry and part of the country…and world we are working in.

Nerd, I don’t believe you were saying anything “badly.” And please don’t think that my disagreement with some of your points translates to an attack. It is only disagreement.

Let’s see if I can say this simply…There is a vast array of ways in which we all interpret and respond to situations. Abby, your explanation was very thorough. Still, it has been my experience that, if I, personally, do not exhibit the appropriate “niceness factor” I am labeled with some form of feminist slang. There is very little middle ground. I don’t think there is any question that I am passionate about some very specific issues. That passion has also been labeled…and not very kindly. But, without that passion, even now…even today…the status quo will remain firmly entrenched. This is not a phenomenon of the past. I will also say, however, that various similar methods are used to suppress movements of change, regardless of gender. It just wouldn’t make sense to call a 50-year-old white male who happens to be pressing for an overhaul of his company’s disability coverage a “Femi-Nazi.” But there are other methods to pressure him into silence and/or make him uncomfortable.

Abby, you said, However, you have to admit that was a sentiment held by some of our earlier generation of “sisters” in the ’60s, ’70s, and 80s. It also was the sentiment held by some of the pioneer women in fire. For some it was necessary to be that proactively militant at that time to raise awareness of gender inequality and unfairness. Women who were compelled to be involved in change then were mostly, OF NECESSITY, in reaction to the status quo and to incidents reflecting the status quo.
Absolutely, Abby. But, if you’ve watched the forerunners of these women through history, they have evolved in their communication and management styles…or they haven’t advanced. (Okay, well a few have and some of us are still waiting for them to learn new skills). Still, as you so aptly put it, there was a reason for earlier impassioned behavior. What I am asking is that we understand it and not disdain it. You’ve helped articulate that.

However, I truly believe that, just as abuses in the logging industry in previous decades have given the groups fighting against natural resource harvest the tools to halt responsible contemporary harvest methods, so too has ultra extreme behavior by “early era equalitarians” made advancement difficult during the 80s and early 90s. (Yes, this would indicate that I agree with both you and Nerd on at least contemporary extremism.) It’s a thin line. My request is that we not forget – even though these early women may not have executed the smoothest maneuvers – that our own hindsight is much more acute than our future vision. At least they did the best they could to make changes. The courage to do that deserves respect. So often today I hear young women berating the Equality Movement as absurd…or perhaps not as offensive, but just as thoughtless – ignoring the advancements, and the opportunities they have which others paid a high price for. My older daughters and I have had quite a few heated discussions over this. But, I guess, when it gets right down to it, perhaps I’m expecting something that will never happen. It won’t happen for the exact reason I’ve been working so hard…I have been working my entire adult life to give them a level of comfort and security that didn’t formerly exist. They have options they wouldn’t have had even a couple decades ago. So, I should be content right? But I’m not.

I appreciate the fact that we can talk like this. I appreciate the fact that we can see things a bit differently and be able to discuss those differences. I just don’t think I’ll be comforted in this lifetime with the belief that all the needed “changes” have taken place.


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