I wasn’t raised to be a feminist.
My mother wanted me to be dulce, a sweet girl—an obedient daughter.
But in the early 1990s, I went to college, took a women’s studies course, and fell in love with a woman.
As a lesbian feminist, I didn’t have to be dulce. I could find my own voice.
On Wednesday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m., The Pride Center presents On the Front Lines of Feminism, a discussion about the Women’s Movement in the 1970s. Sponsors for the event include Women In Network (WIN), Women with Pride, Planned Parenthood, the National Organization for Women (NOW) in Broward County and Palm Beach County, BLAST: Women of West Palm Beach, Boca Rap Group, and Veteran Feminists of America.
“It is exciting to have a community event that is so truly collaborative,” said Dr. Eleanor Pam, vice-president of the Veteran Feminists of America, and facilitator of On the Front Lines of Feminism.
Pam’s co-panelists are feminist activists Marilyn Fitterman, Syd Beiner, and Mary Vasiliades.
In addition, singer/ songwriter Sandy Rapp is scheduled to perform her music, and there will also be time for the audience to ask questions.
According to Pam, the discussion will focus on “some of the major players and personalities in the movement, giving people insights into these icons as human beings.”
“It is my hope that everyone can learn something about feminism from attending this event, not only the ones who know very little but also the panelists themselves—all of whom are pioneer feminists. I, myself, re-learn my feminism every day,” Pam said. “It is important for women to know their own history. This panel discussion will be, in effect, an outreach effort to teach that history.”
Rapp also supports this effort:
“I write our history in music as I think it helps us to remember it. We're in danger of forgetting, and we need to stay on our toes. ‘Gotta keep marchin.’”
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Rapp sang in Manhattan women’s bars Three and Chez Pat. She defines her work as “feminist and GLBT issue oriented” and has performed at rallies such as the 2004 March for Women's Lives and the Gay Millennium March.
“Unfortunately, so many of the women who should have been included in the history books have been left out. We don’t learn about the important contributions women made unless we dig deep. And even that is not always the full story.”
When asked about the current state of feminism, Pam observed that “the gains of the women's movement have been so integrated into the normal lives of females today, that many assert feminism is either dead or irrelevant. Actually, that is high praise, confirmation that we succeeded more than we pioneers could ever have envisioned.”
She cautioned that feminism continues to be necessary:
“Some of the old problems still persist: rape, domestic violence, gender pay disparity, sexual harassment. Other issues, now being recognized are also unresolved: sex trafficking, honor killings, bride burning, clitoridectomies.”
Ockman shared the expectations for On The Front Lines of Feminism:
“I hope a new generation realizes they can make a significant difference and the older generations gain a sense of pride.”
If you go
Wednesday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m.
The Pride Center
2040 North Dixie Highway
Wilton Manors, FL
Contact The Pride Center at 954-463-9005 or http://www.pridecenterflorida.org