Skip to main content

The Mrs. America within each of us

How is it possible that I just watched the entire FX on Hulu original series Mrs. America thinking it was a historical fiction piece??? Thinking the Equal Rights Amendment had already been won during the battle of the women’s rights movement during the 1970’s and 1980’s? It wasn’t until the closing credits that I learned the ERA wasn’t ratified in Nevada until 2017, Illinois until 2018, and Virginia until 2020, which finally marked the 38 states necessary for national ratification a long, long time after the deadline of 1982. When I started the show a week ago, I thought it was a historical reenactment of how women earned their rights in this country. Imagine my surprise to find out… we still don’t have a constitutional amendment for equal rights???

Ironically, I watched the series on my phone over the past week as I did dishes, cooked dinner, and cleaned our home after the kids had gone to bed, dutifully upholding my roles and responsibilities as a stay-at-home mom. Somehow, I never stop surprising myself by my own naivety. As a young woman in this country who has worked since she was 16-years-old, attended integrated schools, voted in local and national elections, earned my bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and had a general life of privilege and opportunity, for some reason I thought that the equal rights movement was fought and won before I was even born. Of course I know that women are still not equal to men in all aspects of daily life, that they still are not paid equally (in 2019, women on average earned 79 cents for every $1 earned by men), and as a housewife, I know first-hand how women continue to carry the majority of the domestic burden of child raising and homemaking. But I can work if I want to, stay home if I want to, go to war if I want to, or not. For my whole life, I’ve had the semblance of equality with men. It is this semblance of equality within which I have been raised that had me fooled. 

The show is amazingly scripted, acted, and intricately woven with historical video footage. Although some plot points and dialogue have been contrived for creative and storyline purposes as stated in a disclaimer at the beginning of each episode, it is steeped in historical accuracy, and overwhelmingly inspiring. 

During the closing credits, Gloria Steinem says, “Still today we select our leaders first by eliminating women, then minorities, then those with too little education. Changing this will take a very long time. But after all, we are dealing with 10,000 years of patriarchy and racism, but we must continue to move forward in waves. What will keep us going is the revelation of what we can be, what people around us can be, without the crippling walls and prisons into which we have been forced.” 

Even now, forty years later, her words ring so true. Especially now, in the midst of political protests and movements like #metoo and #blacklivesmatter, which seek to end this generations-long discrimination.  

So if you haven’t seen it already, I encourage all of you mamas to sit down with your daughters or sisters or mothers or nieces, and watch this show. Because it could be just the call-to-arms we have been waiting for. 


Popular posts from this blog

Why my Children Won't Believe in Santa Claus

Tonight all across the world, children are waiting for Santa with bated breath. They've made lists of wants and perhaps written letters addressed to the North Pole, baked cookies, set out milk, and dream of sugar plums dancing in their heads. But not my children. Well, maybe the dreaming of sugar plums part, but definitely not the white beard, chubby and plump right jolly old elf part. Even before my two biological children were born, my husband and I made the decision to not deceive them with the narrative of Santa, and in fact, not give them any gifts at all on Christmas. Intrigued? Infuriated? Here's why... My husband is from Guatemala and was raised Jehovah Witness , and one of the tenants of that faith is a strict adherence to not celebrating anything here on earth. This includes not celebrating Christmas or birthdays , and not giving gifts to commemorate these days. While he isn't a practicing Witness right now (instead we attend Celebration International Church

Why My Daughter Won't Be Attending Preschool

There's no doubt that the first five years of a child's life are formative and indicative of later success throughout their lives. As an educator, I know preschool can play an important part in the cognitive and social development of toddlers. However, in this unprecedented time of pandemic life, social distancing and remote learning, sending your child to preschool is a personal decision that varies by family. And our family has decided not to send our daughter to preschool.  The research on the benefits of preschool is irrefutable, and there have been incentives for families to enroll their children in preschool since the 1960's and 1970's. Many BIPOC families have actually been targeted and encouraged to send their children to preschool, with HeadStart and other free programs available. According to a DOE report , access to high-quality preprimary education can be the key that unlocks education equality across races, geography and income.  With all of my experience a

Apple Picking without Discrimination

In New England, apple picking is the quintessential fall fun activity. I actually didn't know going to an orchard to pick your own apples was a pastime until I moved to Boston, but after I went with my youth group during my freshman year of college I was hooked, and I've been apple picking with friends or family every fall since. I have beautiful memories of walking up and down rows of apple-laden (or sometimes picked bare!) trees, trying to climb to the top and always searching for the shiniest, juiciest apples. Even one of Francisco and my first dates was apple picking.  In my 15 years of residency on the East Coast, I've visited a variety of apple orchards in New England nearly every autumn and a few years ago, I thought I had finally found the perfect place. Tougas Family Farm had everything you wanted for your perfect fall afternoon--apple and pumpkin picking, fresh apple cider and donuts, kettle corn, a petting farm, a hayride, and a playground for the kids. But it al