Like Jessica at Feministing, I'd love to rip this article to shreds, but following her lead I'm going to focus on what feminists all over are doing for the movement...starting with you. What have you done for feminism? Whether it's speaking up when you hear sexist or homophobic jokes or organizing a rally for immigrant women's rights, I want to know what you've done lately to keep feminism alive and well.
Feminist bookstores have been closing their doors because of hard economic times. Here's an opportunity for activism to save In Other Words, a non-profit feminist bookstore in Portland, Oregon. If you've got a bit of change to spare, we can ALL help make a miracle happen this month.
It was 1984. Ronald Reagan was running for reelection and Phyllis Schlafly—conservative gadfly, ardent foe of the Equal Rights Amendment, and self-identified "little homemaker"—was presiding over a fashion show at the Republican National Convention in the sweltering heat of a Dallas August. As a giant eagle ice sculpture dripped water off its tail feathers, Mrs. Jack Kemp, Mrs. Trent Lott, and Mrs. Jesse Helms sidled down the runway in furs and jeweled gowns to the cheers of 1,300 Republican women. The announcer then displayed a three-foot pachyderm made of mink, cooing, "For those of you who think you have every kind of elephant."
A scene like this doesn't need much help parodying itself. But Schlafly had a little boost from some of her most dedicated "followers": the Ladies Against Women (LAW). Outside the fashion show, a group of ruffled, frilled, and flounced women (and a few men) in white gloves and pillbox hats passed out a Consciousness-Lowering Manifesto that, as the Washington Post reported, included such action items as "Restore virginity as a high-school graduation requirement" and "Eliminate the gender gap by repealing the Ladies' Vote (Babies, Not Ballots)." LAW welcomed new recruits, but only if they brought pink permission slips signed by their husbands.