Skip to main content

tv   1968 - America in Turmoil Womens Rights  CSPAN  May 1, 2018 8:01pm-9:35pm EDT

8:01 pm
convention hall declaring women's liberation. women's rights became part of the national conversation. transforming household and workplaces, and society itself. our guest this week are deborah spahr, former barnyard president. sex, power and the quest for perfection. and mona chairing, a syndicated columnist and senior fellow at the public policy center in washington d.c. she's the author of the upcoming book sex matters. how modern centralism -- first here is betty for dan from 2000 explaining why a renewed women's movement was necessary in the 1960s. >> this separate view of women, we had to get rid of that. we had to break through that. we had to say women are people no more, no less. in order to consciously fight for and realize that we are entitled to the same opportunities in society. the same opportunities to
8:02 pm
control our own destiny. the same right to participate in society to control our own destiny. as men had. when you think about it the women's movement, the moderns women's movement in america is supposed to have begin with my book the feminine mystique in 1963. we are 37 years later. we really have transformed society. they were not asking what do you want to be little girl when you grow up? you are a pretty little girl you will be a mommy like mommy. they did not ask women what do you do? just a housewife was a label.
8:03 pm
that most women had those days. even 3040 years ago -- 30 or 40 years ago only a third of american women worked outside of the home. not all the women went home again after world war ii. a lot did, and two generations that did not have babies in the depression and the war. they made up for it by having babies like mad. the so-called baby boom. maybe some of you are part of. that was all right. having babies is a good thing. i had three. there are real values in motherhood. it is not just a mistake. there came to be in the 1950s this doctrine that tried to make housewife mother a full-
8:04 pm
time lifelong. words like career women became dirty words. even though i went to a very good college. a big woman's college. even in that college all i learned about the early feminists. was like they were neurotic spinsters suffering from [null] envy. it was a revelation to me. doing research for my book, the feminine mystique i was going to give a good rationalization for [null] envy.
8:05 pm
[null] was the symbol of men and not women. women had every right to envy the opportunities that men had. >> the reflections of betty and live on cspan 3 on american history tv are focused on 1968 america in turmoil. joining us is deborah spahr. she's the former president of barnyard college. the author of the book wonder woman, sex, power and the quest for perfection. here in washington monad. she is a columnist and a veteran of the reagan white house. her new book, sex matters and how modern ephemeris him -- feminism lost touch. let me begin with you. what was the first feminist movement and why was there a second wave in the 1960s? >> the waves of feminism are not
8:06 pm
a natural phenomenon that you can completely define. generally people think about the first wave as the suffrage at movement. it was the movement in the u.s. and the uk to get women the right to vote. that occurred in the early 20th century and was largely successful. was not fully successful. you get what is called the second wave of feminism. coming right around the time of the publication of betty for dan when she spoke in 1963. and cresting in 1968. that was a movement for all of the things the boat alone had not granted to women. payee quality, the ability to get into ivy league educational institutions. the right for women to play sports. all of the things that really society had not yet granted to women at the time they granted them the right to vote. >> let's talk about the arc of this time period.
8:07 pm
the famous rosie the riveter went back to the workforce in the 1940s during the height of world war ii. what happened after world war ii from the mid-1940s until the mid-1960s? >> i discuss it in my book, sex matters, the mythology that has come down to us about rosie the riveter. the narrative that we usually get is that it was great during world war ii. women got all of these jobs that men were not performing because men were at the front. rosie the riveter is the iconic image of a woman in a industrial job. the truth is a little more complicated. the fact is women were actually propagandizing and encouraging to take these jobs. there was a shortage because of the war. they made it seem a patriotic duty. there was a huge amount of government-sponsored
8:08 pm
advertising aimed at women to get them to take these jobs. the jobs, sometimes women enjoyed them. more often they were really dirty and dangerous jobs. women did them again because it was wartime and we were completely mobilized. they did those jobs. after the war there was a period of grateful domesticity that followed. the economy was booming people who had not been able to get married or have families during the great depression, and then during world war ii, there was this pent-up demand for normalcy if you will. after the war there was a tremendous rush to the suburbs and to people having large families, and retrieving a little bit. women retreated somewhat from the jobs they had taken during the second world war.
8:09 pm
>> is that how women were idealized in the 1950s? >> it's interesting, again i think there is a disconnect between the popular image of what the 1950s work, and the realities on the ground. we had this idea that women in the 1950s were little stepford wives. that they were discouraged from work and from achieving their own individual dreams. if you look at the data it is interesting. women did begin in large numbers to go to work. what you saw is this u-shaped pattern of women working. by the way they streamed it to universities. not in the same numbers as men. that was because of the g.i. bill. women started a pattern of working while they were single and continuing to work why they
8:10 pm
were early married, and cutting back to part-time or no work when their kids were young. then resuming work after their kids were in school. this is not the image that has come down to us about the 1950s. we have been told it was a prison, and that women were baby makers and homemakers and so forth. i do not think that is an accurate picture of the way things were even then. >> deborah let's talk about some of the key players in this time period. let's begin with betty, who was she? >> let me go back one sack. she's right about what the data shows. it's interesting what the culture celebrated during the 1950s. even though she mentions women were working, if you look at advertisements and television shows and what was honored and
8:11 pm
celebrated was the happy homemaker. that is a large part of what betty for dan rose to respond to. she was a very well educated woman. she began her own career as a reporter. she reported on women's issues in the making of pot roast and those sorts of things. as she tells it in her big book and in other forms she started to get the sense that something was wrong. she went back to her college classmates and started interviewing them. she started interviewing other women in this idyllic place of where she was living. she began to focus on what she called the problem that has no name. that was the malaise and the discontent, the depression she found in many women who on the
8:12 pm
surface would have appeared to have these perfect lives. the same lies that the culture and magazines and televisions showed an were reading about. the major copy yet, the women she was talking about and writing about and worrying about were almost overwhelmingly white upper middle class women. they were the women of the leave it to beaver era. her work was focused on, and it's a very profound deep analysis, was looking at how deeply disappointed these women were because they weren't being fulfilled by these lives that they thought were supposed to bring them such great satisfaction. most people who look at the book focus on the early chapters. where she tells the stories of women crying in the kitchen and drinking with their friends, and being so despondent at the
8:13 pm
phrase she uses is, is this all my life is ever going to be? if you go deeper into the book, it's a system fired argument. what she is also writing and part is that american corporations, particularly in the television era have paired up with american advertising giants to create this wave of products that women have to be interested in and by. women are being peddled dishwashing determines -- detergents and kitchen equipment. all of these things that are keeping them fully employed. part of her argument is that the energy that women could have been spending building careers and lives of horton's are instead being spent keeping their kitchens clean. which is pretty quick to tell you is not in fact what anyone's life should be devoted to. >> looking back 50 years, we
8:14 pm
are focusing on the women's movement. we will get your phone calls in just a moment. let's talk about other key players. >> phyllis lashley was a midwestern lawyer, mother, and activists to. political activist. conservative republican who took it upon herself to form an organization despite the passage of the equal rights amendment. she felt that far from being a good thing for women the amendment would actually require certain kinds of changes to things like social security act and the draft, and other things that would not benefit women. women would be have to be drafted just like men. widows would not be entitled to the pensions -- benefits that their deceased husband's would
8:15 pm
get. she started a grassroots movement. america has a long history of successful grassroots efforts. you think a prohibition which began in similar kitchen tables, and garages. she form this organization and ultimately was successful. and had come to within something like three states that needed to ratify. hadn't achieved it in the seven year time frame. congress extended the timeframe more. she was able to defeat it. it is still not part of the constitution today. >> i want to put numbers on the screen and get your reaction as we look at the makeup of the house and the senate. if you travel to the u.s. capital you will see a statue for jeannette rankin. the first women to serve in the
8:16 pm
u.s. house of representatives. in 1960 the purpose of the discussion was there was one woman in the u.s. senate. we put her on the screen. 11 and the house of representatives. and today there are 23 women in the u.s. senate and 83 in the house of representatives. can you talk about those numbers? >> the obvious response is this is good. we are moving in the right direction. i think if you put these 50 years in context, we really haven't come so far at all. i worked -- we are looking at situations where women at best are 20 to 25 percent of positions in power. be it in congress or elsewhere. if you go back to the excitement that surrounded the women's movement in 1968 there was a deep-seated assumption that 50 years hence women would be something close to 50
8:17 pm
percent of positions of power. as i argue in my book what we see across the united states and across most of the developed world is these women seem to max out between 16 and 18 percent of power positions. it's a little bit better in congress right now. really just a very small bid. you can see this as the glass half-full. we have come a long way in 50 years. i grew up really just after second wave feminism. women in my generation presumed by the time we hit the mature parts of our careers we really would be at something much closer to something than 50 percent. >> i am a tiny bit skeptical of the justice by counting metric. of course i think if women want to be in position and leadership and have the skills they should be. i think there's a lot of evidence that the american voter is perfectly happy to vote for women. at every level of government now.
8:18 pm
it did not used to be that way. i think it is today.
8:19 pm
i think let's have a government solution. let's use the government to enforce what women should be at age 20, 30, 40, because i don't like what they are. as long as the government is treating everyone equally that is what the government needs to do. >> thank you for the call. let's turn to deborah spahr. >> i think there is so many
8:20 pm
pieces of second wave feminism. it is unfair to say it was all about governmental solutions. if i look at my sector of the world in higher education. in 1963 and 1968 most of the educational institutions in this country were close to women. none of them have sports programs for women. those were things that did not technically need governmental solutions. the universities opened up and allowed women and started to do sports programs for women. this was merged along by both activism and by governmental policies. something like title ix which has been hugely important in making sure women have equal access to sports programs. i agree with the callers that not everyone -- everything has
8:21 pm
a governmental solution. there had to be some pressure toward giving women greater lives. it was a question of how major institutions were treating them. >> our next collar is from charlotte carolina. >> i wanted to mention i was 18 and 1972. i got married and by 1980 i did not have financial autonomy. i could not do anything without my husband. >> i am not sure what you are getting at caller. she could go to grad school or have a family or do many things. one of the things about the 1968 feminism, the second wave
8:22 pm
feminism, is you cannot see it just as part of the women's movement that began with the suffrage and proceeded on with certain ways. it grew out of the moment in american history when the new -- when there was tremendous turmoil in our society in general about racial issues and about the rights of homosexuals. and the stature of the country, and of course women over the vietnam war. what the entire environment encouraged and midwife if you will is radicalism on many levels. the feminist movement, the ones who came immediately after her did embrace the radical vision
8:23 pm
of societal reform to go back -- they did not say we wanted people to pay for equal work. they were attacking the entire society of what they call the patriarchy. marriage, family life, and the sexual norms that have prevailed for hundreds of years. everything was going to be almost french revolution style. everything was going to be thrown out and we were going to start over. >> there were lots of people on this movement. to go back to our caller who just left us, i think she is in
8:24 pm
fact quite right. if you are a married woman in 1969 you could not sign for a credit card without your husband's permission. there were tactical issues that women faced at that time that had nothing to do with the more radical piece of what became a feminist agenda. >> i think you and i might disagree about how radical they were. if you look at the writings there were feminist blockbusters in 1970. sexual politics, the dialectic of sex and the main greers. the female eunuch, these folks were big sellers. they were celebrated on the front page of time magazine. they were very much part of the culture. they were extremely radical in their solutions. they were absolutely endorsing
8:25 pm
the abolition of the nuclear family. >> that was the cradle of all problems of women. >> some of those books were. if you go back to betty, that was a much less radical view. there is 1 million pieces in it. i don't think you want to condemn the whole movement. it was a long movement and a complex movement. it still is. >> that is true. there are many different feminist and very many different schools. sometimes too many. i do think i recently reread -- i found the book to be deeply flawed. though she was not quite on the anti-family bandwagon, she did have some unbelievably silly
8:26 pm
and even destructive comments in the book such as describing a suburban home life as a comfortable concentration camp. >> if either of us are lucky that our books are read 50 years from now people would find some scribbles as well. >> women earned the via -- right to vote in 1920. the first equal rights movement passed in the house by a vote of 354 to 24 in 1971. it passed in the u.s. senate by a final vote of 84-8. in 1972 through 1979 it was ratified by 35 states. three states short of the necessary 38. the deadline expired in june 1982. let's go to colleen joining us from lake while florida. >> hello this is a wonderful
8:27 pm
topic , i'm so glad we are discussing it. girls today do not comprehend back in the 1960s the laws on divorce, it was very difficult to get a divorce. a divorce, there was a lot of shame involved. you cannot go and get your own house, or you cannot carry on with your family with mother and children, they cannot separate themselves from the husband. alimony and child support were so low that you really could not maintain your family. society agreed with all of that. >> colleen thank you for the call. >> i actually have a different view of the divorce laws and
8:28 pm
alimony. i think the movement toward no- fault divorce was not an advantage for women. what happened is, no-fault divorce and treating mothers and fathers as absolutely equivalent when it came to child custody decisions meant as david pointed out in his book , it gave men, has-beens who were divorcing more power within the relationship. they could force their wives to accept less and alimony, and sure enough that is what happened. alimony wind down after the introduction of no-fault divorce. it was a mixed picture.
8:29 pm
so many of the couples that have divorced, and we do have data on this. about two thirds of annual divorces are from couples, when the divorce was initiated no open conflict. no serious conflict. once the divorce process gets going and sometimes reaches that level. although the plus side is it has allowed women to escape unhappy marriages more easily, but it is also made it easier for everybody to get out of the marriage contract. somebody once said it's easier to escape a marriage contract than it is a car loan. i'm not so sure that is great for society. >> deborah agree or disagree? >> a little of both. i think divorce is always complicated. trying to separate the data and personal issues will always be murky.
8:30 pm
i do think as mona just said, the evolution in the past 50 years has made divorce easier. that has probably led to some bad consequences. in general it has led to good consequences. so women have the legal power to get out of bad marriages and in ways that don't destroy themselves or their children financially. >> when do women -- wonder women, sex and power in the quest for perfection. >> how modern feminism lost touch with science and love. deborah i want to get your reaction to this tweet from a regular viewer. jim saying can your guest speculate on why the er amendment was not successfully ratified? >> i do not know. that's a good question. i think part of the reason was
8:31 pm
i think as time moved on we have heard it both from mona and others. this was not something that was universally admired or desired. there were some parts of the country that did not want this amendment. to go back to one of our earlier collars, i would tweak his views a little bit. the amendment, even if it had passed easily and quickly would not have been a magic bullet. i think even some of the people who had push that agenda over the years were able to take their activism and take their objectives and try to work through them on other channels. it's a complicated political moment. in the end there was not enough
8:32 pm
unified support to combat what a lot of diffused oppositions. >> the civil rights movement was front and center, and 1964 legislation passed by the house and the senate. i want to hear from congresswoman martha griffith. she reflected on the civil rights act. and women as part of the language in that legislation. >> there are those in the women's movement who would correspond to the naacp. that is who -- as one way to bring a women into full participation in society. there are women who would be very much agreement -- >> what about civil rights? >> maybe i should turn it back,
8:33 pm
i would like to add a footnote. the all sex provision was added as a joke. >> the band who originally offered it, i made the argument and i wasn't joking. i understood exactly what it was doing. it was excepted not as a joke. you would have given black women writes that white women never had. i did not make the further statement. no one who brought that bill to the floor had ever considered giving any woman any rights.
8:34 pm
black women and white women got those rights together. no one who voted that day voted as a joke. >> there was a great deal in the debate. >> this has been one of the things that is a myth that has been put out through this whole country. that it was a joke. every woman who says it again and again, really aids the supreme court in making a very erroneous decision. the 14th amendment has never been applied to give women equal protection under the law. only the right to vote and the
8:35 pm
right to hold office. those are the only two rights that the united states guarantees. >> a discussion that took place back in 1970 at the university of michigan. this is a photograph in 1964. president lyndon johnson signing the civil rights act. it is primarily a room full of men. >> right. women were included in the civil rights act. sex was added to the civil rights act. so all of the rights guaranteed under that act, it was applied to women as well. this comment that you hear so often that women did not have any rights, miss griffith said it in the tape. you heard it a lot. that women did not receive the vote -- right to vote until the 1920s. that is not true.
8:36 pm
the fact is if a woman were accused of a crime she had the right not to incriminate herself. she had the right to a trial by jury. she had the right to speak, and practice her faith. she had all the rights that were guaranteed in the bill of rights to all american citizens. there was never a sense, even though there is no equal rights amendment. these rights are universal. >> deborah did you want to respond? >> no i think that is accurate. clearly there are a significant number of women in this country who feel that despite having these rights that the basic rights are enumerated in the constitution. women's reality is that they face different obstacles than they do men. those obstacles have changed since the 1960s. the political question remains, what is the best way to fix
8:37 pm
that reality for women? is it through law? to what extent may it rely on a constitutional amendment? clearly women face obstacles as do people of color in this country that are quite different from those that face white men. >> we talked about conservative activist. in a 2003 interview she discussed her opposition to the equal rights amendment in the 1960s. >> many years i debated the equal rights amendment. young women and colleagues today were not even born. when that was a fight. they do not understand it. and needs to be re-explained. if you look at the feminist whom i debated 20 years ago, they do not have the wonderful things that i have. which are 14 grandchildren. that is a whole new life. the young women should look
8:38 pm
ahead and see what is life going to be like for you 20 years into the future. they need to examine that and find out what they want. the feminist movement told young women that they should have liberation. and that it was much more exciting to be a corporation vice president than it was to be a plain old mother raising her children. it doesn't always work out that way. >> did you ever think you would be more than just a mother raising her children? >> i am a very hard-working person. i always have lots of hobbies. politics became my hobby. >> that interview is available on our website. we are talking about the women's movement. josephine is next from livingston new jersey. >> good morning. i want to use new jersey as an example.
8:39 pm
i worked for the state of new jersey for 42 years. not once did you ever see a woman in a position of authority. right now for the first time that i can remember, our cabinet right now in new jersey is predominantly female. how refreshing. 11 women have been appointed. how refreshing that did not happen under republican. not only that we are finally going to get the bill passed for equal pay. again, how refreshing. do we have to have the laws? yes we do. laws give us more rights. unfortunately we cannot do it alone. if you don't vote you do not
8:40 pm
get your right to complain about it. sitting on your took us doesn't work. you have to vote. >> it's nice to hear from a caller from my old hometown, livingston new jersey. i would point out that equal pay has been the law of the land since 1963. i do not know what new jersey is planning. that has been true for a long time. >> next is helen. >> i was jumping into echo her comment. women have to vote. particularly young women. all of these rights and privileges that they thought they could take for granted
8:41 pm
have been called into question in the past few years. it is good they are understanding how important it is for them to vote. >> helen is waiting. >> equally refreshing is it developed republican from california. i was 14 in 1968. my mother went to the local doug -- drugstore and picked up the book. it transformed my expectations. when i hit -- when i was 14 the book was still around and i read it. it opened up a world to me. that maybe i could do more than just graduate from high school get married and have kids. and be totally dependent on my husband's benevolence towards me. and live happily ever after. ironically that did not happen.
8:42 pm
economically this would not be feasible. it was a dream being sold by the speakers. being sold by companies who wanted to sell their products. i did take a class in college. it was a course called women in america society. there were more women after world war ii who remained in the workforce than ever before in american history. now you have two incomes. companies were going after that extra income because they knew now that women and people could afford to buy cars, and cleansers and makeup and clothes and more disposable income. what eventually happened, i read elizabeth warren's two income trap. she detailed and did a good job
8:43 pm
on it. how eventually over time as more women entered into the workforce and entered into the profession and were making the same amount of money as their spouses or even more things started changing for everyone in american society. one of the main ones were, the outsourcing of manufacturing to third and fourth world companies -- countries. ironically money needed to buy housing. housing costs increased and tripled. >> thank you for the call helen. deborah did you want to respond? >> so many women have that moment, it was a transformative book. putting the legal piece aside the fact that a single book
8:44 pm
woke women up to their potential is itself radical and revolutionary. >> a few years after 1968 and 1971 the u.s. army put together this film advising how women serving in the military should look and dress. the full program will air after this program. >> you have come a long way ladies. no question about it. you have more to say these days about your education, your affairs, your occupations and your role in life than any young women have ever had in history. you have a voice in your own destiny. in civilian life as well as the military. there is a lot you can say and do about who you are and where you are going and how you look. especially in the military. susan mayfield looks good but she never won any beautiful baby contest. it takes more than luck to
8:45 pm
appear bright, well groomed and smart looking. nobody is trying to sell you -- all we are talking about is making the most of what you have. >> that u.s. army film, mona you are laughing. >> it is a little antique. compared with some of the young messages we send young women today, that they should be trying to look sexy and wear lots of makeup and appeal to men. and so on, at very young ages. this seems downright wholesome. people should want to look, what did they say, neat and tidy and clean and fresh? and away i almost have a wistful sense about that era.
8:46 pm
when that was the goal. >> i am at a disadvantage. i can only hear the film. it graetz at me to think what the male equivalent is. >> in the military, even today the men have to comb their hair a certain way and shine their buckles a certain way. >> that is not where you start. it is a footnote to why they might want to be in the military. the emphasis on how women look. it is different. it is simply different than it is for men. >> i agree with that. >> we will go to tallahassee,
8:47 pm
florida next. chris tuck good morning. >> thank you for taking my call. i started hearing about this when i was in college in the early 70s. i was like okay, whatever. i believed it. i went out in the world and i said it is not really happening yet. not in most places. the thing i think a lot of people do not understand that is really critical is that this is not a political issue. this is a survival issue. up until the 80s, and pennsylvania there were laws on the books that said how big of a stick your husband could use to beat you. if your child will come to you and disclose sexual abuse, you would be committed. you would not be listened to. >> we are discussing many large
8:48 pm
social phenomenon. you can't discuss women's places in society without discussing many other things besides politics. you are right to say it is a broad subject. i have to say the idea that man could beat their wives with the stick of a certain size is a myth. christina exploded that met. there are certain -- i give feminism credit for example for changing the way we treated rape . for a long time there was no such thing as marital rape. for a long time it was a case that women's on sexual history could be used to impeach them on the stand. feminists pushed back against that. good for them. the laws changed about that. on the other hand, there are myths that have been peddled about domestic violence.
8:49 pm
by feminists. they have made outlandish claims, for example the people who are most likely to abuse their wives -- women are husbands. they are the least likely to commit domestic violence. the most likely are live in boyfriends. there is a tendency to mix up all of the myths with fax. the truth is married women are the safest of all women. safer than divorced, widowed, single and especially safer than those that are cohabitating. order their own priorities and decide their own fate. why was she such a large figure during this time period? >> i think she captured a lot
8:50 pm
of the zeitgeist of the moment, she was a beautiful writer and a clean writer. she spoke to a lot of people and it was a moment in time when -- when people wanted to address these issues. she was a different voice, different voice then gloria stein him. she really just put up a pinprick on i think some of the deep yearnings that women had. aside from politics, just to have a voice and have an identity and have a dream of something other than a housewife. in it's a beautiful writer. i think again she got a voice out there that lots of people responded to. >> joining us from new york and here in washington, mona warren. leo from the bronx in new york. good morning.
8:51 pm
>> good morning. i was listening to the screener of the issue bromance -- women's rights. last year you saw an explosion of reckonings against people in the media such as harvey weinstein, charlie rose, being abusive toward women why you seem to suddenly have this right now. >> let's turn to deborah starr for that. the me too movement. >> this has been i really believe a watershed moment in the women's movement. i don't think this is a flash in the pan, this is an important moment. i think what happened is that this is been out there for years, the stories about his civic man and in more general. i really think there was a couple of incredibly devoted journalists who were very careful and very diligent, for the new york times and did
8:52 pm
their homework and dotted their eyes and crossed the t's and really put the fax around them. they had the advantage of working with a handful of brave women who were willing to risk their careers and risk the reputations to go public that had been quiet for a long time. once the seed was out there on the front page of the new york times, everything just crescendoed around it. >> from akron ohio, site is next. >> good morning. in 1970, and ever since has worked to acquaint her fellow feminists and all with the responsibility to the 99% of slave animals who are female who are kept captive for eggs and milk and then slaughtered to become 99% of fast food burgers.
8:53 pm
and as a footnote, every single hibernating bear in alaska, every single mother bear in alaska has had her fill it -- her rights invaded by every republican senator voting that her babies might be killed while there hibernating in a wildlife sanctuary. >> let me jump in. this is not related to the women's movement of the 1960s. >> connie would go out and the streets of manhattan and pass out leaflets saying women, you are abused by men, why are you abusing your fellow women animals. i think the trump administration is perhaps the worst ever. >> do you want to respond in any way? >> no, 10 minutes toward
8:54 pm
animals is admirable. i'm resistant to the idea that they have rights. i think we should be kind to animals. not make them suffer unduly but i don't think this is the degree to what the call is about. >> deborah starr, let me put a book into the 1960s. the fda approved the and moving ahead into 1973 roe v wade. where these two events important to understand during this time period. >> you know it is incredible -- this is the first time this has come up. the emergence of the legal pill and legal abortion are covering the most important development that came out of the 1960s and early 1970s. all kinds of arguments that went before that includes huge
8:55 pm
moral arguments around abortion. i think when you look back across the broad swath of history, the single most important development for women's rights was contraception. because it is wonderful to argue for women's rights but the laws clearly are important but really what gave women the ability to control their destiny was the ability to control their fertility. and the combination of contraception which allowed them to decide when and if they wanted to become pregnant and abortion, which they have done that -- the last option if they became pregnant and didn't want to, that in my opinion was really giving women the freedom to control their destiny. >> you were in the workforce in the 1960s, how would your employer react to that? >> it wasn't something that was supposed to happen.
8:56 pm
women were supposed to leave the workforce before they got pregnant. they were supposed to hide the pregnancy should it occur. my understanding, having not been there but the presumption was that the moment they got pregnant they would be out of the workforce. they would go home and take care of the babies. that's what women did. clearly, pregnancy -- that's the difference. the corridor between men and women, men don't get pregnant. that really is what had women in a secondary status for so long. so being able to have pretty good degree of control over their pregnancies gave them -- in my mind was the single greatest liberating thing for women. >> this is an important -- women, men, and writes. -- writes. i think the feminist movement made a horrible wrong term when they embraced abortion as the feminist issue. it alienated millions of
8:57 pm
american women and men who regard abortion as an abomination. the second part is the tendency to say -- well, the second point before i go on. the pill and the other assorted contraception's that became widely available in the 1960s, could have been taken by women as a way to decide how many children they wanted and space them out and all of that. it does not essentially mean that women had to sign on to the sexual revolution. unfortunate, the two are linked and people encouraged both. i think that also has not served the interest of women well or families. and that's critical to everyone's well-being, men and women. finally, the topic that deborah mentioned, when women get pregnant, men don't. this is a matter of what it
8:58 pm
does to women in the workplace. women being pregnant and being mothers and giving birth and nursing entering for the babies is the best part of life. unfortunately, the feminist movement has tended to diminish and devalue it and see it as an obstacle on the path to the corner office. i think that has things quite upside down. i think the most important things in our lives involve the families and our personal relationships. yes, and are incredibly abundant and wealthy country, you can have it all, you can do it all. but we shouldn't be portraying children and family life as something that is an impediment to women in the workplace. >> the book by mona sharon, sex matter, how modern feminism mixes up with love science and common sense.
8:59 pm
and debra spahr, the author of when do women in the quest for perfection. scott is joining us. from thomasville, georgia. >> good morning. i have to say this is one of the most entertaining programs i have seen on c-span. i can't decide which, like the most. i want to say that obviously, anytime one groove stays in power another group loses power. the power isn't in a vacuum, it comes from somewhere. in the idea that power ebbs and flows, people and all that, i can tell you that a 55-year-old white man like me has less power than he did in 1965. i had more obstacles than my obstacle dashcode reports -- counterparts. he shouldn't have that many obstacles. they have unintended
9:00 pm
consequences. title ix, in the 70s, i think that's when it was put in place. the idea was we need to have female -- females participate in sports. back then in 1970, college sports were not a $9 billion business. now that money, that money generated by the predominately minority black athletes are generating the money, that money is being taken from them, given to the universities and distributed to female sports. if they had known in 1970 that it would be a $9 billion business, i don't think they would have done that. if we had not had title ix, all these people that are entertaining us every saturday, and only getting paid by an
9:01 pm
education that they never graduate and never get, and also maybe one day you'll get paid in the nfl, that's like modern- day sharecropping. if that were left alone, that might have worked out. now they have to have the money, they won't get a red -- get rid of the sports. >> i would agree critically with two or three of the pieces that you just said. there are consequences. that is part of what we all have to deal with. i don't know how much the women sports plays into some of the excesses of what we see in college sports. i think that is deeply problematic. but let's go back to something you said in the beginning which i think is interesting and we don't talk about enough. that is what is the impact of the women's movement on men. it has been dramatic. i think you are right. when one group gets more power other groups must by definition lose out or find their options
9:02 pm
constrained in some way. i think it is intriguing that we have now had at least 50 years of philosophizing the feminism and as mona and i said earlier, there's a different standard of feminism. that we have been talking about it and developing theories and developing policies, we haven't talked enough about men over the past 50 years. we have not come up with new models of what it means to be a male. and what it means to be a successful father or husband. i completely agree that having children is a wonderful thing and being a parent is wonderful but if women are going to be in the workforce and be parents, we have to change our ideas of what it means to be a man and be apparent. we have not done enough work on really thinking about the implications of feminism from them. >> let's go to desmond joining us from fort wayne, indiana. >> thank you. it is such a fascinating panel
9:03 pm
today. i think both of you -- both of the ladies, i couldn't convince my daughters to come in and watch this. >> tell them it will be on our website and reentering soon. they will have plenty of chances to watch it. thank you. >> deborah was saying -- she is right. i come from five generations of divorce. what i'm not hearing from mona especially or deborah is the fact of the matter is the future , the children is what is most important. regardless of our political peccadilloes, we can always agree that husband, wife, or whatever, a family with two heads of household raising the children together is the foundation toward a
9:04 pm
socioeconomic advancement. i haven't heard that the entire segment. you know, that is one of the things that i told myself before i got married. and my wife and i both have full-time jobs. we respect each other, she is probably better in some things that i am and others when it comes to the household but it is still the bedrock that we will stick together regardless. because of our children. i am not hearing that from the panel. i will jump off to hear your thoughts. >> you have three girls any boys? >> no boys and i have six brothers. >> thank you for the call. >> thank you for the question. you may not have heard me say on the segment but i have a lot of my book about the critical importance of family. that is one of the great crises
9:05 pm
that we are facing as a society that through divorce and unmarried childbearing families are disintegrating. it does take to parents to raise happy, healthy people and good citizens. not only is it important for the society but it is important for our happiness and all the social science is unequivocal that first of all that married people are much happier than single people. children of married parents do better than other children brazen other environment. it does not rely on class or race or anything else. it comes from an impact family -- intact family, your chances of succeeding as a child are dramatically improved if the parents are intact. there have been a number of things that have been tearing families apart and that is what
9:06 pm
we have been discussing. mainly what the feminist movement has done two men. unfortunately, i think one of the -- i mentioned there are many -- one of the bad things is that it tended to put the sexes against one another. they portrayed men and women as adversaries. for most of us, the way we live, as spouses, they are the most important people in our lives. to overlook that is a huge mistake. i cannot thrive if my husband or my sons are not doing well. so depict are thriving and our success as being based on our gender rather than on our family structure and our family relationships is a great mistake and i think it has led to a lot of unnecessary suffering. >> deborah car, i want to move on and talk about what is
9:07 pm
happening in the 1960s. we had the feminist movement and the second wave as we talked at the beginning of the conversation. the civil rights movement and of course the antiwar demonstrations that were leading up to the late 1960s. how did that come together in 1968? >> well, it came together as most people will recall, a giant conflagration. it was one of these moments in time when an awful lot was happening, strange bedfellows were created and every sense of the word. movements got smashed together. the colleges were not separate. it was across the board activism. we see a little bit of those things emerging today. what happened i think for the women's movement per se is that it got a little bit lost in the shuffle.
9:08 pm
women were part of the civil rights movement and part of the antiwar movement but particularly the antiwar movement, it wound up being the movement that was really led by men. the stories that the women were involved tell is that they were forced to subservient movement -- positions in that movement. the war ended whether or not -- the women who got involved in that came away from it having felt that their voices weren't heard in that movement the way they might have hoped. i think there was some reckoning and soul-searching that went on after that. i don't know that it contributed to the splintering of the feminist movement but it certainly didn't help the feminist movement gain or build any solidarity after that point. >> 1968, a year in turmoil. 50 years later your of reflecting on it.
9:09 pm
lois is joining us from lewiston, new york. >> i just wanted to say that first of all, it is misinformation to say that americans are much safer in marriage. that is because it is unreported when domestic violence occurs. it could affect the children in an intact family. it affects the wife's employment. i am a retired university professor with 36 years of domestic violence. i went on to school, all through the 60s, 70s and 80s which opened the door for me to go to school. i became a teacher and lawyer. i'm in educational leadership professor. i taught law for the last 14 years before i retired. i recognized that the systems of inequality in america -- it was very much a part of how women were constrained from reporting the violence.
9:10 pm
the incidents of domestic violence on intimate partners is oftentimes much greater because there is a family association that prevents them from doing so. first of all, women in marriages had the same the quality through reports but it isn't enforced and when it is reported in the marriage, law enforcement strives to remain neutral as opposed to protecting women. that was very evident in the information research. and especially among minorities. i think first of all i want to say that. secondly, the women's movement -- i never would have understood that i had options to lead a separate life within the marriage and yes i had children and they all went to college. and they are all good human beings.
9:11 pm
that was a very difficult row to hold. >> lois, thanks for adding your voice to the conversation. >> it is very difficult obviously and a painful question about domestic violence. it is always hard -- but to say that we don't -- that the data are wrong because people are unlikely to report -- that is not a good way to deal with statistics. you can't say that the numbers would be higher if more people would report it. we can say that it is underreported that you cannot say it is a percentage. if it is not reported you don't know it. i'm not convinced that it would be more likely to report it when they are living together. but i would also say that when you look at people self reporting happiness, you also see that people who are in married committed relationships report much higher levels of happiness as well. if there were tremendous amount
9:12 pm
of abuse going on, i don't think you would have that kind of self reporting. >> there were reports in 1968 of robberies. this took place in atlantic city at the a miss america competition. in 1959 the miss america was going to be crowned. miss illinois was the winter. i want to share a portion of how nbc news covered this in september, 1968. >> [ chanting ] the women's liberation movement organize several ways to protest the miss america pageant. a symbol of society's exploitation of women as sex objects. it is a popular protest. the group proliferates. there are names are colorful as red stockings and red. women for women, older women's liberation. they are addicted to acronyms,
9:13 pm
romans liberation front. women's radical action project. [ singing ] >> that was nbc news program airing on nbc following this program. deborah spahr, if you heard what was happening in the late 60s and 70s, what are your thoughts? mac first of all, i believe that the bra burning was another urban myth. it was a very clever performance, if you will. it was stage ii protest miss america. it was a very visual sign of women's opposition to things like the miss america pageant. to think now -- it was a
9:14 pm
beautiful way to protest. it got a a lot of attention and it was very visual. and it worked. i think it galvanized women to get out there and to focus on something that is at the end of the day, silly. it's a beauty pageant. it is not that important for anyone. but it captured people's attention. and we were talking earlier, the way in which women are always evaluate on their looks, whether in the beauty pageant or in terms of being recruited for the military. it was really i think the highlight of activism. we still talk about it 60 years on. >> let's go to fran in palm beach gardens, florida. >> my question is for debra. how big a part do you think helen gurley brown, cosmopolitan magazine played in the women's movement. >> that's a very good question.
9:15 pm
i think helen gurley brown was important. she was not a deep philosopher. she never claimed to be. she had a kind of feminism that later feminists would denounce. because it was really a feminism of about using women's sexuality as a tool of power. helen gurley brown was brilliant not only in terms of shaping her own career but realizing that her position at cosmopolitan gave her a platform that nobody else had. so she wasn't trying to talk to the hoi polloi, she wasn't trying to make it on the talk to -- talk so, she was trying to reach the 1718-year-old girls. she inspired for lack of better word, a whole generation of young women to think about careers and think about exciting lives and to think of themselves as something other than housewives. what she perfect?
9:16 pm
no. if you read her tips now about how to wear makeup and how to where things, they are cringe worthy. but she found a voice and she used it and she really got the attention of millions and millions of young women. >> she wrote a blockbuster called sex and the single girl. it was a huge influence on the culture at the time. she later claimed that she was the first feminist. when you reread sex and the single girl now, not only will you cringe at things like her advice on how to catch a man, but you will cringe when she says that it is perfectly fine to have affairs with married men. she lists the pluses, she said we are not talking about -- having the office fling and so forth. there was an utterly immoral
9:17 pm
view that she took about sexuality and about women's behavior. it did not set a good tone for what was to come. >> mona and debra, the former president of barnard college. another leading figure in the time period. lady bird johnson was there. what role if any did she play in the women's movement? >> you know, i am not sure. to be honest. i don't know all that much about her which says something about the kind of feminism that i read about and researched. i think any first lady is deeply constrained by what she can do. particular that moment in time. she didn't have a lot of degrees of freedom. she was defined by the role. i think within the confines of that role, she pushed the boundaries. she tried to show herself as a woman who even though she wasn't
9:18 pm
that she was the number one housewife but wasn't a housewife, a woman who very much stayed true to the ideals of a loyal, dedicated wife and mother. but intelligent, smart women with ideas of her own. the platform that she tried to use. i think she did as best she could do under those particular circumstances. >> let's go to toledo, ohio. >> i would like to talk about when they signed the discrimination law that blacks -- black men in black women -- they had to hire like men and black women. then they slipped in that dues were a minority and white women were a minority. >> not sure exactly what you mean by that.
9:19 pm
except that -- there are affirmative-action programs for -- i mean, there were informally for white women. i don't think the juice were ever considered a minority that deserves special treatment. my father, back in the 19 70s applied to medical school because of the time there were quotas meeting there was a topline number of juice who could be accepted into medical school class and above that they wouldn't accept you. so you had to be something else. >> another leading voice is deborah carr. shirley chisholm, a member of the house of representatives in new york. why was she so influential? >> she was a woman who was in the political realm, used her voice. i think probably separated herself from the more radical
9:20 pm
feminists, she was someone who worked inside the system. she was someone who really stood for women across the country, women of color, and they were a part of the movement that was lost in the early days. she was a fighter. she was someone who was fighting from the inside. i think if you look across this whole panoply of women that you brought up in the past hour, you see how you need all of the dramatic persona. you need the wild ones writing in the magazines, you need the activists burning bras and you need someone like shirley chisholm who was inside the system and fought to get inside the system. and is pushing through the muddy, murky work of getting lost changed. >> let me go back to her announcement for president in 1972. >> i stand before you today as
9:21 pm
a candidate for the democratic nomination for the presidency of the united states of america. [ applause ] i am not the candidate of black america although i am black and proud. [ applause ] i am not the candidate of the women's movement of this country although i am a woman and not equally proud of that. [ applause ] i am not the candidate of any that cat or special interest. [ applause ] i stand here now without endorsements from many big-name politicians or celebrities or any other kind of prop. i do not intend to offer to you
9:22 pm
the tired and clichis that for too long have been accepted part of our political life. i am the candidate of the people of america. [ cheering ] fellow americans, we have looked in vain to the nixon administration for the courage, the spirit, the character and the words to bring out the best in us, to restore our faith in the american dream. yet all of that we have received in return is just another smooth exercise in political manipulation, deceit and deception, and difference to our individual problems. and it disgusting display of righteous politics pitting the young against the old, neighbor against management. north against south.
9:23 pm
black against white. >> do you hear that is the intersection of the women's movement and civil rights movement of the period? >> i think it is both things and more. listening to her, you can't help but be inspired. i think in many ways she paved the way for obama, hillary clinton, for elizabeth warren. kamala harris, she says at all. she's not the candidate of people of color and she's not the canada of the women's movement, i'm a qualified candidate. i think she both encapsulates the civil rights movement and the women's movement. ultimately she goes to what is most important, recognize people of merit. and people of intellect and she is all of those things. >> is go to robert in brooklyn, new york. >> good morning. what you think about rosa parks going to the back of the bus. and the women's movement.
9:24 pm
the second question is what about the hollywood actress who is distressing to her. >> rosa parks? >> icy rosa parks as exclusively a figure of the civil rights movement. i think that was the case that she was a brave woman. her point is not for women, it was for african-americans. if she had been a white woman, she would have been allowed to sit in the front of the bus. i thought this was purely about civil rights for african- americans not so much part of the women's movement. natalie portman -- she has made it clear that the reason she was not accepting the award is that she does not want to endorse the prime minister who
9:25 pm
she doesn't support. not that she was lending any support to opponents of israel resistance. >> as a reminder, the audience back in 1918, one female member of the house of representatives. she was from montana. in 1968, there was one in the senate, 11 female in the house of representatives. today there are 23 in the senate, 83 in the house of representatives. deborah spahr, what you think 2019 will look like? >> well, 2019 could be really interesting. i don't have the numbers at my fingertips, we are having more women running for office now than ever before. i really hope -- we shouldn't elect anyone simply because of their gender, i hope we will see a waiver really talented, deserving, smart civic minded women and elected into office. as i'm sure your viewers know, we had the first baby on the
9:26 pm
floor of the senate this past week. tammy duckworth brought her infant with her. i think that was a watershed moment. i think we will hopefully get women in numbers in both the house and senate so that we can start to see some shift in policy. i certainly don't mean to imply that women will or should vote as women. but this pretty good data suggests that women are less inclined to be partisan once they are in congress, but there's more of a willingness among women. and i think there should be right now work across the aisle and work on policies that matter and to figure out ways to get things done. without getting too stuck in ideology on either side of the aisle. we've got to get above this 20% trust -- threshold. there always going to be a visible minority. they will be treated as women rather than just representatives. the time has come to move beyond those thresholds. mac the last caller from new
9:27 pm
britain connecticut. >> hello. my name is ida. i am 93 years old. i am black and i have never been part of the women's movement primarily because i think they failed black women. they failed all women. because i don't know if anybody noticed that all the videos you have been showing for the past half hour, all of those people, black and white, men and women, are all white. i looked hard to see if there was one blackface there. i didn't see one. is not just blackness, it is the fact that a woman -- in order to do anything -- she is not striving to be on the top of the ladder or go through a glass door or glass ceiling or whatever they call it.
9:28 pm
no. they want to do what they want to do. and to be free. all women want that. and women of color want that to. the women's movement did not include them. >> deborah, we will get a response. >> i think you are right. i think that's one of the most powerful criticisms against feminism. it was white and wealthy and it was well-educated. it started to become more diverse toward the end of 1960s, into the 1970s. and that was about the time that it also start to splinter and lose power. we are very much now in need and to some extent, we are getting a third wave of feminism. which is focused more on social economic issues, issue of of color and gender. so i would say to the color, your only 92 so don't give up hope, there is still time. >> we will begin with mona.
9:29 pm
the legacy. >> very mixed. obviously some good things have happened. liberty, expanding opportunity for women has been terrific. the damage though to family life and to a sense of solidarity with men has been lost. we've had 50 years of basically sucks worse. in various forms. i think that has led to the sum total of unhappiness in the world. what i hope for from a new feminism going forward will be an acknowledgment of the real differences between men and women, a recognition that women cannot thrive at the expense of men and vice versa. and first and foremost we need to be a family.
9:30 pm
and third, that devoting ourselves to our children is one of the best things that human beings do. we have to figure out better ways of prioritizing families and children together. >> deborah, 50 years later, the legacy? >> i believe now is like you said the french revolution, it is too early to tell. we are still in the early days. i tend to think of things that in a very broad swath of history. women live in nearly described roles, for thousands of years. the women's movement tried to reshape those roles in fundamental and radical ways. it would be somewhat naove to believe that you could completely change these deeply set conventions and only 50 years. i think we are still in the early era of this.
9:31 pm
much more optimistic than mona is. i think we have come a very long way in 50 years. women can do things entering the things and have a voice that my mother and certainly my grandmother's generation could not have dreamed up. there's a lot of work left to do. we have to do much better job of thinking about the lives and struggles of poor women, black women, immigrant women, refugee women. a whole range of other women. who also have to look at the man. we have to figure out what new roles for men look like. in ways that don't put the same constraints on them that we once put on women and finally, we have to do what i refer to as the math. it takes more than one person to raise a child. the old way of social organization actually worked. the man or the money, the woman prepared the children. once we start to shift the women and
9:32 pm
give women things to do other than or in addition to raising children, we have to shift the whole equation. we have to think of different ways of taking care of our children and taking care of our families without constraining either women or men without putting ill effects on the children. we have not done that yet but i'm optimistic we will. we have come a long way as a society in 50 years. despite the bad things, we have come a long way in 50 years. >> from rstudio in new york, deborah spahr, the former president of bernard college and the author of wonder women, sex, power and the quest for perfection. mona teran, and her new book sex matters, modern feminism in touch with science, love, and's common sense. to both of you, thank you very much for a thoughtful conversation. american history tv. we appreciate it. >> a case on capital punishment
9:33 pm
. in 1976, troy leon gray a convicted armed robber and murderer challenged his death sentence. his case and for other capital punishment cases were considered by the court. the supreme court ruled against him. it establish stricter guidelines for states wishing to impose the death penalty. our guest to discuss this landmark case carol steiger, one of the nation's top capital punishment legal scholars and a professor of at harvard law. she argued against the death penalty in a number of cases before the court. she was also a former clerk of the supreme court justice thurgood marshall. and kent scheidegger, the legal director of the criminal justice legal foundation. advocating in favor of capital punishment and a more swift moving criminal justice system. he is with the new -- numerous briefs. watch this monday at nine eastern on c-span and join the conversation. follow us at c-
9:34 pm
span. we have resources on our website for background these case. a link to the national constitution centers interactive constitution and the landmark cases podcast. >> next on real america. and nbc series examining the status of the women's movement. the reports airs between september 1969 in april, 1970. hosted by several female reporters who covered protest, court cases regarding therapy and treatment and young men attitude toward women. representative shirley chisholm , national women's party founder alice hall, and betty friedan. >>


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on