tv 1968 - America in Turmoil Womens Rights CSPAN April 22, 2018 8:31am-10:04am EDT
betty: 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. to consciously fight for and realize that we were entitled to the same opportunities to participate in society, the same opportunities to control our own destiny, the same right to participate in society to
control our own destiny as men had. en you think about it, the modern woman's movement in america is supposed to have egun with my book in 1963, and we are 37 years later, and we really have transformed society. they weren't asking in 1963, 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 didn't ask women what do you do? men were supposed to say a housewife. so just a housewife was kind of a label, that most women had in -- oh, ys, because even
0, 40 years ago, only 1/3 of american women worked outside the home. not all the women went home again after world war ii, but a lot did, and two generations that didn't have babies in depression and war made up for it by having babies like mad, the so-called baby boom that some of you may be part of. and that was all right, and having babies is a good thing. i had three. there are real values in motherhood. it's not just a mystique, but there came to be in the 1950's this kind of doctrine that tried to make housewife-mother a full-time, life-long occupation,
and 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 was, he early feminists like they were neurotic spinssters suffering from penis envy. it was the freudian interpretation of history. it was a revelation to me doing search for my book, "the femnim mystique," well, i was going to give a good rationalization for penis envy. penis was the symbol of men, not women, and women had every right to envy the opportunities that
men had. >> the reflections of betty friedan and live on c-span3's american history tv our focus on 1968, america in turmoil. joining us from new york is debora spar, the former president of barnard college and author of the book, wonder women, sex, power and the quest for perfection. here in -- here with us, mona charen, veteran of the reagan white house. her new book, "sex matters: how modern feminism lost touch with science, love and common sense." to both of you thanks for being with us. >> pleasure. hoist: debora spar, what was the first feminism movement and why was there a second wave in the 1960's? debora: well, the waves of fell nism are not sort of a natural phenomenon that you can completely define, but generally people think about the first
suffragette the movement to get women the right to vote. that occurred in the early 20th century, largely successful but wasn't fully successful. you get what is called second wave feminism, as you said earlier, coming around the time of the publication of betty friedan's book and cresting in 1968 and that was a movement for all of the things that the vote alone had not granted to women. so pay equality, 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 that they granted them the right to vote. host: mona charen, let's talk about the arc of this time period. the famous rosy the riveter during the height of world war ii, what happened after world war ii, from the mid 1940's until the mid 1960's?
mona: i discuss in my book the mythology that's come down to us about rosie the riveter. the narrative we usually get is it was great during world war ii, women got all of these jobs that men were not performing because men were at the front, and rosie the riveter is the iconic image of a woman in an industrial job. the truth is a little more complicated. the fact is, women were actually propagandized and encouraged to take these jobs because there was a shortage -- a labor shortage because of the war. they made it seem a patriotic duty. there was a huge amount of government-sponsored advertising aimed at women to get them to take these jobs. the jobs -- sometimes women enjoyed them, but more often
they were really dirty and dangerous jobs, and women did them again because it was war time and we were completely mobilized and so they did those jobs. after the war, there was a period of grateful domesticity that followed. the economy was booming. the people who had not been able to get married or have families during the great depression and then during world war ii were sort of -- there was this pent-up demand for normalcy, if you will, harding's phrase. so after the war, there was a remendous rush to suffrage and people having large families and retreating, women retreated somewhat from the jobs they had taken during the second word war. host: is that how women were idealized in the 1950's? mona: the 1950's, it's
interesting. i think there is a disconnect between the popular image of what the 1950's were and the realities on the ground. we have this idea that women in the 1950's were stepford wives, that they were discouraged from work, from achieving their own individual dreams, and so forth, but if you look at the data, it's actually interesting. women did begin in large numbers going to work. what you saw is this u-shaped patterns of women working. by the way, they streamed into universities, not in the same numbers as men, but that was because of the g.i. bill. but women started a pattern of working while they were single, continuing to work while they were early married, cutting back to part-time or no work while their kids were young and then
resuming work after their kids were in school. this is not the image that has come down to us about the 1950's. we have been told that it was a prison and that women were just baby makers and homemakers and so forth, but i don't think that's an accurate picture of the way things were even then. host: debora spar, talk about some of the key players in this time period. let's begin with betty friedan. who was she? debora: if i could go back one second, i think mona is exactly right about what the data show. it's interesting what the culture showed in the 1950's. even though she mentions women were working, if you look at advertisements, if you look at television shows, what was honored was the happy homemaker, and that's a large part of what betty friedan rose to respond
to. betty friedan was a very bright, well educated woman. she began her career mostly as a reporter and sort of got shunted, as many bright women in that field did at that time, into reporting on women's issues and the making of pot roasts and knitting of sweaters and those sorts of things. as she tells it in her big book and in other form, she started to get the sense that something was wrong and she went back to her college classmates and started interviewing them. she started interviewing other women in the supposedly idyllic suburbs where she was living and she began to focus on what she called the problem that has no name, and that was the malaise, the discontent, the depression, she found, in many women who on the surface would have appeared to have these perfect lives, the same lives that the culture and magazines and television shows
were raving about, and the major caveat here, subsequent feminist critics have pointed to, was the women she was writing about were almost overwhelmingly white, upper middle class women. they were the women of the leave it to beaver era, if you will. but what her work was focused on -- and it's a 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 these stories of women crying in the kitchen and drinking with their friends and being so despondent at the phrase she uses, is this all there is? but if you go deeper into the book, it's a very long book, it's a quite marxist inspired
argument. what she's also writing in part is 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 buy. so women are being peddled dish washing detergents and floor waxes and kitchen equipment and all of these things that in fact are keeping them fully employed, keeping their home neat and clean and living up to some standard, and so part of her argument is that the energy that women could have been spending building careers, building lives of importance, are instead being spent keeping their kitchens clean, which she is quick to tell you is not what anyone's life should be devoted to. host: our continuing series, looking back 50 years, 1968, america in turmoil. we will get to your phone calls n just a moment.
mona charen, phyllis schlaffly, who was she? mona: she was a midwestern mother and political activist, conservative republican, who took it upon herself to form an organization to fight the passage of the equal rights amendment. she felt that far from being a good thing for women, the requiret would actually -- it would be enshrined in the constitution and require certain changes to things like social security act, the draft, military draft, and other things that would actually not benefit women. women would have to be drafted just like men. widows would not be entitled, arguably, to the pensions -- to the benefits that their deceased husbands they're currently eligible for, and so she started a grassroots movement and america has a long history of
successful grassroots efforts. think of prohibition which began in similar kitchen tables and garages. so anyway she formed this organization, stop e.r.a., and ultimately was successful. it had come to within something like three states that needed to ratify, hadn't achieved it in a seven-year time frame. congress extended the time frame, but together with her confederates she was able to defeat it and it still is not part of the constitution today. host: debora spar, i want to put some numbers on the screen and get your reaction as we look at the makeup of the house and senate. you will see a statue for a republican from montana, the first woman to serve in the u.s. house of representatives. in 1968, for the purposes of our discussion, there was one woman in the u.s. senate -- we put it on the screen -- and 11 in the
house of representatives and in the -- 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, of course, is this is good. we are moving in the right direction. but i think if you put these 50 years in context, we really haven't come so far at all. i won't do the math right on the spot. but we are still looking at situations where women at best are 20% to 25% 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, i think there was a deep-seated assumption that 50 years hence women would be something close to 50% of positions of power and as i argue in my book, what we see across the united states and across most of the developed world is that women seem to max
out between 16% and 18% of power positions. it's a little bit better in congress right now, but really a very small bit. so you can see this is glass half full, we have come a long way in 50 years, but myself i grew up really just after second wave fell -- feminism. i think women of my generation presumed that by the time we hit the mature parts of our careers, we would be at something closer to 50%. host: mona charen? mona: i am a tiny bit skeptical of the justice by counting metric. of course, i think if women want to be in positions of leadership and have the skills, they should be. i think there is a lot of evidence that the american voter is perfectly happy to vote for women at every level of government now. admittedly it didn't used to be that way but it is i think today. i think there may be other reasons that women are not --
that they don't share these positions 50/50. i have seen data that women are turned off by the excessive partisanship, that they dislike the sort of combat that's involved in politics, and so there may be other reasons that women just don't choose to put themselves forward quite as much as men do. host: mona charen in washington, debora spar joining us from new york. steven is on the phone from lincoln university, pennsylvania. go ahead, please. caller: can you hear me? host: we sure can. caller: perfect. i would like to comment on the difference between first wave and second wave feminism. the main problem is that first wave you had a problem where you couldn't vote. my problem is second wave feminism seems to say, i don't like what women are doing based on what the culture doesn't like women are doing, not necessarily what the government is doing to women or restricting them, but they want a government solution
to that problem with legislation, things i don't believe really work or should be done. i think as long as the government is treating men and women equally, jail time, things like that, how they're viewed in the courts, things of that nature, you can do a government legislated solution for that. what i hear from second wave feminism is i don't like the way the culture is, i don't like the way the tv portrays women, they should be in the home, so let's have a government solution. let's use the government to enforce what i think women should be at age 20, 30, 40, because i don't like what they are, so i don't agree with that type of usage of government. i think as long as the government is treating everyone equally, that's what the government needs to do and not change culture per se. host: thanks for the call. debora spar, the author of wonder women, the quest for power and perfection, go ahead. debora: i think there are so many pieces of second wave feminism that i think it's
unfair to say that it was all about governmental solutions, if i just look at my sector of the world in higher education. in 1963 and 1968, most of the most elite educational institutions in this country were closed to women. virtually none of the educational institutions had programs for women and those were things that didn't technically need governmental solutions. the universities themselves opened up and allowed women and they started to do sports programs for women, but certainly this was nudged along by activism and by governmental policy, something like title ix which has been hugely important in making sure women have equal access to sports programs, which turns out to be a crucially important element of young people's development. so i agree with the caller that not everything has a governmental solution, but i think what the activists realized in the 1960's was there had to be some pressure towards giving women greater rights.
it wasn't just a question of how the culture was treating them. it was a question how major institutions were treeing them. host: our next caller from charlotte, north carolina, theresa. go ahead please. caller: i wanted to mention that i was 18 in 1972 and i got married and by 1980 i still did not have financial autonomy. could not do anything without my husband. host: mona charen. mona: i am not sure what you are getting at, caller. host: are you still with us? no, she hung up. mona: she could start her own business. she could have a family. she could do many things. one of the things about the 1968 feminism, the second wave feminism, is that you cannot see
it as part of the women's movement that began with the sunchettes and proceeded, it grew out of a moment in american history when the new left was rising, when there was tremendous turmoil in our society in general about racial issues and about the rights of homosexuals and about the tature of the country, and, of course, divided over the vietnam war. and what that environment encouraged and midwifed, if you will, was radicalism on many levels. the second wave feminist movement, not betty friedan so much, but the ones who came immediately after her, really did embrace this very radical vision of societal reform to go back to what the caller -- previous caller was asking about
culture. they were not just saying, look, we want equal pay for equal work and we want to have sports programs and colleges. they were attacking the entire society of what they called the patriarchy, marriage, family ife, the sexual norms that had 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. debora: hang on. there were lots of people in this movement. some of them were clearly on the radical side, but going back to betty friedan, even gloria stein emto some extent, to go back to our caller who has left us, i think she's quite right, that if you were a married woman in 1969, you couldn't sign for a home mortgage or credit card without your husband's
permission. there were some very important issues that women faced that had nothing to do with the more radical piece of what became the feminist agenda. mona: i think you and i might disagree about how radical they were. if you look at the writings -- there were feminism blockbusters politics, the alectic of sex, the female eunich, these books were celebrated on the front page of magazines. they were very much part of the culture and they were extremely radical in their solutions. they were marxist except for a few little quibbles, and they were absolutely endorsing the abolition of the nuclear family which they felt was the cradle of all problems of women. debora: some of those books
were, but again if you go back to betty friedan and others, that was a much less radical view. like any movement, there are a million pieces in this, but i don't think you want to condemn the whole movement by looking at specific pieces of it. it was a long and complex movement and still is. mona: that's true. it's complex. you are right, there are many different feminists, many different schools, sometimes too many. but i do think that -- i recently reread "the feminine mystique" and i found the book , and though flawed she was not quite on the anti-family bandwagon, she did have some unbelievably silly and even destructive comments in that book, such as describing a
suburban home life as a comfortable concentration camp. debora: if either of us is lucky our books are read 50 years from now, people would find some quibbles as well. host: women earned the rate to vote in 1920 and then in 1923 the first equal rights amendment was introduced in the house of representatives. it passed in the house by a vote of 354-24 in 1971. it passed in the u.s. senate by a final vote of 84-8. and then between 1972 through 1979 it was ratified by 35 states, as mona charen pointed out, three states short of the necessary 38. t's go to colleen joining us from florida. caller: hi, this is a wonderful topic. i am so glad we are discussing it because girls today don't
comprehend back in the 1960's the laws on divorce, it was very difficult to get a divorce, and there was a lot of shame involved. you couldn't go and get your own house or you couldn't carry on with your family with the mother and children couldn't separate themselves from the husband. alimony and child support were so low that you really couldn't maintain your family. the law had a lot to do with it, and people -- society agreed with all that. host: thanks for the call. mona charen, we will begin with you. mona: i have a different view of the divorce laws and alimony. i actually think that the movement towards no-fault divorce was not an advantage for
women. at happened is that both no-fault divorce and treating mothers and fathers as absolutely equivalent when it came to child custody decisions meant, as david frum pointed out in his book, that it gave men -- that is, husbands who were divorcing -- more power within the relationship. they could threaten to contest for custody of the children and sort of force their wives to accept less in alimony thereby, and sure enough that is what happened. alimony went down after the introduction of no-fault divorce. so it was definitely a mixed picture, and so many of the couples that have divorced -- and we have data on this -- about 2/3 of annual divorces are from couples who have when these
divorces initiated no open conflict, no serious conflict. once the divorce process gets going, it sometimes reaches that level. but divorce has been a big problem for women and although obviously the plus side is it has allowed women to escape unhappy marriages more easily, but it has also made it easier for everybody to get out of a marriage contract. somebody once said, it's easier to escape a marriage contract than it is a car loan. not so sure that's great for society. host: debora spar, agree or disagree? debora: a little of both. i think divorce is always complicated, and trying to separate the data issues from the personal issues will always be murky. but i do think, as mona just said, the evolution of laws has made divorce easier.
that's probably led to some bad consequences but i think in general it's led to good consequences, so women do have the legal power to get out of bad marriages and to get out of them in ways that don't destroy themselves or their children financially. host: debora spar is the author of this book, wonder women, sex, power and the quest for perfection. mona charen's new book, sex matters, how modern feminism lost touch with science, love and common sense. >> available for preorder on amazon. host: coming out in june. debora spar, i want to get your reaction to this tweet from jim. can your guests speculate on why the e.r.a. amendment was not successfully ratified? >> it's a good question. i don't have a great answer for it. i think part of the reason was it took a really long time, as these things do.
getting any kind of amendment is a torturous political process. i think as time moved on, we have heard from mona and others, this was not something that was universally admired or desired. i think time went on, interest flagged. there were some parts of the country that fundamentally didn't want this amendment, and to go back to one of our earlier callers -- i would tweak his views a little bit -- the amendment even if it had passed quickly was not going to be be a magic bullet for women's ills or societal ills. so i think even some of the people who had pushed that agenda over the years were able to sort of take their activism and take their objectives and try to work through them on other channels. i think it's a very complicated political moment, but i think in the end there just wasn't enough unified support to combat a lot of very diffuse opposition.
host: the civil rights movement was front and center. legislation was passed and signed by president johnson. a democrat from michigan, in 1970, he 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 very much to the naacp and civil rights movement, that is who are proposing legal action, as one way of bringing women into full participation in society. i think there are also women in women's liberation movement who would be very much in agreement with the critique proposed by leaders of the black liberation movement. there are many parallels. >> what about civil rights? are there civil rights that women do not enjoy? >> well, i think there certainly are. i think that maybe i should turn it back to martha. i would like to add one footnote
to what she said about the 1964 civil rights act because the or sex provision was added really as a joke. it was put in by a southern congressman to keep it from being -- >> it was not added as a joke. the man who originally offered it felt he was really going to hurt the bill, but i made the argument and i wasn't joking. i understood exactly what it would do. it was accepted not as a joke but because the people who sat there agreed with my argument, that you would have given black women rights that white women never had. i didn't make the further statement which i think was quite true, that no one who brought that bill to the floor had ever considered giving any white woman any rights, and the truth is that black and white women got those rights together, but no one who voted that day
voted as a joke. >> i am sure they didn't vote as a joke, but there was a great deal of levity in the debate. >> levity stopped when i started speaking. >> i am pleased to hear that. >> it really didn't work out that way at all. but this had been one of the things -- it's a myth that has been put out through this whole country that it was a joke, and every woman who says it again and again really aids the supreme court in making a very erroneous decision. >> can you document a little bit what the civil rights status of women was before and after? >> women don't really have any rights. the 14th amendment has never been applied to give women equal rights, equal protection under the law. it doesn't have any rights. the only right to vote and the right to hold public office, those are the only two rights that the constitution of the united states guarantees. host: a panel discussion on women, law and politics that
took place in 1970 at the university of michigan. this is a photograph from the east room of the white house in 1964. president lyndon baines johnson signing the civil rights act. you can see it is primarily a room full of men. mona charen. mona: right, so i want to make two points. first, the women were included in the civil rights act, so sex was added to the civil rights act so that all of the rights guaranteed under that act it was very clear applied to women as well. but this comment that you hear so often, that women did not have any rights, she said it on the tape and you heard it a lot and you still do, that women didn't receive the right to vote until the 1920's and therefore they had no rights. well, that's absolutely not true. 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, the right to practice her faith. she had all the rights that are guaranteed in the bill of rights to all american citizens. there was never a sense, even though there is no equal rights amendment, there is never a sense that those rights were meant to apply only to men. they're universal. host: debora spar, did you want to respond? debora: no, i think that's accurate, but clearly there are a significant number of women in this country who feel that despite having these basic rights listed in the constitution, women's reality is that they face different obstacles than do men. those obstacles have changed since the 1960's, but they're still there. i think the political question remains, what is the best way to fix that reality for women? is it through law and if it is through law, what extent must it rely on a constitutional amendment?
i think that's where you can have a lot of debate. women faced obstacles that are quite different from those that faced white men. host: we talked earlier about a conservative activist and in a 2002 interview on c-span she discussed her opposition to the equal rights amendment. >> for many years i debated the equal rights amendment and we won that battle, and young women in college today weren't even born when that was a fight so they don't understand it and it needs to be re-explained. about if you look at the feminists whom i debated 20 years ago, they don't have the wonderful things that i have, which are 14 grandchildren. that's a whole new life. i think the young women should look ahead and see what is life going to be like for you in 20 years, 20 years into the future? they need to examine that and
find out what they really 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 just a plain old mother raising her children. it doesn't always work out that way. >> did you ever think that you would be more than just a mother raising her children? >> well, i am a very hard-working person, and i always have lots of hobbies. politics became my hobby. host: our focus, 1968, 50 years later. that was the year america in turmoil, talking about the women's movement. jose teen is next from new jersey. thank you for waiting. caller: good morning. i want to use new jersey as an example. i work for the state of new jersey for 42 years. not once did you ever see a woman in a position of
authority. i am talking like cabinet post as an example. 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 apointed. how refreshing. that didn't happen under a republican, i have to say. it didn't happen under a republican. and 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? yeah, we do. anybody that denies that, mona, you have to wake up. laws give us more rights. fortunately we can't do it alone. the more important thing for women out there, they've got to vote. if you don't vote, you do not get your rights. to complain about it, sitting on your tuchus doesn't work.
you've got to vote. thank you very much. >> it's nice to hear from a caller from my old hometown, livingston, new jersey. i would just point out that equal pay has been the law of the land since 1963. so i don't know what new jersey is planning. but that's been true for a long time. host: next is helen -- go ahead, debora spar. debora: i would just echo her comment. women have to vow, particularly young women to have vote. what i have seen among young women in the past few years is a real wake-up call because all of these rights and privileges that they thought they could take for granted have been called into question in the past few years. i think it's very good that they are understanding how important it is for them, not just to tweet but to vote as well. host: from california, republican line, good morning. caller: yes, equally refreshing
is the devout republican from california. i was 14 in 1968. my mother read betty friedan's book when it first came out. she went to the local drugstore bookaw it on the paperback rack and picked it up and transformed my expectations with her new found philosophy. host: how so, helen? caller: because i also -- when i was 14, the book was still around and i read it and it opened up a world also 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. well, ironically that didn't happen and it never would have happened because economically this would not be feasible. was just a dream being sold
by companies who wanted to sell their products because i did take a class in college on -- it was american studies course called women in american society, and there were more women after world war ii who remained in the work force than ever before in american history. and now you had two incomes and so companies were going after that extra income because they knew now that women could -- people could afford to buy cars and cleansers and makeup and clothes. there's more disposable income. what vote happened, though, i think -- because i read elizabeth warren's two income trap, maybe your two guests might be familiar with it. she detailed and did a very good job on it, how eventually over time as more women entered into the work force and entered into
the profession, making the same amount of money as their spouses or even more, things started changing economically for everyone in american society. one of the main ways were the outsourcing of manufacturing to certain countries where products were much cheaper, but ironically the money needed to buy housing, mortgages, housing costs increased, tripled. housing costs tripled. host: thank you for the call. debora spar, did you want to respond? debora: i just pick up on where helen started because i think it's such an important anecdote. so many women have that moment that they recall their mother picking up the book at the brear, at a friend's house. it was -- library, at a friend's house. the fact that a single book woke women up to their potential is in itself radical. host: a few years after 1968, in
1971, the u.s. army put together this film at the time advising how women serving in the military should look and dress. the full program will be airing after this program. here is an excerpt. >> well, ladies, you've come a long way. no question about it. you have more to say these days about your education, your appearance, your occupation, and your role in life than any young women have ever had in history. yet you have a voice in your own destiny. you have it in civilian life as well as in the military. that's right, there is a lot you can say and do about who you are, where you are going, and how you look, especially in the military. sure, susan mayfield looks good but she never won any beautiful baby contests. she had to work for it. it takes more than luck to appear bright, well groomed and smart looking.
nobody is trying to sell you a batch of easy miracles. all we are talking about is making the most of what you have. host: the u.s. army film -- meen charron, you are -- mona charen, you are laughing. mona: it's a little antique, but compared with some of the messages that we send young women today, like even teenagers, preteens, that they should be into look sexy and wear lots of makeup and appeal 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 or whatever it was. but in a way, i almost have a wistful sense about that era, hen that was the goal. host: go ahead. debora: i am at a disadvantage
in new york because i could only hear the film. but to think what the male equivalent is, did any of the army films for men concentrate on their looks? mona: they do. debora: but it's interesting to see them side by side. mona: but in the military even today, the men have to comb their hair a certain way, they have to shine their buckles a certain way. debora: it's not where you start. it's a footnote to why they might want to be in the military. you are right, it runs across so many pieces of our culture, but the emphasis on how women look, it's different. it's different than it is for men. mona: i agree with that. st: we go to florida next, krista, good morning. caller: good morning. thank you very much for taking my call. i want to get a little deeper here. started hearing about this in
college in the early 1970's. i was like whatever. but i went out in the world and found out it's not really appening yet, anyway, not in most places. but the thing that i think a lot of people don't understand that's really critical is that this is not a political issue. this is a survival issue. up until the 1980's, in pennsylvania there were laws on the books that said how big of a stick your husband could use to beat you and for what infraction. if your child would come to you and disclose sexual abuse, you would be committed. you would not be listened to. >> we are discussing many, many large social phenomena. you can't discuss women's place in society without discussing many other things besides
politics. so you are right to say it's a broad subject, but i have to say that the idea that men could beat their wives with a stick of a certain size is a myth. the myth has been exploded in the book who stole feminism? it has -- there are certain -- i give feminism credit for changing the way we treated rape in our courts, where for a long time there was no such thing as marital rape and for a long time it was a case that women's own sexual history could be used to impeach them on the stand. feminists pushed back against that and good for them. the law changed about that. on the other hand, there are a lot of myths that have been peddled about domestic violence, for example, by feminists. they have made outlandish claims that, for example, for people who are most likely to abuse women are husbands.
they're actually the least likely to commit domestic violence. the most likely are live-in boyfriends, and so there is a tendency to mix up all of the myths with facts. the truth is that married women are the safest of all women, safer than divorced, widowed, single and especially safer than those who are cohabitting. host: i want to put another name on the table, germaine greer, she lives in the u.k. this is from a cover story of "life" magazine attributed as a major voice of the second wave feminist movement. she said, quote, women have the right to define their own values, order their own priorities and decide their own space. why was she such a large figure during this time period? debora: i think she captured a lot of the zeitgeist of that moment. she's a beautiful writer.
she's a very clean writer. she spoke to a lot of people, and again it was a moment in time when people -- we heard this from all of our callers -- people wanted to address these issues. she was a different voice than betty friedan, a different voice than gloria steinem and she put a pin prick on i think some of the deep yearnings that women had aside from politics but just to have a voice, to have an identity, to have dreams of being something other than a housewife. she's a beautiful writer and i think she got her voice out there that lots of people spoppeded to. host: debora spar joining us from new york and here in washington, mona charen, senior fellow at the ethics and public policy center. leo from the bronx, democrats line. good morning. caller: good morning. i was explaining to your screener that the issue of
women's rights that i want to raise is that last year you saw an explosion of reckonings against people in the media such as harvey weinstein, charlie rose, for being abusive towards women. why this seemed to suddenly happened and why now? host: thank you. the me too movement. debora: i think -- this has been i really believe a watershed moment in the women's movement. i don't think it's a flash in the pan. it's a very important moment, and i think what happened is these stories have been out there for years about specific men and more in general, i really think there were a couple of incredibly devoted journalists who were very careful and diligent, at the new yorker and "the new york times" who did their homework, dotted their i's and took what had been
rumored and put the facts around them and they had the advantage of working with a handful of brave women who were willing to risk their careers and reputations to go public with what had been quiet stories for a long time and once it was out there on the front page of "the new york times," everything just crescendoed around it. ost: from akron, ohio, sy is next, independent line. caller: good morning. our friend connie, 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. s a footnote, every single
hibernating bear in alaska, every single mother bear in alaska has had her rights invaded this month by every republican senator voting that her babies may be killed while they're hibernating in a wildlife sang twear. host: let me jump in, apply that to what we are talking about is the women's movement of the 1960's. caller: connie would go out in 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 that the trump administration is perhaps the worst ever. host: do you want to respond in any way? mona: i think tenderness towards animals is admirable. i am resistant to the idea that
they have rights that are ee quiff lint to human rights. i think we should be kind to animals but i don't take that to the degree this caller does. host: debora spar, let me put two bookends to the 1960's. the f.d.a. approved the pill in 1960 and then moving ahead to the way. debora: it's incredible we have been talking for an hour and this is the first time this critical issue has come up. of the dual emergence legal pill and legal abortion are probably in some ways the most important developments that came out of the 1960's and early 1970's. there are all kind of arguments one could put forward including the huge moral arguments around abortion, but i think when you look back across a broad swath
of history, as i am starting to do a little bit now, the single most important development for women's rights was contraception because it's wonderful to argue for women's rights. the laws clearly are important, but really what gave women the ability to control their destiny was the ability to control their fertility. the combination of contraception, which allowed women to decide when and if they wanted to become pregnant, and abortion which gave them that last option if they became pregnant at a time they didn't want to, that's in my opinion what really gave women the freedom to begin to control their destiny. host: debora spar, if you were pregnant in the 1960's in the work force, how would your employer typically react to that? debora: well, it wasn't something that was supposed to happen. women were supposed to leave the work force before they got pregnant. they were supposed to hide their pregnancies should they occur, and my understanding having not
been there was that the presumption was the moment they got pregnant they would be out of the work force. they would go home and take care of their babies. so clearly pregnancy -- that's the difference at the core between men and women. women get pregnant and men don't. that really is what has kept women in a secondary status for so long, and so being able to have a pretty good degree of control over their pregnancies is in my mind really what is the single greatest liberating force for women. mona: here we get to the heart of a really important dispute about women, men, life. i mean, i believe that the feminist movement made a horrible wrong turn when it embraced abortion as the feminist issue because it alienated millions of american women and men who regard abortion as an abomination.
the second part is the tendency to say -- well, second point before i get to the last one. the pill and the other assorted contraceptions that became widely available in the 1960's could have been taken by women as just a way to decide how many children they want and how to space them out. it did not necessarily mean that women had to sign on to the sexual revolution. unfortunately, the two were linked, and people enencouraged both. i think that has not served the interests of women well nor families which are critical to everyone's well-being, men and women. nally, the topic that debora mentioned, women get pregnant, men don't. the matter of what it does to women in the workplace, women being pregnant add being mothers and giving birth and nursing and
caring for their babies is like the best part of life. unfortunately, the feminist movement has tended to diminish and devalue it, to see it as an obstacle on the path to the corner office, and i think that has things quite upside down. i think the most important things in our lives involve our families and our personal relationship and yes, in our incredibly abundant and wealthy country, you can have it all. you can do it all, but we shouldn't be portraying caring for children and family life as just kind of something that an impediment to women in the workplace. host: the book by mona charen, sex matters, how modern feminism lost touch with common sense. and debora spar, the author of the book, wonder women, sex, power and the quest for
perfection. thomasville, georgia, go ahead, please. caller: good morning. this is one of the most entertaining programs i have seen on c-span. i can't decide which comment i like the most. i did want to say that obviously and sometimes we forget obvious, anytime one group gains in power, another group loses power. power comes from somewhere. with the idea that power ebbs and flows, peoples, all that, i can tell you that a 55 year owed white man like me has less power than he did in 1965 and that's fine. i have more obstacles than my counterpart did in 1965. i just have to deal with that. anytime you put government involved where you say ok, he shouldn't have that many obstacles, we need to take care of some of those obstacles, unintended consequences happen.
title ix in the 1970's, the idea was hey we need to have females be able to participate in sports just like our counterparts. back then in 1970 college sports was not a $9 billion business. so now that money ha has beennon generated by -- by predominantly minority black athletes generating that money. that money is being taken from them, given to the universities, and distributed for female sports. thatey had known in 1970 it would be a $9 billion business, i don't take they would have done that. without title ix, somebody might have said, all of these people entertaining us every saturday and only getting paid with an education that they never graduate and get, and maybe one the you will get paid in
nfl. that sounds like modern-day sharecropping. alone, theyleft it might have been able to fix it. now that money is tied into it, they won't get rid of the female sports. would agree critically with two or three of the pieces you said. everything has unintended consequences. that is part of what we have to deal with. i don't know how much women's sports plays into some of the expenses of what we are seeing in college sports. i agree they are excessive and trouble medic. but i want to go back to something you said at the beginning. impact of the women's movement has been on men. it has been dramatic. i think you are right. more power,up gets other groups, almost by definition, lose out and find their options constrained in new ways.
i think it is intriguing that we've had 50 years of philosophizing around feminism. as mona and i were saying, there's millions of strands of it. but at least people are talking about it and developing policies. we have not talked enough about men over the last 50 years. we have not come up with new models of what it means to be a male, a successful father and husband. something mona said earlier, i agree that having children is a wonderful is a and being a parent wonderful thing, but we have to change our idea of what it means to be a man and be a parent. we have not done nearly enough work on thinking about the implications of feminism for men. host: let's go to desmond from fort wayne, indiana. caller: this is such a fascinating panel today. thankk both of you -- i
both of you ladies who are here. i could not convince my daughters to come to the living room and watch. host: tell them it is going to be on our website and reentering on c-span3 american history tv. caller: to expand on what debra you are right. i come from five generations of divorce. hearing, from mona especially, or debra, is the fact of the matter is the future of the children is what is most important. political of our with twos, a family heads of household, husband or wife or whatever, raising children together, is the foundation of socioeconomic
advancement. i have not heard that in the entire segment. is one of the things i told myself before i got married. my wife and i both work full-time jobs. .e respect each other she is probably better in some things than im in others in the household, but we will stick together regardless because of our children. and i'm not hearing that from the panel. i will jump off. host: before i let go, three girls, any boys? caller: none, and i have six brothers. guest: guest: thank you for the question. you may not have heard me say it on the segment, but i have a lot in my book about the critical importance of family. that is, i think, one of the great crises we are facing in society.
unmarried, childbearing families are -- families are disintegrating. it takes two parents to raise happy and healthy people and good citizens. not only is it important for our society, but for our happiness. all of the social science is plenty critical. that married people are happier than single people and that children raised by married parents do way better than children raised in any other environment, and it does not rely on class or race or anything else. ,oming from an intact family your chances of succeeding in life as a child are dramatically 'mproved if your parents marriage is in tact. there is a number of things that have been tearing families apart.
namely, what the feminist movement has done to men. unfortunately, -- one of the bad things is that it has tended to pit the sex against one another. to portray men and women as adversaries. spouses areive, our the dearest people in our lives. the most important people. to overlook that is a huge mistake. -- cannot thrive if my husband and sons are not doing well. to depict our thriving and on our as being based gender rather than our family structure and family relationships is a great mistake , and it has led to unnecessary suffering. and talkant to move on about what was happening in the 1960's.
we had the feminist movement in the second wave, as we talked about at the beginning. the civil rights movement and the antiwar demonstrations in the mid to late 1960's. how did all of that come together in 1968? , as most came together people would recall, in a giant conflagration. it was one of these moments in time when an awful lot was happening. strange bedfellows were created in every sense of the word. smashed together, largely on college campuses but not entirely. it was an entire, across-the-board activism. you are seeing those strains emerging today. what happened, i think, for the women's movement, per se, is that it got lost in the shuffle a little bit. were part of the
civil rights movement and part of the antiwar movement, but particularly in the antiwar movement, it wound up being a movement that was really led by stories that the women involved tell is that they were forced into very subservient positions within the antiwar movement. history would say that movement won. the war ended, whether in response to the movement or not. but women came away from it feeling like their voices were not heard in the way they might've hoped. i think there was reckoning and soul-searching that went on after that. i don't know that it contributed to that -- of the feminist movement, but i think it did not help the feminist movement regain or rebuild solidarity. host: 1968: the year in turmoil. the significance of those developments. lois is joining us from new york.
wanted to say, first of all, it is misinformation to say that american women in marriages are much safer. that is because it is unreported when domestic violence occurs, and impacts families, because it impacts children. it affects the husband doesn't employment, the wife's employment. ima retired university professor who lived through years of domestic violence. i went to school -- it opened the door for me to go to school. i became a teacher, then a lawyer, then an educational leadership professor. and i taught law for the last 14 years before i retired. i recognize that these systems , veryquality in america much a part of how women were constrained from reporting that violence. the incidents of domestic violence reporting a mountain
intimate partners -- reporting among intimate partners is that -- is higher because there are not often family constraints preventing them from doing so. in marriages, they have the same -- to report, but it is not reported. and when it is reported in a marriage, law enforcement strives to remain neutral as opposed to protecting women. int resurgence is evident scholarly research, and especially among minorities. i wanted to say that. second of all, if it had not been for the women's movement, i would never have understood that ahave options to lead separate life within marriage. yes, i had children. five and they all went to college and are all decent human beings. that was a very difficult road. host: thank you for adding your voice. mona, i think she was referring
to some of your comments. guest: this is obviously a very painful question about domestic violence. it is always a horror. the data areat wrong because people are -- kely to report that is not a good way to deal with statistics. you can't say the numbers would be higher if more people would report it. you could say that we suspect that it is underreported, but you can't say it is some percentage because you don't know. -- more willing to reported in living together at situations, but i would also say that when you look at people self alsoting happiness, you see that people in married, committed relationships report higher levels of happiness as well. if there were a tremendous amount of abuse going on, i don't think you would have that
kind of self reporting. there were reports in 1968 in atlantic city, new jersey, at a miss america competition. she was going to be crowned in september 1968. miss illinois was selected as the winner. news covered this, september 1968. the women's liberation movement organized several groups to protest the miss america pageant as a symbol of society's exploitation of women as sex objects. the groups proliferate, saying -- association. names in colorful stockings and roses. women for women, older women liberation. they are addicted to acronyms. for women's liberation
front. ♪ [hail to the chief] host: that full program airing on c-span3's railamerica following this program. deborah, as you heard what was happening in the late 60's and early 70's, what are your thoughts? i think that was a mess, a clever performance staged to burn brassieres -- to throw them into trash cans as a sign of women's opposition to things like the miss america pageant. , it is a beautiful way to attract attention.
and it worked. i think it really galvanized still, itet out there is a beauty pageant. not something that is deeply important for anyone, but it really captured people's attention. , theis particular subject way in which women are always evaluated on their looks, whether in a beauty pageant contest or in terms of being recruited for the military. i think it is a highlight of activism and we still talk about it 60 years on. in palmt's go to fran beach garden, florida. caller: my question is for deborah. how big of a part do you think that helen brown's cosmopolitan magazine played in the women's movement? that is a very good question. was a veryt she
important figure. she was not a deep philosopher, never claimed to be. she had a kind of feminism that later feminists would denounce because it was really about using women's sexuality as a tool of power. washelen gurley brown brilliant, not only in terms of shaping her own career, but in realizing that her position at platform nobody else had. she wasn't trying to talk to the point alloy -- talk to the hoi polloi, she was trying to talk to 19-year-old girls, and she did. and i think she inspired, for lack of a better word may be, a generation of young women to think about exciting lives and to think about themselves as something other than housewives. was she perfect? no.
if you read some of -- about how to wear makeup, they are deeply cringe worthy. voice and used it and got the attention of millions of young women. she wrote this blockbuster called "sex and the a huge influence on the culture at the time. she later claimed she was the first feminist. the bookyou reread now, not only will you cringe at things like her advice about how to catch a man, but you will cringe when she says it is perfectly fine to have affairs with married men. and she lists the positives. they will give you presents. we are not talking about outright being cap, -- about but having an office fling. there was an utterly immoral view that she took about
sexuality and women's behavior that did not set a good tone for what was to come. host: mona charen and debora spar, another leading figure is america's first lady, lady bird johnson. debora spar, what role did she play? .f any, in the women's movement guest: i personally don't know much about her, which probably says something about the kind of feminism i've read about and researched. i think that any first lady is deeply constrained by what she can do, particularly at that moment in time. she did not have a lot of degrees of freedom. she was defined by a roll. but within the confines of that role, i think she pushed the boundaries. she tried to show herself as a woman who, even though she was sort of the number one housewife than acountry, was more
housewife. a woman who stayed true to the ideals of the loyal, dedicated wife and mother, but still was clearly an intelligent, smart woman with ideas of her own and a platform she tried to use. i think she did as best she could. host: we will go to toledo, ohio next. calvin. caller: i'd like to talk about the they find -- signed discrimination law that black -- thatblack women had they had to hire black men and black women. jewsthey slipped in that were the minority, and white women were the minority. --ler: guest: umm, i'm not sure exactly what you mean by that. have a thinking
that there are special affirmative action programs for jews and white women. there were, informally, for white women. but i don't think jews were ever considered a minority that deserves special treatment. in fact, my father in the 1930's applied to medical school, but could not get in because at the time, there were quotas. a topline number of jews that could be accepted into any medical school. he had to do something else and study physics. host: another leading voice during this time, a member of the house of representatives from 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 feminists, someone who worked inside the system. someone who really stood for
women across the country. women of color in addition to whole part of this movement that was lost in the early days. and she was a fighter. someone who was fighting from the inside. i think if you look across this panoply of women you've brought up in the past hour or so, you see how you need all of the .ramatics personae you need the wild ones writing for the magazines, activists burning bras. and someone like shirley chisholm, who is pushing through the muddy, murky, important work of getting laws changed. her: let me go back to announcement for president in 1972, representative shirley chisum, democrat new york.
>> i stand before you today as a candidate for the democratic parties -- [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 i am equally proud of that. any not the candidate of political bosses or fatcats or special interests. vigorous] more i stand here now without endorsement of many big-name politicians or celebrities or any other props. i do not intend to offer to you the tired and glib cliches which
have for too long been an accepted part of our political life. i am the candidate of the people of america. [cheering, applause] , we have looked in vain to the nixon administration for the courage, the spirit, the character and -- to bring out the best in us. ourekindle in each of us faith in the american dream. yet all we have received in another smooth exercise in political manipulation, deceit, deception. callousness and indifference to our individual problems. hittingsive politics the young against the old, labor against management. north against south, black against white. -- is that really
the intersection of the women's movement and civil rights movement of this time? guest: you can't help but be inspired. paved the wayshe for obama, hillary clinton, .lizabeth warren, kamala harris she says it all. i'm not the candidate of the people of color or of the women's movement. ima qualified candidate. she both encapsulates the women's right movements and the civil rights movement, but most importantly, she recognized people of merit and intellect, and she is all of those things. host: let's go to robert in brooklyn, new york. caller: what do you think rosa park would feel about the going to the back of the bus, the women's movement. the second question, how do
inresses -- what is going on israel and palestine is extremely distressing to her. host: rosa parks. guest: ic rosa parks as exclusively a figure of the civil rights movement. it happens to be the case that she was a brave woman, but her point was not for women, it was for african-americans. ,f she had been a white woman she would have been allowed to sit at the front of the bus without problems. so i thought this was truly about civil rights for african americans and not the primacy of the women's movement. natalie portman has made it clear that the reason she was not accepting the award was that she does not want to seem to endorse the prime minister who she does not support. but not that she was lending any
support to opponents of israel's existence. as a reminder, our audience, in 1918, 1 century ago, one female member of the house of representatives. she was from montana. and 11, 1 in the senate in the house. now, 23 in the senate and 83 in the house. debora spar, what do you think what he 19 will look like? 2019 could be interesting. i don't have the numbers at my fingertips, but we have more women running for office now than ever before is what i've heard. we should not elect anyone simply because of their gender, but i think we will see a wave of talented, deserving, smart, civic minded women in office. we had the first baby on the floor of the senate last week. tammy duckworth brought her infant with her.
i think this is a watershed moment as well. we will hopefully get women in numbers in both the house and can startthat we seeing some shift in policy. i don't mean to imply that women will or should vote as women, but there is pretty good data to suggest that women are less inclined to be partisan once they are in congress. not true for all of them, but that there is more of a willingness among women to work across the aisle and work for policies that matter. to figure out ways to get things done without getting too stock in ideology. get above this 20% threshold, because as long as women are stuck at 20%, they will always be a visible minority, treated as women instead of representatives. the time has come 50 years hence to move beyond those thresholds. host: our last color is from connecticut. hello, i am 92 years
old. beenblack and i have never part of the women's movement, primarily because i think they failed like women. they failed poor women -- failed black women. they failed poor women. all those videos you were showing, all of those people, black men and women -- i looked hard to see if there was one black face there and i could not see one. it is not just blackness. it is poorness. that a woman, in order to do -- she is not striving to be on the top of a ladder or go through a glass topped or ceiling or whatever. no. they want to live a full life. wantwant to do what they
to do and be free. all women want that, and poor women and black women want it, too. the women's movement does not include them. host: debora spar, we will get a response. ofst: i think that is one the most powerful criticisms against second wave feminism. it was white, wealthy, well educated. become moreo diverse toward the end of the 1960's into the 1970's, around the time it started to splinter and lose power. we are very much in need -- and at to some extent getting -- third wave of feminism that is economics, issues of gender, race. to oure have a segue final question. mona charen, the legacy 50 years later of the women's movement. guest: very mixed.
obviously, some good things have happened. , expanding opportunities for women has been terrific. the damage, though, to family to a sense of solidarity with men has been lost. we have had 50 years of basically sex wars in various forms. a sum total of unhappiness in the world. what i would hope for feminism would be the acknowledgment of the true differences between men and women. that women cannot thrive at the expense of man. that we thrive first and foremost as families. third, that devoting ourselves of thechildren is one
best things that human beings do. we have to figure out better ways of prioritizing families and children together. host: 50 years later, the legacy? debora spar? guest: i think that when asked what he thought of the french revolution, he said too early to tell. we are still in the early days. i tend to think of things in the broad swaths of history. men and women lived in narrowly circumscribed roles for thousands of years. the women's movement tried to reshape those roles in fundamental and radical ways. towould be somewhat naive believe you could completely change these deeply set conventions in only 50 years. i think we are still in the this, but i am much more optimistic than mona.
i think we have come a long way in 50 years. women can do things and dream of things and have a voice that my mother or grandmother's generation could not have dreamed of. there is a lot of work left to do and our last color was right. we need to think of the lives and struggles of poor women, immigrant women, refugee women, black women. we have to look at men's spaces. to put the same constraints on them that we once put on women. and we have to do what i refer to as the math. this comes back to the parenting piece. it takes more than one person to raise a child. the old way of social organization actually worked. the man earned the money and the woman took care of the children. a social structure. once we start to shift the woman's piece of this and give her things to do in addition to
raising children, we have to shift the whole equation. think of different ways of taking care of our children and families without constraining either women or men or putting ill effects on the children. but i'm optimistic we will do that. i think society, despite the bad things still going on, has come a long way. from our studio in new york, debora spar, former president of barn are college. women."or of "wonder syndicated columnist mona charen and her book, "sex matters." both of you, thank you very much. here on c-span and c-span3's american history tv. on c-span3's american history tv and here on c-span television, we continue our
, 1968: american turmoil. we will be joined by marvin kalb and pulitzer prize winning photographer and photojournalist david hume caverly next sunday -- and simulcast on c-span3's american history tv. c-span3, coming up, you will see nbc's series on the women's movement from 1969 to 1970. this report covers the court cases, protests, and cases -- coming up next. >> it is called sexism, feminism, equal rights, women's lib, or just the movement. >>