One of my very first writing assignments while still a student was to cover a Take Back the Night rally. I went (no journalistic training) and was surprised to find I was close to the only female in attendance over five feet, not sporting a brush cut and army pants. I had a hard time taking the event seriously. The resulting article was promptly published in the opinion section of the student paper, with a clever accompanying cartoon that read “I thought this was Take Back the Right!”
But why this walk down memory lane? Because of this article, which is worth a read (and should you not be able to follow my non-sequiturs, mentions Take Back the Night rallies).
The article prompted more than nostalgia for my university days, but also the question: What would a woman’s life look like today without the second and third waves of feminism? This sort of analysis would interest me. I’m aware of my schooling being infused with these waves of what I think is shallow and faulty thinking. I’m aware in small moments of these second and third waves when I meet women who refuse to acknowledge that any work associated with hearth and home could have any value (the legacy of Ms. Betty Friedan, I’d wager; for those who have not been so lucky as to read her, she called mothering a “waste of human self.”)
It would present an interesting study. But sadly, I think, impossible. Firstly because we can’t really entertain “what if” questions (as in what if Churchill had been more aggressive at Yalta? What if the Allies had bombed the rail lines leading to concentration camps?) and secondly because the only type of academic likely to entertain this particular question is a feminist, whose conclusions I would mistrust.