Feminism and the baby boomer

Thursday, March 19, 2015
Technically, I am classified as a baby boomer. Barely. My love of 60's music might make that seem unlikely but I grew up listening to 'oldies' stations growing up- and they were all 60's all the time. I have always felt, in a weird way, like I am a decade behind my times.

I had Aunts and neighbors and friends who were proper baby boomers, though. Being a teen-early twenty something was quite exciting as the decade closed out. Girls all over America were going to college with the goal of actually earning a degree they planned to use. Granted, there were a lot of nurses and teachers at the time, but a degree was still the goal. And the future looked brighter than ever before for women who could use their voices, burn their bras and become breadwinners in their own homes.

For a quick look backwards: It wasn't until 1974 that it became illegal to refuse to issue an unmarried woman a credit card. Wyoming allowed women to serve on juries way back in 1879 (wow, remember when Wyoming was setting trends like this?) but it wasn't legal in all 50 states until 1973.

Ivy league schools didn't admit women until much later, with Harvard holding out until 1977.  Equal pay for women? Well, we're still working on that one.

While things have changed dramatically, some employers, businesses and even organizations are having a hard time keeping up with the change. I know employers still pay their male workers more because they are 'responsible for raising a family'. (Don't even get me started on this one- I am just as responsible for the financial future of my family as my husband is or ever was.) Some businesses still discriminate against women in their 'child bearing years' because they are viewed as 'undependable and demanding' when it comes to family leave or breastfeeding.

As to organizations: well that was what started this blog formulating in the first place. Being 'over 50' I receive AARP news regularly. In the last one there was an article about working with a younger 'boss', and it was perhaps the most insulting and condescending thing I've ever read.

This is AARP- who stand for the rights of older workers, who rally for rights, who insist we can still 'have it all' in our 60's and beyond. (Baby boomers began turning 60 in 2006 and the last of us will be there by 2024.) In this article they were suggesting ways to get along with that younger boss. Things like not talking about 'grandchildren' as it ages you, remembering those young folks prefer technology to the old fashioned way of communicating (talking). They recommended we focus on finding common interests- maybe sending (via email or text) a currently hip article to our young boss telling them about this great new idea you think he would like. They even linked to a 'how to look younger' article.

The article wasn't just aimed at women, but it was primarily aimed at women. And now that we have been through everything that turned the world upside down in the 60's and 70's, raised our families through the recession years of the 80's and survived Y2K- now we are being told that we need to 'tone down' our age.

I can assure the world as I sit here- I am not toning down anything. For anyone. I have earned the grey that now streaks my temples. I have earned the wisdom of having been around during paper files and communicating the 'old fashioned way'. I have developed a deep understanding of who I am, what I have to offer to the world, and am perfectly capable of understanding technology.

Those people who cannot seem to relate to us 'young-uns' and probably need to ride off into the sunset? Those would be many of your current Senators.


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