I've always considered myself a feminist. But that label has been controversial, even among my friends. Some of them see feminism as a movement of the last century, something we ought to be "over" by now.
Like many other women, I was deeply troubled by the comments Rush Limbaugh made about Sandra Fluke and, by extension, about all women. I'm not usually bothered by Rush Limbaugh, because I know who his audience is, and I don't care what they think. But these sexist comments went too far for me this time; they're the tip of the much larger and scarier iceberg that I've been worried about for a while. First, there's the fight over women's bodies. The refusal to provide women coverage for contraception in insurance (which is also used to treat a variety of other conditions including endometriosis, amenorrhea, and acne, thanks, Rush). The Right To Know Act, legislation currently tabled in Pennsylvania which would require women to have ultrasounds (most likely trans-vaginal ones) prior to abortions, whether they want them or not. The political quagmire of the Susan G. Komen/Planned Parenthood debacle, which temporarily (until Komen came to its senses) cut off funding to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screenings, and the lack of assurance about the future of grants to that organization. Then there's the persistent sexism I'm seeing, and that I experienced myself. Women getting demoted or having responsibilities removed during maternity leave. Women being excluded from conversations about the future of their organizations. Women still earning less than men, doing the same jobs, and mothers earning less than non-mothers, even controlling for other variables like education and time away from the workforce. It's as if the feminist movement accomplished a veneer of acceptance, but underneath the shiny exterior, things haven't changed at all.
Part of me wonders if we became too complacent. Did we decide that feminism had accomplished what it set out to accomplish? Have we stopped trying to make change? If so, why? Have we gone backwards? If so, how did it happen? And what role, if any, have women played in that regression? Or were the accomplishments of feminism really a sham?
It so happens that I like to bake. And that a good portion of the time, you will find me in the kitchen. This is one of three things I sent to our church's coffee hour this past Sunday, even though we weren't going to be there ourselves; I did it because I like feeding people, and sometimes cake is spiritual food, too. But I'm not barefoot, I'm not pregnant, and I'm not afraid to use my pen, my keyboard, or my frying pan.
No matter what happened to the movement, I am still a feminist.
How about you?
1/3 c. chopped raisins (or nuts)
1/3 c. firmly packed brown sugar
3 T. flour
1 T. ground cinnamon
1 1/4 c. sugar
1/3 c. vegetable oil
2 large eggs
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 c. low-fat buttermilk
1 T. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a small bowl, stir together the first 4 ingredients to make streusel. Coat a 12-cup Bundt pan with cooking spray; sprinkle 1/3 cup of the streusel mixture into pan. Set the remainder of the streusel aside.
Combine regular sugar and vegetable oil in a large bowl, and beat at medium speed until well-blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; stir well. Add flour mixture to wet ingredients alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix after each addition. Mix in vanilla.
Measure 2 cups of batter; set aside. Pour remaining batter into prepared pan; sprinkle remaining streusel over batter. Pour reserved 2 cups batter over streusel. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan. Let cool completely on wire rack.