Thoughts on the Documentary... "She's Beautiful When She's Angry"

I am so sorry that I could not find a link for this documentary about the women's right's movement in the 1960's - I did find a link for the trailer here. So I encourage you to find it either by renting it or purchasing it (You can always donate it to your local library it you do not want to keep it and it looks inexpensive to buy. Otherwise, here are some quotes from different people during the documentary that called to me and I have written some thoughts on them and the film. So here we go! :)

To start, I have a love/hate relationship with the emotion of anger. In many instances, even righteous /appropriate anger can be damaging and harmful for all parties involved. In my life, I have rarely been around anger that ends up being useful. Yet I also realize that some of the most meaningful changes in culture and society for all of us have happened because someone - usually several someones- became angry and work together to fight for change. I thought about anger and how so many women used it to make societal changes that have given me more choices/ opportunities in my life.

"To feel that you can have a power in a group to do something that you think needs to be done that you could never do on your own. I think it's what I'd been looking for my whole life" - Vivian Rothstein

I think that this may also be what I have been looking for as well. I want to help people and create positive change in my community but I feel like I am so insufficient on my own and I haven't really found a group to join that inspires the passion in my soul. So maybe I haven't looked hard enough... or maybe I am unclear about what my passion is? A good question...

"How would your life have been different if you had been a boy?... Everything was up for questioning..."

In many ways, I think my life would be similar if I have been a boy but there would be some pretty significant differences. My mother suffers from severe mental illness and hates women/girls/females so I would have had an upbringing more like my male siblings. I would have been much less likely to be severely punished for infractions, had more opportunities and encouragement in areas of interest and would also have been at the top of the list for extra's or wants. As a girl, I was forced to quit playing soccer in 5th grade and the emphasis in my life became focused on preparing for motherhood and homemaking as my only acceptable future choice. College was not only discouraged for me, but when my grandparents left me and my sister a college fund in their will, my parents removed the money and it was used for extras for the family, fun for my brothers and elective surgery for my mother. If I had been a boy I would have had a college fund and leeway as to my degree and could expect to get married and have a partner that would be supportive of what I needed and stay home with the kids. However, I do not think that much of my inner personality would be very different so I think I would still be the neurotic, silly goofball that I am now... I would however, still be playing soccer- I loved doing that! : )

"Problems that you felt were happening to you and you alone were probably your fault, but if its happening to other people then it's a social problem and not just a personal problem."

A really profound quote. What a neat way to think of and understand how much of 'you' is in the problem and how much is culture/society around you. I have spent some time in my life blaming myself for things that upon time and reflection can not honestly be laid at my door. (That said, I am responsible for many wrongs that are clearly mine and I still struggle with many of them.) This quote is the simpliest I have found to really focus and critically pick apart a situation or behavior to determine what aspects of it are caused by you or what is happening based on what you are or society norms, conventions or expectations.

"I was as good as they were and I am not who I sleep with" - Rita Mae Brown

I laughed out loud when I saw Rita Mae Brown in the film - talk about an interdisciplinary cross! I lived in Las Vegas for 13 years before I moved to Maine and I got to go to two different book signings for her books that she 'co-authors' with a cat called "Sneaky Pie" Brown. I love mystery stories- my favorite kind of fun fiction- and I adore cats and she has written at least 20 stories with Sneaky Pie. So I did a double take when I heard her voice and looked up and saw her laughing and chatting. Not only was her quote spot on - after all, no one should be labeled by our lovers - but I found myself laughing because she clearly has a background I knew nothing about and that seems awesome! I realized that I have always judged her on these mystery novels and understanding more of her personal history and struggle gives me a more nuanced few of her that reading her cozy cat novels never gave me. It was wonderful to see her in a totally different context.

The video also mentioned that this country almost had a national child care bill until Richard Nixon vetoed it. I felt quite a few emotions from hearing this. The first was disbelief that we could have come so close to something so wonderful and it yet it was easily scrapped and gone. I watch parents with disabled children who desperately need in-home help and they can't get it and when they can its not consistent as the workers do a hard job for so little pay. I know single mothers who pay a ton for child care so that they can work and so they stay stressed and poor and exhausted. I can't even imagine how much of a different country we would live in if we simply had that one thing.

Another interesting things was the discussion on involuntary sterilization and how it intersects with class and race. This is not a new subject - I wrote a paper on that subject a few semesters ago which you can read here, here and here. I did so much research for that paper and nothing I read about any of it mentioned Puerto Rico and forced sterilization/ eugenics at all in any of the books I used for resources. So I listened and thought about it and realized that as Puerto Rico is considered a territory where its residents do not have full constitutional rights, even these resources that are trying to show how class, racism and gender have hurt 'Americans' seem to have not noticed some of these "Americans" were left out... almost like the minorities in our territories have even less status than the minorities inland. A painful and disgusting acknowledgment.

The last thing about the video that really stuck out for me was a quote by Shirley Chisholm. I recognized her as the first African American women in Congress. Something I heard that she said before was that she had faced more discrimination "as a women than she had by being black". In this documentary she was quoted as saying "Racism and anti-feminism are two of the prime traditions of this country." I would suggest that racism and anti feminism are two of the prime traditions of almost every culture in the world.


photos: https://loftcinema.com/film/shes-beautiful-when-shes-angry/, http://craftknife.blogspot.com/2009_07_01_archive.html, http://www.orderofbooks.com/authors/rita-mae-brown/, http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/27/how-are-you-celebrating-shirley-chisholm-day/?_r=0,

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