The ERA and Me

The past Labor Day weekend went way too fast for me. The new-found chilly snap in the air inspired a flurry of cleaning that ended abruptly on Monday when something inside me said to sit, and to knit, and to watch some TV. In scrolling my DVR'd selections, I ran across the new HBO documentary on Gloria Steinem. Sounded like the perfect way to pass a couple of hours - with knitting needles in hand. 

Gloria's look is so awesome.
As a child of the 70's, I was fully aware of what to expect in this doc. The ERA, the issue of women's reproductive rights, and the evolving place of women in society were common household chatter when you are being raised by two single, working women (Mom and Grandma). I knew that Gloria Steinem was beautiful, fashion-forward, and tough as nails when it came to women's rights. And I know that today I take for granted all the hard work she and others did to enable someone like me to work a professional corporate job and know that my pay should be the same as a man's* or that I won't be passed over because of my gender. 

The doc ended up being really good, and I encourage all women to watch it, and invite young adult women to join you. They (my daughter included) don't learn enough about this subject in school. Women today owe a very large debt to the suffragettes and bra-burners. We need to remember them with the proper respect.

The Women's Rights Movement crossed all racial and cultural lines.
A funny thing happened while I was watching this. I had this profound moment. Looking down at my knitting needles, I realized that the pendulum has swung again. I am a mother of 3, full-time professional designer, and maker of all-manner of handmade things. I am a living example of the next-generation. I make no apologies for my career and I make no apologies for my home-making. It is the norm of today and it kicks-ass.

In the 70's, my mother (rightly embracing the "new" woman) eschewed ANYTHING that would have been considered "domestically oppressive" (i.e. The Mary Tyler Moore show was approved TV programming but Little House on the Prairie was a HUGE no-no.) She wouldn't have been caught dead with a handcraft on her lap! I get it though. To make their point, the women of the 70's sort of had to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Thankfully, we've come a long way, baby. 

Maude was definitely on our "must-watch" list.
I can happily pick up my needles, embroidery hoop, plan meals, or drag out the sewing machine...and it does not imply that I am a frail. I can have it all, and no one bats an eye. And if I choose to stay home and raise my family, that would be okay too. Women have a choice to be who they want to be...and live how they choose to live. Thank you Mom, Gloria, and crew. It was on your back. 

The (somewhat crooked) cake of equal rights.
 So, that night I celebrated my woman-ness by baking a home-made cake...and ate some before leaving for work the next morning. This liberated thing rocks!


* Nationally, women still make about 19% less than men in comparable positions. However, this is great strides from 30 years ago when no one thought that a woman could be anything but a secretary. For interesting reading on gender pay equity, please visit the National Committee on Pay Equity and/or check out this publication - The Simple Truth About Gender Pay Gap.

Hear Me Roar Carrot Cake

Sift together:
2 cups sifted flour
1 ½ tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 ½ cups oil
1 tsp vanilla

Mix well.

2 cups grated carrots
1 small can of crushed pineapple
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
¾ cup raisins (optional)

Grease and flour a 9x13 or two 9" rounds.

350 degrees for 35-40 minutes

Don't Tread on Me – Cream Cheese Frosting

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
½ cup butter, softened
2 ½ cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter. Add the vanilla, then gradually stir in the confectioners' sugar. Spread it on thick!