Women's Rights and Eleanor
"Even now and then I am reminded that even though the need for being a feminist is gradually disappearing in this country, we haven't quite reached the millennium." -Eleanor Roosevelt, "My Day," Febuary 23, 1945
Last night I watched Ally McBeal. Halfway through, I turned it off in disgust. At every chance they could, the powerful, beautiful, well-dressed, successful women attempted to pull each other down. What makes this even more disgusting is that Ally McBeal and the women who share her office are often lauded as role models. On most modern TV shows (Melrose Place, 90210, Dawson's Creek) women are plagued with jealousy, wishing to put down any other woman who might rise to their level of success. After I turned off the TV, I went to work on my Eleanor Roosevelt project. It had a soothing effect. Eleanor, a real role model and one of the most successful women of the twentieth century, did everything in her power to bring her fellow women up to her level of success. She only allowed women to attend her press conferences, forcing major newspapers to hire women. She joined the League of Women Voters, advocating women to exercise their newly acquired right to vote. She worked with trade union women, supporting the creation of pre-schools as more and more females entered the work force. During World War II, she foresaw the building of thousands of early child care centers for the children of Rosie the Riveter. She pressed for women's causes within the Democratic Party. She wielded her power as a tool to aid others less fortunate, and never hesitated to speak her mind when she had something to say. Through her speeches and newspaper articles, she provided a contrary image to the negative attitude towards women that prevailed toward women in the beginning of the century. Certainly she would never be seen trying to pull down a successful woman; quite the contrary, Eleanor would be the first to welcome her up to power.
The National Women's Hall of Fame proclaims, Eleanor's great energy created a whole new image of what a First Lady should be. No longer was the First Lady simply a hostess of the President, she was a representative of the female sex, not subversive to males but successful in her own right. Eleanor is a wonderful role model for women worldwide.
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