If you haven’t seen it, do and pass it along to all young women in your life. This struggle is real and has come a long way, but not far enough. Now to put some teeth to the ERA they fought so hard to get ratified. With the new wave of feminism rising, this documentary is an important reminder of who they are and how our activism sprouted.

Listening to the stories is fascinating. Some were nurtured into their activism, some were shamed into it, and some simply rebelled when told “it wasn’t their place.” And many were just swept up into the movement because it felt right. For myself, it was Oz and Dorothy, hope, fearlessness and a strong intuition.

Sponsored by the International Documentary Association, the film is directed by Johanna Demetrakas, and starts from the viewpoint of looking back through a book of photographs by artist Cynthia MacAdams, published in 1977, that contained a number of women who participated in the feminist movement at that time. As MacAdams explained in the movie, she was compelled to take the photos because, “women looked different because of feminism, and I wanted to see if that [difference] would show up in pictures.”

Since I lived this era, it certainly effected how I saw my responsibility in making it better. Jane Fonda talks about getting back to her authentic childhood self and the small victories she found along the way. One of those was the very satisfying movie Nine to Five, which made her teary-eyed when she talked about the corporate attitudes towards women in the office and how the film got the conversation started. An “”ah-ha” moment came 10 years ago when she learned that “No” is a complete sentence. Imagine that! A lifetime to completely find her own voice.

Lily Tomlin, too, used the “70’s Feminist Movement” in her award winning 1985 stand-up routine “The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe,” by revisiting its highlights. She’s not done yet and uses her platform wherever she can. Here, Tina fey talks about how Lily’s roles affected her as a ten year old.

Because I write about hope and strong women and have featured dozens of them, it became clear that little girls were watching television back then and seeds were planted; little girls like Tina Fey. Because of what they saw and what they were being told by society, women began their quest for their own equality, their own identity. Women from all cultures are again coming together for the greater good of all women with new fervor. Many issues but all related to women’s struggles. Another upside was that single mothers raised kids who were given role models that were capable and strong. It shows up at the women’s rallies where men, women and children participate.

Today’s women may not call it “feminism” but they are still facing the same struggles and finding their own voices with new convictions. They see themselves as collaborators in raising the consciousness. Let them know we have their backs and will continue to use our own experiences in helping get them to their goals, weather in politics or business or home. Together, women are changing the world.


Emergence of Feminists, 40 years in the making
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