As the #MeToo movement has unfolded, so has the third and newest wave of feminists. But in light of the movement, it seems that the second and older wave of feminists is being pushed aside.
Only two months ago, third-generation feminists like Lauren Hudson, culture editor of the Verge, tweeted, “Age tends to correlate with not being on board with progress, and older woman are specifically the ones who have been most vocal about standing in the way right now.”
But it’s Women’s History Month, and OCDOA project coordinator Cydnee Sims wants to remind and thank the older generation feminists for all their accomplishments. She knew that Faison would be the perfect fit.
Faison is well-known for her one-woman play interpreting Harriet Tubman, which evokes lots of tears — and tomorrow, she plans to do the same with the works of Maya Angelou.
“Hopefully the women will leave feeling inspired and have the strength to feel empowered to reach their goals, no matter how old they are,” Sims said. “They may be in their 70s, 80s or 90s, but honey, they still have a lot to give. But you have to have an outlet for them to do that, which I feel like we do very well here.”
The idea of feminism has changed, but creating a community for all women is what is most important during this month. This year’s national theme for Women’s History Month is "Honoring Women Who Fight All Forms of Discrimination for Women."
The theme fits what seems like a growing intergenerational feminist divide as older and younger women argue over the progression and goals of a new feminism. Some people like Sims are saying it feels like older women are being forgotten.
But Helen Frederick, a 78-year-old who plans to attend the show, said she is a part of the #MeToo movement and she is not standing in any woman’s way. In fact, she is all for them.
When Frederick graduated college in 1962, she interviewed for a job in high heels and a suit so that she would look professional — and sexual harassment ensued.
“How fast can you run in heels?” the man interviewing her asked.
“What does that have to do with an art job?” she responded.
“I like to chase my women around in the office and capture them," he said.
“You won’t capture me, buddy,” Frederick said before walking out.
She has been defending herself ever since. Frederick was the first female furniture illustrator in Baltimore, MD. She is excited to be attending an event that will feature a woman like her.
“I’ve never heard Diane read poetry,” Frederick said. “But just listening to her speak is enough for me.”
The performance will feature one of Maya Angelou’s less popular poems, “Phenomenal Woman.” Faison has a deep connection with this poem and she hopes others will, too. To all the women out there, she said:
“We are more powerful than you think. We might be in the background, but in the background there are powerful thoughts being transmitted to the person in front and powerful thoughts being written on a page. As I tell my husband sometimes, ‘You might be the head, but I’m the neck. You can’t turn or do anything without my being the neck.'”