conversation with Gloria Steinem. Figures off the television screen materialized in the Rice Hotel. Stranger still to see Bella tramping down to Foley’s Department Store among demonstrators in support of striking Farah workers. It was something like having Joe Namath playing touch football in the neighborhood lot. Still, the alliance between the women of Texas and New York is nothing new. Liz Carpenter was one of the founders of the NWPC and Sissy Farenthold ran with Shirley Chisholm last summer as the woman’s candidates at the Democratic National Convention. Perhaps it’s a mutual toughness that binds Texans and New Yorkers. New York women seem to come easily to the vanguard of the woman’s movement. It takes stamina to survive in Edge City. New York’s the communications center . . . educational advantages . . . Jewish intellectual heritage . . . job competition . . . you know the litany. But Texas. Texas? The state that’s hard on women and horses? Texas is a Marlboro man’s world. Woman’s place is in the can-can line of the Kilgore Rangerettes. Nothing “has tended more to destroy the true dignity of woman than the fact that she is approached by man in the character of a female. . . . Man has inflicted an unspeakable injury upon woman, by holding up to view her animal nature, and placing in the background her moral and intellectual being. Sarah Grimke, Letters on the Equality of the Sexes and Condition of Women, 1838. In a state where the rewards are greater for beauty queens than for women professionals, a woman has to have a hearty streak of individualism to go to law or medical or architecture school, to teach above the high school level, to become a politician or aspire to any other “masculine” pursuit. 2 But if a woman can break away from the southern belle syndrome \(either the trap of being beautiful in a society that worships beauty or being ugly, ergo a failure, in that same stench of machismo, she is well on her way to being a self-sufficient realist. As a politician, she probably will have a healthy empathy for the less equal. She’ll probably be more interested in human rights than in keeping Texas safe for the oil industry. Chances are that a woman politician in Texas will be able to formulate her political beliefs with more independence than could most of her male counterparts, because she’s been left to her own devices while the bright young men were being courted by big money interests. The lobby probably won’t even know she exists until she is elected, and then she’s 2. A number of my UT journalism professors kept trying to steer me away from social issues and investigative journalism. There wasn’t a market for it, they said. Things may have changed, but, at least during the Sixties, the school was training women to toil among the women’s pages of small town newspapers and to edit business house organs. When I ran for editor of the student newspaper, a male member of the board of publications noted my size \(5 feet tall, detail about whether I would be able to supervise a staff that included many men. Later, when I applied for a job as a news reporter on the Houston Chronicle, the managing editor turned me down. He said he had looked around the newsroom and had seen too many women. “I can’t hire any more women,” he said. “What if we had another hurricane? I wouldn’t have anyone to cover it.” still a problem. She can’t be good ol’ boyed, liquored up, taken on a hunting trip or provided with a prostitute. A woman politician in Texas will not be afraid to go out on a limb. That’s exactly where she’s been ever since she entered politics. Sir, it has been said that “the hand that rocked the cradle ruled the world,” and there is truth as well as beauty in that expression. Women in this country by their elevated social position, can exercise more influence upon public affairs, than they could coerce by use of the ballot. . . . The woman who undertakes to put her sex in the adversary position to man, who undertakes by the use of some independent political power to contend and fight against man, displays a spirit which would, if able, convert all the now harmonious eleinents of society into a state of war, and make every home a hell on earth. Sen. Williams of Oregon, 1867 The word of God inveighs against woman suffrage, and the plans of the Creator would be, in a measure, subverted by its adoption. . . . Are we ready to repudiate the Scriptures and supplant God’s place with this scheme of dissastisfied women and office-seeking demagogues? . . . Let us, then, leave woman where she is the loveliest of all creation, queen of the household, and undisputed dictator of the destiny of man. Sissy Farenthold, unsuccessful candidate for governor of Texas and vice-president of the United States, the apple of Gloria Steinem’s eye. There was a rumor flitting around the Rice Hotel that Gloria covets the Presidency. “What Presidency?” she asked. “Of the United States.” THE TEXAS OBSERVER The Texas Observer Publishing Co. 1973 Ronnie Dugger, Publisher A window to the South A journal of free voices Vol. LXV, No. 4 March 2, 1973 Incorporating the State Observer and the East Texas Democrat, which in turn incorporated the Austin ForumAdvocate. Editorial and Business Offices: The Texas Observer, 600 W. 7th St., Austin, Texas 78701. Telephone 477-0746. NO:WV EDITOR Kaye Northcott CO-EDITOR Molly Ivins ASSOCIATE EDITOR John Ferguson EDITOR AT LARGE Ronnie Dugger REVIEW EDITOR Steve Barthelme Contributing Editors: Winston Bode, Bill . Brammer, Gary Cartwright, Sue Horn Estes, Joe Frantz, Larry Goodwyn, Bill Hamilton, Bill Helmer, Dave Hickey, Franklin Jones, Lyman Jones, Larry L. King, Georgia Earnest Klipple, Larry Lee, Al Melinger, Robert L. Montgomery, Willie Morris, Bill Porterfield, James Presley, Charles Ramsdell, Buck Ramsey, John Rogers, Mary Beth Rogers, Roger Shattuck, Edwin Shrake, Dan Strawn, John P. Sullivan, Tom Sutherland. We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rights of man as the foundation of democracy; we will take orders from none but our own conscience, and never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit. The editor has exclusive control over the editorial policies and contents of the Observer. None of the other people who are associated with the enterprise shares this responsibility with her. Writers are responsible for their own work, but not for anything they have not themselves written, and in publishing them the editor does not necessarily imply that she agrees with them, because this is a journal of free voices. BUSINESS STAFF Sarah Boardman Joe Espinosa Jr. C. R. Olofson David Sharpe The Observer is published by Texas Observer Publishing Co., biweekly from Austin, Texas. Entered as second-class matter April 26, 1937, at the Post Office at Austin, Texas, under the Act of March 3, 1879. Second class postage paid at Austin, Texas. Single copy, 25c. One year, $7.00; two. years, $13.00; three years. $18.00; plus, for Texas addresses, 5% sales tax. Foreign, except APO/FPO, 50c additional per year. Airmail, bulk orders, and group rates on request. Microfilmed by Microfilming Corporation of America, 21 Harristown Road, Glen Rock, N.J. 07452. Change of Address: Please give old and new address, including zip codes, and allow two weeks. Postmaster: Send form 3579 to Texas Observer, 600 W. 7th St., Austin, Texas 78701.
You May Also Like
The documentary in Falfurrias is sinister and spiritual.