In rural America, it can get really lonely especially for women. (Men have to “go to town” a lot for “supplies”.) So for some quick socializing lest you start talking to your dog a little too much and too loudly, you go to a hostess party when invited. What I discovered out here in Montana was that working and ranch women tended towards product selling parties such as Scentsy Candles, Norwest cleaning supplies, or the old standby, Tupperware just to have an excuse to get out of the house. The more, shall we say, upscale and college-educated women tended to host luncheons for worthy causes. Not saying it’s strictly a money thing, but it mostly holds true that working women can’t get away during the work week to go to a Planned Parenthood luncheon and my college educated middle class crowd are not going to sit around discussing how to make a Scentsy bar of soap last longer. They can afford expensive soaps and so they spend their free time raising money. That’s just reality and not snobbery. And it turns out that the more “high class” luncheons come with a price.
As much as I would rather pick burrs off my dog than discuss the best mop ever made (although it sounds like it is) for a whole hour, the worthy cause luncheons can also have their problems. As well meaning and important as they are, they often insidiously turn into a pitch for some male politician who is in a tough fight. And, of course, don’t you know, he has always been a strong supporter of women’s rights issues. Yes, but they were almost always about reproductive rights, not the basic human rights of affordable shelter and a decent job. When you examine these male politicians’ records where economic justice is concerned, their support for working females isn’t really so hot. They are good at throwing some social equality around (although the Equal Rights Amendment was never passed), but not so hot on economic equality.
Yes, they always vote to fund Planned Parenthood, these brave Democrats, but did they pass a single payer health care plan? Did they fight for a living wage? Did they even fight to raise the minimum wage more than a few times a century? Did they make sure working women could stay in their house by voting for a law that would allow them to refinance that house? Did they vote to help make it easier for women to belong to unions or flight attendants to strike for better wages and working conditions?
There are so many good women all across the US volunteering and making life a little better for people in their communities. But sometimes, I can’t help but think the cynical politicians see them as hamsters on a wheel. Get the women riled up and they will slide your tushy back into your cushy office with your many minions scheduling your events and writing and reading your legislation. Phew! Something smells.
I went to the Planned Parenthood luncheon because I wanted to get out of the house, eat good fresh food, hang out with some really bighearted women neighbors, and listen to a really cool guest speaker, Cecile Richards, talk about helping young men and women stay safe and healthy and not get pregnant until they were ready. The head of Montana Planned Parenthood added a story about supplying condoms to men in the oil fields and they got a nice “Thank You” from an oil rig crew. That was satisfying.
Then my mind began to whirl. There shouldn’t be two separate kinds of parties and two separate kinds of women. Maybe there was a way to combine a products party with a political one. Get both types of women at one event. I started to think that maybe those magic window wipes purchased at the products party might be useful at these political events. They would help to wipe away that stale smell of pandering politician before the party gets started. And maybe the Planned Parenthood folks could give away some condoms to the young women buying the sexy candles. I’m liking this idea of cross pollinating. Then maybe we can grow a fresh new crop of kick ass women.