Nation: Who's Come a Long Way, Baby?

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If many men are hostile—though scarcely to the point of murder—some women are simply puzzled. "I don't know what those women are thinking of," says Posey Carpenter, a Los Angeles real estate broker. "I love the idea of looking delectable and having men whistle at me." Other women, offended by this week's national protest, are setting up counter-demonstration organizations. Mrs. Helen Andelin of Santa Barbara—a mother of eight—urges that Sept. 30 be made a National Celebration of Womanhood Day: each wife should wear her most frilly, feminine dress and should "sing before breakfast," serve her husband breakfast in bed and "tell him how great he is." Still more improbable is New York's Pussycat League, Inc., which believes "the lamb chop is mightier than the karate chop." Its perfectly appropriate slogan is "Purr, Baby, Purr."

Poet Phyllis McGinley, though she feels that "women are certainly as bright, if not brighter than men," and are biologically tougher into the bargain, has her doubts about the radical fringe of the movement. In a poem from her collection, Times Three, she sums up her feelings this way:

Snugly upon the equal heights Enthroned at last where she belongs, She takes no pleasure in her Rights Who so enjoyed her Wrongs.

Black women, so often engaged in the general struggle for sociological change, are largely absent from the ranks of Women's Liberation. Anne Osborne, who works for the Southern Christian Leadership Council in Atlanta, explains their reluctance to participate this way: "They're just beginning to get the kind of good treatment as women that white women have always had—they don't want to give it up too fast. Black men have just gotten enough money to take them to nice places, and women like it." Elizabeth Morgan, a supervisor for the Oakland-Berkeley Welfare Department, adds that some of "the symbols of the women's movement are too foreign for blacks to take on ... We just got out of jeans." Sexual oppression, to Mrs. Morgan at least, is less important to the black woman than racial oppression. "She knows," Mrs. Morgan says, "that in order to get over racial oppression, she's going to have to build up her man's ego—so she'll go on saying the problem is with the whites. She'll put herself down while breaking her back for her man."

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