Intergenerational Movie-Going

I am a thirty-year-old woman living in western Massachusetts, USA. I just got home from seeing She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry, a movie that tells the story of the feminist movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

I had planned to go with a friend, but she was feeling sick and cancelled. Then I remembered that an RCer had talked about seeing the movie with other RCers, so I texted A— and K—, two young-adult female Co-Counseling leaders in my Region,1 to see if they would be interested in seeing the movie and having a Co-Counseling session afterward. The three of us are close and had recently gone to an RC middle-class women’s workshop together.

A— replied that she already had a date to see the movie that night with her partner (who is also in RC). K— hadn’t heard of the movie and asked for a link to the trailer. I sent her one, and she wrote back, “I just started crying from watching the trailer. Let’s do it.” Success!

Since the middle-class women’s workshop, A—, K—, and I have been thinking and discharging about intergenerational connections and relationships, particularly among women. After we’d made a firm plan to go to the movie, K— suggested that we invite some “grown-ups” as well, so we decided to invite our Area Reference Persons. We weren’t able to reach them on such short notice, but doing the asking put us in a mindset of fully respecting older women and being excited to learn from them—a good way to go into the movie.

The movie was wonderful. I encourage everyone to see it. After the movie the four of us stood in the lobby, talking about our favorite parts, what we’d noticed, and so on. Five older women who had also seen the movie stood talking several feet from us. K— said, “I wish our groups could combine!” We agreed and laughed for a few seconds about the awkwardness of approaching this group of strangers. Then A— walked right up to them and with a big smile said, “We’d like to hear what you’re saying!” They all smiled back and welcomed us in.

We proceeded to have an hour-long conversation with them in the lobby of the theater. We talked about their reactions to the movie, the feminist activism they had been a part of in their youth, and what they were involved in now. They asked us what we thought of the movie and about present-day feminist actions. We told them about the recent march in New York City (USA) on the day before Beijing+20,2 which some of them hadn’t heard of and were excited to know about. They said repeatedly how nice it was to be having a conversation across generations and were interested in finding ways to continue it.

After A— and her partner went home, K— and I had a session in the car. As soon as I had someone paying sweet attention to me, the feelings came right up. I am angry on a daily basis about present-day sexism and don’t always find it easy to discharge, because I feel hopeless about it. It was hopeful to see a movie that showed not only what is left3 to fight but also where real gains have been made. One of the women in the movie talked about careers being open to women that had never been open before and said, “I think we really won that. I don’t think that will change. I think it’s done.” I cried thinking about the possibility of winning something and having the change be permanent, not constantly in danger of being taken away.

I feel thankful for all the women who have fought before me, for the women who are fighting now, for my relationships with younger and older women, and for my involvement in the RC women’s liberation project.

Emma Roderick

Northampton, Massachusetts, USA

Reprinted from the RC e-mail discussion list for leaders of women

(Present Time 182, January 2016)

1 A Region is a subdivision of the International RC Community, usually consisting of several Areas (local RC Communities).
Beijing+20 was the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women held in New York City, New York, USA, in March 2015 (twenty years after the Fourth United Nations World Conference on Women, in Beijing, China). No Limits for Women, a project of the RC Communities, sent a delegation to the non-governmental organization Women’s Forum held in conjunction with the United Nations event.
3 “Is left” means remains.

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00