In 1976, Joanne McQueen, a member of N.O.W., wrote a letter to McCullough Hyde hospital. Her letter was in response to McCullough Hyde’s patient survey request. She told them that while their medical care and facilities were excellent, she did have issues with their brochure. Specifically, that it only referred to patients as ‘he’. While this seems like a little detail, it is so much more. It underscored our societies view that men are the norm and women are somehow less important. Joanne therefore requested that in their next brochure they try s/he pronouns to be more inclusive.
I found her request interesting, which led me to look at the current McCullough Hyde brochures and online pages. They now use phrases like “you and your neighbors” which effectively takes the role of gender out of the scenario. This new phrasing shows that Joanne played a role in helping create a more inclusive and equal dialog at McCullough Hyde.
I know what you are probably thinking, why does it matter what one small hospital did in one small town? Aside from the obvious answer that equality is important no matter the scale, my answer to you is that this issue goes far beyond a small town hospital in 1976. Over the summer Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg referred to the President of the United States of America using the word she, a female pronoun. And that one simple word, ‘she’ sparked outrage.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been criticized a few times for speaking out against Donald Trump because it is a societal belief that Justices should remain impartial. A belief I agree with. But why does using the pronoun she mean she is taking sides. Sources reported that since Hillary Clinton is female a Donald Trump is male her use of the female pronoun meant she was supporting Hillary. This argument however, is bogus. I would believe it if it were not for one very important fact. Every other politician, civilian, and news source refers to the President using male pronouns and I highly doubt every single solitary one of them is planning to vote for Donald Trump especially since Secretary Clinton happens to be leading in the poles.
Once again the argument could be made that all those other people use male pronouns because the President has always been male and that is just a fact. And it is a fact but it also brings us full circle. Why is it that the President has never been female? I believe it is because it is the norm. And that is the real problem. Whether you are looking at a small issue like the use of only male pronouns at a local hospital or larger issue like drastic inequality in the most revered job in the U.S. with 44 male Presidents and 0 female presidents, one thing is very clear equality does not yet exists. Joanne McQueen was able to bring equality to a small town hospital by raising awareness.
I believe it is time to once again use the tactics of NOW and make change by bringing awareness to all the small issues. In today’s society we feel that we have to change the world all at once, but that is too much for any one person. The best we can all do is make one small change at a time, like Joanne. They will add up.
Sunday, September 25, 2016