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STAND UP AND BE COUNTED from Secret Storm (undated, but probably 1975-1976)

(Editors Note: A film review of the movie "Stand Up and Be Counted" which explored how women were changed by the women's liberation movement.)

There's a flick playing around the neighborhoods that everybody should check out. It's called "Stand Up and Be Counted", and it's about women's liberation. The story takes place in Denver and the main characters include a career girl, her sister and her mother. The sister is very into both the ideas of women's liberation and building a movement. The mother belongs to a women’s liberation group for older women. At the start of the movie, the career girl does not like women's liberation at all, thinks her sister is sorta nuts and that the movement is rather extreme. The movie shows the changes she goes through and how she comes to understand, support, and be a part of the movement.

That’s the strongest point of the film - it shows women going through changes, and how painful the realizations that you're oppressed - that your husband doesn't listen when you talk, that your boss just doesn't give a shit about your working conditions, that even though he 'helps', the housework is still women's work - how painful these realizations are.

It's so easy to see your self in the women in the film. It's amazing - they say things we've all said to each other, to our children, and to our husbands and boyfriends. You can really feel what they're feeling too. The heaviest scenes come down with this mother of three little kids and her husband. He never has time to talk to her, he doesn't take her ideas seriously (much less her emotions). She does all the housework, takes care of the kids by herself, you know, the whole bit. One day the baby-sitter finds some really good sketches of women's fashions that she had done over the years. The sitter convinces her that they're good, she takes them to some designer and he offers her a job, working at home, in her own time. She tries several times to tell her husband about it, but he never has time to listen. After about a month, he tells he was fired three weeks before and has just been offered a job in New York City, that she will have to stay behind with the kids and sell the house, since he has to move RIGHT NOW. She starts off with trying to tell him that she has a job and that she could support them until he found another job in Denver, but he just doesn't listen. Besides, she says, she doesn't want to live in New York City (what a place to raise kids!). Many tears later; he leaves for New York, still not understanding why she is holding out. You can tell that she decided that she wasn't going to simply pick up and leave Denver on a moment's notice, that she was going to start to think about what she wanted.

With one exception, the film mainly dealt with women's liberation and how it relates to our relationships with men - fathers, boyfriends and husbands, not with the part of women's liberation that deals with building a new society for everyone. But what it does it does well.

The audience reaction is amazing. You can see men shrinking in their seats at certain scenes, and getting really hostile at other. And then there are points where all the women clap and you can feel the unity among the women in the audience. Of course, where you watch the credits at the end, there's only one woman on the crew. Well, we'll get to that next time around.

Everyone should go and see Stand Up and Be Counted. Bring sisters, mother, brothers, husband or boyfriends. Everyone will have strong feelings about it and there sure will be a lot of discussion.


Woman symbol

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