Thursday, July 19, 2007

Iota and the Junior League

On Tuesday I went to Iota, which is a place that lies across the river in Virginia and is -- despite popular sentiments about said commonwealth -- actually cool. (As are, for the record, Galaxy Hut and Dr. Dreamos.) What's good about Iota is it is actually a good venue with great sound. I went there to see the Junior League (No, not that one. This one.)

As a good friend, the band members, and Wikipedia all inform me, a junior league is a charitable women's organization that is usually based in the South. A band member described them as anti-Mason. Basically they started out as a group of women whose husbands were powerful and they viewed the opportunity as an outlet for their charity work. Obviously, such organizations are a symptom of a patriarchal society, where women do the charity and support work and men hold the real positions of power. The modern-day Junior League International site defines their mission as "promoting voluntarism" (i.e. people that can afford not to work).

Some of their "notable members" are pretty impressive (especially Sandra Day O'Connor). This makes me think of a larger point about ambitious women in high-income brackets, historically and otherwise. These women, although likely proponents of women's leadership because they have access to a lot of money and connections to power, would instead create parallel, less-powerful structures that they could have complete ownership over, rather than challenging the patriarchal system and demanding to be treated as equals. They've perpetuated a system in which "women's" professions are volunteer and low-paid. And that is a price we are all paying for today.

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