Feminism on Trial
Return to California & the Beginning of Activism
The Foats returned to California in June 1972 and took jobs at the same restaurant in Anaheim. Ray was the manager and Ginny was the catering manager. At this point, with Ginny becoming more and more of an independent woman, Ray seemed to chafe at the loss of the "Professor Higgins" role he had played to her "Eliza Doolittle" character. They began arguing and the marriage started unraveling, though it would hold together for another few years.
Soon afterward, on the invitation of a member of the Soroptimists, Ginny joined the professional women's organization. Though not a feminist organization, the Soroptimists helped professional businesswomen feel good and positive about themselves. Through them, for the first time in her life, Ginny found role models who were not men. She met "strong women who were successful as something other than wives and mothers."
Ginny went on to form a catering partnership with a young man named Danny Marcheano, with whom she had worked at a previous restaurant. The business started taking off and Ginny felt good about herself and her prospects for success. Things were looking up and she and Danny decided to apply for a bank loan so they could buy a building from which they could operate their business. Then came an incident which turned out to be a significant turning point in Ginny's life. In order to get the loan approved, Ray had to co-sign for Ginny.
Furious, Ginny raised her objections with the bank. No one had to co-sign for Danny but, because she was a woman in business despite being a success at it her husband had to co-sign in order for her to get the loan. Danny and Ray simply laughed it off and told Ginny not to worry about it but she did. It bothered her. So much so that, later the same day, she decided to go to a seminar that was being advertised in the local newspaper. It was sponsored by the National Organization for Women.
Ginny attended the all-day event sponsored by NOW. The sessions she attended opened her eyes to things she had been experiencing all of her life that she now realized weren't "normal." Men beating up their women was not acceptable behavior, despite the fact that it had always gone unreported and unpunished. Shelters now existed for victims of domestic violence. The women's rights movement was starting to take off and Ginny now knew she wanted to be a part of it.
She started out by reading feminist books like Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique and others and read them in just a few days. "Every page seemed to bring a new revelation," she wrote. Soon after that first meeting, in December 1974, she joined the Anaheim Chapter of NOW.