Yesterday I was reading an article by the daughter of a leading feminist of our time. It made me think back to a conversation I had with my dad one fall day when I was in my teens. I was spouting the latest thing in Feminism. I think I was singing a perfume commercial remember that one?? I can bring home the bacon... fry it up in a pan... and never, never let you forget your a man.. cause I'm a women. Even tho I was quite the tom boy. I was the anything HE can do, I can do better, type girl. My dad challenged me with a statement, some thing along the line that; Feminism has done as much to hurt the cause of women as much as it has helped them, in fact it may make things worse for women in the long run.
Fast forward to about 10 years ago... it's raining, my newly adopted 2 year old is melting down in the grocery store. The store doors are not opening when you step on the mats and you have to open the door inward. I'm hanging on to a heavy awkward paper bag of bare necessities for dinner, since I had to abandon my cart due to child's meltdown. All I wanted to do is run home and hide.
A 30 something man is smugly waiting for me to exit the building. Can I open the door, hold on to my groceries and child who is out of control. Well after 3 minutes I managed to open the door and the man said "Thanks for opening the door" as he slips past me. I was horrified, to my chagrin I thought back to all those times I said to men who opened my door for me "I can do it myself!" Here I obviously needed help yet he waited... why because young ladies like myself had insulted manly chivalrous acts in the past. I totally deserved his treatment of me. Even if he had pushed the door open I would have had an easier time of it but he waited to watch my humiliation of dropping my groceries and loosing the grasp of my child.
This turns my thoughts to a post I saw on facebook in response to a plea for literacy for women in Asia. The persons point was if we educate women we take jobs away from men. I remember my mom stressing I needed to go to college so IF I didn't want to get married I didn't have too... IF my husband was a poor provider, became disabled or dead, I could be the primary wage earner. IF I wanted to work I could... I could be the captain of my "Employment Ship." Now I'm totally content to stay at home with my children. It's not like, I'm not working. To replace my services to our family would run in the 90k range per year, or so says a book my sister in law sent me. :-) So I know I'm contributing to the family in a very real way.
I firmly believe in the LITERACY PROGRAM at GFA. I really feel educating the mother helps the sons and daughters be more educated. A more educated population, hopefully makes better choices in the long run. (I can't ever forget the viewpoint of our driver in India who firmly believed cleft pallets were due to the baby being born during the full moon.) When I think of how widows are seen as a curse on many Asian societies, giving them tools is essential for survival and the success of their children. Is it feminism to believe in the education of women? I suppose on some level it is. I think that turning women into men is an extreme form of feminism. I can see how men and woman have hugely different strengths and weaknesses. As Rocky says "I got gaps she's got gaps together we ain't got no gaps."
I sometimes worry about our society where fathers have become unnecessary. Not around here!!! Who would put the kiddos to bed at night???? So here is a big Thank You Dad! for challenging me to think outside the box society was building around me. Not to mention a Huge Thank You to Mom! for helping me to look to my future, you didn't let me grow up ignorant.