I never felt that as a female I was under-trodden
or second-class – I could, and did, hold my own intellectually, and on the sports field with any young man. As a child
and teenager I was smaller, perhaps more fragile, than my male classmates, but I was more competitive, more determined, and
I was meaner, maybe sneakier. When I moved away from home, daddy gave me basic woodworking and automotive tools; today, those
tools, and the ones I have added, are well-used friends.
When I joined the work force, it was normal
to put up with a certain amount of sexual harassment. We all did. My wage, for the same work, was considerably less than my
male counterparts, but because I was more diligent I was often promoted sooner. When I was relatively young and visited a
hardware, automotive, or lumber store to purchase supplies for a building project or automotive repairs, it was usual for
the male sales clerk to patronize me. His ego never allowed him to realize that my ultra-feminine wide-eyed-innocence was
using his bias to pick his brain. After I had gleaned whatever small amount that particular man could contribute to my knowledge
(I did learn quite a bit this way), I would demonstrate that I knew exactly what I was doing. From then on, I could have a
pleasant shopping experience at that establishment. I haven’t played that game for many years.
That was just the way our world was, and
I don’t think it was a bad world for a woman. A gentleman would open doors for me, help me with my chair or wrap, and
walk on the street side of the sidewalk. Men from my generation, with all of their faults, usually made a woman feel cherished
and protected. That is not a bad thing.
I have very traditional children. My son is a six-foot-four-giant,
a very manly-man. His enormous paws wield his daily tools of hammer and saw with consummate expertise, but he also sews a
finer hand stitch than most women. He is intuitive and gentle and when he holds his tiny son it is with infinite tenderness.
My eldest daughter, the mother of two and their PTA President, designs and creates
beautiful furniture and structurally remodels homes. My youngest daughter is a math teacher and the mother of a little boy.
She does all of the automotive work on her rare 1972 Mercury Montego, ‘Frank’, you know the small things like
replacing the transmission.
Although I understand that the true meaning
of the word feminism is the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes. And I understand that in
this world, with the ever increasing numbers of single mothers, an equitable wage for equal work is a necessity. I do not
understand how seeking to make a woman the equal of a man in all arenas can possibly enhance our lives as women. Therefore,
I do not understand feminism.