Before your mind slides into the gutter, this has nothing to to do sexuality and EVERYTHING to do with sexism. I am a girl, lady, female, princess…get the picture? The women’s empowerment movement is clearly at an all time high as women move into high powered, high-paying positions. That’s awesome! Good for them! And good for you if you’re female AND that is the life you choose.
I was recently interviewed by a college student due to both my ethnicity (she said she needed a “white” person, lol) and my age, though she did not include that criteria, I assumed it mattered. The timing was perfect. With the media pushing women’s empowerment efforts, as a woman, I had opinions I was willing to share. Below are her questions and my answers to those questions. I’m sure you have opinions too. Don’t be shy if you feel you’re bursting at the seams to state them. That is what the comment box is for and I value varying beliefs! It’s what makes us unique.
Interviewer – How did you perceive gender when you were growing up (what did you believe about the nature of men and women, and their place in society)?
My answer – My perception was prejudiced by the fact that my parents had very traditional beliefs with regard to gender specific roles. I rebelled against those beliefs as I felt that I should have every opportunity as my brothers. This made me a strong woman in many aspects. I developed skills beyond the traditional, stereotypical female that have served me well as a woman. I was always unaccepting of the word “can’t” simply because it did not fit into female gender expectations.
Interviewer – How did gender affect your life-choices- what was expected of you as a girl/woman and how did your choices either conform to those expectations or rebel against them? Were there moments when you felt limited or discriminated against because you were female?
My answer – I was honestly discriminated against in my own childhood home. I was taught that I should be the caretaker over the males in the household and that my only hope of life outside of my childhood home would be if a man were to magically appear to marry me so I could continue the tradition of housewife and mother. I was my parents most rebellious child. I was confused by the ever-changing societal climate vs. trying to live up to the expectations of my parent’s beliefs. This did not serve me well in my youth, as I struggled with “finding my purpose” in life. Because of the paths I chose, I learned many difficult but valuable lessons that have served me beyond my imagination in my later years.
Interviewer – Has your perception of what it means to be a woman stayed the same or changed over the years?
My answer – This answer may come as a great surprise considering my previous answers. As I have aged, though I am grateful for the lessons, opportunities, skills, and values I have had and/or developed in my life, I can’t help but think that it would be a joy to not have to be so strong and taken on so much as a female. Of course, this would be in a perfect world where women were highly regarded even as housewives, mothers, caretakers, etc. I believe that all humans should be valued for their individual gifts, despite gender, disability, level of education, social status, income, or ethnicity. (I use the word ethnicity because I believe the word “race” is a term used for a competitive sport and not a means to describe physical attributes of human beings.)
So finally, yes my perceptions have changed somewhat perhaps due to the struggles I placed upon myself. As age begins to take a toll on my physical being, I think sometimes it would be wonderful to have men be the stereotypical providers, strong father figures to children, and loving support partners while women are allowed to be the stereotypical kind nurturers enjoying the freedom of not having to work so hard. But of course, in a perfect world….
Yes, I’m a very independent, strong, capable, yet delicate, kind-hearted woman. I possess the tools to take care of myself and my needs…many housed in my shiny pink tool box.