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Raising feminist men

March 12, 2015

March is Women’s History Month in the U.S., but every time I turn around, I see something that makes me sad about the state of feminism. Nothing makes me sadder than to hear a woman say, “I’m definitely NOT a feminist”–even as she, on the other hand, will say, “But of course I want equal pay, equal rights, equal representation in government, equal opportunities for myself and daughters.” Then, there’s the decades of backlash against a lot of the rights we achieved in health care and reproductive rights. How about the fact that we don’t have an equal rights amendment. In the 21st Century. In the USA. Last night, I read that a woman in Trumball, CT, defaced a painting in the town library which depicts great women who’ve make great strides for other women, usually after tremendous personal sacrifice. She apparently was particularly infuriated that Margaret Sanger was among the great women honored. Baffling. Sad.

In 7th grade, I won a contest in school and as my reward, I was allowed to decorate the classroom bullet board. (Simpler times.) I chose as my theme, “We’ve come a long way, baby” and put up a display about the heroines of the women’s suffrage movement. OK, I get that there was an unfortunate cigarette ad reference in my theme. (Give me a break; I was 12 and cigarette commercials were still on TV.) Within hours, I was told my bulletin board was coming down. The nuns agreed with my teacher, Mr Brock, that it was inappropriate for young Catholic girls. That was circa 1972, but honestly, I don’t feel like that story is all that dated.

Just when I’m feeling really depressed, though, something reminds me that sometimes progress is 3 steps forward, 2 steps back. It’s maddeningly slow, but then I meet young women, like my co-worker Sara, who give me hope for the future. (Read her blog here!)

And I’ll leave you with this delightful, glimmering, wonderful gem of hope! My whirlwind friend Dana (more on our whirlwind friendship in another post) is the mom of a 4-year-old boy. A few weeks ago, she asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up. He recited a few of the standard answers: astronaut, fire fighter, etc. Dana said, “How about a doctor? Do you want to be a doctor?” And he said, “No mom, only girls can be doctors.” All his doctors are WOMEN!

We’ve got a long way to go, baby, but we’ll get there. So help me goddesses!

Next time: A guest post from my darling niece, Emily!

  1. northmelbournemum permalink

    As someone who originally hails from the first country to give women the vote (NZ), and with a wee girl of my own who loves pink and trucks (!), the need for advocacy still remains.


  2. Anonymous permalink

    LOL I once asked my nephew what he wanted to be when he grew up and after some thought he said…God! I explained that there might not be an opening anytime soon and asked if he had a back-up plan. Of course he did…he wanted to work at McDonald’s because he admired their cool headgear at the drive thru window…Kids! I always told my husband that at least he’d be happy…lots of choices between God & McDonald’s…LOL


    • grayhairedmom permalink

      Very cute! My niece once said she wanted to be a vet and work at Wendy’s! I didn’t want to think about any cross-synergies in that combo! Thanks for the lovely, non-spammy comment!


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