I read Betty Friedan’s The Feminist Mystique in the 70s and this book changed my life. I embraced being this independent woman, needing no man. Does this sound familiar to you? The problem—I’m a romantic at heart, always have been and always will be. So, I tried to blend the juxtaposed ideologies. More difficult than you may imagine. I was raised in a male dominated household where women and children should be seen and not heard. For anyone who knows me today, you’re probably astounded that background produced me, the woman with an opinion on everything and always sharing it.
But, I digress. I struggled on this feminist path. I met my husband during this challenging period and he accepted this new confused woman into his life. I’ll be forever grateful. I’m sure there were times when he turned away rolling his eyes, but with a smile on his face. Love does conquer all.
When I became a mother, I chose to be a stay at home mom to my children. This didn’t really fit the feminist role model, but I’m a rebel at heart. Believe me when I say it wasn’t easy being my children. I could almost hear their brains shouting for me to shut up and go back to my corner. But suffice it to say, they made it into adulthood and are raising children of their own today. I’m now a grandmother of six wonderful grands and a wife of 43 years. Some people deserve sainthood and my family is at the top of the list.
But I digress again. Yep, I’m the squirrel chasing that nut.
I’ve learned to blend my version of feminism with reality. For example, on the way to my writer’s meeting last Saturday, my car notified me of low tire pressure. I’m lucky to have a car smarter than I am. I pulled into the local gas station, took out my made for an idiot tire pressure gauge and proceeded to check the pressure in each tire, then thought I added air. According to my readings I had now overfilled two of the tires. Not good. I had to drive 85 miles to my meeting. So, I called hubby, who said it was no problem for him to travel into town 15 miles from our home to check it for me. Thank God, he didn’t say save me. He drove into town and corrected the air pressure in my tires (none were actually overfilled, but one was seriously low), offered to let me drive his truck (I declined), showed me how to use our Kobalt tire inflator (I hope I remember), put it in the trunk of my car, and sent me on to my meeting in Cullman, Alabama. So much for my independence.
I’ve learned feminism is only a part of me. As a good Southern belle, I like chivalry (though I did verbally assault this man on our first date when he offered to open my car door). Good news is I now know how to put air in my tires, if I have our Kobalt tool with me. I’m not even going to bother to learn how to use those service station air tanks, which charge me for air. Seriously?!
Are you a feminist? If so, let me know how you handle feminism and reality. Almost 50 years later, I’m still trying to figure it out.