Wednesday, November 28, 2012

So, My Daughter Says That I Am A...



Well...perhaps I am.  A little bit.  Maybe.

I was driving around town with Bridget (my 22-year-old girlie) one day.  We were doing things like going to The Dollar Store and Starbucks.  It was great fun, as she is very entertaining.  And we started to talk about actresses.  I said that I think it is cool how actresses these days are so very diverse, as compared to when I was a kid.  When I was growing up, actresses -- typically -- seemed to be required to be caucasian, with large breasts, small waists, and tiny noses.  They also tended to lack well-developed muscles, as that was generally considered to be unfeminine.  Now you see actresses of different races and mixed race, with larger noses, figures that aren't 36-24-36, and some pretty epic arm muscles.  And these actresses are portraying beautiful and sexually alluring characters.  I mentioned how on "SouthLAnd" -- yes, there I go again with "SouthLAnd" -- one of the characters who had bit of a "romance" with the character of Officer Ben Sherman (if you can call any of the things that Officer Ben does with women "romance," in the traditional sense of the word) was an absolutely beautiful girl, but not your "typical" Hollywood type.  Racially, she appeared to be some lovely combination of black and white, or perhaps black and Latina.  She was rather petite, but strongly built.  And she had a great figure -- although with a bust to hip ratio not traditionally seen amongst women who play sexy females in movies and TV.  This actress's character -- besides being one of Officer Ben's "love" interests -- was also a cop.  And the woman was AMAZING in the role.  So, not to belabor my point anymore, I expressed to Bridget my delight that Hollywood is beginning to appreciate and cast a more diverse group of women to play characters that are both smart and attractive.  Based on this opinion of mine -- combined with other things I have been saying lately -- Bridget told me, "Mommy, when I was growing up, I never realized what a feminist you are."

I am sorry if I did not quote you in a totally exact fashion, Bridget.  I have done my best to be accurate.

Anyway, this made me laugh.  I asked her, "Do you really think I'm a feminist?"  To which she replied in the affirmative.

I had never been called a "feminist" before -- in my entire life.  In fact, most women think of me as the opposite.  I mean, I eschewed having a career to be a wife and mom -- in the 80's, mind you.  And the majority of women I knew were quite incredulous that I would do that.  Most of my friends who worked sincerely wondered how I wasn't bored being at home with the kids.  I was pretty much seen as the "anti-feminist" amongst my peers.

So, I began to wonder -- both aloud and silently -- about my "feminist" self.  And I came to a couple of conclusions.

My first conclusion is that I am just sort of a rebel.  If the people I am around are one way, I tend to go the other way.  And when I was young, most women were into the feminist sexual revolution in one way or another.  So, I just had to push back.  And, in more recent years, I have been around women who tend to be, for lack of a better term, "militant traditionalists." So, I have had to stake out an opposing position, just for fun.  Yeah.  I am sort of a pain in the ass. 

But (and this is my second conclusion), if my rebel nature has a more reasoned aspect to it, maybe it is this.  I like to look at things fairly.  I like to be treated fairly and see others treated thusly.  And I hope that all women can be appreciated for their unique qualities -- physical, mental, and spiritual.  I have seen the feminist movement and the "militant traditionalist" movement both try to define the female nature too narrowly.  One of these viewpoints would almost have us throw out any concept of femininity and the value of motherhood, while the other proclaims that women who have careers and don't stay with their children 24/7 are denying their femininity and shirking their true duty.  I don't find the truth in either of these extremes.  And I don't want my daughters being put "into a box" as far as their life choices go.  I want them to be able to dream their dreams, have their goals, and make their plans -- without a false view of womanhood interfering.

I will now sum this post up with a little anecdote.  When I was growing up, my favorite TV shows were "Dragnet", "Adam 12", and "Emergency".  I so much wanted to be a cop or a paramedic, and I mentioned this to my father one day when I was probably about 9 or 10 years old.  He replied, "I don't think they allow women to do those things."  Now, lest you get the wrong idea, my father did not come across as being opposed to women doing those jobs.  He was just stating the facts, as he knew them.  But, I was appalled and horrified.  I did not want to be a nurse or a stewardess or a secretary or a teacher (although a teacher is what I did become).  I wanted to be a cop or a paramedic.  And the thought that being a female -- and only the fact of being a female -- would keep me from one of those careers was devastating.  Now, I do believe that a woman needs to be able to fulfill the requirements of a job -- including the physical requirements -- in order to be allowed to do it.  And that, in the end, is why I didn't choose to become a cop or a paramedic.  I just didn't feel that I was up to snuff in the physical strength department.  But, this experience of being told that I couldn't do a certain type of work solely because of my gender probably caused me to develop whatever feminist leanings I do possess.

So, here's to all the ladies!  I hope you will all be appreciated for your beauty and be allowed to dream your dreams, whether those dreams are of hearth and home or breaking down a door with Michael Cudlitz.  #SouthLAnd  ;-)

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