Tuesday, April 1, 2008

A look back — on Women's History Month and beyond

When my sister and I were young, we would play make-believe games. I would be married to the President of the United States, and she the Vice President. I would be married to the richest man in the world and she the second richest.

That I was always the one married to the richest, the smartest or the most powerful should come as no surprise. I was, after all, the eldest sister and my added two years of wisdom, not to mention my unbridled imagination, put me at an advantage in all of these make-believe scenarios.

But what was surprising, given my rich flights of fancy, is that I never once considered offering myself the role of President, nor that of smartest or richest person. In a “Leave it to Beaver”/”Father Knows Best” era, I never once entertained the idea that I as a female could do any of these things.

The horizons of the average woman in 1960 were limited to housewife, teacher, nurse and secretary — or possibly a model or a stewardess if one was thinking of something a little more exotic. (“Exotic” as defined by a 7-year-old has serious limitations!)

I would like to think that my 7-year-old counterpart in today's society would not find her make-believe scenarios as severely restricted as mine were almost five decades ago.

If that is true, then the essence of Women's History Month is how we as females leapt from playing second fiddle in our own fantasies to the role of leading lady in the last 50 years. How we went from the inability to vote to being full-fledged participants in the elective franchise in the 40 years prior to that. And how we, as females, went from individuals deemed unworthy to hold property to that of property owners in the decades before that.

Someone recently accused me of being a feminist for spouting similar sentiments. I defer to a quote made by Margaret Atwood on the subject.

“Does feminist mean large unpleasant person who'll shout at you or someone who believes women are human beings? To me it's the latter, so I sign up.”

And on that note, I would like to close the books on Women's History Month with Jasia's 44th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy. The subject, fittingly enough, was “A Tribute to Women.”
(http://creativegene.blogspot.com/2008/03/carnival-of-genealogy-44th-edition.html). I can't give a better endorsement for reading these tributes than Jasia's own words.

Thirty-two participants penned tributes to a variety of different women. This was an especially wonderful edition of the COG because so many of the tributes came from the heart. It took me a long time to put it together because I was moved to tears so many times and just had to walk away for while. What a tribute that is to all of you who participated! When an author can stir your emotions and touch you with their words and pictures they have real talent.

So find the time to read these remarkable essays. I guarantee that you to will find a post or two that will move you.

Until Next Time — Happy Ancestral Digging!

Note this post first published online, April 1, 2008, at Desktop Genealogist Blog at The News-Messenger Online http://www.thenews-messenger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?Category=BLOGS02

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