Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wisdom's Way 7/15/09

One characteristic of winners is they always look upon themselves as a do it yourself project.

Denis Waitley
Come in. It's safe.
Recently someone sent me an email of images of what America was like in the 40's and 50's. There were pictures of cars, buildings, food and drink, things we used and did. I noticed that all the pictures of women were either pin-up girls or smiling motherly types in the kitchen wearing aprons. I remembered that back then there was a company that sold appliances and gadgets for the home. Their slogan was "Less Work For Mother" as if the word "mother" meant household servant.

I went along not doubting that premise until I met my first feminist, who was a man, by the way. Slowly my brain washing began to disappear in an enlightenment, not only about the role of women in the world, but about everyone's ability to transcend stereotypes and ingrained attitudes about themselves.

"Women should stay in the kitchen where they belong." That remark was part of the backlash against the feminist movement. I asked myself why, if the woman's place is in the kitchen cooking meals, were all the major chefs in the world men. I began to ask myself a lot of other questions about the assumptions I had been tricked into believing. One of them was that any woman or member of a minority group who achieved a special place in society was an exception. When the 60's arrived so did the civil rights movement and all sorts of assumptions were being challenged and toppling over like false gods on to the temple floor of reason.

If I ever write my autobiography, which I will probably never do (who would read it after all) it would be called "Places." That word has a lot of meanings to me. It has a special meaning in the theatre, it also refers to my vagabond life and it also touches on something that has been a major subject of thought and effort in my political and social leanings.

"A woman's place is in the home." There's another reactionary remark. In this country we have a Constitution that emphatically eliminates any caste system from our lives, and yet there are many who just as emphatically insist on imposing such a system on us. That powerful but invisible force has kept people down and prevented them from achieving their potential. In spite of the flowery words to accompany our rights, there are so many ways in which people are "kept in their places" by the ignorant/arrogant bigotry of others and their policies of favoritism and neglect. But the equal rights fight is still on and the winners are the do-it-yourselfers beating the keep-in-your-placers and emerging as exceptions to the stupid rules.

I grew up poor and sometimes homeless, I know where my place is. It's with the do-it-yourselfers, the place in which my country gives me the freedom and the legal right to be.

DB - The Vagabond
May a cool breeze blow through your day.


Beth said...

Agreed, agreed, and agreed. As the song says, "How ya gonna keep 'em down on the farm?" Not easily! LOL! Love, Beth

Anne said...

I think we have come from having no choices to having many choices. At least NOW we have a choice or two. I know too many women nowadays who are worn out, put out and all they want to do is to stay at home with their kids. Perhaps we have come full circle. With the women's movement has come a place for more active men when it comes to raising children. They are at the Pediatricans office as much, if not more, than the Mothers of the kids. as well as school meetings. It's great to see them take an active roll in their kids life....all because of the women's movement. Now, just how wonderful is that? Kids now grow up actually knowing who their Dads are instead of staring at his picture on the mantel.
BTW, I would read your book. Anne

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Placement can be a skill as well, as in when a baseball player places his hit. We have choice in where we place things at times, and that is, as you pointed out, what America is about.

Big Mark 243 said...

I think that once people become aware, then ignorance vanishes. People don't know what they don't know.

As you said of yourself, 'you were tricked into believing' certain things. But once the myth was dispelled, it remained so.

I think that we can all hope for the day that we see stereotypes for what they really are. The insecurity of one group at the expense of another.

Judith Ellis said...

As usual, DB, this is a most thoughtful post. Thank you. Although I rarely think that any of us pulls ourselves up by our own bootstraps. While I appreciate the premise of self-reliance thoroughly, I think that it is rarely done actually.

a corgi said...

I would read your book, DB. years ago when I was still working in doctors' offices, I worked for heart surgeons. One of them was a woman (this was in the early 1980s). She said when she was being trained, the male doctors would give her the hardest time saying she didn't belong there. She held her own though and was an excellent surgeon. Nowadays, thankfully, women are in all fields of medicine and achieving great success.


Janice said...

A woman's place is in the house, and senate and congress and white house....and by the way, thanks for that cool breeze it is greatly appreciated on the hot muggy day.

Maire said...

Hi DB, I have some catching up to do on your as always, wonderful and insightful posts.
I am married now to a wonderful man, who does appreciate the fact that I cook like his mother, but has no problem doing the dishes, and supporting me with whatever decsions I make regarding working at home, working outside the home, or not working at all.
hugs Maire