Friday, June 3, 2011


Yes, well. That was more than a nap. That was a trip out of this world. I slept for about three hours. I had one telephone call and message that I didn't even hear at all ... (that would be you, Kimmie). So, another day with only limited productivity. I wrote in my head as I was falling asleep, but I have forgotten what I was writing about. At least I am still not depressed. That feels like an accomplishment.

I have a question for those of you who were my schoolmates, or are around my age (and you know who you are). I was remarking to Kathleen that as a child the general attitude about women, and certainly in my household, was that women were not very smart nor capable. That was an accepted generalization around my house, much as the certainty that the sun would rise each day. I cannot remember anything specific my father said about my mother, other than the repeated refrain that she "could not find a goat in a phone booth." Yes, it is funny. But it is also quite demeaning. I do not remember him ever saying that to anyone else, say, my brothers.

So, my question is this: did you percieve a general level of animosity and dismissiveness toward the intellectual powers and general capability of women in your own house? I know what was out there in the culture at large, but did you feel in quite clearly in your own home and around you? Did either of your parents ever address you in a gender demeaning way?

Okay, and here's another question: how would you describe the Okay, and here's another question: how would you describe the expression on my face here?

Hope I am not being a pest, asking for answers.

I was a bit behind on my posts, trying to get one a day for a year, so I am catching up.

And I seem to be thinking a lot, too.


  1. Sally Anne,
    Not exactly your age. The older we get the closer we get to each other. I was raised with those mid west Protestant ethics. My grandfather was an evangelical Methodist preacher etc. I remember being told to be submissive. That there were things that we as women could not innately do. I might have bought that if the things they said were things such as firefighting..etc.. but it wasn't it was things such as teaching higher education, Pastoring a church, being an astronaut, Being a doctor. Things in which brute strength has very little bearing on the performance of the task. I had a school counselor insist that I take typing because no mater how big my dreams were my best chance at making a decent wage was as a good secretary. I feel that profoundly. It is why I get the importance of affirmative action. In specific answer to your your house what was the message..My dad whistled for my mom.. she came running, took off his shoes and socks, and rubbed his feett. My dad sat in a chair and my mom waited on him hand and foot. Still does..I am one of five girls and the message I heard all my life oh my gosh Poor Russ all those girls.. Oh how terrible all girls. What a tragedy couldn't have a boy! Really try being from a family of all girls--It really is one of those things that people project a certain tragedy to.. No boys.. But a family of all boys nowhere near the same kind of stigma..

  2. Deb, I'm right there with ya. I remember telling my mom I wanted to be a doctor, and she told me I was too sensitive. Better to be a secretary, and you can find yourself a rich boss and marry him so he can take care of you! Focus on your typing and shorthand!
    Sally, I know we've discussed this at length, and you know my story. I was absolutely demeaned; boys rule; girls just take care of boys! Very frustrating. I've always felt that if I had only had an advocate or a mentor, my life would have turned out quite differently.

  3. In my house, my mom was the absolute boss. We all deferred to her in all things. She went back to work when my dad had trouble keeping a job, and got a masters in library science. She didn't like math, so the right of women to advance in the sciences was not a big issue for her. My brother was good in all the sciences--he took college chemistry while he was in middle school. I was told all through school that I was a good student but that my brother was a genius with a 165 IQ. My mom favored my grandpa and my uncle and was the only one of the three sisters in her family to go to college. My uncle was an engineer, my grandfather was in the first graduating class of reed college--and my grandmother, though she worked as a librarian, did not go beyond hs. On the other hand, she was the one who got us all started on proust and the bloomsburys. My aunt went back to take college anthro courses. My mom always favored my brother, but I'm not sure I could have survived her attention on me, would have wilted in the heat. While I was still in HS I helped her proof read and write her annual reports at work. Languages were always easier for me than the other members of my family, so that probably led me to major in them. My mom was dying and my brother came to say goodbye and she perked right up. I felt happy, but also that my role as her caregiver for 5 years was nothing in her eyes. She died soon after his return to England.
    My dad always loved me and made me feel like I could do most anything, but he was an introverted alcoholic, which is what I became. Like him I became a teacher.
    They both were very supportive of my schooling, and went back to grad school after I completed my degrees.
    I can't really disentangle my existence as a female in the family with my situation as a depressive incest survivor and less-valued child. But such is my meandering answer to your question.

  4. All the women in my family: sibling, mom, grandmothers, cousins, aunts, great aunts strong educated women, some very intimidating. The men, not weak, but more easy-going. My dad has always called my mom, "My sweet dopey wife", and though it seems demeaning, it is in humor, and may have helped lessen tension, plus, she was the one with the temper, and would not have put up with it all these years if it bothered her too much. Didn't seem sexist; my dad has always been the opposite of that. I think my family was a bit unusual for the times, though most of their friends seemed similarly progressive. My poor brother worships women. Has NOT served him well.