I Was A Teenage Feminist
As a girl growing up in the fifties, when someone asked you, "What do you want to be when you grow up?", there were really only three choices. You could be a teacher, mother, or nurse. I of course had no desire to be any of those. My three choices were, artist, race car driver or movie star. I really believed my parents were somewhat worried about me.
I suppose they had reason to. One Christmas, I got the big gift. So excited as I ripped off the wrapping, I was devastated to find what was inside. It was of all things, a cardboard closet with little brooms and mops. My God, I thought to myself!
What are they trying to do to me! What an insult! All I wanted was a go-cart, or a bunch of toy cars and trucks. I wasn't asking for much, really. Bottom line, I was so shocked, I started crying. I think they thought I was so happy to get that gift.
My poor mother just wanted me to be like her. Well, that wasn't going to happen. I ran upstairs and hid under my bed, for fear they would come after me and make me sweep the floor. I will never forget that moment as long as I live.
Women of that time suffered with the dissatisfaction of making beds, cooking meals, and doing all the things homemakers do. Is that all there is in life? I am sure women were even afraid to ask themselves that question. Television didn't help matters much. Shows like "Leave It To Beaver" or "Father Knows Best" really stereotyped the image of the housewife.
It's interesting to think about our society. It forces boys to grow up, but not girls. Blue and pink. Black and white. Growing up in the fifties left no choices for women. Betty Friedan, who wrote "The Feminine Mystique" in 1963, called suburbia "a bedroom and a kitchen sexual ghetto." Wow! Those were strong words back then. She declared that while women were seeking fulfillment exclusively through their homes and families, they had in turn lost their own identities. She was quoted as saying, " If we continue to produce millions of young mothers who stop their growth and education short of identity, without a strong core of human values to pass on to their children, we are we are committing, quite simply, genocide." Friedan later helped found the National Organization Of Woman (NOW)
I must say, that I am truly amazed at the contributions and accomplishments women have made in modern society. My grandmother would just flip at the fact that a woman could actually run for president or go into orbit.
Myself? To this day, my main objective is not to clean house, thanks mom. I have accomplished much in my life without the push of my parents and there is much more to do.