I keep trying to remember what my 18 year old self would have thought of a woman running for President.
It is hard for my nearly 60-year old self to recreate. There’s only one thing I am sure of.
If someone had told me that the U.S. would NOT have woman president,for the next forty years, I would not have believed it. Because I knew, of course, a woman could be president; i.e. that women were certainly able enough. I had gone to a girls’ high school, where all offices within the school–as in student council–were held by incredibly able young women. The administrators of the school were very able older women, though, we had, of course, a male head.
Yes, I also knew that my girls’ school had far far less funding than the partnering boy’s school–female alumnae just couldn’t give as much as male alumnae. But still, at the girls’ school, we were convinced that our actual academic and other achievements equaled or surpassed the achievements of those at the boys’ school, and that we too would use that education to do important things in the world.
Of course, many of my classmates have done such things, including having wonderful and informed children (one of the most important things you can do for the world, and the only one I’m sure I’ve done.)
But the point is that I never, back then, would have believed that there would be so few women in high national office for so many many years.
I say this to those who think that it’s not a big deal that an able woman is finally in reach of high office. I say this to those who don’t like Hillary because of her baggage (not understanding that women candidates especially of my generation carry a kind of baggage, women coming from days when they did not have much economic or political power, women who even now are deemed to carry the baggage of their families/spouses in ways that men are not). I say this to those that think, of course, there will be other women coming to fill high office, other better women.
Another thing my 18-year old self never imagined: that in this 21st century, to be a woman with any national exposure in the United States, you have to be as made-up i.e. cosmeticized as a fashion model. That a woman would have to have styled hair and styled eyes to maintain a place on the national scene. This is especially the case of many female newscasters, unfortunately, the most visible women in national prominence– (The only ones that seem to get a break are gay women.)
Geez. What happened to the old (as in young) Barbara Walters and Jane Pauley?
I think I can safely say that Shirley Chisolm and Bella Abzug did not take a lot of time over their make-up.
So, what is the point of this post?
- I am so sick of women having to fit into those heels and those eyes.
- Do not underestimate the type of squeezing and carrying that women have to undertake to qualify for prominence in this country.
- Don’t assume that, of course, there will be a woman president soon (as in, but just not Hillary Clinton.)
- Vote. And more than vote, support. At least for the next few days. For this now, let go of the back-biting. Make it happen.