Thursday, March 15, 2012

Being a woman

In recent weeks, I've been disturbed by things I see that are the direct 'fruits' of the bruhaha over the HHS mandate.  In the media, and in some FB posts, I read some pretty rough stuff!  All I can say is, 'Wow!'.  When did women come to the point where they think that crudeness becomes them?

As a woman, I believe I can and should speak for women.  First off, let me say this: I LOVE men.  I do not view men as trying to oppress women.  I don't doubt that there are men who do that, and that it has happened in the past.  Unfortunately, that is true. But... every man I have had the good fortune of knowing has always been fair and respectful of me.

I grew up with a father who always taught me that the sky is the limit.  He never forced gender roles down my throat--in fact, many of the things he gave me weren't often thought of as 'feminine'.

For instance, he gave me fishing equipment, hiking boots, a barn coat, a CO2 pistol, a CB radio, and many other such things.  (He also gave me Love's Baby Soft perfume!)

I have often fished with my Daddy, and we like to go for jaunts in the wild, walking through thick brush, while he points out various plants to me.  He takes me to the shooting range and instructs me on the proper handling of firearms.  He taught me about the Erie Canal, taking me to points where it used to run, and explained about Indian tribes who lived nearby.  He has expounded on the local Indians and their trails.  We have watched countless Cowboy flicks together, and spent many hours engaged in intellectual discussions.

Dad has taught me math and reading, how to ride a bike, how to swim, and how to identify birds and trees.  I have never heard a dirty joke or rude comment come from my father.  He has never tried to hold a women down and 'oppress' her in any way.

I have two siblings, both brothers, and they often roughhoused with me.  Shaun, my big brother, used to make me play a game he made up called 'Boot Camp', where he would be the D.I. and I had to do all the tough stuff he put me through.  I remember rolling down hills (GRASS stains?!), doing pushups, and running until I was out of breath.  My brothers and I played ball together, ran laps, played tag, and enjoyed bike rides.  My brothers have grown into men of integrity and goodness.  They show no signs of wanting to hold women back!

I never felt like I had to prove myself as a female in a man's world.  I felt comfortable with me, and I embraced my feminine side.  I always loved baby dolls.  I had over 60 of them as a child, and each one had a name and a special place in my heart.  I always knew I wanted to be a mother.

My mom is a true feminist and a great influence on me.  She is the eldest child of eight, and has a wildly independent streak.  She taught me (through example) that to be myself was all that mattered.  She worked at the Westinghouse right out of high school, and bid on a job in the shop where she could earn more money, instead of doing office work.  She worked along men, and she was fine with that.  She wore black jeans that she paid two bucks for.  She shunned makeup, wearing a smattering of red lipstick that complimented her almost black hair.

Mom didn't care so much about marriage, so she explored life, and put herself through college.  She had aspirations to move to the west coast and settle in as a writer.  She taught school as she neared the end of her College education, and went on to work as a teacher.  She graduated with a dual major in English and Comprehensive Social Studies.  Mom took pre-med classes because she had a thirst for learning!  The advisors were puzzled as to why she would take hard courses that weren't necessary, but she loved to challenge herself. 

She met my father and that steered her in a different direction, as she found a new desire to settle down.  In 1960, on New Year's Eve, at age 31, she married my dad.

Every one of my uncles (seven in all) were/are highly respectful of women.  None of them spoke ill of females, but rather, were somewhat in awe of them.  There were no crass words, ill opinions, rude remarks.  No ogling, no centerfolds.  The men in my life are men of integrity who love women as a magnificent creature!

My grandfathers were like my uncles.  They were good and pure, with utmost respect for the ladies.  They always showed me love, and nothing else.

I have a lot of male friends...they are mostly similar to the men in my family.  I have run into the few who are the 'bubba' type--who give men a bad name.  But, for the most part, I have found that men are wonderful just as they are.  And I know that women are wonderful as they are, too! 

I LOVE that I am a woman.  I think it is utterly wonderful that I can do what I can do!  I am nurturing.  I can be a mom.  I can be a wife.  I love all those things.  I can be gentle.  I can be soft.  My figure is curvy.  I like that.  My hands are small.  I like that.  I sometimes need a guy to help me open a jar.  What is wrong with being who and what you are????

I love to take care of my family.  I enjoy providing their home, their meals, their support.  I find it highly satisfying to hold a child, or to comfort someone.  Afterall, who can be all that, other than a MOM?

It hurts me when I read the crass comments of late...the ones where females are reduced to their genitalia (and I mean--the crudest terms), and their militant attitude.  I don't want to be militant.  I want to be genuine.

I embrace and love the fact that my Catholic faith elevates women.  Women simply are the heart of any society.  What more can a girl ask for???

Our wombs are supposed to be the safest, warmest, nurturing place.  Our bodies do not belong exclusively to ourselves...they are there to enable us to be useful and helpful to our families and society.

When and where did people begin to believe the lie that our fertility is a curse? 

I recognize that not all my readers will agree with me.  I just want to assert that I love everything that being a woman means, and I don't think it is beneficial to act crude or speak in such base terms.  It demeans women.

A woman whom I greatly admire, Edith Stein, was a German Jew who was independent, brilliant, strong.  She recognized the light of Christ and became a Christian.  This woman went to the gas chambers of Nazi Germany, and embraced her fellow Jews with comforting arms and words as they took their last breaths.  That is a real hero!  A real woman!

Well, that's enough for now...