Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I am Woman

"If I have to, I can do anything
I am strong (strong)
I am invincible (invincible)
I am woman"

Me on Tricycle

Anyone besides me remember Helen Reddy? As a child of the 60's I was just a little to young to fall in love with (or swoon over) the Beatles. I was a feminist but just missed the bra burning phase. I think my generation (or perhaps it was just me) took feminism a bit for granted. I knew I was good at math and science and never thought once that a boy could do it better. I even asked a boy to my senior prom (he turned me down, alas).
This does not mean I feel that women have achieved entire equality. I think there are still "glass ceilings" although some are now installed by choice--women like me who want to be at the top of what we do but realize that it isn't necessarily consistent with being the kind of mothers we also want to be.
One thing I have always resented is the simple fact that I will never be as strong or as fast as most men. I will always lose at arm wrestling with even the wimpiest guy. I am also amazingly stubborn and don't like being bullied or assumed to be incapable of anything due to my stature (which is a tad less than 5'5''/110 lbs).
I had one of those mighty mouse moments today. I was walking my son to an activity when I saw a neighbor whose car was stuck in the snow. I stopped to offer her a push and there ensued some pushing, forward and back, a bit of digging with a shovel and so forth. A fellow helped for a few minutes and wandered off. A young woman came by and was going to help but while she was fiddling with her I-Pod, I gave a final heave and the car took off. The woman looked at me and said in an admiring tone: "You're strong." A sense of womanly pride swelled my frostbitten lungs and I mentally showed off my biceps. It was a nice moment.
In all honesty, it isn't about showing off. One of the things I like about winter here is that someone is always willing to stop and give a push to a stuck driver. When the world seems bitter and angry it is warming to see a neighborly moment or two and to contribute oneself.


Kathe said...

Yikes! Forget my Flickr comment...you're taller than me!

Jud said...

I work for a large (10,000+ employees) company. Very few of the executives, and only one of the truly senior executives, is female.

I would agree that many women consciously accept that to be the mothers to their children that they want to be they can't dedicate the hours that it seems to take to reach the highest offices, at least in my organization. I think there is also a bit of an old boys network is in place, too.

One the physical side of your post, I have a nephew who, when in high school, was about 6'5" and 270 pounds and looked like he would have been a monster of the midway. He preferred to sing in the choir and particiapte with the chemistry club, and was often razzed for his choices. He has started work on his PhD now in chemistry, so maybe he will have the last laugh.

Like my Pop used to say, it's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.

You seem quite intellectually scrappy. If ever I am stuck in Chicago, I know who to call for a push!

Sherry said...

Amen, sister!

Marion said...

Thank you for your comment on my blog this morning...and yes, I'm still here, lol! Amazing, isn't it?

Not being as strong as a man has always irritated me. I love gardening; when I am landscaping, I want to be able to lift Stone and Logs I want placed just so. It is not to be...I have to call for help most times.

Kudos to you for your Mighty Mouse moment!

JL said...

The classic Chicago phrase, used by immigrant women applying for work as washerwomen, laundresses, etc. was to flex both arms and loudly announce, preferably in a heavy East European accent:

"White woman, strong like BULL!"

I've known several people whose grandmothers would still say it on a routine basis...

A Free Man said...

I was always impressed in the northern winters that people seem to come together in a way that you don't see much anymore.