Autumn brings the cooler days, beautiful colour and our inevitable trips to the apple orchard. Walking among the rows of apples this year, I thought of the story of Adam and Eve as I reached for that first apple.
Imagine, as described in the Bible, the temptation to eat from that one forbidden tree.
Of course, the woman was the cause of all the problems in what would have been paradise otherwise.
Women have a natural position of power because of our gender's ability to deliver into the world and nurture the next generation. As humans evolved, the hunter-gatherers among us felt inferior and from the earliest times, charged with testosterone, exerted their dominance through physical strength and aggressive behaviour. That's a theory anyway.
And so it began!
Many females have felt inferior because of gender. Inferiority can arise from how we are raised and treated by society and can affect how we think of ourselves. In subtle and overt ways, we are led to think we are less than our male counterparts. Women, because of our socialization, often unconsciously, will discriminate against other women because of gender.
I have experienced situations of unfair treatment due to gender. However, while speaking up can be hard enough, being told, "You can't take a joke," or "You're too serious," or, my favourite, "I was just joking," are all infuriating. Again, the woman is the problem and if she changed her attitude and "lightened up," there wouldn't be an issue. Meanwhile, this does not include the devastation of physical and sexual assaults we experience which are even more sinister.
Then there is the problem of being invisible as a woman when a man is involved. When we moved to Prince Edward Island from Newfoundland, we sold our home and planned to buy another. In order to facilitate the new purchase, we secured a pre-approved mortgage should we need it. My husband and I sat in the office at the bank, and the male financial officer ignored me and spoke to the man. As a couple, we spoke about our needs and ability to pay. The banker did not look at me until he asked a question my husband could not answer but I could. Where finances were concerned, it had happened before.
When we purchased our first house, the mortgage was in both of our names. My salary was higher than my husband's and to pay off the mortgage quickly, we decided to put my salary on the mortgage and live on my husband's. When the mortgage was paid, a letter of congratulations from the bank was addressed to my husband only. The bank manager, a woman, signed the letter.
My parents raised me from an early age to believe I could support myself and education was the key to my future. As a child, I knew I would go to university and Mom and Dad helped me achieve that goal. I can stand on my own two feet financially and otherwise although the world does not make it easy. However, I am fortunate compared to the vast majority of the women in the world today.
Time and hard work will take care of misogyny. After all, it is only one hundred years since the first women in parts of Canada were able to vote! I may not be around to see a major shift in western society and beyond. As it is today, imagine how good a woman has to be to lead a business, a boardroom, a university or a country! Just turn on the television.
This is very timely.
Sigh. The shift is incremental, while loud voices tell us that we never had it so good. Yes. And no.
Some day (and like you, almost certainly not in my day) we will get there. I hope.
There's been much to consider, AC.
I hope my granddaughters have it better than we did. However the environment will be their concern. There's always something!
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