Despite the political and economic turmoil prevailing at the moment, most Americans continue to argue, discuss, cuss, or otherwise express their views in no uncertain terms. The freedom and even the interest to do so make us a stronger nation. Even within families, differences of opinion usually create a stronger understanding, appreciation, and tolerance of others. Note the word “usually.” Some people are too determined to be “right” or the “boss” to listen or understand—or even to try to understand—others’ opinions. Some family violence exists simply because one person determines what constitutes “mastery” of situations or relations. How sad.
At one time, children were to be seen and not heard. But the caveat to that was that age—if not education—allowed those children to express their opinions and to be heard by their elders as they were able to show “common sense.” Respect for elders or for authority figures was a given. Respect was expressed by listening politely and appropriate actions.
During my lifetime women have often been treated as if they were children—to be seen and not heard, to listen politely rather than be an active participant, and to serve the coffee or whatever was the “appropriate action” without expectations of respect or appreciation. Those women who expressed an opinion were considered trouble makers or subversive. And the woman who carried her thought to a reasonable action was guilty of revolt.
That attitude is still alive and well in too many places. Are women even aware of what they are facing in the market place? So many laws have been passed to "give" us equal rights that I believe we have been lulled into a displaced belief that we actually HAVE equal rights. As long as we have terms like "team player" running rampant in the offices, women will never have the cajones required to play the same games as men. Men are "all about team work." Right. And they make up the rules as they go. The rules made by men are FOR men.
Tonight a re-reading of “The Revolt of Mother” by Mary E. Wilkins Freeman has refreshed the idea that women sometimes take action simply because to do otherwise is to make them of less worth than a mere possession—a cow, a load of hay, a horse, a barn, a car, a garage, or whatever it is that signifies that a man is in charge of his life and livelihood.
Sarah, the main character in “The Revolt of Mother,” certainly did her share of the work involved in providing a livelihood for the family. She did not, however, have any voice in the distribution of income. The worth of a woman has never been equal to that of a man; for that reason, her voice has had little worth, as well. Not until Sarah put one thought into action for justice did she find that she had more worth than she had known—or more than her husband had realized.
These thoughts are not about one woman or even American women. I look back at Chaucer's Tales and even back to the Bible and see that women had little or no rights. Genghis Khan (after he had pretty well slaughtered all opposition) tried to give women equality in the areas he conquered. What was his reason? Perhaps the Khan saw that women did understand justice better because they had never had it.
It is about time that thinking women who see injustices put their thoughts into action. It is time for women to say what they think and follow up with even one action to make this a better, stronger nation—a stronger and more just world. We are not witches who will terrorize with thoughts. We are thinking women who can make a difference in the quality of life.