Gypsy's Travels

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Raising Women

When things start adding up, they are begging for blogging!

Many moons ago I loaned a new, unread book to a friend. The Women's West by Susan H. Armitage and Elizabeth Jameson was purchased on one of our Triumph trips. I always wonder how the pioneers made it to their destinations without the conveniences we enjoy now. Driving and riding in a vintage Triumph makes me wonder even more. Wondering, I seek answers by reading and exploring.

My friend recently returned my book and sent along with it a 1935 non-fiction book called "Old Jules" by Mari Sandoz. It is the story of her pioneer father and the settlement of the upper Niobrara country in western Nebraska. It does NOT read like Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Little House on the Prairie" books. Sandoz is an excellent writer, but she is also brutally honest. The result is a realistic picture of what life was really like for many of our pioneers, maybe not all of them, but far more than it is pleasant to consider. Fortunately, I read "Old Jules" first. Surprisingly, it was referenced in "The Women's West."

I had just finished "Old Jules" and had started "The Women's West" when I read "Word Quilts'" blog about "Are You a Zero?" These three sources were united as if by an industrial magnet. These stories of women from three different centuries, point out how little progress has been made in this patriarchal society's acceptance and treatment of women. I don't agree with all the Women's Lib hoopla. I won't vote or not vote for Hilary Clinton just because she is a woman. When I married, the men in my husband's office informed him that they "didn't allow their wives to work." When I did work outside the home, there were times when I was faced with being a "Zero." I believe our children's generation is finally getting the message. I know my daughters certainly speak up for themselves and my son is sensitive to women's issues, behind his macho front. A young man on the Dr. Phil Show was upset because his wife did not get a job nor keep the house clean enough for him.
"She has been living off me for five years!" he announced to the world.
Never mind that this 24 year-old woman had borne 3-4 children in those five years, and was bringing them up in their home.

There is still much to be done for women and, hopefully, it will not take another century.We don't have to burn our bras and we don't have to march in the streets. There are ways to increase our effectiveness with dignity and integrity. I have thought of some. I wonder how many you can contribute.

  • Stand your ground until you are heard.
  • When you see a colleague being taken advantage of, quietly gather behind her as a show of silent support. This works in many situations. Sarge and DD#2 quietly started a gathering behind a man who was debating an anti-war protester on the street in D.C. No one else needed to say anything; their presence was enough.
  • Teach our young women to speak up for themselves. Start at home by listening to what they have to say and validating their right to say it.
  • Teach our young men to respect women's voices as readily as they do men's.
  • Vote! Vote! Vote!
  • Educate yourself and impress the importance of education on your children. Not just formal education, but life's lessons as well.
  • Teach children early in life to accept the responsibility / consequences of their actions.
  • Love your spouse and children and treat them with dignity.
  • Women, perhaps of necessity, are amazingly able to multi-task. Use it to your advantage, but don't let it keep you from delegating.

I did not start out to preach. Guess I got carried away. There are many more ideas, I am sure. You probably have a few to add. I have always felt as if I missed out on a part of life because I was not a pioneer, but I am truly glad I was not married to Old Jules. The old West doesn't sound too enticing for women either. I wonder what I might have been like back then.


  1. After so many years of marriage, I will say nothing. Of course we had 2 girls and one Granddaughter.

  2. these are great thoughts to consider.

    thanks for sharing them


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