For great pictures of International Women’s Day across the globe visit fellow blogger Bente Haarstad Photography website. Scroll through the fabulous pictures of Feminism. Growing up the term Feminism was never uttered in our home. My childhood home being almost two generations away from the current home I keep. I was raised by my grandparents, first generation Americans via Mexico. My childhood home was embedded with Mexican “tradition.”
“Cuando te casas” (when you get married) seemed to be the only words my grandmother must of have known seeing as they were the only ones I ever heard. I have vivid memories of being groomed to take a husband. Things that should have been taught to me just to teach me to one day keep a nice home yet instead were mandatory in securing and keeping a husband. I was taught how to make the bed, wash clothes, iron…I loathe the sight of an iron to this day! I was taught how to properly wash dishes, which by the way I still have not learned the improper to way wash dishes. Shouldn’t dish washing be as simple as putting some Dawn on a sponge/scrubber, scrub away and rinse? Nope, not according to the world my grandmother is from. The correct way is depending on what was on the menu that day certain dishes would need to be soaked with Ajax powder and then washed in cold water…prime example eggs. There was so much to take in! I at times felt that I was going to fail and would never get married. This type of fear should never take up space in the mind of a young girl. Education was yet another item on the table that was never discussed. Why should it be? We didn’t need to go off to college. Our place was that of one day to keep a house and raise the kids.
Now please do not get me wrong, I love my grandmother. She partially helped mold me into the woman I am today and I am grateful to her for that. I just decided to take a different route in how I wanted to help shape who my daughter was to become. It wasn’t until my return to the classroom that I realized that my decision to raise my daughter differently and give her different views about marriage had a term…Feminism.
It took me many years and two divorces to discover that I did not need a Man/Husband to define who I was. I was perfectly fine just as I was. My daughter was three when her father and I divorced. There were pieces of her childhood that I did not agree on such as the traditional women are subservient to men ideology. I remember vividly on both sides of the family both in my childhood and that of my daughters the men in the family would comment about learning the tasks of having to serve the man and being made to fetch their beers. It was grotesque. Yet, we didn’t know right from wrong…we were kids.
Thinking back to the parenting I gave my daughter, I knew that there were some things I couldn’t change due to the fact that I wouldn’t be able to be there when she was with her father and his family. However; when she was with me, I instilled the ideology of gender equality. Although I did teach her the same things my grandmother taught me, I never taught her using the mentality of securing/keeping a husband. I taught her those things so she could know how to keep a nice home, a home that she could buy with her own money, working a job parallel with that of a man. I always made it known that she could be anything she wanted to become. If she wanted to do construction, she could. There was no such thing as a Man’s job. I told her to fight for her equality and to fight in what she believed in. I instilled that her worth was just as much as the worth of a man. I told her should she ever choose to get married, she could keep her own identity because she was her own individual self. I instilled the importance of making her own mark. I made it known at an early age the power that having a University education would have for her. In my home my daughter never heard the words “Cuando te casas” she heard “When you get older” and the difference of those three little words made a huge impact.
Growing up in my home my daughter learned her worth as a person, her worth as a Woman…something that sadly took me almost 32 years to find.