99 word prompt: What women create
January 26, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story using the theme, “women create.” It can be art, sewing, ideas, babies. What is at the heart of women as creators? Go where the prompt takes you.
Rarely do I find it necessary to preface my 99 word entry, but I believe a bit of history might be helpful.
In 1968, the guidance counselor called me into her office. She had to step out for a minute, so I took the opportunity to look over my file.
She stormed in and using a firm, scolding voice, said, “You have no right to look at that.”
“It’s about me. That gives me the right,” I told her.
She grabbed it out of my hand and said, “You’re smart but no genius.”
That’s not what the file said, but why start an argument? I wanted out of her office as fast as possible, not an appointment with the principal.
From the little I’d read, it detailed the life of a girl whose work didn’t match her potential. At that time, no one knew there was a condition called dyslexia.
“Why am I here?” I asked.
“To talk about your future. I see you’ve been accepted into a university. That’s a good place to find a husband.”
“I don’t want to get married.”
“If you’re looking for a career, you can be a nurse, teacher, stewardess or secretary.”
Flash forward 3 – 5 years: I was a hippie for a short time and a feminist in 1972. I remember what it meant to be sexually harassed, not just at work, but by hippies calling me “prude” because I wouldn’t sleep with everyone who wanted me. How could it be called free love if people tried to shame you into doing it?
In the 1980’s, women began to break through the “glass ceiling,” the invisible barrier keeping us from the higher level jobs. Sexual harassment was no longer tolerated and the feminist movement believed we were well on our way to victory. At the same time, toy companies came up with the idea of pink toys for girls and blue for boys.
Over the years I’ve watched the pendulum swing from women being forced to stay at home to women being forced to continue working in order for the family to make ends meet. This isn’t equality, it’s simply another form of subjugation.
Proudly I raised my flag, “Feminists unite.”
A matronly woman smiled, walking over to greet me. “What did the women of Egypt in the 1950’s, Iran in the 1970’s and the USA in the 1940’s have in common?”
“They wanted equal rights?”
“They had more rights than at any other moment in their history. Those rights were taken away overnight,” she said. “Remember Mileva Marić?”
“Einstein’s first wife, a physicist. She deserved equal credit for his work. What women create, men will take. Until all men recognize that women are equally as important, we will never have equality.”