Friday, August 8, 2014

"Women hold up half the sky" - Mao Zedong

I'll admit to being from that generation when everyone's mother was like June Cleaver...home all day, vacuuming and making a nice layer cake while wearing a smart dress and pearls.  It was a different era for women, and for the American family all over the place.

I've told this a thousand times, but now it just seems impossible. In high school I worked for the A&P, a nice union job paying $2.15 an hour.  Guys twice and thrice my age were at the top of the clerk pay scale, earning $3/ hr for 40 hours of work - a gross of $120 a week.  And they were raising kids, buying houses and cars and groceries, on that salary.

Things change, and now the family structure quite often has both Mom and Dad out there working.  Sometimes the mother is home with the kids, and sometimes the father is.  It's whatever works these days.

If you remember the first time you saw a woman in a police uniform who was not a 'meter maid' or matron to protect female subjects, that was a step, along with women doing just about any job there is.  It's been a long time since anyone said anything disparaging about woman doing a "man's job," because there isn't really such a thing.

So it's a little sad to see people in the shoe business expecting women to take backward steps by casting them as man-hunting she-devils in tiger shoes. This shoe company, which I will not name except to say that they are about Nine miles West of reality, puts everything in ancient terms in this ad campaign for the right kind of shoes to wear while searching for a 'starter husband." Yes, companies selling to men use the same sort of sexist approach, but that hardly makes it right.  Women today can do just fine without starter husbands to bankroll them til the right sugar daddy comes along, and they certainly can handle dropping off the kids at kindergarten without dissolving into the puddle of tears in which swim the ghosts of long-ago stereotypes of helpless women.

Becky Hammon
So let this make you feel better about the world we live in today: the San Antonio Spurs basketball team has hired Becky Hammon as a full-time assistant coach, and no one, least of all the men on the Spurs, has been heard to say, "Ewwwww, a girl!"  She's qualified by dint of her experience in college, Olympic, and WNBA basketball, so let her do the job  - in whatever kind of shoes she feels comfortable.

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