Feminism is not about making women strong. We already are. It’s about believing in our strength and changing how the world perceives it. I’m not going out on a limb when I say that most US women friends in my age group are so indoctrinated in patriarchy that they are blind to the inequalities. However, our belief system will shift if we focus on what women have accomplished and what it took to get here.
Historians shape our view of the past in how they tell it. Most of premodern human history is told through the male lens. If they wrote about women at all, it was limited to women with exceptional talents, powerful women, or those who exercised extreme malice and evil. Likely, these male historians didn't wear out their quill pen elaborating on the women's point of view or their feelings. So the best we can do is to infer women's emotional state from their reactions to their circumstances.
A friend disagrees with me on the issue of ERA. She claims that discrimination between the genders doesn’t exist. Let’s say my friend is right. Women enjoy all the rights men have. But wouldn’t that in itself be a reason to read about our sisters who earned us that right? Of course, this is a pet peeve of mine. It’s when my kids go, “Mom, don’t go there.”
My one conversation with mamma took place in the basement laundry room. I sat on the first-floor cement open to the laundry room as she heaved sheets and clothes from one wooden barrel to another with an oar paddle. Fastidious about cleanliness, our laundry went through pre and post soaks. “Mamma, what’s it like to have a baby?” She strained to untangle sheets full of water refusing to separate. She didn’t answer. That wasn’t so unusual. Her concentration and work ethic was the stuff of legends.