Different but not Inferior

Kimberly - Kadyville, New York
Entered on March 5, 2009
Age Group: 65+
Themes: equality

THIS I BELIEVE

I became aware at a very early age that I lived in a world that also was populated by women. That lesson was made clear one day when my sister and I were still taking baths together. I had always thought she was just like me. So I was quite surprised to discover in the bath that she was different from me. That was the last time we shared the same bath.

My sister turned out to be a tom girl and we played together from morning to night. I noticed as we were growing up that if there was a dispute between her and me, my mother would usually decide in my favor. That changed when my sister started to flower into a young teenager. Then disputes were usually decided in her favor. This was always a mystery to me along with the rule that I am not to strike my sister even if she hit me first.

Fast forward 60 years later. I’ve come to know many women, their lives shattered by divorce and serious economic hardships, often living under a cloud or emotional and psychological stress. My sister never married, unable to ever trust a man’s power or true intentions.

Then in 1997, I read a book by Layne Redmond called WHEN DRUMMERS WERE WOMEN. In tracing the history of drumming she also covered the rise of patriarchy and the history of women’s lost of freedom. As a one time history major graduating from the University of Wisconsin, this was all new to me.

I was shocked and even in tears to read how women have historically been put in a metaphorical black box and the key thrown away. Not only that, but I also realized that I was not immune to the crime. I was a man enjoying the benefits of a patriarchal system that regarded women as naturally inferior without any questions asked, and men as naturally superior.

My sister is still a very dear friend. I don’t consider her and all the women I know and all the women who compose half the human race, although different, in any way inferior to men. THIS I BELIEVE.