Recently, I listened to a debate regarding remarks made by a news commentator about a (female) State Department spokesperson. He called her out for skirting direct questions by the media, and another (female) State Department spokesperson called HIM out for being “sexist”. Now, if he’d said the same thing about me, I’d have considered it his opinion—wrong, of course, but his to state! I wouldn’t be labeling him.
So let’s take a look at the situation: “Feminists” want equal pay, equal opportunities in the workplace, and equal treatment in all respects. They should have it—no question. But it seems they don’t want equal accountability. That is, they still want to be talked to/about as a fair, delicate flower of womanhood. I’ve got news for them: they can’t have it both ways!
So I got the idea to look at my characters and ask them the question: What do you want? Here goes!
Lenore Seldon in Where Is Papa’s Shining Star: “I’ve gone hungry and homeless since the Depression hit. I just need good honest work with a salary large enough to provide the basic necessities for my niece Bobbie and me.”
Annie Ashley in Finding Papa’s Shining Star: “After Mum (Lenore Seldon) married Alan Ashley, I lived in luxury. I didn’t want or need anything. Then I met David and married him because I thought he’d be who I wanted him to be. I was wrong. Now I don’t know what I want.”
Jean Kingston in The Showboat Affair: “I wanted a home and family. I got an unfaithful husband and a daughter who took his side in everything. Now I want a chance to start over with the career I gave up—and maybe with a second chance at love.”
Celeste Riley in Dancing with Velvet: “I just want my life to be something more than going to work, going home..basically going nowhere. Is that too much to ask? But the man I love wants more than I’m comfortable giving him, and now he’s gone off to this terrible world war. I want another chance at life!”
Tessa Steele in The Face on Miss Fanny’ Wall: “I want to find out why my great-grandmother’s picture is hanging on the wall of a former bordello…and I want Dale McCord to leave me alone while I find out. The problem is, I don’t want him to leave me alone forever…”
Penelope Pembroke in The Penelope Pembroke Cozy Mystery Series: “When I got up enough courage to take my son and leave his philandering father, all I wanted was to go home to my parents’ house, raise Bradley, take care of my mother during her last illness, and forget I’d ever wanted anything else. I was doing all right, too, until Sam showed up. Now I want him…but I’m a divorced Catholic, and I know he’s off limits. The trouble is, I can’t forget him—and I don’t want to.”
Trixie Collier Blake in The Dreamland Series: “I had everything I wanted as Ned’s wife. Then he got killed, and I didn’t know which way to turn. When I went back to my hometown, Dreamland, I just wanted to check out the building my grandfather left me, sell it, pocket the money, and move on. When I changed my mind and decided to stay on to rebuild my life, it wasn’t that simple. I ended up just wanting to stay alive from one day to the next!
Seven women, all products of their time and circumstances: the Depression, World War II, failed marriages, goals that don’t jive with those of the men they care about, early widowhood. What do they have in common? I think they focus on their immediate needs first, then their long-term goals. They don’t blame anyone else for their circumstances, and they accept the responsibility for their decisions. Also, while each one of them would support fair and equal treatment for women, I don’t think they’d whine about the inevitable slights which we all (men included) experience.
What advice might they give today’s militant whiners? That’s easy. Get a life!
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