Graphic Warning: If you feel oppressed, discriminated against, mad at the world, in need of a "safe space", like men only for what they can do for you...DON'T read any further. You won't like it, and I don't want to hear about it!
Today's Topic: Strong Women
Today’s younger women (most of them anyway) want to read about strong, independent women who take no nonsense from anyone, least of all the men in their lives. They’re fearless, opinionated, focused on themselves and their personal and professional success, and they’ll fight to the death for their rights (whatever they consider those to be at any given time). Strong. Immovable. Strong--or did I say that?
I jotted down on my blog calendar that my topic for today would be “Why it’s hard for me to write strong women”. I’ve had to rethink that, however, because my female protagonists are strong. They just don’t fit the mold of so many women today. But, I might suggest, if those women spent less time organizing, protesting, taking offense at the written/spoken word, and trying to be men, they might actually become those strong women they want to be.
What Women Are and Aren't
Now, this isn’t a treatise on women’s rights. Women’s rights are human rights. We all, I hope, espouse that cause. No, I’m talking about real, enduring strength--the kind that’s been around since God gave Eve to Adam. (Okay, so she messed up--but so did Adam--so do we all.)
I doubt any of this generation’s female members know the old proverb The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. I’ve heard it all my life. So what does it say? It says that, for those who choose motherhood, they’ve also chosen the most lasting influence (for good or ill) ever thought about. Once upon a time, we used to hear “great” men bless their mothers for the influence these women had in their lives. Today it would be politically incorrect to evoke the memory of a mother--stay-at-home or working. Women aren’t just mothers--they’re, well, women, and all that stands for! But the proverb also, I believe, credits women in general as being strong and influential in this world, whether they bring home the bacon or cook it or have to do both!
Yesterday's Women--Not Outdated
I came from a generation when most mothers stayed at home. A family’s economic status rested on the earnings of the husband. Mothers, unpaid, would’ve been billionaires if remunerated for their individual services. Most, however, took joy in their homes and their children and managed to juggle all their responsibilities just fine. (I guess nobody told them they were repressed!)
Even as a little girl, I knew without being told that I could choose motherhood or a career or both. One didn’t exclude the other. No one told me I couldn’t be whatever I wanted to be. I wasn’t by any means repressed in that uncertain era after the end of World War II and the frightening “Cold War”. Who and what I was didn’t come into question. I wore dresses and dungarees, played with dolls in the house and cap pistols and little cars outside. And wonder of wonders, I knew who and what I was!
I attended a women’s college where we were held to strict standards of behavior and dress. We dressed like ladies, acted like ladies, and were treated like ladies. We knew we were privileged to be such. And never, ever were we told we couldn’t be or do whatever we chose!
Left on my own to raise two children after the death of my husband, I encountered my share of men who tried to take advantage of my status in business matters. Their problem became not only their misguided and outdated attitudes but their failure to understand I had as much or more business sense than they did. Irritated at the time, I look back now and laugh and wonder when (not if) they tangled with a female who wasn’t a well-mannered lady--and who dealt in revenge rather than dignity.
Who Are Today's Women?
Speaking of dignity--no, let’s put decency before that--recent so-called protests by “women” in the name of their “rights” leave me (and probably many others) feeling ashamed for them. They certainly have no shame for themselves. Knowing right and wrong, understanding decency and civility--these qualities are what make women strong--and men, too.
I see women in all walks of life--actresses, entertainers, journalists, and politicians who can out-nasty any of their male counterparts. They’re not strong women. They’re just vulgar, egotistical, and power-hungry people of the female gender. They don’t respect anyone, and it follows they can’t really respect themselves. When the chips are down, self-respect is the winning number. The possibility they might be role models for younger women--like my granddaughters-- leaves me cold.
The Women I Write
You’ll find villainous women in my books all right--losers to be pitied and maybe redeemed somehow. But first and foremost you’ll find real women--and real women are strong women in a way that “feminists” and “organizers” are not.
I am a woman created by God and grateful for it. I can’t write anything else.