I remember sitting in a massive conference room waiting for the Senior Partner of a law firm to show up. He was a man.
The air-conditioning was set to arctic levels. The frigid temperatures of the room were compatible with the male Partner’s eventual response when he conducted his interview.
Not a Man
After all, here I was a young female law graduate daring to apply for a position at a fairly prestigious law firm, while trying to raise a toddler at the same time. I made the choice to have the child, a woman’s choice.
Long story short, I nearly gave up on my dreams that day. The gentleman was a senior, male member of the legal profession. The profession was at that time, a very chauvinistic one. The Senior Partner saw no hope in my future.
A Man’s Place Or a Woman’s Place
I seemed to be hopeless, given that I had decided to marry young and then a few years later, had decided to start a family. In essence, his message to me was to go home and focus solely on being with my husband and on raising my baby. A misogynistic message for sure.
The male partner was probably confident of his directive because his wife had taken on all wifely responsibilities of raising the children. He was able to focus solely on his career his entire adult life.
The only reason I did not give up on my dreams that day was due to the expression on this man’s face. It was a smug expression. Smug with the knowledge that his home situation was taken care of.
So, because he failed to speak to me kindly and lacked compassion, I decided to forge my own path. I refused to give up.
This man would have laughed at my efforts to blend work, my ambitions and children. It was not smooth sailing at all. But then again, he probably missed out on a healthy part of his children’s childhoods.
Over the years I had a few really good mentors and the main one was a man. He was my first mentor. When he spoke to me he was connecting on an intellectual level. And despite the difficulties I faced on the home front, I looked forward to work each day because I enjoyed my work so much.
This mentor was the chief judge of the lower courts and a very busy man. Yet, some of his precious time was spent mentoring me. It helped me. I developed a larger vision of the world. I forgot I was ‘just’ a woman and was excited by the possibilities of the law, the justice system and what it could do. The discussions transcended gender and rested on humanity.
Respect from Men
While guilt was always the main emotion when I was at work over the years, I actually ended up jointly supporting my children in my two-income marriage. And once divorced, I bore the lion’s share of child support.
Today I am re-married and connect on a deeply intellectual level with my husband, see: Love and Commitment. I cook, bake and clean house so willingly. All because my husband appreciates what I do and treats me kindly. And with respect.
So, I have concluded that a woman can be brought down or raised up by the attitude of a man.
I call myself a feminist, knowing that I have had the privilege of a few good men who have treated me as if I were their intellectual equal.
I call myself a feminist, not because I hate men or dislike men. Rather, I call myself a feminist because I hope that one day, all men will view women as gender equals.
When that day arrives, the possibilities for a better, more balanced world will be limitless.
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