How Can This Be? – Women Rising?
A Monumental Upwelling
I’ve struggled with how to begin this post. Did we see this coming? In some ways we did but now that it’s here we aren’t sure how the process will be fulfilled. And I must confess that I am not at all clear how I became so engaged in support of feminism.
My family of origin was not exactly a hotbed of feminism. My father was a renowned surgeon and my mother was the surgeon’s wife. She tended their social life and their two sons of which I was the younger. Nothing particularly forward leaning there.
Looking back I suppose my support of women came forward gradually. I was always the tallest kid in my class. I was a stick with no balance which meant I was terrible at sports. Sports did not engage me. I remember the day when I was watching two boys arguing with each other at home plate. Why it was that important escaped me. I thought we were passing time by playing a game. I folded my mitt under my arm and went home for good.
Piecing It Together
When I was a preschooler and in elementary school my best friend was Arlene. I always saw girls as friends and liked how they treated each other. And then, of course, came adolescence and a whole new wonderful relationship element opened. But the friendship element and respect remained.
College was when my feminism really began to flower. That time in Ann Arbor opened a new world. Tom Hayden, one of the founders of Students for a Democratic Society, was in my class and the protests of the coming reform movement were beginning. And the girls were definitely a part of it. And they were very much present in my graduate school class.
I am clear about one thing, it all came together when I took a job in the inner city of Baltimore in the 1960s. As one of the first people hired for the community mental health program I found there wasn’t much in the way of activity. I was shown to an office and found there was nothing to do. I went next door to talk to a newly hired social worker. She was a black woman who became my mentor. We went out into the streets of inner city Baltimore poverty. I tell that story in my book Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health which is available on Amazon. Roz was a guiding force but among the new hires were young psychiatric nurses who were assertive and determined. Our staff formed an activist core and women were very much a part of it. I believe this solidified my core of dedication to women rising.
Where do you stand on this issue?