In early grade school when Lauren first learned about government and the Presidency of the United States, she came home pretty irritated about the fact that it was a total boy’s club.
I was proud of her for noticing and for pointing it out to the whole class. Truth be told, I encouraged her — stoking the fires a bit with a little speech about the need for more women and mothers in leadership position.
You bet I’m raising little feminists. Democrats, too, if I have any influence.
I told her that I believed she’d see a female president in her lifetime, probably even one in mine. Possibly soon.
So there were cheers all around when the girls and I were in the car together and heard the official announcement via radio news that Hillary Clinton was running for president again.
And then Lauren, incensed, said: But, wait, I was going to be the first woman president!
“Well, it’s not a done deal, yet, Lauren,” I said with a laugh. “You still could be. She hasn’t won yet. And I don’t know if she can. I’m not sure men would ever vote for a woman.”
A day or so later, I stop by my parent’s house for something and my father, who rarely says anything to me, tells me he’s researching property in Canada in case “she” gets elected.
And I wonder if he realizes who he’s talking to. His daughter. A woman. A somewhat-liberal Democrat. With two daughters. And a full time job.
I wonder if he realizes his wife raised me to be an independent woman. “Whatever you do, never be dependent on a man,” she repeatedly told me as I grew up.
I listened. I have my own life. It’s a life I share with a wonderful husband who is truly my partner. I want to spend the rest of life with him, but I assure you that if I had to, I could live without him.
Does my father expect me to agree with him? Does he think I should shut up and be OK with status quo? That women like men telling us what we have to do with our bodies? That we’re not sick to fu%$#ing death of fighting the same damn fights about equality and autonomy and choice? That we like earning less than men for doing the same job? That we’re OK with having no voice because we have a uterus? That we don’t belong in leadership positions?
What would he think if he knew his own granddaughter had designs on the White House? Would he vote for her?
Of course I said nothing. I ignored him because that’s what women do. We keep the peace. We button our lips. We obey our fathers.
At least that’s what we let them think.
While we quietly build a generation of strong, independent women.