By Marion Foreman. Published 2020-04-06
Marion takes a retrospective look back at her journey to becoming a BOLD woman
Like many of us, I became a woman in the early seventies. I reckon we got it tough and I’ll tell you why.
My mother (I would like to say ‘God bless her’ but my emotions around her are still very conflicted, despite the fact that she has been dead for years) worked to what we might call a traditional model. She laid out my father’s clothes for him every day, had his tea on the table when he got in and elevated him to ‘master of the house’ and his word was law.
With great pride he would always say that he had never changed a nappy in his life and I never, ever saw him do the ironing. My Dad gave my mother ‘housekeeping money’ every week and I don’t recall her ever making a decision without deferring to him. She was too young to work during the war (Rosie the Riveter passed her by) and never embraced any element of feminism. My mother’s measure of success was a well-fed man and a clean kitchen floor. She never left the washing out overnight nor did she go to bed until every single task was carried out – including removing her make up. I grew up with a very strict set of measures of female success for life.
Before I could fully embrace all of those standards (thank goodness, I can hear you saying) along came feminism. In the midst of training to be a nurse I also had to learn a new way of being a woman. Sod the kitchen floor, ‘burn your bra’, embrace women’s lib. No longer were we to be the second sex, we were men’s equals. And many more mantras.
And these dual standards have haunted me and many of our generation for the last 50 years. I have been an ardent feminist, shunning all help; ‘no I can change this car wheel / lift this sack of potatoes / work outside the home full time / raise the children / cook the tea / be a sex goddess. Whilst you - ‘man’ - can catch up and find your place. And while you are finding it – you can learn to cook / iron / fold the washing and change the nappies.
Then I softened a bit and went ‘traditional’. ‘Please open that door for me, check the oil in my car and assemble that bookcase because it’s far too difficult for me.’
Now I want it all. Now I am a Bold Woman. I am proud to be a woman; I am equal to any man, but I want to be treated with respect. I want to do the jobs I do well, and I want men to do what they do well too. Sometimes I want to cook your favourite meal and sometimes I want to crash in front of the TV. You probably won’t know what I want on any one given day – nor do I – but I do know that I am free to choose. I am free to be Bold and work out what I want out of life and to work with those close to me to find a working compromise.
Stick with me – let’s become Bold Women together with all our strengths and weakness – let’s be the women we have always wanted to be.