As I got older, Dad struggled with running his own business, and Mom got a job, things changed a bit. After Mom became our main breadwinner, life was different for her. Sure, she still did most of the dishes, but for the first time I knew her, she was in charge. And it was wonderful for me to see. I realized that being a woman didn't have to suck--it was powerlessness that sucked, and as long you had money, you could have power.
To this very day, I feel personally outraged when I hear about anything that reduces a woman to a powerless state. When I read a story about women in Africa being denied education, I see red. When I see an article about girls in India being sold into sex slavery, I cry. Because inside me is still a fragile little girl who isn't sure she ought to love herself. Because I am a woman. Because being a woman looked like a prison sentence.
I am lucky that I live here in Oregon, sheltered from the storm of woman-hatred that pervades the world around me. It is miraculous that at this moment, I share my life with a (male) partner who treats me like an equal,and that together our income allows us the freedom to explore the creativity our intelligence yearns toward. Sometimes I remember that it's a precarious position. The safety and security of my life is dependent upon social structures supported by the economic strength of my nation, an institution currently more flimsy than ever. It could all come tumbling down any time.
And if it did, I sometimes comfort myself that technology has given us a remarkable leveler. For millenia, men have been able to control women because they are bigger and stronger and more able to inflict harm and death. But you don't have to be bigger or stronger to pull a trigger. If society collapses and the PAW arrives (that's post-apocalyptic world if you don't know), at least I know that my daddy taught me how to shoot.
So I will write story after story and book after book about mothers and daughters and young women finding their way in the world. I will spin out creations that say that women are strong and that their minds are keen. I will do my damnedest to promote the empowerment of the women in the world.
And I promise myself I'll make it to the range more often.