This is a meme that started with Historiann's Lesson Number One, which was basically that anger can be a good thing. Lesson Number Two just went up today over at Reassigned Time, and is basically that it is equally ok not to engage. I am going to try for Number Three, Be Independent.
Boys never are raised to think someone is going to take care of them. Girls need to always think in terms of supporting themselves, owning their own property, having their own bank accounts and lines of credit, paying their own way.
Instead, we are raised to believe that men will buy us dinner, movie tickets, gifts, a home, car, clothing, vacations. They will make the big bucks: Whether we work or not, they will be capable of and responsible for supporting the family. This is nuts. This leaves girls dependent, and in an unhealthy marriage it means women will be trapped.
It ought never to be a question of whether we will work. It should be assumed that we will be completely self-supporting, whether we are married or not. We should never, ever be dependent upon a man again once we're old enough not to need parental support any more.
Even a few lesbians occasionally fall into this trap, where one expects the other to support her, and where one uses her ability to support the other as leverage. As far as I know, it's a woman thing: At least I can't think of any gay male couples I've encountered where that is the dynamic.
Although I am a feminist, and my mom raised me to have an education and a career, I have never managed my money as though I were an independent financial entity. It's amazing how subtle this kind of internalized sexism can be: I just never took myself seriously in the financial realm. It's only recently that I have begun to think differently about what I deserve to make--and keep.
Of course part of that was the whole anti-materialism thing of the '60s, but not all.
It's such a new idea to me that I was astounded to learn the other day that a small business owner (female) up the street grosses $2 million a year. I know, of course, that there are a lot of women out there making bunches of money. But she's an ordinary woman like me, see, that's what was so amazing about it. I have, without realizing it, had it in my head all these years that real (ordinary) women never have any money of their own.
So anyway, I'm starting to ask for--and expect--more money for my work. And last week I opened my own checking account. For no reason other than that I felt I should have one.
So endeth the Lesson.