Dirty Laundry

I Skype with a little girl named Milanda every week. She is the cherished daughter of img_4088my friends Shengdong and Mary Lin and they live in China.

Now, we all know how critical people in the United States have been about China’s valuing its male children over its females. The dirty laundry US citizens aired to the world during this Presidential election cycle was that we are the world’s worst hypocrites.

I was born in 1949 to Irish Catholic parents. My Dad was 41 years old  and he was overjoyed to have a child. My mother was heard to  say, on occasion, that she had wanted a boy. She knew from her own experience that the world was a much kinder place for males.

I was an overachiever; a precocious, talented, out-spoken little “pint of peanuts” (her term of endearment). Sometimes she called me “the son she never had” because I never let being a girl stop me from  forging ahead. My mother use to warn people, “If you take her on, you deserve what you get.”

When I was in the fourth grade, I remember being in a classroom. A television had been brought in for the nuns and children  to watch Pope John XXIII’s  Inauguration. The camera swept over  all of the cardinals and  bishops in the front rows and I asked, “Where are the women?” Sister Mary Agnes answered, “Oh, they were invited.. They’re in the back.” And that is where women have been relegated for as long as I can remember.

Other countries have given girls the message that women can attain the highest office of leadership, but in the “Democracy” we’ve created here in the US, women are still working their way to the front of the room.

Acceptable careers for girls graduating from high school in the 1960’s were secretary, nurse, teacher. I was a teacher for 20 years. In the 1980’s a study was released stating that 82% of all School Superintendents  in the US were male. The path to the highest position in education went this way: physical education teacher, physical education department head, athletic director, vice-principal, principal, assistant superintendent, superintendent.  The problem, the study asserted, was that one of the stops on that career path was vice principal  and the vice principal’s main role was to  maintain discipline. And who better to maintain discipline (particularly of those big high school boys) but a man who had taught phys ed? Until Title IX went into effect in 1975, the path for women to become Athletic Directors was not really a viable one.  Title IX stipulated that  in order for a school to receive federal funds, it had to insure gender equity for both boys and girls.  Slowly changes began to happen

In the late 80’s, a call went out to rectify this  “Superintendent  situation” by actively  recruiting women to become high school administrators. I took the courses and did the interviews and became one of three women high school principals out of over 50 in RI in 1991. Unfortunately, I worked with two male administrators in my district who made my life hell. You see, with my principal and superintendent certificates, I was looked upon as a threat.

I shared a building with the middle school Principal and it became a game to him how much aggravation he could send my way every day. He was Principal of grades 7-8 and I was responsible for 9-12. But he wanted to be principal of the whole building, grades 7-12, and I was standing in his way.

One of the more serious games he played was taking money from the high school accounts and transferring them to the middle school funds. (The books were kept in his office.) When I became Principal, every club and sport in the high school had zero or less funds. I asked the Superintendent to have an auditor come in to look at the books. The Superintendent refused to help, warning  me to get myself a lawyer if I intended to press the issue. I pressed the issue and got the funds reinstated into the high school accounts where they belonged. This incensed the middle school Principal and he made it his primary goal to make my job almost impossible. No one even attempted to intercede and he took this as a tacit form of permission to continue trying to goad me into looking for another job out of the system.

At the end of the following year, the Superintendent came to inform me I would not be given a raise for the coming school year. (I was the lowest paid principal in the state.)  I  asked  him “Why?” and he said the school committee didn’t like the job I was doing. I inquired,  “Which job are they referring to?” since I’d not been given an Assistant Principal nor did I have a Guidance Director nor a full-time Athletic Director. Those jobs fell to me to do in my “spare” time. (Probably the hour and a half out of my day I had to spend doing cafeteria duty? Or maybe after school hours when I attended activities, sports and meetings?)  When I had the audacity to attend the next School Committee Meeting and ask exactly what it was I was doing wrong, so I could make changes, they were flabbergasted. They publicly commended me and thanked me for the work I was doing and said  the Superintendent  had requested to be given the responsibility to allocate pay raises that year and they were unaware he had decided not to give me my raise.

Furious that I had gone over his head, he stormed into my office the next day  stuttering and red-faced. “Are you trying to get me fired?” I informed him he didn’t need my help to do that and reminded him  he’d lied to me. He stormed out of my office screaming, “You’re dead in this district!”

I got my raise, but toward the end of the following year, I received notice  I was not being re-hired. You see, by law (The Michelson Act), Principals in Rhode Island serve at the “Whim of the Superintendent”.  Unlike teachers, administrators have no union to protect their jobs.  He had convinced the School Committee to renew his contract for three years.  When my contract came up, he informed them that if they chose to keep me in the job, they would have to buy him out. Hearings showed there was no just cause to let me go, but the financial aspect of buying out his contract and putting out a search for a new Superintendent they would also have to pay trumped my rights.

The administrator of the middle school was given his wish and made principal of grades 7-12 with two assistants to help. He was discovered one night in his office in a compromising “position” with a teacher’s aide. A large bag of cash (reported to be around $10,000.00) was also found in his desk. He was given a “Retirement Party” and with letters of recommendation, he went on to get another job in another state where he was soon fired for harassing a woman teacher.

The Superintendent moved on to other school districts in the state.

I was hired in another district for much more money and worked as a team with men I respected. I met Charley at a director’s meeting and we ended up getting married. ZuZu loves this  because it has a happy ending.

In addition to encouraging gender equity in schools, Title IX  had other far-reaching effects. I tried to buy my first house in 1974. No bank would give me a mortgage  unless my parents would co-sign. I was a single female and even though I had tenure and a hefty down payment, it wasn’t until laws went into effect in 1975 that I finally was able to buy my first house without a male co-signer.

I went on to sell the house for a major profit, buy three acres of land on which I built another house where I’ve lived for 36 years. Another happy ending.  ZuZu is dancing.

In 1987, at the age of 28, I joined the US Army Reserves. I was assigned an MOS (Military Occupational Skill) of 84B20 – Combat Photographer. I was supposed to be a Photo Journalist, but our military has been known to make mistakes. Now, at that time, women were not trained for combat, but, as I was given active duty assignments with other Reservists and National Guard Troops who were being trained for combat, I underwent the same training as the men in those units. Although people truly believed  not training women for combat was protecting their safety, at the crux of the matter was that being combat trained would open up many more slots/chances of advancement for women. And, of course, that would mean fewer slots for men. Going successfully through the training, I hope I helped a little to disprove the preconceived notion that only men can be warriors. But gender equality at that level was a long time in coming.

I have many other stories, but this will give you a little perspective on the fight women have had and still have to attain gender equality in the US.  Women only received the right to vote in 1920 after much struggle. Fifty years earlier, black men, once slaves, but not black women, had been accorded this right in 1870 with the passage of the 15th Amendment to our Constitution. We are an entrenched Patriarchal Society. Couple this with being a  Corporatocracy where the rich CEO’s rule, and you find that women are still way at the back of the room. Some have adjusted to this very well.

I know women who are comfortable getting what they want and need through their relationships with men. The post election polling shows that 53% of white women voted against Hillary.  68% of Latino women and 94% of Black women voted for her. Women supporting women is critical in moving us closer to the front of the room . Although many more women unified this time around, it wasn’t enough..”We have met the enemy and it is us.”

I worked with women who had affairs with men  in order to be given  higher positions. In one case, a married Superintendent advanced a teacher with whom he was involved in an ongoing affair, to assistant principal. In another case, a woman in my department married the principal and was made a department head the following week. In both situations, neither was the most qualified person for the job and both women were quite open about the method they’d used to advance their careers. A friend’s wife left him and her family because she wanted to be married to a professor. She rode that professor’s coat tails to a professorship of her own. There certainly are women who are comfortable with this route to advancement. But there are many women who do not want men to have that kind of power over us. We want control over our own finances and even more importantly, our own bodies. Patriarchies, not even benevolent ones,  don’t work well for us.

 

I think the worst part of this election, for me, lies in the fact that many young women chose not to vote. They seemed to ignore the gains made over  many years that gave them this sense of entitlement. The blatant message sent out to little girls by allowing a man who is openly and publicly abusive to so many women was that there are many people in this country who would prefer an orange-face, loud-mouthed, rascist, ignorant buffoon to a competent woman. Anyone else, but not a woman!

And that is the dirty laundry  which was aired for all to see last week.

Other countries are now feeling the same anxiety many of us in the US are feeling. But, Putin is a happy man right now. The Russians refer to our President-elect as a “useful fool” and many of us fear the buffoon eventually will become a “useful tool” in helping to further destroy our ideals of  democracy.

So many of your comments have led to wonderful conversations since last Tuesday and I thank all of you for every word you took time to write. I still have hope for this country and it lies in the independent women, the men who support us and in the young Hispanics who have become united because of this debacle. There are not many photos in this post. I leave it to you to paint a picture in your own minds.

 

 

 

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82 thoughts on “Dirty Laundry

  1. I love getting to know you more. The little pint of peanuts endearment is a new one on me, and it’s gorgeous. My father used to call me “sausage” and out of four kids, I was the only one who got that nickname from him so it was special.
    I missed your beautiful photos, Clare!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Dear Sausage, I feel the same about you and love your newsletter. The Youtube videos are something I need to learn more about. You’re way ahead of me!
      I’m in the Berkshires now doing some business regarding the ZuZu series and will take lots of photos for you to enjoy in one of my next posts. I must get away from the political topics. Not good for my mental well-being. See you in the funny papers! Clare

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I find it incredible that in this day and age gender discrimination can still be so entrenched in a supposedly democratic country (small d). Sadly, to eyes independent of your country, you still have many reactionary forces at play there. As do we, to be honest. We now have our second female prime minister, but I have yet to be convinced that she will be any less divisive as a leader than the first!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes, “incredible” is petty much the word for it. I know that women leaders come in all types and I’m really hoping that we choose ours wisely when given the chance. I detested the sight of Sarah Palin when she ran for VP with John McCain. Disgusting, ignorant woman! It’s tough when women work so hard for gender equality and then women like her jump on board and benefit. Ah, in a perfect world…

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      1. I hope you can find a better candidate either than Hillary – who polarised opinions too much – or Palin, who was and still is an utter joke to us. She made Dubya look like a genius! It’s a pity Elizabeth Warren wasn’t the candidate.

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  3. Wow, this is a great post. So many women forget how hard it was to gain workplace equality and real choice in careers and the marketplace. I hope a lot of women read this because you have told it from a powerful personal experience.

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  4. I clung to every word you wrote here. Thank you for being a trailblazer not only for me but for my daughters too. The recent events (over)simply pointed to the work that is still left be done and I for one am unwilling to sit down and conform. Three cheers for this excellent post!

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    1. Thank you. I find it hard to watch all of this but am still hopeful. I think women are now more aware of the work we need to do – and I’m talking about all women. (And, of course ,the men who have been supportive of our efforts through the years.)Strength together. I’ll be by your site very soon. Clare

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  5. Thanks for another great post, Clare. It made me sad and it made me angry. So much of what you describe is the classic scarcity mentality that fosters fear and prejudice: “If she get something, there’s less for me” … “If they move ahead, I fall behind.” When the truth is that there’s plenty for all of us and if we help one another, we all benefit. One potential benefit of this debacle is that many of us are speaking out more forcefully than ever before, and we’re not going to stop. When we see injustice and bigotry, we’re gonna call it … and it can be done kindly. Thanks again for your thoughtful messages.

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    1. I’m seeing so many articles about being kind and groups are forming to make pledges to be kind to each other. I believe adults are really trying to counteract the message sent to children by the buffoon and this will be the positive we can take from the “debacle”. That’s a great word for this situation. Thanks, Donna, I’ll stop by your blog tonight. Clare

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  6. You are a little pint of peanuts! My story is similar but different. I worked before Title 9. At my first company (a fortune 500 company) woman were automatically fired when they married to ensure that men had jobs. A married woman didn’t need one, did she? Fortunately by the time I married, the Civil Rights laws had taken effect.

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  7. A wonderful post, spoken from the heart (and the head), Clare. As Clive pointed out, we have a woman prime minister int he UK although she was not actually elected and I fear she will be no better than the first one was. In Scotland we have three female party leaders, one of whom is the First Minister and other two leaders are both lesbians. Do you wonder why so many of us in Scotland dream of being independent one day?

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    1. Some countries are much more evolved than others. I think my experiences surprised many who look upon the US as a protector of rights. We have to make sure sensible, qualified, caring women are encouraged to run for office and then support them when they get there. It isn’t going to just happen and women are waking up and saying “Enough is enough!”
      Did you know that we are still fighting for an Equal Rights Clause in our Constitution to protect women’s rights?

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  8. It seems like such a slow, hard battle for women, but there are signs of light. The discussions I have with my two kids and their friends give me reason to hope (my son is an even ‘crazier’ feminist than my daughter, and that’s using my daughter’s words!).
    I appreciate hearing your story. I was the youngest of five kids, raised by two very loving but busy parents who struggled to make ends meet. But they saw how much I loved to learn and so were determined to send me to college. I will always be grateful to them for that.
    Looking back, I can see times where paths I could have taken, if not actually closed, were made more difficult for me, and I took the easier path because I didn’t think myself strong enough to do otherwise. Hearing stories like yours is inspiring, I’m glad it had a happy outcome!

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    1. Thanks. It’s those first steps that lead to a break-through. When I became an administrator, a small group of us formed an organization for women teachers who might want to be administrators. We worked with them and guided them in making decisions on courses and how to do interviews and write resumes for positions. We gave them contacts and references and formed an Old Girls Club. Now, high schools are filled with women administrators, but it didn’t just happen overnight.

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  9. My first thought when I saw your title, “Oooh, dirty laundry- let’s dish!” Upheld by the pic of the laundry basket. Wow, what a surprising twist the post took.
    Thank God we have made so many gains, as women.. Thank you for your service in the military!!
    And for opening so many doors in your school district! Good for you for standing up for yourself!!
    And yay for all the happy endings!
    I think the issues were about more than just her being a women, however. I didn’t vote for her because of her many illegal activities, and her radical pro-abortion stance.
    Love, Lucy

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    1. Sorry, Lucy. Some of my titles are a bit misleading. I usually have a few choices and pick the one that makes me think the most. We will have to do a chat about laundry another time. Maybe we can get Roxie to join in? She loves sleeping in dirty laundry baskets. Sometimes I’m afraid she’ll jump in the washer when I’m not looking and end up going around with the clothes. She escaped again on Friday and Charley had to call me from outside on his cell phone to tell me to bring out treats. He was standing guard at the gazebo. She’d gotten underneath and wouldn’t come out. We’re about ready to strangle her. I’m sure she’ll write a post soon about the mischief she’s been up to lately. I thought her stance on abortion might have been a critical factor in your vote. I do think that much of the illegal stuff should be placed at the feet of Bill. I’ve always said her heaviest baggage was Bill. I’m in the Berkshires right now. Charley and I just got back from a murder mystery dinner. Of course I guessed the murdered and the motive pretty quickly. What kind of a mystery writer would I be if I couldn’t? I took lots of pictures, so it should make a fun post. I’ll be by to visit you soon. Love, Ethel

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      1. Please, don’t apologize, Ethel! Your job is to intrigue us, and you did!! Yes, a conference call between the 3 of us!I’m gonna have a stern talk with that young lady. She needs to uphold the dignity of her position as a celebrity! Oops, that might be the wrong tack to take, considering what a lot of them get up to. lol
        How wonderfully delightful!! You are a GREAT mystery writer! Did you get a prize for guessing quickly? I on the other hand, need never try to write a mystery. Sometimes I can be obtuse.
        Thanks for writing back!
        Love, Lucy

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  10. Sexism/ misogyny … ever present. My working life was shaped by my health, so I never tried for career advancement. I congratulate you for “hanging in there” and being successful. An ex-lover of mine was an academic. He once said to that I could be accused of sleeping my way to the top, jokingly but… As I wasn’t interested in an academic career, my response was “Yes, but to what top?!?” So much waste for so long of rich talent, wisdom, experience, giftedness… You remember what Australia did to our first Prime Minister who happened to be a gifted, charming woman? It was a huge day when our first female Governor General invested our first female Prime Minister. However, things have reverted to status quo.(I was also born in 1949 and my first career was teaching, we are twins!)

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    1. Kate, I told you from the very first we were twins separated at birth! I think Australia is so much more evolved than we are in the area of gender equity. I don’t know much of the history except what I’m learning from my blogger friends who live there. I think I would really like it there.
      Even though you didn’t become a professor, you are a wise teacher in many ways. I need to know more about your first woman Prime Minister. Was she the woman who was assassinated?

      Like

    1. If you remember, when I started the blog it was subtitled Conversations about the Importance of Reading With Children. Then, so many interesting people began making interesting comments which resulted in conversations and I found topics on their sites really interesting, that I changed direction. The blog branched off to many topics, so I’m glad I decided to open it up to many conversations. I really miss reading about my friends when I can’t get to blogging because of other distractions – like writing books. I have come to know so many incredibly interesting people in the course of blogging and have become invested in their lives. (You know how happy I always am to hear from you.) I see that smiling face and feel like you just came in my kitchen door to visit and have a cup of tea. Take care. Clare

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  11. The Bean would like to say that she approves greatly of this piece of writing and since she is correctly referred to as a ‘bitch’ she would like to say that she does have teeth and she is prepared to use them to ensure that in her mummy’s lifetime there is REAL equality for women. We have to stand together, we have to stand intelligently and we have to stand compassionately and most of all (and this is what The Bean demonstrates admirably and on occasions quite breathtakingly for such a tiny creature) we must never EVER give up. Thank you Clare. You inspire many. Keep doing it.

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    1. My thanks to both of you for those encouraging words. I admire the Bean and her pugnacious attitude. Her mummy has taught her well. I’m seeing that more and more women are not giving up and continuing to connect and unite. I’ve just signed a petition to be sent to the Electoral College asking them to do the right thing and cast their electoral votes on December 19 for the woman who won this election by one million votes. I posted the “Call to Arms” on my Facebook Page for others to sign. You have certainly chosen a turbulent time to be here in the US. I hope you are on the mend and soon to be cavorting around town preparing for the holidays. Take care.

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      1. Pugnacious she is and proud of it as am I. After Brexit we all sat crying for a while and then we rallied. Now look at where we are …. the High Court ruled that the issue must be debated in Parliament (the issue of triggering the irreversible Article 50) and that means that the elected representatives should be looking to their constituents to guide them as to how to vote. Of coure it doesn’t always work like that but mostly MPs will be sufficiently scared of not being elected next time round (which could be pretty soon if Theresa May carries on as she is) to listen to their electorate. Laws can change. Like turning an oil tanker it can take a frustratingly long time and be so slow that it looks as though nothing is happening but believing is a huge part of the battle and the collective belief of all you wonderful women will bring a change. I know it. My leg is much better. I am able to walk and run in my space age brace and yesterday we did a difficultish rocky climb up Mt Wachusett which I was gingerly about but I did it and I can improve on it. In the end, you see, you can’t keep a good woman down – and that is what all of you are. Hugs to you all and GodSpeed. X

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      2. Osyth, Your oil tanker analogy is spot on. Having such similar events in our countries makes us more empathetic to each other’s concerns. I’m being very philosophic in bringing out the old “Things happen for a reason” argument. It will be extremely interesting to watch our own buffoon put his money (if he really has any to put) where his pie hole is.
        I am so happy you are up and about. When I taught middle school, a group of teachers formed a mountaineering club and we would take students out of the city for hikes up Wachusett and Monadnock on weekends. You are a good woman and I’m glad you’re reaching for the skies once again.

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      3. Thank you my dear – it takes a good woman to know one and now is the time for good women to do what good women do …. work hard, word smart and work tirelessly After all we have far more guile and far more stamina than overstuffed blustering buffoons can even begin to dream of 😉

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      4. You sound like my eldest daughter’s gay best friend who escorted me, as mother of the bride into church for her wedding. We stood side by side throughout the service and every time we had to say Amen he simply said ‘Men’ – it was hard to keep a straight face which given the emotion of the occasion was very very naughty of him!!!

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      5. Hold that thought …. I’ve got three more daughters who might decide to tie a knot one day and I’m sure Daniel would be delighted to sashay two glamorous ladies into church for some fun (which is after all what all weddings should be, isn’t it?) …. 👰🏻 🎩

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    1. Thank you for that warm sentiment. I must tell you that it has made me love retirement even more. No one is the boss of me and Charley and I work as a team. But when I see other women being treated unfairly, it really rankles me more than ever. I never could abide bullies. It made me stronger to take them on but it can break some people.

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  12. Thankyou Clare, this is such a powerful exemplar of a woman’s life lived, for many years, under a pernicious and insidiously persistent male hegemony. I heard a curious fact a little while ago, that of the FTSE 100 index (London-based, but global equities), there were more CEOs named ‘John’ than there were women in total CEOs! But I won’t labour the point, we all here know the patriarchal nature of Western power systems – political, social, media and commerce – still prevails.

    I must say, I still feel that Hillary was a very poor choice, and the total collapse of voting amongst millennials suggests she was seen by them (and rightly so, in my view) as part of the very power systems I’ve just mentioned. From where I sit across the water, a more progressive candidate, like Warren (the Democrat Party appeared to want a woman?), or Sanders would’ve appealed far more to those absentee millennials. Sanders seemed to have had it over Trump hands down in the polls – showing a consistent 10%-15% favourability. I have heard one or two Radfems being vehemently against him, thought they didn’t make their reasons clear – has he said anything untoward as regards women?

    Frankly, the job was to stop Trump, for the sake of the environment, for the furtherance, or at least maintenance, of civil rights, and to ensure social cohesion, and I see Hillary’s selection and overwhelming support (for her over Sanders) by the super-delegates (at a ratio of 13 to 1, whereas popular support was 1.3 to 1), to have been a catastrophic error of judgement when coupled with the party’s predisposition to favour, and resultant biasing for, Hillary.

    Anyway, I’ve probably veered a little too far away from gender politics here – my apologies. Once again, a marvellous essay, Clare, for which many thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good morning, Hariod. Charley and I have returned from the Berkshires and I’m getting into my normal routine today. It was lovely waking up to chat with a friend here in my big red chair with sun streaming over the keyboard.
      I think Sanders and Warren would have been great candidates, but the world, being the way it is, called out for a stronger person to represent us. It’s tough out there and Hilary is the toughest we have. She has ended up being the sacrificial lamb in order to get this country off its duff. We have so much we need to do to move forward.
      Most of what people know of her centers around how she has been portrayed in the media (A male dominated institution at its highest levels). She was very respected until she declared for the Presidency. (How dare a woman even think that here in the US? She must be shown her place! And she was in the end – behind an orange faced buffoon.) I certainly have over-simplified the whole situation, painting the picture with broad strokes.
      Even I had to look deeper into who she really was and found, in the last nine years, I’d been misled, too. A Frontline documentary on PBS was extremely illuminating and I began to realize that her biggest piece of baggage always has been her husband. They are seen as duplicitous couple in many areas and she has been too protective of him. But that is in her nature. Gender politics is fascinating to me because I’m personally surrounded by caring and supportive men who don’t think or act in the way portrayed by the buffoon’s followers. My father was always supportive. I believe that’s why I was so shocked when I became an adult and found opposition when I tried to buy a house and in my early administrative experience. The regular servicemen I worked with as an Army Specialist respected a woman who could keep up with them and it was the higher-ups in the military that resisted change. The idea of a woman general was much too threatening for them. My father’s love gave me the confidence to take them on and get what I wanted (and deserved) in the end.
      I guess I’ve become such a hard-core Hillary supporter because I misjudged her for so long and I now I’ve come to admire her tenacity. Sanders and Warren recognized it, too and respected her for it. They would have made a great team and I know she would have given them opportunities to push forward the agenda so important to them both. Now we may have to go backwards in order to build up momentum to get up the mountain. Hopefully, we won’t drop off the incline in the process.
      I thank you for always making me think harder and giving me facts to “chew on” as I am identifying closely, right now, with the bulldog and her bone.
      I’m wishing you much contentment this week, no matter how you choose to pursue it, my friend. Clare

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  13. Phew! That’s a heavy one and one where in some cases, we are going to disagree… sadly! I do think you are right that its a shame that women across the world don’t support each other and don’t help each other. For some reason, USA being a world leader in so much, doesn’t seem to misalign its female residents. It seems, from my outsiders point of view, that in some areas, racism appears worse than, say, South Africa. I could be wrong.

    I don’t know what I feel about Hillary currently but I did see a lot of disappointed young girls. It would be nice to think she would continue in her work in some way Not becoming President, doesn’t mean she has to stop and she can become a thorn in everyone’s side for Women’s Rights. I hope she will do so…

    However on a personal note I do admire all you have achieved. You say it with a slight shrug but I am sure there were times when it was very difficult for you. Top marks for never giving up. Filled with admiration that you built a house for yourself as well. Also, for ” us” the times were harder still for ladies on their own. You championed it and succeeded.

    An interesting debate on BBC World News, stated that it felt some women didn’t vote for Hillary because they believe her to be a ” man hater” and whilst these women felt she could help their cause, they also still liked their men ( husband father son) and therefore could not completely subscribe to what she suggested. I think some of these are the 53% white women! They want more, but not at the detriment of ” their man!”

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    1. No one has stood by her man like Hillary. He’s always been her biggest piece of baggage and she’s sacrificed much to further “her man’s” political and personal goals.
      We’ve been programmed to believe that women will be better off if they stay in a subservient position, and that entails standing by and behind your man. When women started to question this long accepted patriarchal idea and started to demand gender equality, these women were seen as betraying that basic tenet. Being a feminist means to be for gender equality. We care about all people and the first legal moves toward gender equality actually benefited men even more than women. Ruth Bader Ginsberg has sited these cases in her memoire. I wrote about it in one of my recent posts.
      I love my husband and my male friends, but they are not the ones threatened by strong and competent women. One thing I did not cover in my post is that some women are even more threatened by successful women than men are. They will be the first to state they’d rather work for a man. They’ve been programmed to put their needs and causes second to the men in their lives.They’ve been programmed to see other women as their competition. Unfortunately, it won’t even dawn on them they’ve been brainwashed even when they find they’ve been tossed out for a younger, cuter more pert Stepford wife (their real competition – women who think exactly like them).
      This election has made some of these women think on their own outside the box for once in their lives.Hillary was unfairly branded as a man-hater by men who needed to ensure that their women continue falling in line (behind them). They would never be comfortable in a truly gender equal world and she endangers their comfort zones.
      Women who think that the buffoon and his ilk are “their men” are seriously mistaken. The opposite is true, they are “their women” – “their possessions”
      As an independent woman who believes in equality for everyone, I’m disgusted we live in a country with someone like the buffoon as our head.

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      1. ok, I shall reply although not sure I should. Yes, Hillary has stood by her man. WHY????? if she is such a champion of women’s rights, which does she stay with a serial philanderer? She didn’t need to….. and she certainly didn’t need him to help her campaign. She was most unpleasant to the women he had an affair with, and whilst I don’t expect her to take them out for lunch, she actually took her humiliation out on them, not him. There are many reasons why people stay in marriages. GOOD marriages can survive with infidelity but I guess the Clinton Marriage became more of a business partnership and trade off. So if she is advocating that women should respect themselves, she should look at herself. Staying with someone who ALSO treats women as amusement and commodities, doesn’t send a positive message.

        I do think MANY women in power are terrible. Its a mixture of smugness and fear. fear that if they aren’t as tough as men, they may fail and people wont ” obey” them and also a case of ” look at me. I survive in a mans world”. Hand on heart I wouldn’t necessarily want to work for a woman and have always found men easier to work for. Saying that of course I have worked for myself for 30 odd years BUT when I make business deals, so to speak, I find men easier to ” cajole and manipulate” to get what I want, then women. I say this now at the risk of being slated but generally women don’t like successful women. There is and I think always will be an element of envy.

        So for me, whilst I totally embrace women’s rights and want us to be as successful ( if not more in a ” fuck’em !” sort of way then men, I still think its nice to have a softer side. Yes, I agree that being a successful woman doesn’t mean you have to hate men and yes there are many men who actually embrace and encourage women to be successful, but I also think its not about being brainwashed more about genes ! Women were made to do one thing and men another, so ultimately we will change a bit, but not a lot. Its how we are programmed

        I know you like her Claire and I know you think highly of her motives. She has done a lot to show women what they can achieve. It doesn’t matter if she won or not. She has certainly illuminated to everyone, that women can get as far as they wish. I also repeat that I hope she will continue to champion for the rights of women and not fade away

        I do feel that one of her failings is that she made everything personal. Too much hatred for women who had bedded Bill and for Trump in general might have been one of her Achilles’ heels. Let it go…. let it go. Too many people want to settle debts and with power it becomes all too easy.

        What else….oh yes, I actually do think that Melania will make a really fine First Lady. I want to have this conversation with you in 4 years. Whilst Michelle Obama acted impeccably as a Statesperson and Diplomat, I think Melania will have a few more tricks up her sleeve and, I will put money on it, that she will end up a very popular First Lady.

        There, enough now,

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Jackie, I once felt the same about Hillary as you and then, as I delved more into her history, I found I’d been misled. It was a strange awakening for me, because I was anti-Hillary during Barack’s campaign.
        I do like strong women and admire the men who choose to be with them. Those men are a different breed than the buffoon. And I strongly agree with your assessment that many women can be jealous of other women’s successes. I think that is beginning to change now that there are more opportunities for women to be educated and therefore, more career paths for them.
        Now, Melania certainly will be a different breed. I don’t think we’ve ever had a trophy wife in the White House, but I’d need to do a fact check on that. I wonder what her shelf life will be with the buffoon? She’ll need some tricks up her sleeve as she ages. He divorced his first wife for Marla. In the divorce papers, one of the unreconcilable differences was that he didn’t find Ivania sexually attractive any more because she’d had children. She didn’t want the divorce and was devastated because she stood by her man until he dumped her for giving him those three children standing behind him on that stage. Marla was dumped soon after Tiffany’s arrival. He actually wanted her to have an abortion. Lucky Tiffany, that her mother refused. But money talks, and see how loyal these kids are to their mothers – the women who stuck by their man while he cheated on them and finally dumped them for the newer model. Just put yourself in the place of those two women, Jackie. Do you admire Trump, now?
        I feel that men and women already should have evolved to a point where women can be equal, not subservient to men, and be appreciated for their own accomplishments (not just the accomplishments of the men they have chosen to stand by).
        This election has sent another message out to women here in the United States and we don’t like it. We don’t like it for ourselves and for our daughters, nieces and granddaughters. We have a right not to like being insulted and publicly denigrated. Making us feel like we don’t have that right, making us feel guilty about our feelings, isn’t standing by “the man” its just pushing women down and rubbing our faces into the dirt even more. I don’t really believe it is “enough, now”.
        I’m sure the three women who worked their way on to the Supreme Court would agree with me. Much damage will be done to women’s rights because of this election, Jackie -rights many of us sacrificed for and fought very hard to get. So, it isn’t “enough, now”. Not for me and not for any American woman who understands the history of sacrifice behind that fight. It’s very personal and not something to diminish or dismiss.
        Like you, I question why a strong woman like Hillary chooses to stand by her man when it is blatantly evident that choice is not a good one. But each woman is different and makes her own decisions based on circumstances that others are not privy to. And many times that decision is a fatal one – metaphorically and literally.
        I has led me to wonder how Eva Braun Hitler felt during her last days in that bunker. Now, that’s standing by your man!

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  14. Thank you for sharing your experiences. The saddest part about your story is that it is nowhere near unique. Although a little younger than you, I too remember dealing with male counterparts with similar results. Young women don’t realize how far we’ve come, and how quickly we could lose our status again if we’re not vigilant.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know we’ve all been through so many similar situations. It’s why we’re seeing a greater move to support each other after this election debacle.Young women think they “know” but their entitled behavior will lead them to find they are not always right. It’s going to be a rude awakening of them – unless they find a man to take care of them. A sad state of affairs we are finding ourselves in.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Thank you for visiting my blog. I’m glad to meet you and hear your story. My three grown daughters voted for Hillary, but they have a hard time believing that there’s big problem with misogyny, especially among people of their generation. I hope they’re right about things improving, but I fear we have a long way to go.

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    1. They have no idea how difficult it is going to be for them. I fear that is the attitude of many young people . Certainly higher education has been made accessible for men and women, but young women are going to be challenged as they head into the workplace.With you as their mom, I feel your daughters have a distinct advantage. Thanks for visiting me, too. (I followed your link on Coffee Kat’s Views and Mews.)

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  16. What a great post and great comments. I will have to return as I have to “fetch” my dog from day care. I want to finish reading all of the comments. I had lunch yesterday with two strong women and we vowed to work hard for a better world. Let’s keep it going!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lori, That truly is the best thing that’s come of all this and I’m seeing a change for the better, too. When I started Around ZuZu’s Barn, I really had no idea this blog would have me writing posts like this, but in my heart I just can’t stay silent on these issues. The resulting comments have been illuminating and thought provoking for me and I think for anyone checking in here. I intend to write a much lighter post next weekend – unless something even weirder happens.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Stevie, In the US, we’ve worked ourselves up to 73% of what a man makes. Most CEO’s are men and we haven’t really broken that glass ceiling yet. Ruth Bader Ginsberg devoted her entire legal career to gender equality issues. I’m sure she and the other two women Supreme Court Justices are in mourning right now. My hope is that this will make people who believe in gender equality more vocal and more adamant so that any attempt to undermine equal rights will be me with fierce reaction. That’s my hope anyway. Time will tell. Thanks for stopping by and your music does help to brighten my day. Clare

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree, Stevie. I, for one, don’t like taking orders from anyone. Retirement is wonderful in that no one is the boss of me.
        Women are relatively new to the “boss” role and sometimes, I think they model their style of leadership on the way men have led. Bossing can send out the message “I am strong. Hear me roar!” Anything other then that could be seen as weakness. Hopefully, a new leadership style will emerge as women find their own way up the career ladder. Power over (“You’re fired!”) and Power to (“What can I do to help you improve?”) are very different mindsets. Methinks, you’re right. Clare

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      2. Oh the joy of being retired! I’m able to sit at my desk and type what I want, knowing that nobody in management is looking over my shoulder. I’m living the dream and lovin’ it! Women I think are good at ‘subtle’ – being intelligent enough to tell a man what needs doing in a way that is not perceived as a threat to his masculinity. We have to be so careful of men’s egos don’t we!

        Liked by 1 person

  17. Extraordinary post…I did not know that there was that kind of sexism in the school system. The men ganged up on you, made it impossible for you to do your job or refused to validate that you were doing it well, and even attempted to smear you. It all sounds so familiar.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That was my experience in a very small, rural system where I was always referred to as “The lady principal”. It attracted the kind of men represented by the Superintendent and middle school principal. I found in other schools systems, there were many men and women supportive of women who worked hard and were dedicated to the people in their c=school. But it was a very strong message when I first started out as an administrator and the experience made me stronger in many ways. Thanks, Robert. Sorry to take a while to get back to you. For some reason, your comments ended up in a scam folder. Clare

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, in an interview with Charlie Rose, Jon Stewart put forth the idea that it is a long battle because combining so many cultures into one country goes against the tribal instinct to keep with one’s own kind for survival. Interesting take on the basis for our very serious problems.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Brilliant, Dennis! You always find the best songs to go with my posts. Roxie is next to me and she loved the News Brother’s version of “Dirty Laundry”. I didn’t realize they’d had a contest for best video of the song. Thirty-one years ago seems a bit like yesterday as I watched the footage. (Loved the typewriters) Take care and thanks for the treat. It was much appreciated, as usual. Clare

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dennis, It put a gigantic smile on my face and lots of chuckles. I particularly loved watching those four guys closely march stepping behind the scenes. I do remember that song from the 80’s. But the visual was priceless.
        Roxie will be writing the Thanksgiving post because she has been on good behavior for the last few days. We are very suspicious of her motives and sleep with one eye open. To you and your family we are sending our best for a Peaceful, Lovely Thanksgiving. Clare

        Liked by 1 person

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