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Second Thoughts

This article first appeared in issue 26, and was written by Laura Emberton Owens.

Why only men helping those hurt?

While watching TV with my daughter I was surprised at her astute observation. With her keen little mind working overtime, she asked, "Why are only the men getting up and helping the people who are hurt?"

Um, good question. Rather than boggle her with an explanation of stereotypes, I gave her the first answer that came to mind, "They're being gentlemen."

Thinking about my flimsy answer, I decided this topic warranted more discussion. While I do not consider myself an active participant in the women's liberation movement, I am a firm believer in gender equity where it should apply. Obviously, there are some things each gender does better than the other simply because of physical makeup; moving heavy objects is assigned to my husband, while childbirth is relegated to me. However, in areas involving academics, gender shouldn't make a difference.

Spending several minutes on my "You can be anything you want to be speech," I became almost obsessed with the issue. After stressing more times than necessary, even for a four-year-old, that all she had to do when she got older was pick a profession and work toward achieving it, I asked the inevitable. "What do you want to be when you grow up?"

Taking a few moments of consideration she answered, "I want to be the Tooth Fairy." Waiting for a punch line that never came, I listened to her very reasonable explanation behind choosing this as her life's occupation.

Pondering my self-imposed predicament I decided to leave things as they were. In time she'll learn she can't be the Tooth Fairy, but why burst her bubble now? How do I know - things change with time? Well, if they didn't, I'd be a go-go dancer wearing white boots and fish-net hose.

Find a dream and go for it, even if it is among the stars.

This story was posted on 1999-10-15 12:01:01
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