I never aspired to be a housewife when I was little. My mother is an ultra feminist who banned Barbies in our house and monitored our TV programs. She encouraged us to go and play outside, and read, and play in the dirt. Now that I’m older, I understand. When I was around 7 years old, I decided that I wanted to be an Emergency Room Doctor. My favorite toy was a doctor’s kit, and I was fascinated by fire trucks and ambulances and everything that they involved. I have the feeling now that a lot of adults humored me when I said doctor instead of ballerina (oh, I wanted to be that too, don’t get me wrong, but I saw myself exceling at medicine more than plies).
In 3rd grade, one of my friends got diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes. The very first day that he brought his blood sugar monitor to school, everyone crowded around to watch him prick his finger and squeeze the blood out onto a test strip. It was awesome, obviously. The second day, it was only the boys in the class…and me. As he was pricking his finger, one of the boys turned to look at me and said snidely, “Girls don’t like blood, this is only for the boys.” So, since I was an embarrassed 8 year old, I ran out onto the playground and forgot about it.
Now, I look back on it and smile. I was one of 3 girls in my first EMT class. I’m the only female on my fire department. I am one of a handful of women in my company who doesn’t give a bad name to female EMT’s by being too delicate or fragile to do anything. On more than one occasion, my fire chief has been approached and told, “You know, she can’t do any of this as well as the men can, because she’s a GIRL.” To which he looked at them and replied, “Obviously you haven’t seen her on a fire scene.”
And while I’m not claiming to be against anything girly (I appreciate a good accessory/outfit/piece of clothing as much as the next girl), I just don’t let it take my life over. If I’ve learned nothing, I know that the way that you present yourself is the way that others view you. If you want people to think that you’re a Barbie, layer on the makeup and insist on doing your hair before you leave the house. If you want to be taken seriously, TAKE YOURSELF SERIOUSLY FIRST. Don’t be afraid to step outside the box. It’s refreshing (believe me, I know). On that note, here’s a great video I discovered…
I was taught by a strong woman to become a strong woman. And while I do occasionally slip on the housewife shoe (only to try it out for size), I never forget that I am the one who decides just how far I take it, and remember that there’s more to life than a casserole dish.