How Hot Cereal Made Me a Feminist


I lied.   Hot cereal didn’t make me a feminist. I suspect I was born one. But, when I was very, very (very) young, it did put a voice to my feminism.

 

HO Farina Still

“This Will Give Us Strength To Get That E.R.A. Amendment Passed, Sweet-Pea!”


 

But first, the REAL reason for this post:

I am asking today, if you have not yet seen it, to go visit this Freshly-Pressed post, If I Had a Dollar (Why I Am a Feminist). Its author, Anna Fonté, simply lists some personal experiences which have combined to make her a feminist–and then invites her readers to post their own reasons for why they are feminists.

Anna’s reasons are…big ones. Her writing is bare. I believe her post will become known as one of the classic pieces about feminism.

I chose not to add big reasons (I’ve got plenty.) Here is what I commented on Anna’s post:

Why I Am a Feminist

Because of the big stuff you said. And because of the small stuff. That isn’t small.

Because I could never get an A in Penmanship no matter how hard I tried–my letters were “too small and not slanty enough” according to my teacher–but the two boys who wrote teeny-tiny letters were awarded As.

Because my favorite commercial, for H.O. Farina, told the truth, when Willie said to Wilhelmina that he thought she couldn’t move a big rock ’cause “Hah! You’re a GIRL!”–Then she picked it up and threw it a mile!

Because I didn’t like girl games and Barbie dolls.

Because I was suspended for wearing pants to school.

And because they wouldn’t let me take shop and learn woodworking, but forced me instead to prepare for my future role by learning about different cuts of steak.

And because when my two girlfriends and I forced our way into Auto Mechanics class, the teacher refused the entire year to let us work on a car. And got away with it.

Because my brother told me once, after hearing me on the phone all afternoon with coworkers and vendors:
“No WONDER you piss people off: You talk like a man. Nobody likes that from a woman.”

Because, when my spouse was clearly irritated at me in public, those around clearly assumed I was in the wrong.

Thank you for your post.

Willie:
Every DAY I trip over that rock, Wilhelmina!
    Wilhelmina:
    Move it, Willie!

Willie:
Can’t–‘s too BIG!
    Wilhelmina:
    I’LL move it!

Willie:
HAH! You’re a GIRL!
    Wilhelmina:
    (Heaves rock a mile!)

“Strong Wilhelmina,
Eats her farina,
H.O. Farina,
Creeeeam farina,
Smooth and delicious,
All boys and girls,
Love it so…
H.O.!”

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19 Comments

  1. Paul

     /  2015/01/27

    Compelling.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • Good morning, Paul. Now I’m convinced you NEVER sleep. Thank you for reading despite the fontsize oddity I just fixed. Have you noticed that recent WP bug? (Inserting SPAN commands on Update, the bugger.)

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      Reply
  2. I’m a very lucky person to not have much to add to this post, Babe. I don’t feel I’ve been held back by anything really other than my own personal demons, of which there only a few. Can it be I’ve escaped sexism or maybe I just haven’t recognized it when it happened? Either way, I feel relatively unscathed. It never occurred to me that I wasn’t at least the equal to any man I knew. My career was real estate where you sink or swim by your own hard word and abilities. I thought the post you referenced was wonderful!

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    Reply
    • Every girl or woman I ever met being raised/having been raised in a military family had the same self-confidence and sense of total equality as did you. Interesting, yes?

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  3. M-R

     /  2015/01/27

    I had thought you to be talking about the late great Dennis Farina ! [grin] The roles he played might’ve caused such a reaction … I ADORED him; especially in “Get Shorty” !

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  4. Your little reasons, of course, are rather large, Babe. Our society needed such a boot with an assexual steel-toed construction shoe.

    I felt the pressures the other way. My father, who grew up in Brooklyn and went to Catholic grade school and then public high and had none of what he called the manly benefits of shop class, pressured me to no end to take advantage of his move to the leafy suburbs of Long Island so I could partake of auto shop, metal shop, wood shop. electric shop … Dutiful son I was, a endured my semester of each. As much as I loved driving our family cars, fixing them fascinated me not an iota. I dreaded every period of all the other shops and my work was sub-sub par. On the other hand, typing class, I loved. And as I went on to study journaism in college and work in that field for my career, that girl-oriented junior high class turned out to be one of my most valuable. And to be truthful, now, as my dear wife Karen does most of the cooking save for my enthusiastic yet rudimentary boiling-frying-reheating on certain days, I wish I had broken the stereotypes more and signed up for home economics to become more familiar and comfortable around the kitchen. Oh, though, what a gender taboo that was!

    Please excuse me for hijacking the feminism theme here, or perhaps taking it laterally a dozen or more steps. I’m not trying to deemphasize or cheapen any of the struggles women have endured and still endure because of the pigheadedness of societal stereotypes, to be sure. Rather, I was moved so much by your list, from a similar era, I discern, that I just had to add my angle, Babe. Thank you for this post and the opportunity to let my bit of angst out.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • Mark, I am SO glad you did! The same thing happened on Anna’s original post–men wrote about how these rigid roles had constricted them. Sorry that happened to you, too. My own sons had to hide liking for My Little Pony and Ariel the mermaid. Our society is so effed-up this way.

      Um–“tyPing” class? Was that the most perfect typo ever? (I fixed it. : )

      If it’s any consolation about those home-ec classes–likely not much– I was taught jack in terms of practical hands-on help, and I’ve heard my experience was common in many places. I have a post about that, eventually.

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      • Yeah, I saw I had two typos in my so long first comment, actually. No ‘A’ in typing for me still. 😦 Sorry to hear home ec didn’t actually teach you any home ec’s. I’ll look for that post, Babe. Thank you for your nice words about my addition to your flow of ideas today.

        Liked by 1 person

        Reply
  5. You crack me up! I would have never guessed you for a cereal feminist. 😀
    Oh there are just too many things to add to this list, It would be hard to write them without getting p*ssed. I was brought up to be equal but the real world is not. So many battles still to be fought 😦

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    Reply
    • MY list would not be the one to add to–Anna’s would, were you inclined. We could, each female one of us, begin our own list and never stop (okay: there are exceptions. A mysteriously-unaffected few.)

      I chose to choose the small,
      To try convincing all,
      Including men,
      Who deem women,
      Just spoiling for a brawl.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  6. Well that is an eloquent story!~ There are many good reasons to be a feminist, still nowadays! (that is quite sad I guess).
    All the best to you, Babe. Great post! Aquileana 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • You are right, Aquileana. Still too many. Last night I was catching up on weeks of my daily scientific paper abstracts, and caught one which revealed that, in the U.S., disabled and ethnic minority men are the (only ones) found in the same jobs as those considered “women’s work”. And, just like women, when in any jobs, these men are far less likely to be promoted. Ah–here is the link.

      Best part? The comment by the male researcher at the end.

      “Employers really need to have a good look at their workforce and start addressing these inequalities.”

      Yes: Something REALLY must be done!! Now that it’s MEN being discriminated against–and treated like lowly WOMEN!!

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      Reply
    • Oh!! And thank you, Aquileana, so much for the “great”! (of course, the really great post was Anna’s original one).

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