I went looking for this picture recently and was surprised that neither of my parents remember this – it’s such a vivid memory for me. When I was 7-8 years old, we were in Florence, Alabama visiting my mom’s family and went to the Castner Knott department store. It was unusual for us to be any place besides Maw-Maw, Aunt Mattie or Aunt Betty’s houses and that’s partly why I remember shopping. Mostly, I remember loving this tote bag and Dad buying it for me. It made all my aunts laugh really hard and Mom’s camera-happy family all had me pose in Maw-Maw’s front yard for pictures. I didn’t really “get” why it was so funny to them. Title IX had passed and the Women’s Liberation Movement was in full swing – of course women have power, right? I mean, read the tote bag, people!!! It seemed normal enough to me. I certainly felt I had power – and I couldn’t really imagine that women were being paid less than men in comparable jobs, etc. Ignorance is bliss – and by the time I was grown, the gap had nearly closed. I’ve never experienced discrimination for being a girl/woman and I am so grateful for that. I recall a minister’s wife from church asking me if my mom supported Women’s Lib and I said, “I don’t know. I mean, I hope so!” Not sure it was the right answer! Ha!
At school that Monday, the teachers were stopping me in the carpool line to tell me how much they loved my bag. I thought it was about my power – no clue it was about theirs, too. In 2014, it just seems silly. We all have power – less than we want but more than so many people in other parts of our world who face discrimination and oppression every day. We’re pretty lucky, huh?