I had a problem with teaching each of my daughters to a mental victim. But I’m jumping ahead of myself. Let me explain what has led me to my latest tirade.
I am sick and tired of people insinuating that I am less than my male counterparts. So in case you are left of left, you might want to stop right here, because I come at this from the right. I guess you might say I’m about to kick the hornets’ nest.
The Audi Commercial
I’ll begin with the Audi commercial aired during the Super Bowl. I’ve been mulling on their message for over a week now. How dare they imply that I am less or that my daughters are less than our male counterparts. I guess you can tell that I hated this commercial.
I was raised a little differently than most of my friends. I come from a very conservative small town in north Florida, an agricultural town. My father did not have any sons but did have three daughters, and I am the oldest of the three. I hunted with him, my sisters and I camped all over America with our parents, and all three of us were so encouraged to reach beyond ourselves that I believed I could be anything I wanted to be.
I was so convinced of this, that it appalled me when two kids down the street said that there was no way I could be like the prima ballerina we had seen the night before on The Ed Sullivan Show. I told them that they were wrong, that all I had to do was work very hard to be just like her.
They said that I couldn’t do it, because what she had was real talent. I argued that she learned by repetition and hard work.
I might have done it, because I thought I could. They could have never done it, because they thought they couldn’t. See, I am still convinced.
I was raised with the opposite of victimology. In no way was I raised to think I couldn’t do anything. I even remember arguing with those two, that if I wanted to be President of the United States enough and if I worked hard enough, I could do it. Looking back, I realize now how fortunate I was to have had the parents I had.
Today, I realize that some of this relates to the American Exceptionalism doctrine that I was fed. It is a doctrine that is under fire, and I’m not so sure this is a good thing. And I’m not talking about supremacy, which I think has nothing to do with American Exceptionslism. It is a doctrine that made us reach beyond ourselves to achieve.
My parent’s teachings held me well.
Today, I am an elderly woman looking back on my years of education and career. In over twenty years I obtained a Ph.D. in Communication; worked in Florida’s legislative process for almost forty years, and now spend my time writing books and this blog. I made good money, more annually than many of my male counterparts. I busted my ass, and I represented my clients well.
I also raised two daughters, and I actually remember other women suggesting that maybe I was setting them up for disappointment. Outsiders were concerned that I didn’t tell my daughters what they should expect in the marketplace.
Frankly, I never wanted my daughters to feel like victims, so I held back on teaching them what I thought would turn around by the time they reached the marketplace anyway. I wanted them to enter the marketplace not looking for a slight at every turn or just waiting for someone to knock that chip off their shoulder. I wanted them to enter the marketplace the same way I did.
In case you think I had it easy, I’ll explain. In one job, I resigned and set my date of resignation to take advantage of a pending vacation. My boss’s boss who had made several passes at me, changed my date so I couldn’t take a vacation between the two jobs.
I sued the company in small claims court and won. There was no claim of sexual harassment, just a claim upon the money I believe I was owed. My boss, also a male, at great risk to himself made sure I had the information needed to litigate the case. I represented myself against their corporation’s local lawyer. I refused to be a victim.
Thank God, my Dad never had the attitude of the Dad in that Audi commercial. He sent me forward with an attitude that I could do what I wanted to do. All I had to do was be truthful and work hard.
By the way, my Dad never graduated from high school; but he raised three strong-willed women who have seven college degrees between us. And all of us had good careers. And in case you think my Mom was a doormat, think again. Anyone who truly knew her knew that she was the strongest willed of all of us.
And since I am on the subject, there is someone else who I could never identify with. That someone was Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. From day one, I questioned why she remained the wife of someone who obviously did not have respect for women, let alone for her. Why did she stay with him, other than to pad her own future. Why did she remain a victim.
Frankly, I have little respect for a woman that is only herself through her husband. I did not want my daughters, who were growing up while she was First Lady, to think that men had the right to treat them the way her husband treated her. And I also didn’t want them to think that they had to hitch their star to a man in order to achieve. I hated that all of the sordid affair was on our televisions every night. I also resented that the Republicans made it so public.
While I was working in my first job as a secretary, they let me do some of the buyer responsibilities. I quickly realized that I was more successful with the latter if I never let the seller know I was female. I did my business by teletype and by snail mail. There was no internet then.
I signed my correspondence as C. E. Raker, my married name at the time. It was a man’s world, but I found a way to achieve in it. I found a way to not be the victim. Later when I had my daughters, I chose for them androgynous names so they would never have to deal with this problem. I didn’t want them to be victims either.
So Audi, this is why I hated your commercial. You basically tried to relegate me to a second class citizen if only in thought. I understand that you were trying to make a point, but for me you missed the mark. You targeted me and all women as victims.
The Audi commercial was there for everyone to hear, including my six-year old grandson. I don’t want him to be raised with that attitude either, that girls are less than boys; but I’m afraid Audi may have started that terrible thought in his mind. And this perpetuates the victim ization of women.
To the rest of America? Raise your daughters passionately optimistic and protect them from ever feeling like a victim. All this feminist talk I believe is making the wrong impression on very impressionable minds. And it wouldn’t hurt to remember the old adage, that you draw more bees with honey than with vinegar anyway.
Besides I didn’t raise my daughters to be advocates, I raised them to work in the marketplace and to be good American citizens.