Saturday, October 29, 2016

My experience of Sexism growing up in the 1950s

My mother and her mother who lived with us along with my father were discriminated not only because they were women which was bad enough in the 1950s but also because they were dyslexic as well. Neither my father or I were dyslexic but if you have never been around dyslexic people that you know of the hallmark of a dyslexic person is that they are very very intuitive and common sensical and sometimes reverse letters when they spell (even though there are various kinds of dyslexics too).

I never knew until my mother was 7 years away from dying when she was about 82 that either my mother or my grandmother were dyslexic. However, I did know that my grandmother was taken out of grade school in the 3rd grade to raise her brothers and sisters and that she never worked outside the home a day in her life until she passed away in 1978 at 90. She was born in 1888.

So, in our house I was sort of like Prince Fredric or Freddie they used to Call me if my Dad was King Fred.

But, it seemed to be okay for me and my Dad to talk a lot but not for my mother or her mother. They would say they were taught to be more reserved and Dad and I were allowed to talk about what we had done during the day, me in school or adventures and Dad usually at work meeting all sorts of interesting people like Actors and directors there in the greater Los Angeles Area while he worked as an Electrical Contractor.

But, I felt sorry sort of for my mother's mother and my mother because they didn't seem to have the same level of freedom in their lives that my father and I had. Since I was an only child I always had a bicycle and mostly any toy I wanted to buy but we weren't rich enough for me to go skiing on trips by my teens so I didn't ski regularly until my 20s. But, I did get my Scuba license and surf on various things like inflatables until about 12 and then on surfboards and body surfing.

But, I was also very close to my mother and grandmother but I always sort of felt sorry for them both. My mother's father had left them when my mother turned 18 and then my mother had to support her mother and herself first making shoes and pocketbooks and then working for the telephone company for Bell telephone until she met my father and they got married when she was 27 I believe around 1946.

So, the most sad person was my grandmother and my mother actually was happy to marry my father and to have me. So, she was pretty happy with Dad because he was a good financial supporter and a good worker and didn't smoke or drink alcohol and was very religious too. They seemed to love each other a lot. But, I remember when he would yell at her and she would cry sometimes and then get on a plane for Seattle because she missed her relatives because that is where she grew up and my father too. We lived in San Diego then and I was 4 or 5 the first time she left home and flew to Seattle. That time neither my father or I or even my grandmother knew whether or not she was coming back but then she did. So, about once a year she would cry and get on a plane and go away for 1 or two weeks to Seattle and then come back to us wherever we lived then.

So, from these experiences I found myself sympathetic not only to my mother and grandmother but also to all the women on both sides of my family. And as time moved on this sympathy and empathy for women took the form of me listening to women's troubles and because I am very logical and level headed always, to help logically form solutions to their problems and to help them problem solve whatever was bothering them.

So, in this way I found myself helping women and girls of all ages to solve their problems and as time went on I took pride in this ability to help women and girls in this way. In my twenties I decided to become a psychologist for a few years. But then my live in girlfriend got pregnant and I had to drop out of college and get a job to support us both and my son. But, over time I kept going back to college and learning more and more.

So, my experience of sexism was that I wanted to help women and girls so they didn't suffer so much. So I did this any way I could. This also in my teens and 20s made me very desirable to teenage girls and women and so this was interesting too. So, I developed my counseling abilities over the years through helping people and observing what was useful long term and what wasn't.

So, this is how I became more sympathetic and empathetic towards women and girls starting with my mother and grandmother and how I observed sexism harming women even way back then.

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