Glass ceilings

I did not fashion these terracotta warriors

I have to admit it. I never for a second thought that my possibilities were limited because I was a girl/woman. Why? I had a mother who was intelligent, decisive, active, and accomplished. I had two grandmothers who worked and were effective both in their work and in their homes. They made delicious food, kept clean homes, and were full of love for their families.

From an early age I was encouraged to study and learn and it was clear that the future was in my hands. For a while I thought about becoming a nurse, but my mother said, “You are smart enough to be a doctor” and while in high school, I imagined studying medicine. I even took Latin in anticipation for needing it for my medical career. I only gave up that aspiration when I realized that having a family of my own including a few children was more important to me than working outside the home- so how could I take up space in a medical school learning what I might not practice when there were others who would be fully committed to medicine who needed that space? For me, it was the right decision. But it was my decision. I never felt limited.

So why am I writing this? It has to do with Kamala Harris. Leaving politics and personal reactions aside- assuming she is a blank slate- I do not see her accomplishments as anything that relates to me, my children orĀ  my grandchildren. Why should her having anatomical structures similar to mine make her accomplishments relative to me. So far, every president we have had has had a nose. Does that mean that George Washington broke the glass ceiling on noses? I know that is a silly analogy, but for the last 80 years- mostly beginning with WWII, women have been able to accomplish great things and over the last 50 years at least, they have been publicly recognized for their accomplishments.

To me, this tokenism is offensive. If I were labeled the “first Jewish 70+ woman” to achieve something… I would feel they had taken my achievement and generalized it to people who had nothing to do with me. It would mean that I have opened the door for 70+ Jewish women – but did I really? Maybe I achieved something through hard work and it is my achievement.

Maybe there are people who feel that they have broken a barrier for others and maybe that really is true, but I am not basking in Harris’s achievement. It is hers alone.

 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Speak Your Mind

*