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At every age and stage of my life, there have been specific words that triggered something in me—sometimes that something looked like resentment or strong disagreement, even a visible feistiness. More often, however, the clearest emotion rising from specific words or phrases has been . . . shame.
At that point in my life, however, the focus shifted to my personality more than my height and I began to hear these kinds of descriptive words: ‘strong,’ ‘capable,’ ‘natural leader.’ You might think I would feel flattered by such language—and eventually, I came to understand those kinds of descriptors as complimentary. Here’s the catch, however. I had been raised to believe that women do not lead. Women, I was taught, are designed to follow the men in their lives. So to my ears, such words meant I was doing something wrong. More than that, I was something wrong.
It took a long time to divest myself of the garbage that came with the complementarian worldview of my parents’ generation. Fortunately, the version I learned was not as harsh or limiting as those found in even more conservative circles. My parents encouraged me to get good grades and to pursue a college education—but the realreason for that education was to meet a ‘nice, Christian man’ and get married! And that’s exactly what I did. Fortunately, that proved to be a good decision for both of us—not everyone trapped in that mindset was as fortunate.
Something - Shift - Culture - 1960s - Caught
Then, something interesting began to happen around me: there was a shift in the broader culture that began in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and suddenly, I found myself caught in the middle of the debate about women. The zeitgeist of the 1950s had shifted dramatically and I felt lost much of the time. I had three babies in four...
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