Friday, June 17, 2011

I Can't Do What?

Back in the early 70's I lived in Florida. My husband at the time was flying B-52's over places in Southeast Asia that the United States government said they weren't flying over, I was pregnant with my first (and only, it turned out) child, and I was 21 years old.

I needed a car. The car that we had was a stick shift and, because he was sent off with less than 24 hours notice, my husband had not taught me how to drive it. (These were the days when husbands were suppose to do those things and it was no big deal). So off to a dealership I went. With a good tradein, good credit, steady government income, a home (we had purchased a local home). Everything a lender could want.

Except the right plumbing.

I was turned down because my husband or MY FATHER were not available in Florida to co-sign!

The co-signer had to be a male relative who had "control" of me!

The seeds of me becoming a wild-eyed feminist were planted.

Much later, when I was accepted into law school, I applied for on-campus housing. I was denied. Officially, I was informed that children were not allowed in student housing (my daughter was 11 at the time) I was told--though nothing was in writing--that law school was not for mothers. That I should take care of my child first.

So I found a very cheap apartment where the train woke us every night. I worked three part-time jobs. I took out student loans. I still drove my daughter to her lessons. I set up what we later called tag-team baby-sitting. I sat up nights and sobbed wondering how I would feed her the next day. And somehow I did.

And I did it so that NO ONE would ever have the audacity to say to her that she had to have a male relative co-sign for her or that women weren't allowed because they gave birth or any other misogynistic nonsense.

And then my friend Liz posted this:

I don't know what planet that woman came from but for the record, I worked and paid back every dime. If I could have worked part-time, I would have. I was a single mom. I chose to be who I am and I chose to do it my way. That is and was my right as a HUMAN BEING!!!! My gender, my parenthood has nothing to do with it.

Liz said it as well. Please read her blog.

She's got it right.

Everyone else....well, you get the picture.


  1. And I thought it was bad when the car salesmen wouldn't take me seriously and thought all I cared about was the color! Thanks for all you did to make it easier for me. We'll keep fighting this battle.

  2. Car salesmen haven't changed a lot...they're always very surprised when the Spouse Thingy just sits back and has me negotiate. The difference now is that they know they're in deep chit if they overtly discriminate...

    But man, that article by the doctor? She's a little nuts. She's missing so many variables in regards to the doctor shortage that her points are moot.