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This is a series of posts about discrimination that happened to me as a girl and woman in the 60s-80s.  See the first entry at: When we had to wear dresses to school This is a record for my kids, and for others so we don't forget how it was and what we can't go back to.

When I was in high school, I had a strong preference for math and science.  I was a really geeky, shy and introverted, but I had an adventurous side even so.  I loved trying new things. Outside of school I did High Adventure Explorers, and at school, the Vo-Tech building was calling to me.  There was stuff there I wanted to try!

So in my Junior year of high school in 1977, I requested permission to take a class in the Vo-Tech building and got the go ahead.  I was going to take Drafting!

I was the first girl to take a class over in the Vo-Tech building and a little nervous (I was not a very self-assured kid) but the teacher was very happy to have me in the class and I excelled at the precision that was required and loved drawing the diagrams of bolts and other mechanical things.

So my first semester went great, I got an A and I was very eager to continue because next semester it was to be Architectural drafting.  Drawing layouts of houses, exterior and interiors.  I was champing at the bit.  First day of the semester my wonderful teacher introduced a new student teacher who would be working with him this semester.  I didn't think much of it at the time and happily started working at my now familiar drafting table.  But it wasn't to last.

Although I don't think it started the first day, pretty soon this student teacher took to visiting my drafting table daily and heaping on me his derision and hatred of me being in his class.

"Look around the room, you see that?" (Indicating it was all boys) "You don't belong here."
"Women don't belong in technical fields."
"You shouldn't be in this building."

And on and on.  I completely wilted under this daily barrage.  I was so painfully shy and had a strong respect for authority figures such as police and teachers.  I was utterly crushed.  I had no idea what to do.  I never told my parents, other teachers, anyone.  I stopped doing work for school for all my classes and barely hung on for the semester.

Sadly the teacher who had been so great for me spoke to me in the last few days of the semester.  He knew something was going on and he was going to give me a passing grade anyway due to the 'circumstances.'  So he had some clue, but didn't stand up for me or stop what was happening.

In my senior year I just kind of made my way through and barely graduated.  I tried to start college, but my heart was not in it and I dropped out.  I had lost my hope.  I settled into a job at McDonald's doing breakfast during the week, and night maintenance on the weekend with no thoughts of going to college.  I was ready to live a minimum wage job life.  This man had changed the course of my life for the worse, and it could have been permanent.

Now, working in a highly technical job with a mathematics degree under my belt I wish I'd had the spirit and strength to just deck the guy.  It still bothers me every time I think about it.  What was this guy's problem? Picking on some little girl just trying to do what she loved.  I feel sorry for any woman who got involved with him, and my only regret is that he probably messed up more lives than mine.

Sometimes I wish I could look him up and find him and and go "IN YOUR FACE!!!" and show him my damn degree, how I graduated Summa, and what my annual salary is now.

The reality is mine is a mild story of discrimination.  Many women at that time faced much worse than me.  It's important to keep these stories out there so that the women born and raised today never have to see anything of its like again.  They face their own challenges, more subtle now, but nothing so damned overt at least it didn't feel that way until this past year.  The War on Women reminds me of those bad old days, like a zombie risen from the grave.  I thought we killed that thing already damn it!

Originally posted to old gaming mama on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 04:43 AM PDT.

Also republished by Feminism, Pro-Feminism, Womanism: Feminist Issues, Ideas, & Activism, Invisible People, and Community Spotlight.

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  •  Tip Jar (280+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Plu, G2geek, Cheeky, marykk, Diana in NoVa, meralda, Chantez les Bas, swampyankee, Nowhere Man, postmodernista, MaikeH, Nova Land, RUNDOWN, marina, Cassandra Waites, Wee Mama, mint julep, page394, Thinking Fella, Ishmaelbychoice, cassandracarolina, Pat K California, Dave in Northridge, Thestral, greengemini, a gilas girl, sow hat, blue muon, profundo, shinobi9, FindingMyVoice, USHomeopath, elfling, Orinoco, cactusgal, fumie, Minnesota Deb, Calamity Jean, qua, JeffW, Ojibwa, frey60, Melanie in IA, Sailorben, Damnit Janet, SuWho, Varlokkur, skyounkin, FloridaSNMOM, cotterperson, BlackSheep1, susans, Steven D, arizonablue, bleeding blue, Leeloo, Freakinout daily, Luma, mamamorgaine, doingbusinessas, Southern Lib, texasmom, Jake Williams, OldDragon, Alden, mskitty, operculum, smokem2271, Snarky McAngus, Lorikeet, ichibon, rennert, ERJH, samoashark, JayBat, Bluehawk, Crabby Abbey, jfromga, zerelda, kafktastic, newfie, Nulwee, lulusbackintown, slowbutsure, Quinagin, Lonely Liberal in PA, redstella, mkfarkus, FourthOfJulyAsburyPark, Scioto, Reel Woman, exiledfromTN, zaka1, Steveningen, futureliveshere, newpioneer, chimpy, SaintC, k2winters, MKinTN, myadestes, oceanrain, The Zipper, J V Calin, MillieNeon, greycat, Pandora, Cynmill, SallyCat, Trendar, owlbear1, arkylib, gustynpip, Regina in a Sears Kit House, raster44, Tomtech, progressivist, Dhavo, nzanne, tully monster, Catherine R, Deep Texan, No one gets out alive, sngmama, LaraJones, SingerInTheChoir, mikeconwell, laurustina, bluesheep, dejavu, SilverWillow, ThatPoshGirl, dansk47, rgjdmls, ardyess, Lily O Lady, ladybug53, Turbonerd, Margd, revsue, Square Knot, chimene, Waterbug, cskendrick, Glacial Erratic, Molly Weasley, uciguy30, pixxer, OllieGarkey, prettygirlxoxoxo, rb137, pimutant, peachcreek, jack 1966, enufisenuf, tapestry, lizah, Tolmie Peak, MidwestTreeHugger, elginblt, rmonroe, SanJoseLady, Brian82, Xapulin, lexalou, qofdisks, nomandates, katasstrophy, Fiona West, white blitz, high uintas, stonekeeper, lirtydies, Diogenes2008, murphy, gloriana, tb92, boatjones, ER Doc, Libby Shaw, Marihilda, carpunder, BritLaw, kyril, politik, science nerd, Chinton, confitesprit, mungley, Charles CurtisStanley, sailmaker, old wobbly, Loonesta, StateofEuphoria, Catesby, nirbama, pcl07, matt2525, salmo, annan, historys mysteries, MA Liberal, Blu Gal in DE, VA Breeze, rbird, science geek, newyorknewyork, BlogDog, gfv6800, SeekCa, ruleoflaw, zooecium, antimony, Dbug, asterkitty, crose, maybeeso in michigan, silentpawz, NYC Sophia, sane, martini, emeraldmaiden, Yo Bubba, Youffraita, Cintimcmomma, petesmom, kurt, melo, coolbreeze, jhop7, Creosote, JimWilson, myboo, maizenblue, CherryTheTart, arlene, Cinnamon, BlueInARedState, MethuenProgressive, Jollie Ollie Orange, Oh Mary Oh, JDWolverton, mofembot, CroneWit, FloraLine, SteelerGrrl, Gingersnap77, Friend of the court, antirove, Catte Nappe, freelunch, Otteray Scribe, CIndyCasella, Spirit of Life, rl en france, offred, sidnora, smrichmond, WI Deadhead, countwebb, Jojos Mojo, Fairlithe, jplanner, NonnyO, DvCM, AlwaysDemocrat, BlueMississippi, MHB, Carol in San Antonio, Matilda, j b norton, Larsstephens, chantedor, accio, Rita in DC, texaslucy, sagansong, klompendanser, Marjmar, paul2port
  •  that happy ending is victory! (37+ / 0-)

    As with child sexual abuse, the same pattern of a perpetrator (the student teacher) and an enabler who didn't put a stop to it (the regular teacher).  

    For every form of violence against fellow humans, every form of discrimination and oppression, and every form of destruction of the commons including the Earth itself, there are perpetrators who do it and there are enablers who don't put a stop to it.  Every enabler has a pile of excuses, some of which may be more-or-less forgivable, others clearly not.  

    In the end you won: the victory of overcoming or transcending the oppression and doing what you love.

    There's an important lesson in that for anyone who's running around with their head stuck in a hole that was dug by one form or another of oppression, injustice, or abuse.

    Get a call from GOP GOTV? Talk their ear off! Keep 'em busy! Plus one long call to a progressive = minus two or three calls to undecideds!

    by G2geek on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 05:03:19 AM PDT

  •  So sorry you had to go through that, old gaming (44+ / 0-)

    mama.  How cruel and unjust!  How hateful of that man!

    Yet it happened all the time.  That's why Virginia Woolf wrote A Room of One's Own.  Women were constantly ridiculed, derided, and made to feel they were inferior.  This still goes on in the form of rape, street harassment, and other violence:  it's like, "I'll show you who's boss, bitch."

    A former boss of mine told me of an incident when he was attending college.  His lab partner in physics was a young woman.  When the professor gave the class a test, she was one of very few who got it right.  When she took her paper up to the professor to receive a grade, he marked a zero on it.  "Women don't belong in physics," he said.

    The bastard.  Hope he died "at the wrong moment of an unfashionable disease," to quote Saki.

    My little granddaughter is a princess in my eyes and I'm going to bring her up to believe she can do anything a boy can, and probably do it better.  Next year, when she's four, I intend to seek out and pay for martial arts lessons so she'll have physical self-confidence as well.

    Thank you for this diary.  Painful as it may be to share these experiences, it's a good thing you're doing.

    Patriarchy, your 5,000 years are over!

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 05:08:17 AM PDT

  •  I wouldn't call that "mild" !!! (39+ / 0-)

    That teacher's invective was exactly the sort of corrosive behavior that was permissible in those days (I graduated high school in 1973). I know how destructive that could be to a smart girl who was in the "wrong" classroom....

    Even the more subtle messages we got were damaging, but direct hostility from a STUDENT TEACHER--my goodness, I am so sorry you had to deal with that!

    Rather than be hard on yourself for someone else's unconscionable actions, you should be proud that you overcame that, and achieved your career--however "wrong" it seemed to those creeps.

    Congratulations for surviving. I love this series, it brings back painful memories, but also a pride in what we accomplished despite the discrimination that was integral to our world, not to mention our education. I want my daughters to know about this, too.  Thank you!

  •  What I'm wondering is: (29+ / 0-)

    What happened between "I was ready to live a minimum wage job life," and "Now, (I'm) working in a highly technical job with a mathematics degree under my belt..."...?

    What was the point where you made the decision to go back to school and pursue a specific field?

    What were the thoughts and feelings that led to that decision?

    What were the thoughts and feelings you had when you were back in school?

    And when you went looking for jobs in your field?  

    The reason I'm asking is, you forged a path from oppression to victory.  Many, many, many, many people who we see in the progressive universe (insert a few more "manys" here), are still stuck in a shit-hole of oppression in their own hearts and minds, thinking and feeling themselves as victims of oppression rather than as victors over oppression.  

    Something we desperately need is to have more stories about people going from victim to victor.  Something we desperately need are more insights into how each person can seize control of their own thoughts and feelings, and their own decisions, and whatever opportunities may exist even at a long-shot, to make the change from victim to victor.  

    We need to figure this out and understand it.  We need to teach it in the progressive community.  We need to make it our cultural norm that nobody gets left behind, and nobody gets left soaking in a shit-hole of oppression.  We need to make it our explicit value and our goal that everybody gets encouraged and supported in every possible way to rise above, fight, work at it, fight some more, overcome, transcend, and win.  

    Not only for the sake of improving each individual's own life, but also for the sake of defeating those myriad forms of oppression and building a society that's sane, humane, and sustainable for once, for each, for many, and for all.

    Get a call from GOP GOTV? Talk their ear off! Keep 'em busy! Plus one long call to a progressive = minus two or three calls to undecideds!

    by G2geek on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 05:18:24 AM PDT

    •  Yes I'm going to get that all out there (29+ / 0-)

      There were a couple of big epiphanies that occurred in my life that have a lot to do with it.  

      Coming stories will show more of what happened and how I got past it.

      As with everything, there are more layers to the story and I'm not sure how deep I'll go, but I had been heavily 'proofed' already to be very resilient.

      I remember my mom once saying to me in a time of troubles for me "I think you could wade through nuclear waste up to your eyeballs and come out ok."  

      I'll try to get across the realizations that provide me with this strength as I continue this series.  

      Thank you so much for your response!  

    •  mentoring, mentoring, mentoring (2+ / 0-)

      Seriously, mentors have been shown to have one of the biggest impacts.  The problem is that there aren't enough of them -- and many of the women who have succeeded in these fields did so by turning on their gender.  

      Men can mentor women as well, too, but it happens less often and most aren't aware of the little things that can be done to help.

      Then there's the systematic problems in industries that are mostly male -- when co-workers apologize for taking more than a day off when they've just had their first child and are on their iPhones trying to work during all those crazy new-baby hours, it will systematically drive women out.  Etc.

    •  I understand that you want something that leads (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Carol in San Antonio

      to positive action and I appreciate this, but as someone who's still stuck on the "oppressed" side of the equation, I have to object to the phrase "still stuck in a shit-hole of oppression in their own hearts and minds, thinking and feeling themselves as victims of oppression rather than as victors over oppression."

      I'm sure you don't mean it this way, but it sounds like blaming the victim. As someone still on the other side, I'm really sick of hearing advice from people that just being optimistic is going to solve things. Saying to myself, "I'm smart enough, I'm good enough and, gosh darn, men respect me," is not going to help.

      We don't need to teach it to the progressive community, or not the progressive community only; we need to teach it to HR departments.

      I can't tell you the number of times I've applied for jobs and the HR person has put my resume, application and whatever else aside and said to me, "We have a receptionist position open." That's why I started working as a house painter, because I put an ad in the paper and people started calling. For years, I couldn't get a company, large, small or otherwise, to offer me a job as anything other than a receptionist or a data entry clerk.

      I love it when I hear complaints about data entry mistakes. I know it's not very kind on my part, but I'm basically dyslexic. No one should have ever put me in a data entry position. Why did they do that? Because I have a vagina. Time and time again, I've been offered jobs I absolutely suck at because I was the right gender. I'm a kind of shitty receptionist because I can't understand voices over the phone well. I've had my hearing checked several times and have been told it's fine, but I can't for the life of me understand voices on the phone. So, I'm a really bad receptionist, unless you think the main job of the receptionist is to look nice. And I hate being a receptionist. Data entry clerk was less unpleasant, but I know I made huge number of mistakes. Personally, if a company hires people based on their genitalia they deserve all the mistakes they get. Serves them right.

      So please, don't tell me that the problem is really inside of me when it's society's problem. Maybe you think you're better than I am.

  •  I took drafting in 1983 (13+ / 0-)

    It wasn't deliberate, I don't think, but being the only girl in the class put a damper on the locker room relations the boys could have had if I hadn't been there. The coach who taught that class was visibly uncomfortable on the many occasions he had to try to call them down without saying they should be polite in front of a girl. Very strange dynamic- too weird for a 2nd semester.

    Anyone who scoffs at happiness needs to take their soul back to the factory and demand a better one. -driftglass

    by postmodernista on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 05:24:23 AM PDT

  •  A song I played for my daughter (17+ / 0-)

    and for everybody's daughter:

    Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

    by Nowhere Man on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 05:27:21 AM PDT

    •  How I Have Loved This Song! (13+ / 0-)

      I still remember the day when my younger sister brought me a tape of this song a few years after I graduated in '79 with a degree in civil engineering. Of course, this song is really more applicable to my mother's generation than mine, as I didn't face anywhere near the kind of sex discrimination that Peggy Seeger sings about. A whole lot of attitude adjustment happened between my mother's time and mine.

      Still, when I first graduated I was usually the only female on a construction site. In fact, I showed up on a jobsite in Nebraska in 1980 and actually had an old construction hand blurt out in shock, "It's a WOMAN!!" So it pleases me to no end to see so many women on construction sites these days. I'm never the only woman any more.

      •  Did you ever get (12+ / 0-)

        "Oh, are you here visiting someone?"

        "No, I'm the engineer in charge today."

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 09:24:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  A friend of mine is an editor at a technology (9+ / 0-)

          magazine. His boss is a woman. They're both programmers and he's spoken really highly of her. He has a tremendous amount of respect for her knowledge and ability. Since he's the person I turn to when I can't figure something out and no one around me knows, she must be pretty phenomenal. He said that many times when they meet with other people, people adress their comments to him, even though he's there in a supporting role.

          Fortunately, from his description of her, it sounds as if she's really thick skinned.

          •  At my first job, I was the only woman (8+ / 0-)

            in the office, an engineering company. We all agreed that my desk could not be the closest to the front door.

            Thankfully, everyone understood why and was happy to do it that way.

            Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

            by elfling on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 11:54:49 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Back in jr. high, we were given a battery of (3+ / 0-)

              skills tests in preparation for career counceling. I can still remember the graph on my chart. It looked like a deep "V" with extended serifs. The bottom of the "V" - clerical skills at the 20th percentile. The best - mechanical skills at higher than the 99.9th percentile. Reading comprehension and mathematical abilities were both solid. I told the guidance councelor that I wanted to be an engineer. He said, "You have an interest in art, don't you." I did. He told me to go into art because I didn't need a career because I was pretty and would probably marry well. This was around '77 or '78.

              Flash forward to my miserable young adult years as a receptionist. A friend of mine got a job related to computers. We were both dropouts from the same college with high school degrees, so on paper we were pretty similar. Back then, there were a lot of opportunities to learn about computers on the job because their use was growing and there weren't nearly enough experienced people. I thought his job sounded better than mine and I focused on trying to apply for a bunch of similar ones. In one interview, I was told that I was too small because I'd have to be able to lift a ream of paper from time to time. I said that I had to do that as a receptionist anyway when the Xerox machine ran out. Really, the explanations were always bullshit. Finally, I got it. No one was going to hire a woman.

              Several male programmers I know who learned through a combination of teaching themselves and learning on the job really bug me about going for a master's degree in computer science. I've tried to tell them that no HR department is going to buy the "I taught myself" from a middle aged woman. The guy I mentioned above, the journalist, he was doing an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering when he suffered a sever depressive episode and dropped out. He got a job programming, although he had relatively little experience. Another guy told me how he was in an entirely unrelated field when a friend said that his company needed someone and would he like to learn to program, so he learned on the job. Ok, I know no one will do that for me. It's not a matter of having the wrong attitude, or feeling oppressed, or feeling like a victim. I just know that I won't be given the benefit of the doubt. So, I need the piece of paper these guys see as superfluous. The funny thing, is even while taking classes, there's much more self-teching that goes on in this field than I've encountered in any other field. You will not get everything you need to know from classes.

              I should probably add, that I will be given the benefit of the doubt for "women's jobs." I've tried to explain to people how sometimes you just wind up in certain fields because it's the path of least resistance. You get sexism in one context, and in another people are giving you opportunities. There's a double action that's important to note.

      •  As I'm reading, I keep thinking about my mom. (14+ / 0-)

        She would have been 100 years old this year. When I was younger, of course, I thought of her as just my mom. She did graduate from high school and became a beautician, which she worked at before they adopted me in 1950. But she was extremely good at math and smarter than a whip, and one day she told me that she had wanted to be a doctor but of course she gave up that dream because in her day, women just didn't do that. Sad! That comment made me think of her as more than just mom, made me realize she had been young like I was at the time with her own hopes and dreams. I think after that we stopped fighting over silly stuff so much. My parents certainly raised me to think I could do whatever I wanted to, and it was just assumed that I would go to college. I think I was actually the first person in our extended family to graduate from college. Of course, at the time, being young and dumb and stuck in my own worldview, I assumed it was my right to do so, not being able to see the larger picture.

        "We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are." Anais Nin

        by SuWho on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 10:04:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Pat K: in 2004, I got that on a job site (12+ / 0-)

        I was the IAQ investigator.

        Heh. I'd hired on in '01 with the company to be their copy editor. They lost a lot of "boys" in the investigation / field test sector 'cuz after 6 months on the job they could double their money at some other company.

        I went to the schools so I'd know what questions we needed to add to the texts ... and wound up with a license from the State, that most of the guys didn't bother getting on their own (they worked under one of the partners' HVAC license instead).

        LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

        by BlackSheep1 on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 10:05:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I have never heard that song! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nulwee, Nowhere Man, kyril

      Love it!  Need to send this to my daughters, who are going to be scientists.

  •  A lot of us got that in the military, (13+ / 0-)

    Some people are just no good shits and they look for reasons to bully others.

  •  As a senior in high school... (12+ / 0-)

    ...I was in the first calculus the school ever had.  Out of twenty-two students in the class, only three were women.

  •  my father never showed emotion...except sometimes (41+ / 0-)

    I went to school the very first year it became 'mandatory' for all children to have a public education.  What was happening was, that although there was school, people had to pay tuition, then there were the books and uniforms.

    Girls could attend, school, but tradition was, that if the family could only afford to send some of thier children to school, they would send only the boys.  The law was changed to make it mandatory for girls the year I turned 7.

    Girls, due to tradition,(and possibly compromise with the harder religious leaders) were taught seperatly from the boys.  Girls didnt have to wear uniforms, just dress in the 'hijab' manner.  The 'state' gave girls books, and supplies like pencils and paper.  We were of modest means, and there was also a war in our nation, alot of my classmates...and me as well, didnt wear shoes to class.

    Our places were not fancy, like the boys, we didnt have play yards, football pitches or the like.  Our classes were held in the 'womens space' of the masjid near where I lived...a repurposed house next to the masjid.

    Getting on with the story...I was the only Hui girl in the class, and the Malay teacher didnt like me.  I didnt know why, but every time I opened the books, I had a was just me...I wanted to know every little I asked them...all the time, and the teacher admonised me for it 'speaking out of turn' or 'being off topic'...or just ignoring me.

    When my father came to school during parent day, everyone had something on the wall...except me.  I had done those things, pictures, writing skills, math skills...but none of my things were on the wall.

    My father asked why.  The man teacher told him "she asks too many questions".  His lips became tight, and he 'grunted' as he always did when he was angry. He put his hand on my shoulder, and directed me out of the classroom.  he made me walk in front, pushing my back if he caught up.  I thought he was mad with me, and I was going to get a beating.

    When we got home, he said, take off your nice dress, (so it wont get dirty) and find something to do, you arent going to school anymore today. Then he left me alone in the house.

    The next day, I went to school.  There was a woman teacher.

    Oaths and alleginaces only become valid after being tested in adverstity.

    by Nur Alia Chang on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 06:09:08 AM PDT

  •  True '70s story (18+ / 0-)

    I was in engineering school at a major, blue, state university in the '70s. Sitting in a student lounge one afternoon I overheard this conversation:

    "I can't stand all these women in my classes. None of 'em know anything. They're only here cuz they're women. We had to let 'em in", said the first engineer.

    "Yeah, and none of them will go out with us either", said his buddy.

    I had great admiration for those women in my classes. I was friends with many of them. They were smart dedicated engineers. They were more than smart enough to be there. And took a lot of shit from people like Dumb and Dumber above. Merely because they were women.

    They got it from both sides. Men thought they were libber affirmation action cases. Other women couldn't understand why they wanted to be engineers; or associate with engineers.

    How much have we lost over the years, or still lose, because women avoid STEM fields? What did we lose because you weren't allowed your freedom?

    When we've discussed women's issues, or racism, with our young adult daughters over the years they cannot understand why anyone, let alone a country, could be this way or allow this crap to go on. Hopefully, their road ahead will be better, and less full of assholes.

    Sorry you had to go through this. Really sorry. We need to keep fighting, unfortunately.

    A society is judged by how well it cares for those in the dawn of life, the children. By how well it cares for those in the twilight of life, the elderly. And, by how well it cares for those on the edge of life; the poor, the sick, and the disabled.

    by BobBlueMass on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 06:55:15 AM PDT

    •  Bob, I'm an ME, got my degree in '93 (5+ / 0-)

      but got my first degree in '84, so I'm older than my engineering degree suggests. My daughter is a high school sophomore here in Alabama. Her high school has an Engineering Academy which teaches solid modelling, circuit design, truss analysis, technical writing and presentation, etc. Basically the whole first year of engineering school, or more. It was developed and is run by a PhD engineer and has 3 more engineers on staff. The school even offers special physics-based chemistry and other AP level science and math for these kids. My daughter is in her second year of this academy and is completely kicking everyone else's butt in that class (and all her other classes, for that matter). Her engineering teachers have both been male, and they LOVE her! These guys are in their 40's, but even here in AL (backwards-ass as it is) they are encouraging and supportive of her. It may just be a pocket of hope, and she desparately wants to go to college in the NE or California, but she will be a brilliant engineer as a result of this early exposure (and maybe a few good genes from her mom!) Thanks for supporting women in the sciences!

      •  Congrats!!!!!! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Southern Lib

        Both of my girls are more into riting than rithmetic, so no STEM daughters for me. But, both well on their way to careers of their choice. Which is what is all about: women having choices.

        Fortunately, I hope, your daughter will have it easier. It's usually only pioneers that have to deal with the peckerheads.

        Once the guys figured out why they weren't getting dates, women in class didn't seem that bad. Go figure.

        A society is judged by how well it cares for those in the dawn of life, the children. By how well it cares for those in the twilight of life, the elderly. And, by how well it cares for those on the edge of life; the poor, the sick, and the disabled.

        by BobBlueMass on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 12:11:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  This reminds me so much (10+ / 0-)

    of my high school life in the late 70's. All the girls were pushed toward Home Economics and Secretarial Work and the boys were pushed into Engineering and other Technical trades.

    I wanted to be an engineer and later majored in Computer Engineering as an adult, but switched to business.
    But what if the guys wanted to be home makers and secretaries and the girls wanted to be Engineers?

    That was not happening...

    A proud “A” in GLBTQA...

    by Dancing Angel on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 08:54:34 AM PDT

    •  I took Home Ec and Physics, (5+ / 0-)

      Typing and Chemistry. And during my life, I've used what I learned in all of them.

      If I had to choose the most valuable, I'd choose Typing because I can type these words while thinking about the content and not about what my fingers are doing. Since I spend a lot of time putting my thoughts into written word, my all-girl Typing class has probably had the biggest impact on my daily life.  

      working for a world that works for everyone ...

      by USHomeopath on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 09:35:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Absolutely! Took 3 typing classes in HS (4+ / 0-)

        And the benefit it has been has been incredible to coding work.  I have touch typing comfort to the full keyboard, knowing the numbers and symbols has been indispensable.

        My male colleagues often marvel at the speed I can type.

        And for chatting online?  I use it every day!  I can get instructions out to a dungeon group on wow via chat faster than anyone else. :)

        One of the best investments of my HS time even though all those typing courses were geared to help you become  a secretary. lol!

      •  Heh. Saw that too -- we had one guy in our (3+ / 0-)

        typing class my senior year (you could take Typing I first semester, then II second semester; but when I tested at the end of I at 70 WPM, I took something else in the spring).

        He was headed for college and wanted to save some bucks typing his own papers.

        LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

        by BlackSheep1 on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 10:09:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Mid 1960s (2+ / 0-)

        Also took Home Ec and Chemistry but I refused to take typing (which my father encouraged me to take). I can't remember if there were any other girls in the Chemistry class - I sat on the first row right in front of the teacher. SHE always took time to answer my questions after class. How lonely it must have been for Ms. Miller to be the only female teacher in the Science department. After graduating from college, I took an evening course typing.

  •  Discrimination against women in technical (14+ / 0-)

    fields is just that men are so competitive that they cannot face a woman beating them. It is still prevelant today. My sister n law whom is very smart started out majoring in an engineering field at the University of Iowa. When one of the counselors told her she was just there to get her "MRS" degree she dropped out. She eventually got her degree in Computer Science from a private university but gave up on getting an engineering degree. Americans wonder why we are challenged in the global economy when we put sexism ahead of competence regardless of gender.

  •  I was carefully brought up (7+ / 0-)

    to accept any shit my family handed me, and nothing from anybody else.  A weird dynamic, but it did get stranger.

    My father appeared to be firmly convinced that his girls were smarter than his boys (not necessarily true), and - this was a real oddity at the time (mid 50s to early 70s) - if my sister and I got in trouble for doing something, our brothers got nailed for it, too.  None of that boys-will-be-boys shit in our house.

    I think Dad was convinced that I was the one of his kids who was going to change the world - and he was going to make sure I was perfect first.  All he really succeeded in doing was making me want to leave and never come back.  I decided that happy was more important, and I've managed that - now I think I'll consider how I should deal with changing the world.

    Strength and dignity are her clothing, she rejoices at the days to come; She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the law of kindness is on her tongue.

    by loggersbrat on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 08:55:51 AM PDT

  •  You Certainly Weren't Alone, Old Gaming Mama ... (17+ / 0-)

    Many, many of us women got "sidetracked" when we graduated from high school back then. Nowadays I can see that it was a case of "diminished expectations" where women were concerned. Cripes, I aced every math and science class I ever took. But did anyone ever encourage me to give engineering a try? Hah! My own father, a mechanical engineer, no less, never even implied that I could do great things with my life. His only concern was that I get a job that was good enough to tide me over until I got married!

    Well, I listened to him at first, much to my regret ... and got a degree in medical technology. And was bored to death within 9 months of my first hospital job.

    So I was 26, 27 when I went back to school for a civil engineering degree. I'll tell you, there were LOTS of women my age in my classes. In fact, we called ourselves "retreads". We'd failed to believe in our full potential when we left high school thanks to society's "diminished expectations" of us women. All it took for most of us to turn that around was a spoonful of deadend work and a heaping helping of anger at those who would hold us back.

    •  My ME dad was just the opposite (5+ / 0-)

      and KNEW I should be an engineer - not either of my younger brothers. I sidetracked myself just to be rebellious (oldest child). Got a Marketing degree, then went back 5 years later for my ME. Graduated Marketing with a low C. Graduated ME cum laude. Yeah, Dad was right. Now my daughter is acing her high school Engineering Academy (see my explanation at "true 70's story" above).  In the early 90's, ME students were about 15% women. Electrical was almost 50%! Now if we can get that whole pay equity thing fixed .....

  •  One thing jumps out at me (7+ / 0-)
    Many women at that time faced much worse than me.
    Is it really so different now?

    I'll believe corporations are people when one comes home from Afghanistan in a body bag.

    by mojo11 on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 09:14:47 AM PDT

    •  I think it is much better, yes n/t (3+ / 0-)

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 09:34:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes definitely (7+ / 0-)

      With all the crap I went through, when I did go back to college, my first software job starting in the early 90s was amazing.

      I had complete credibility, and I was working with mostly men.  There was not a wiff of being treated differently because I was a woman.

      I attribute much of that to the fact I was working with peers that were typically 9-10 years younger than me.  They had been raised in a different time and it showed.

      I had the misfortune of having an 'old-school' boss at a later company who clearly didn't trust my judgement because I was a woman.  But typically the younger folks just don't care.

      It's definitely better, there are still problems, but it is better.

      •  An interesting detail - I'm guessing you probably (2+ / 0-)

        know that computer science is about 85% male, if I remember correctly. One thing that I looked at, when I was thinking of changing careers is the pay gap between men and women. The pay gap in programming is not as high as it is for jobs that are more traditionally associated with women. I thought that was interesting. Recently, I tried to find that figure again to quote it, but couldn't.

      •  Glad to hear it (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        old gaming mama, kurt

        We're the same age (or at least graduated high school the same year) so we saw the same stages of social evolution -- just from different gender perspectives.

        I look at it from the point of view of a man who grew up in the 70s with the bra-burners and Billie Jean King and Virginia Slims (the Bic For Her pen of the pre-tobacco-ad-ban era).  And what I see, even now, is the still-unratified ERA, 23% pay disparity, the fact that Lily Ledbetter was even NEEDED, and the deluge of legislation that erupted over the last year targeting women and it doesn't seem to me like anything more than a thin veneer of equality laminated over the same old mindset.


        Perhaps our children's generation is more enlightened.  Maybe this actually IS the death rattle of the Grumpy Old White Men.  We can hope anyway.

        I'll believe corporations are people when one comes home from Afghanistan in a body bag.

        by mojo11 on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 11:59:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Oh yes, it's way better, just not perfect. (3+ / 0-)

      I'm a mom of bright, ambitious teenage daughters, one in college and one a high school senior.  They're in all honors classes, lots of math & science, and think that's perfectly normal.  Which, now, it is, thankfully.

      Sad part though, is that my younger daughter has a couple of friends, bright girls, who only want to go to college until they get married, and only want to work briefly before having babies, at which time they will quit work & stay home.  I only hope that once they get out into the world, they realize the importance of being able to support yourself and be independent, and the satisfaction that comes from that.

  •  I make it a practice to mentor and help raise the (8+ / 0-)

    self esteem of any girl or woman I believe has been deprived of that.  I see many young women today suffering the exact same kind of discrimination and abuse we did, but it's packaged differently.  Let's face it, we have to be 10 times better at everything than our male counterparts, and most of the time that isn't even enough.

  •  I was horrible in math (6+ / 0-)

    always have been.  But I tried my hardest in math.  Till one male math teacher told me, "girls just aren't good with math."

    Turns out it's not because I was a girl.  I was dyslexic.  

    If he had been just one tenth of a good teacher, he would have seen my struggles as a chance to help me actually learn and possibly have helped me get properly diagnosed, instead he played with his big man dick.

    How many other female students did he ignore?  

    I wasn't bad at math.  I just had a bad math teacher.

    "Love One Another" ~ George Harrison

    by Damnit Janet on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 09:42:10 AM PDT

    •  I suck at math now. Was great at it 'til (5+ / 0-)

      8th grade 'cause in 4th and 5th grade my dad, who had to quit school in Texas as a 3d grader, taught me to do the math his way: in my head.

      I had a 7th grade teacher who said it didn't matter if I got the right answer if I couldn't show my work on the page, and started flunking me.
      By the end of that year I sucked at all things mathematical, and still do.

      She put me into Algebra in high school anyway, and that was no help at all. I have a degree now -- an AS in Engineering Technology and a BA in English. But if I'd been able to treat math as just another language, the way I can Spanish or Fortran, I might've been way better off.

      Nobody makes you "show your work on the page" in Spanish class, or ESL, or even learning UNIX/VMS. (either it runs or it doesn't, and if it won't run, good freaking luck figuring out what's wrong on your own, hoss.)

      LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

      by BlackSheep1 on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 10:14:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My son is autistic (3+ / 0-)

        and very good with math.  Math he can do in his head.

        And you guessed it... he wasn't doing well in school because he couldn't do the assignments in paper, or on tests.  He has a hard time holding a pen (pencils don't work for him and at the time assistive technology was being fought in our podunk shithole of a school.

        But he can do amazing math in his head.  But can not tell you how much groceries should cost.

        Something is drastically wrong with our education system on so many levels...

        "Love One Another" ~ George Harrison

        by Damnit Janet on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 10:22:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I am glad you over came you experiences. (3+ / 0-)

    But I am sad that you had to live through them.

    I just don't get what makes some men act this way.

    I have spent most of my life in fields with a high ratio of women to men - foodservice, hospitality and library work. I think I just don't like the atmosphere in a male-dominated workplace or classroom. I took auto mechanics in high school - loved the workd, didn't like the company of many of my fellow students. I worked for a mechanic for about 6 months and never went back into it.

    The working poor haven’t abdicated responsibility for their lives. They’re drowning in it. -Ezra Klein

    by bubbajim on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 09:50:38 AM PDT

    •  I understand that. I feel most comfortable in (0+ / 0-)

      situations that are about equally divided between men and women. Once it tips too far one way or another, I start feeling out of place. I don't know why, but I feel out of place in female dominated situations as well as male dominated situations.

  •  similar but not as bad a story (8+ / 0-)

    i also took mechanical drawing as a junior, bored with all my college prep classes, and well, just curious. it seemed pretty cool. but i and a friend were the only girls in the class...i think, the class, and we both got some grief. we weren't really harassed, but just kinda left to flap in the wind like lepers. finally i dropped the class and went back to prep world.

    when my mom went to college she was dying to be an astronomer, but was told women don't do that. she became a medical technologist instead, and dug it, but it definitely wasn't her life's work. the stars were. it so, so, sucks that she wasn't allowed to pursue it.

    this is the world republicans want to go back to. those were the "good old days" to them.

  •  My sister graduated valedictorian (6+ / 0-)

    of her high school class in Memphis, TN in 1973. She was and still is brilliant in math. One of the female school board members came to her graduation to congratulate her. She remembers taking physics and the teacher gearing the entire class around the physics of car engines. She still got an A. She was first in her class but not asked to make the usual speech though she said she really didn't want to anyway.
     She is a very successful computer programmer/engineer!

  •  I'm going to follow you (8+ / 0-)

    so I don't miss one of these diaries. I want my daughter to know where we've been but I've got PTSD and have severe memory problems relating to my childhood. I'm so glad you're willing to share your story for us!

  •  I am so sorry, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rennert, Cassandra Waites

    your story just breaks my heart.  I have spoken up for others through out my life, because even as a male from a "middle class" family, i wasn't suppose to be "that good" in school. I am older than you and I am sorry I wasn't there to stand up for you.


    by longtimelurker on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 10:46:44 AM PDT

  •  You left out the part where (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Square Knot, Cassandra Waites, melo, kurt

    they pat you on the head and call you "Dear."

    I was told, in no uncertain terms and at various times by various people, that I could not become an archeologist, a pilot ("girls don't do that, dear"), a financier. Probably other early ideas, too, that I've now forgotten.

    How much talent and drive we waste in our society just by being obstructionist and trying to steer kids into pre-set patterns.

    "There are no Americans at the airport!" -- Baghdad Bob
    "I’ve got a very effective campaign." -- Mitt Romney

    by Mnemosyne on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 11:11:44 AM PDT

    •  It's critical for people to try to see... (4+ / 0-)

      What kinds of expectations are being foisted upon them, and even the ones they adopt themselves without realizing it.

      These damn things lead to unhappiness so often.  It's important to break free of them and set your own path and pursue what you love.

      I've always felt Richard Feynman's story about when he first became a college professor in "Surely you're joking Mr. Feynman" perfectly demonstrated the corrosiveness of these kinds of unconsciously adopted standards.

  •  facing them down (7+ / 0-)

    My mother was a medical student before WW2

    She had a set of lectures with one particular prof scheduled at 9 am

    If she was a minute or so late to the hall the prof would make sarcastic remarks like "who were you with last night young lady?"

    So one time she stayed over at the end of the lecture and told the Prof

    "if you ever do that again I'll come out from and kiss you and say 'why darling don't you remember?".

    'He just looked at her and said "The Devil! I think you would!"

    He behaved after that.

    Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.

    by saugatojas on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 11:16:12 AM PDT

    •  The class salutatorian... (3+ / 0-)

      ... from my school (we graduated in '64) went to college as a traditional student, signed up for pre-med, and if she asked a question in class the prof would say rude things like: "Well, if you had read the assignment...." and other snotty responses.  She had read it, in fact (she was very studious).  She started giving her questions to her lab partner, and when he asked her questions, the prof came up with complimentary comments like: "Good question, young man!"

      My friend eventually switched majors and became an English teacher at the high school level.

      My generation of women went on to do a lot of firsts (I was among the women who had occupations that were traditionally male dominated professions), but the crap we had to put up with was disheartening, to say the least.

      I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

      by NonnyO on Sat Nov 03, 2012 at 02:21:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  PS Wish I could rec you... (0+ / 0-)

      I'm reading and commenting too late so the Rec button isn't there.

      I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

      by NonnyO on Sat Nov 03, 2012 at 02:22:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My Mom and Dad met at work (3+ / 0-)

    she was in the drafting department
    he was in the machine shop .
    She drew the plans that he turned into objects .
    This was in the 50s .

    "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

    by indycam on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 11:25:10 AM PDT

  •  Changes with Time (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    old gaming mama, kurt

    That was terrible that you were subject to that.  I don't even grasp the mindset that produces that, which I count as a good thing.

    Not that it helps, because it's anecdotal, but only about 10 years later things had changed at least where I was.  I took drafting for a year as a freshman in high school in 1985 (mechanical and architectural like you.)  We had a girl in the class, in my year of school, and she was as encouraged and supported as everyone else.

    Granted... just one :-).  But she was supported in the choice.

    It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes. ~~ Douglas Adams

    by Remillard on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 11:27:24 AM PDT

    •  my experience as well (0+ / 0-)

      graduated HS 84
      took drafting and home ec and wood and metal shop in middle school problems that i noticed.

      I think I just missed it. Friends five yrs older report stories much like the diarist.

  •  Oh man old gaming mamma- (7+ / 0-)

    you KNOW these stories can go on forever -if we are a certain age, we all can match story to story - I remember that women could never announce they were pregnant because they would be fired.  I also have been told I was taking a job away from a man. It was accepted practice to be making far less than a man for the same job.

    I was lucky to have a father that thought I had a brain and I was sent to college. Many many girlfriends were not - it was considered a waste of money.

    You beat yourself up about that student teacher and why he influenced your life so much but the truth is - we all accepted that was the way it was - it took extraordinary gumption to do anything counter to the prevailing custom.

    And that's not even talking about the overt sexism - your features were compared to every other girl - too big thighs, too little breasts, not blond, too tall, on and on.

    That is why it is such a surprise to have this blatant war resurrected against women. If they control our time to have babies - or not - they control our lives. It is none of their friggin business. If this generation of women vote these hateful men (and there are some women as well) into such power, they simply do not know what they are in for. We do.

    And good for you to accomplish what you have done - I too was able to make a good salary doing what I did and there is NOTHING as empowering as that. Able to take care of yourself and your family, and in a man's world. Against the odds.  

    Keep constant watch on your mind. - Dalai Lama

    by redstella on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 11:36:13 AM PDT

    •  EXACTLY! (5+ / 0-)

      Or as my sons like to say "Indeed!" And omg don't get me started on the whole appearance thing.

      The worst part of that is how even when we logically reject these standards, the media and ever presence of them cause us to internalize them and evaluate ourselves by them anyway.  Ugh.

      When I see all the plastic surgery being done, boob jobs, etc. I rail about it.  It's horrible.

      But the control over our bodies, I sometimes talk about our existence being reduced to being a meat sleeve for f**king and birthing babies.  These men who would rule over our bodies and lives have no clue.

      I gotta avoid starting to rant on this stuff, lol.

      •  absolutely agree about the plastic surgery (3+ / 0-)

        In the feminist revolution and the hippie revolution, I taught myself to love me just the way I am and now that the way I am is looking alot older and thicker - well, how about that! I am just the way I am. I have really earned these wrinkles and this grey hair!

        Sometimes when people know how old I am they are surprised (?) and I always think or say - well, this is what  60 (or now I say 64!) looks like.  I will want to say - well, this is what 70 looks like or what 80 looks like. Is it that our society has lost track of what older age really looks like? All our old ladies have black or blond hair - really?

        Now, I know there are many ladies (and men) that will try to turn back time in how they look  - and that is fine - but I just want to be real. Not saying one shouldn't be as fit as you want to be - but wrinkles? and grey hair? - well, that is me.

        Keep constant watch on your mind. - Dalai Lama

        by redstella on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 12:09:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Are you married? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I dye my hair because (a) I'm 54 and totally grey, but more (b) because I'm single and whatever diminishing hope that I will attract a man will be destroyed if I go grey.

          I'm not ready to embrace "older age" because to me it's a sign that I've finally given up all hope of finding someone to eat dinner with every night.

          Why is it that a 3% tax increase for the wealthy is considered "socialism" and an 8% wage cut for the middle class is "doing your part"? MartyM

          by delphine on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 12:13:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm forty-six and going through the same sort (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            NonnyO, Cassandra Waites

            of questions. I recently stopped dying my hair. Actually, about a year ago, I went on a beauty strike, long story and not political enough to dairy here.

            I have a lot of platonic male friends and I know what a lot of them go through dating, so I can guess what the virtual strangers I meet are going through on their end. The thing I find most frustrating is realizing how many men would rather be alone than with a woman their own age. Every guy I know says, younger women date older men. And I say to them, think of the probabilty. You're sitting around alone waiting to get hit by lightening. This is the dating equivalent of trying to be a movie star by hanging out at Schwab's drugstore. Can it happen? Yes. What's the probability? Low.

            They all have a friend of a friend who's a total loser who snagged a gorgeous sweet wonderful twenty-five year old. Good for him, I say. Why are you alone, then? Alone, year after year searching for a woman under thirty-five. First they're forty. Then they're fifty. They're still single and looking for a woman under thirty-five.

            It doesn't matter what color my hair is because lying about my age is beneath me.

            •  I was at a birthday (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              celebration for someone that I'd met originally on a blind date (we didn't hit it off but remained friendly acquaintances).

              At the end of the night, I was sitting there and he was talking to a friend.

              "None of the cute girls came!" he said.

              The guy is about 40, and he can't see to stop salivating over 25 year old blond bimbos.  He has a million women friends his age.  I think a couple of them are actually interested in him as more than friends (I met them at the party).

              But none of them seem to register with him as dating material.

              I don't think he'll ever find someone  . . .

              Why is it that a 3% tax increase for the wealthy is considered "socialism" and an 8% wage cut for the middle class is "doing your part"? MartyM

              by delphine on Sat Nov 03, 2012 at 07:45:02 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  In a lot of ways that comment was really (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                redstella, delphine, old gaming mama

                unbelievable. I've had single male friends say thoughtless, hurtful and insulting things like that to me. I've stopped being even polite about it. One friend, he has his head so far up his ass in that way, I've started to distance myself from him. I can't make him understand why, as a single woman, his not so subtle message that women over a certaing age are worthless is bad for my mental health to hear on a regular basis. With some male friends, I've gotten fairly agressive in return. One friend, upon turning forty said, "It's okay because I can always date younger women." I turned to him and said, "Twenty-five year olds didn't want you when you were twenty-five. What's changed?" I know it sounds cruel, but why don't they realize that the things our male friends say to us are just as cruel. We shouldn't have to be emotionless automatons. They shouldn't be allowed to say that without some push back.

                I'm really trying to figure out what to do with this one friend, who has really been a close friend in the past. Why can't he be sensitive to my emotions on this subject? I suspect that when it comes to dating, he sees women as objects and objects don't have emotions. He showed me a couple profiles of women who had written to him on the internet. One he said that he though she sounded really great but he was ambivalent. She was well-educated (important to him), a professional (also important to him), a few years younger, socially progressive (again, important), what she wrote made her sound really interesting and nice. He showed me her picture. I said, "Boy, she's really pretty," which she was. He showed me another picture. "And what a great figure!" Why on earth aren't you writing. He told me "I don't know about the white hair." She had solidly white hair that makes me think that she must have gone gray prematurely. Dying it would probably be really difficult. But she had a sharp haircut. There was nothing "little old lady" about her. I realized something that day, my friend will never meet anyone. Smart, educated, pretty, good figure, nice, interesting - hey, but he needs perfection.

                I have no problem reinforcing the notion that most young women don't really want old men. First of all, you should have told him that what he was was tactless. He essentially to you that you weren't attractive, which, whether or not he bleives it to be true, is tactles and people don't say that.  Secondly, I'd say to him, of course they didn't come. They probably went to a party where they thought they could meet cute young guys their own age. Just say it. He'll gnash his teeth, but men can be deluded because no one contradicts them. When I was in my twenties, I had a thrity-something boyfriend who took me to fancy resaurants and twenty-something boyfriends for sex. When the thirty-something turned forty and proposed marriage, I dumped him. That's the harsh reality men don't want to hear while they're really eager to tell you the harsh reality that you're less attractive than you used to be. Yeah, if they're lucky enough to have a really good job and they don't mind spending money and it doesn't bother them that the young woman doesn't really like sex with them that much, they can snag a young chick. I could get any of my all-alone-at-fifty-five male friends a young woman. One one friend said, "Okay, what should I do," he balked at the first suggestion. "Hey, I don't want a gold-digger." No, they just want a pretty, smart, kind, educated, self-supporting, significantly younger woman who will truly love them for their superficial souls and despite their pot bellies, declining libidos, thinning hair, turkey necks, wrinkly faces, sagging scrotums and tight fists.

                Ironically, I find it's easier to get a date with a guy half my age than one who's my own age. They haven't yet gotten old enough to develop hang up about the subject. Try dating younger, and don't let nasty terms like "cougar" make you feel funny.

                •  I think you have nailed this! (3+ / 0-)

                  Ha ha ha - pretty frank talk but you get this! and funny too!


                  No, they just want a pretty, smart, kind, educated, self-supporting, significantly younger woman who will truly love them for their superficial souls and despite their pot bellies, declining libidos, thinning hair, turkey necks, wrinkly faces, sagging scrotums and tight fists

                  Keep constant watch on your mind. - Dalai Lama

                  by redstella on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 05:59:25 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  I dated a nice 35 year old, but he (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  started talking about having kids.  That sounds like more than it was - it was our 4th date, and he mentioned that he would like to have kids.

                  He didn't realize that I was just about to turn 50, and having more kids at that point was not even possible.

                  I had to tell him.  He said age was just a number.  

                  We didn't date anymore.  

                  He was a very nice man.  I hope he found someone because he will make a great husband and really sweet dad.

                  I know of a man through a friend who finally divorced his shrew of a wife.  He, of course because the universe likes to put this in my face, found a bunch of women to date.  (everyone gets hooked up about 3 minutes after their divorce, while I have been alone for a VERY long time - despite the fact that I look about 10 years younger or more than I am.)

                  The "main" woman he is dating is mid-50's.  She's already started talking about moving in together, after just a few months.  He's freaking out.

                  I totally understand her - grab the guy because your choices are so limited!!

                  But I can't deal with that.  I just can't grab onto the first guy who pays attention to me.  And I've been through a lot so I'm certainly not as open as I was in the past so it's hard to connect with people casually.

                  Honestly, though, I am actually surprised when men my age show interest.  I've been indoctrinated into the "more likely to get struck by lightening than find a man" club that believes that ALL men my age want younger women.

                  Nope.  Men my age that are real, that aren't superficial, that are kind, see the bellbottom girl they dated in high school, all grown up.  They talk about Neil Young and remember that drive-in theater? and how they used to have really long hair.

                  I just realized this is describes a specific person, who I need to go ask out for lunch asap.  =)

                  So while yeah, I was insulted by that jackoff but then I realized he was a loser that I wouldn't want to date anyway.   A guy at an online dating service - 60 years old never married, looks like fricken Lou Reed.  We were supposed to meet for coffee, he would call to confirm.

                  Never called.  He suddenly contacted me about a week later, 10:30 at night, asks me to meet him for dinner, dutch.

                  Uh, no.  I asked him why he didn't confirm coffee (remember I had not even met him in person!), he said "you didn't post additional photos".

                  He wasn't sure I was hot enough, I guess. Another loser that I (and every other woman, apparently) concluded was not worth my time.

                   I have been alone a long time.  It's finally dawning on me that it's a subconscious choice that I've made.  

                  (Maybe it's the thought of saggy scrotums, lol!)

                  Why is it that a 3% tax increase for the wealthy is considered "socialism" and an 8% wage cut for the middle class is "doing your part"? MartyM

                  by delphine on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 08:30:15 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Years ago... (3+ / 0-)

            ... when still in my 30s & starting to go grey, I used a rinse on my hair (the same brand I knew my mother used).  I didn't even leave it in the full time..., but my hair turned to brittle straw and it burned off a little patch at the top back of my head..., and didn't touch the gray hair.

            I had to wait until it grew out before I could cut it off short and I could have my normal nice-textured smooth hair back, but it was horrible to try to work with until then.

            So..., among all my other allergies and chemical sensitivities that I have to deal with, hair rinse is one of them.

            That was the first and last time I tried to color my hair.

            Luckily, my gray is the pretty silver gray of my father's side of the family & his siblings, including my aunt/godmother (Dad's sis; they both died the same day eight years apart) who was silver gray by the time she was 22, so I have no memory of her with any other hair color except through pictures.  Her hair was naturally wavy, she wore it short, and she was a pretty woman who loved to laugh and had a good disposition all the time.

            The silver looks stylish, and my hair is now almost all silver, where in my youth it was very dark brown (almost black) with dark auburn highlights in the sun (my Norwegian maternal gr-grandfather had red hair and a red beard until he died, and he passed varying shades of red hair or red highlights in all colors of hair to his descendants).  I prefer my dark hair, but I'll be darned if I'm going to suffer having it brittle and breaking and maybe bald patches from rinses or dyes, and I don't like going to beauticians.

            Mom's hair was an "awful yellow-gray" (her description) as she aged, so I understood why she resorted to rinsing her hair every few weeks.

            At 66 I just have to deal with the hair and the wrinkles and fat.  I don't much care about having anyone to eat with at night.  Most men I know are too boring.  I'd rather eat a quick hypo-allergenic meal and read or do something online or watch a movie online than talk with a boring human being over dinner.

            I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

            by NonnyO on Sat Nov 03, 2012 at 02:13:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I like human (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              beings.  At least from memory I think I liked having a human around who was into me.

              I've been to a zillion movies and read a zillion books.  I love to do those things.

              I can still do those things, in addition to having a meal with someone every once in a while.  

              Why is it that a 3% tax increase for the wealthy is considered "socialism" and an 8% wage cut for the middle class is "doing your part"? MartyM

              by delphine on Sat Nov 03, 2012 at 07:41:56 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  I love silver hair too (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              NonnyO, FourthOfJulyAsburyPark

              I have people stop me on the street and say - your hair is so beautiful - I like it but am always surprised and think - this is what you get for all these years of living! Silver hair!!

              My husband has beautiful silver white hair and when I see him from a distance it looks like he has a white halo around his head - love it!

              Keep constant watch on your mind. - Dalai Lama

              by redstella on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 06:15:52 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Yep - married (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            for 38 years now - I hadn't thought that was a part of my thoughts on being grey but maybe it is. I am 64 and I just want to be what I am - smart or stupid, lovely or ridiculous, with it or out of it, and yes grey - I have grey long hair (despite a hairdresser telling one time - last time I saw HER - 'you know - older women look better with short hair' - REALLY? guess what - I have LONG hair....- that's how the conversation went)

            I remember the shock of being 50's and feeling invisible - the younger guys (and olding men too) slid their eyes along and didn't register me there. It was shocking but then I realized how liberating that is. No longer being the recipient of casting-fishing-hunting casual lust. I realized how much of my life had been on guard in public for just that reason.

            So, I look at it as embracing who I am - not giving up hope. But then, I have a pretty wonderful man to have dinner with as well.

            Keep constant watch on your mind. - Dalai Lama

            by redstella on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 06:10:26 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  I agree (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I'm 48 and I don't dye my hair - I have some silver, but I just don't want to make it a different color that might not match my face and olderness.  

          "Those who can make you believe in absurdities can make you commit atrocities."

          by dancerat on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 01:03:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I'm so glad your putting these (10+ / 0-)

    stories out there and glad to hear your in your field at last.  Too many of us have been held back financially until more recently.  In my twenties I remember asking for raise only to be told "men need the money more, they have families."  Many other single/divorced women were also told the same thing.  The thing is, I was my own family trying to care for myself, and it was the stupid mindset that couldn't realize that I too needed to repair things, pay for doctor's appointments, and was financially alone to do the same things a man had to do.

    We were expected to get married and have a man support us because that was the group mentality in America at that time.  The end result is you have too many women who are now approaching retirement and not financially prepared to care for themselves in old age.  What is even more scary is that they also want to destroy the safety net.  The Republicans scream about dependency consistently yet our society and the people in it will always depend on something to survive whether it be a job, family, or whatever.

    Sometimes I think the Republicans think that if women are home with children the ecomony will get back to thriving with just men working, but that is crazy thinking because women have always had to work anyway if their husbands died or were sick or left them, etc.  

    "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolution­ary act. " George Orwell

    by zaka1 on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 11:48:17 AM PDT

  •  thanks for the good diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    old gaming mama, meralda

    this is on my mind as i send my daughter out into the world.

    -You want to change the system, run for office.

    by Deep Texan on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 11:55:35 AM PDT

  •  My story (4+ / 0-)

    Upon saying I wanted to go to architecture school (after having graduated with honors from UCLA), I heard this from one of my parents' friends:

    "That's a pretty lofty ambition for a young lady, isn't it?"


    Why is it that a 3% tax increase for the wealthy is considered "socialism" and an 8% wage cut for the middle class is "doing your part"? MartyM

    by delphine on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 12:10:52 PM PDT

  •  In 1975/76 I took Auto Mechanics class (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    old gaming mama

    my Sr. year in H.S.  I wasn't interested in pursuing that as a career (had already decided my preference for math should be put to use as a CPA), but needed an elective and wanted something useful.   I think I was one of only two or three girls in a class of 25 or so.  
      Fortunately, I never seemed to get pushback from the teacher the way you did.  I think he appreciated that I was at least paying attention in class and trying, while some of the boys were goofing off.  
      Alas, as a CPA I encountered all sorts of hard and soft discrimination from men, as well as some women who were trying to make sure they were going to be among the select few to break the metal ceiling.

    My Karma just ran over your Dogma

    by FoundingFatherDAR on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 12:14:22 PM PDT

  •  I wasn't allowed to take shop at all (5+ / 0-)

    I signed up for it, and got called up to the front of the auditorium in front of the whole school and they said girls couldn't take shop so they put me in home ec instead. Yuck.

    I was too embarrassed to tell my parents, who were not really shop-types but would have fought for my right to take it.

    This was in a very progressive school district in the early 1960s.

    I finally took an adult ed woodworking class in about 1979 and felt vindicated.

  •  I took Physics in my senior year of HS. (5+ / 0-)

    I wasn't laughed at or, to my knowledge, actively discriminated against. But my uniqueness - I was the only girl in the class - was certainly pointed out. The teacher would address us, in his most unctuous manner, "Gentlemen. and Pix." (He used a nickname for me.) It was more amusement than hostility, I think, and not without respect, but it was still pointing out that I was a novelty... Gentlemen... and Pix.

    We all understand that freedom isn't free. What Romney and Ryan don't understand is that neither is opportunity. We have to invest in it.
    Julian Castro, DNC 4 Sept 2012

    by pixxer on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 01:01:18 PM PDT

  •  Third grade band teacher to me (6+ / 0-)

    in front of the entire class when I raised my hand for wanting to play drums:  "We don't need any girl drummers.  Why don't you play the clarinet or violin?"    1975.

    Bank to my mother when she wanted to open an account to deposit her inheritance from her father:  "You can't open an account here without your husband."  Approx.  1967.

    "Put your big-girl panties on and deal with it." -- Stolen from homogenius, who in turn stole it from a coffee mug.

    by Mother of Zeus on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 01:25:41 PM PDT

    •  OMG! Me too (3+ / 0-)

      In 6th grade in the early 1960s my school (elementary + Jr. High) had a small music program.  We had to try out for the program. I wanted to try out on drums and was told that girls didn't play drums. By the way, your sig line is on a sticker which has been over my deck for some time.

    •  Me, too. The one thing I was told flat out I (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NonnyO, Cassandra Waites

      couldn't do and, because I was a girl, I couldn't eve try, was drums. Years later, in high school, I had a guy friend who played drums. One day we were at his house and his drum kit was there. I asked if he would teach me. He said, "If you suck my cock." It was so weird, I'll never forget it. He never talked like that. I basically took it to mean, girls don't do this.

    •  I didn't take band (2+ / 0-)

      Because I was told in 1970 that girls didn't play drums. My granddaughter graduated from high school in 2010.Because of learning and reading disabilities, thirty years ago she would have been stuck in a low paying menial job. However she was encouraged by her High School welding teacher to pursue a career in welding, she did and now has a good job and is self supporting.  I have been meaning to thank that teacher for encouraging her, I will do that this week.

      If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

      by texaslucy on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 07:26:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you so much (4+ / 0-)

    for reminding me of what we faced during that time.  it is hard to forget the bias women faced, even in "liberal" sf where I grew up.

    My classmate's sister was the first woman to join the sf police force, 1977 or so, and it was still years later that women were "allowed" to join the fire department (while it took years longer for anyone of Asian decent to be "allowed" to join.)

    There were few role models outside of administrative roles that women played, though DiFi was a leader during that time, and showed what women could achieve.

    Now I live in San Jose, once the bastion of breaking the ceiling, we elected the first women mayor of a large city, women made up half of our city council.....this was the 70's and 80's, and then we had another woman...but now?

    Our city council now has 3 women and seven men, which will become 8 men and 2 women after the next election (or nine to one).  

    As an activist in this area I am deeply disturbed by this turn of events and will be working on figuring out how we can get back to some equality in our political system.

    It truly is shocking, and I do feel like the clock is ticking backwards....

  •  I was in college in the late '60's (5+ / 0-)

    The Dean of Arts and Sciences asked my girlfriend who majored in engineering to switch to education.  He told her she could teach math to high school students.  But she didn't want to teach math to HS students.  She wanted to be an engineer.   Engineering students had to do 4 years of course work and one year as engineering intern for a local firm.  The Dean told the women students that he could not find them internships.  Eventually they all switched majors or schools.  

    Those of us who majored in business were expected to go out a become secretaries.   The sentiment at the time was women were to become teachers, librarians, nurses or secretaries.  Until we got married.  Then were supposed to stay home and raise children.

    But thanks to the feminist movement none of us got stuck in roles we didn't want.

  •  Wow, the memories (4+ / 0-)

    Nothing that bad ever happened to me, but I was born in 1961 and everything everyone is saying brings back memories of what that time was like. (Watching "Mad Men" will do it too.) Back when there was no such thing as a woman DJ on the radio; at career day one year I asked the DJ why there were no women, and he said, "C'mon, you wouldn't really want to hear a woman's voice on the radio, would you?" That must've been around 1978. I'll never forget the first time I heard a woman DJ, someone called Strawberry Jan in the San Francisco Bay Area. I could hardly believe I was hearing right.

    So many things back then were just taken-for-granted as male-only domains. Looking back, it seems like another planet, but it was where a lot of us grew up.

    Please visit:

    by Noisy Democrat on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 02:31:39 PM PDT

  •  I started school in '72, (4+ / 0-)

    and never faced any sort of discrimination at all. I never even realized that it had been a problem so recently. So, on behalf of all of us who were lucky enough to not share your experiences, THANK YOU, to all of you who stood up to your parents, your teachers, and the government to get things changed. My daughters and I are in your debt. And we will NOT go back.

    "The Democrats are the lesser evil and that has to count for something. Good and evil aren't binary states. All of us are both good and evil. Being less evil is the trajectory of morality." --SC

    by tb92 on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 02:35:23 PM PDT

  •  Like "White Only" water fountains and (4+ / 0-)

    all-white advertising .... they seem like strange tales that couldn't possibly be real. Watching the original "star trek" now it just seems to fit in (cast-wise) with any other show on TV today but back then it was viewed as unnatural and socially dangerous. I believe it was blocked on several Southern TV outlets.
    Parallel to this, kids under 20 can't imagine anyone carrying luggage around -- like we've had those wheeled bags with handles forever.

    Ash-sha'b yurid isqat an-nizzam!

    by fourthcornerman on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 02:39:29 PM PDT

  •  In high school in the early 70s, my friend (5+ / 0-)

    and I were the first two girls to enroll in the graphic arts class.  Yeah, graphic arts.  Who would have thought?  But at the time, it was more industrially oriented - photography, of course, but also printing and silk screening.  So, it was considered a more artsy shop class.  We had to beg, cajole and grovel to our guidance counselor to allow us to enroll. He was convinced we would withdraw from the class within a week.

    The guys in the class were great, even with the inevitable dark room jokes.  Our teacher was awesome and accepting.  Only the school's administration had a hissy fit over our choice, and they were dumbfounded we stayed the course.  So we blazed the trail for numerous young women who followed.  

    That which you manifest is before you - Enzo: "The Art of Racing in the Rain"

    by StateofEuphoria on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 02:45:23 PM PDT

  •  You and I are not that far apart... (6+ / 0-)

    I too was told that I did not belong..whether it was in a field I was interested in, or sports I loved to play. As a kid, and pretty much up through my early adulthood, I excelled at sports. I mean, I excelled.
    But this was before Title IX. When I tackled a kid playing back yard football, he was humiliated for being tackled by a girl. And though I was almost better than every boy on the block in baseball, I wan't allowed to play. They even acknowledged my prowess..."Gee. You're good. You could play on our Little League team're a girl."
    I continued to play sports, mostly softball, even as an adult in corporate leagues in NYC. Lots of times we'd play pick-up on gorgeous fields not far from the famed Tavern on The Green. One of my friends, also a softball whiz, and I would take our normal positions at short (her) and third (me). And then some guy would come and stand, literally, right in front of us. "Ah, excuse me, but I'm playing here." At which point, the guy would get in a huff and swear at me (or her) and stalk off. Guess we hurt his feelings (poor baby).
    I landed a job at a famous sports magazine (yeah, that one) and just before my first day there was the annual magazine vs UPI game. Since I was not quite officially attached to The Magazine yet, I was sort of up for grabs. The guys in charge of The Magazine laughed and chose someone else (a guy) to fill out our team. The UPI  coach (who was also our coach on a women's team) knew me and not only chose me but put me at third - unheard of as NO ONE puts a girl at third when there are guys around (duh! You put girls at second base or right field! where they can't hurt you.). Well, suffice it to say, every guy on The Magazine team started out by trying to "hit it at the girl". LOL! Good one! I sucked up every ball and threw them all out. Justice!
    Even at The Magazine, women's views were never accepted. you could propose a story in a group (mostly men - it was, after all, a sports magazine) and be shot down, only to hear your idea given in the weekly meeting the net day to huzzahs all around. And don't even get me started on the soft core porn that was the annual swimsuit issue!
    Women rarely get their due. Even today, all these years after Title IX was passed, women are still considered "lesser" beings.
    I know progress moves in cycles. IMO, it's usually black men then gays then women (see emancipation - blacks freed, but only the men got to vote), then various gay advances, then women get the right to vote. In the 1900's, we had the civil rights movement, then Stonewall, then the Women's Revolution. More recently, we elected a black man as President of the USA, gay marriage is moving forward and DADT was repealed. And now, with all the crap going on about women's rights in regards to their bodies I feel we're on the verge of another Women's Revolution.
    I wonder if soon, hopefully very soon, we might even be able to pass the ERA!!!

    Isn’t it ironic to think that man might determine his own future by something so seemingly trivial as the choice of an insect spray. ~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring ~

    by MA Liberal on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 07:37:58 PM PDT

  •  It was perhaps a blessing that (5+ / 0-)

    the first remark like that was said to me when I was very young, still in grade school. "You know, boys don't like girls who are too smart."

    All I could think was, So? Who cares? Because at that time, I wasn't the slightest bit interested in boys.

    That feeling and response stuck strongly with me into the days when I was interested in dating boys. I'm thankful that wasn't said to me when I was 16 and there was a chance  that I'd have actually cared.

  •  we need these stories (5+ / 0-)

    And the newer stories -- to anyone who thinks this sort of thing has ended, it hasn't, though it's gotten much better.  Much, much better.  Just not even close to all the way gone, either.  

  •  Commencement speechs cancelled in 1967 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NonnyO, Carol in San Antonio

    The two students were tied for the highest GPA so both qualified for valedictorian. Both were male. The next student, who would have been salutatorian, was female. There were no no speeches from students at graduation that year, nor acknowledgments at graduation of the valedictorians or salutatorian.

    •  1964... (3+ / 0-)

      Both the valedictorian and salutatorian were girls.  Both gave speeches.

      I seem to remember that we had an extraordinary number of girls in classes before and after ours where the girls were the top students.

      I don't know how anyone felt about that, and I was always neutral about it because both the girls who got the top honors in my class were friends of mine.

      I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

      by NonnyO on Sat Nov 03, 2012 at 01:29:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm so very happy (5+ / 0-)

    you did go on and get your degree. That success is very important and so is telling your story to encourage other women.

    My experience was similar but with some surprising differences. The instructor who turned my heart to a stone that took me years to chisel free was my jewelry instructor, and she was female. I actually underwent nearly a year of counseling to pull myself out of the pit of self-loathing she pushed me into. I went on to become a good jeweler and I had several productive years, a couple of invitational exhibitions and many happy clients before depression finally wore me out. Conversely, my geology professor encouraged me to go on and get my bachelor's in geology so I could go on in igneous petrology, but his wife--the math instructor--knew I couldn't do it because of my inability to understand algebra. I took two semesters of non-credit remedial math before I passed; I was asked to drop out of remedial algebra in the 3rd week because I was hopelessly lost. I sometimes wistfully wonder what I could have become if the depression would have been diagnosed early and I would have had gentle math tutoring instead of the yelling and tears I dealt with. Oh well. Thanks for the success story.

  •  Drums are for boys. (5+ / 0-)

    I am 51.  When I was in 5th grade I was so excited to get to join band.  I decided on drums because my grandfather was the only relative I knew that played any instrument at all and he played the drums.

    It was such a big deal they called my parents to have a meeting!  My Mom was super progressive and basically told the school to back off.  Long story short I was the first girl drummer at my public school, the teacher ignored me and I dropped out of band after a year.  

    It wasn't a big deal to be a girl in drums after that.

  •  This reminds me of "Mrs. S". (5+ / 0-)

    Thank you for your recent diaries, Old Gaming Mama. I've found them very insightful, and the comments that you have inspired have been incredible to read.

    I want to share a brief story from my own life.

    I went to a very small rural high school in central Washington state in the mid- to late-1980s. You'd think that vocational choices in terms of gender would have been more open at that time, and I'm guessing by reading comments that they were in many places, but not in my school.

    I aspired to be a business professional, and therefore signed up for all of the business-related courses I could take. Three years of typing (I think they call it keyboarding now - we used those old IBM Selectric typewriters with the metal ball), three years of accounting, a class called Office Procedures where we did a mock administrative office for a corporation - I really immersed myself in it.

    Then there was FBLA - I don't know if they still have that, but it was a business-related vocational club - Future Business Leaders of America. We participated in various business knowledge competitions against other schools advancing from the local, regional, state and eventually to the national level. The top two or three competitors at each competition got to advance to the next one and it was incredibly competitive. I loved it.

    Anyway, our business ed. teacher was a very smart and talented woman. I'll call her Mrs. S. An excellent teacher, really. The only problem was that she clearly did not want boys in her classes. She'd argue with boys who tried to sign up for her classes saying that they were meant for girls, and most of them backed down. Mrs. S was the only business ed. teacher at our small school so we didn't have any other choices. Either stand your ground if you wanted to take the class, or don't take it at all. I remember only one class where there was another boy in my class (Typing I). Otherwise, it was just me in a classroom full of girls.

    Mrs. S used to come up to my desk in typing and stand right over me during drills and shout at me when I made mistakes in front of the entire class. She'd say that boys just weren't as good as girls at typing, bookkeeping, you name it. She would tell the entire class that if it was her choice, I wouldn't be aloud to take her classes because it was "unfair" to the girls who wanted to take her classes because "everyone knew" that they were for girls, and I was ruining it for everyone.

    She also used to have regular times - every two or three weeks - when we'd show up for class and she'd say, "we're not going to have regular class today - today is 'rap session' day so put away your books and let's just talk. That is, us girls. YOU will have to sit out in the hall while we go in the back of the room and have our rap session for girls only." I always wondered what they were talking about.

    Finally, she was also our FBLA adviser. She got to choose who would compete in which competitions, and there was one particular "prestige" competition that everyone vied for: Job Interview. It sounds silly now, but it was a really big deal to us. I asked for two years if I could compete and she refused to let me, picking her "pet" girls instead, none of whom ever won a single time.

    Then in my junior year, we showed up for school in September and learned that she had taken a sabbatical for that year. Her replacement for the year didn't treat the boys or girls any differently, and I was chosen on merit to compete in Job Interview. Low and behold, I won all of the competitions and even placed in the top ten in the state!

    The next year, our old teacher returned. I was ready to make my senior year a great one and get that big prize at the state competition that I yearned for in Job Interview. And what did she do? She forbade me from competing and chose two girls to represent our school instead.

    My mom got really angry and marched over to the school and demanded an explanation. Mrs. S was forced to relent because I was clearly qualified for the competition and I was allowed to compete along with one girl to represent our school.

    I won the local competition against 5 other schools. Then I won first place at the regional competition! I was so excited to go to state in Seattle and try to win! Mrs. S was furious and refused to help me prepare. The day of the annual state conference in Seattle came, and we all went to the big city.

    I was nervous, but somehow things just seemed to go my way and I felt like I was doing well. I wasn't sure if I'd win, but I knew I had a chance after the big smiles on the judges faces. Then the scores were posted. I was stunned - I WON first place in the entire state! I couldn't believe it! All that was left was the big awards ceremony!

    But Mrs. S wouldn't have it. She actually went to the judging room and pulled out my cover letter, resume and file folder (each competitor had to submit these materials in addition to the three mock interviews) and said that the folder was made of the wrong kind of paper and I should be disqualified! I kid you not! She said the rule book required that the folder be a "plain manila folder" and mine had a blue stripe on it so it was against the rules. Yes, she actually went after one of her own students - she was my adviser and refused to help me. If the folder was a problem why didn't she tell me? Why hadn't it disqualified me in the past?

    The state judges coordinator came to me and broke the news - she said she was shocked by what happened, it wasn't fair and she'd never seen anything like it but in the end she couldn't go against the wishes of my own adviser. Mrs. S got her way. I was disqualified.

    Everyone, including the girls in my business ed. classes, were disgusted. Finally, one of my friends asked her point blank why she did it and she said, "I told him boys don't belong in my classes and it was unfair to the girls who wanted to compete."

    I'll never forget it. I often wish I could show her that I became a success despite her and got my wish to be a business professional.

    I know it is not the same thing as what happens to women in the workplace, or in vocational education - especially in the past - but I wanted to share that story because I see it a little differently that you might expect.

    Although I'll never know, I think Mrs. S probably got treated badly by a teacher who tried to keep her from taking classes because she was a girl. It colored her perspective when she became a teacher herself, and I suppose she decided to make it so that the girls wouldn't go through what she went through. It's a sad thing, but treating boys and girls differently can have some strange and unintended consequences.

    I've always treated women who work with me or work for me as equals. My business partner is a woman - she's wicked smart and I'd be lost without her. That's the lesson I took away from Mrs. S.

    She was also the

    •  Don't feel funny about being mad. I don't think (4+ / 0-)

      it's any less unjust if it happens to a man. Many men I know in non-traditional fields suffer from discrimination, too.

      •  The worse part. (2+ / 0-)

        I had to go back to school and finish my third-year accounting class with her. She came to me on graduation day while I was waiting to march into the gymnasium and give my valedictory speech and tried to shake my hand. I refused to shake her hand and walked away, and of course she made a point of telling one of my favorite teachers who came to me afterwards to tell me how inappropriate I had behaved. I thought, "Wow. This is my big day and she just had to get in one final dig." Fast forward 20 years and I got a call from an old classmate inviting me to a 20-year class reunion dinner at Mrs. S's house! I said,  "You've got to be kidding me! I'd love to come home for a few days and see you guys but I'm not going to her house to do it." All that buried anger came rushing back after 20 years and I was surprised how much it still bothered me. Weird, huh?

        •  No, not weird. There was a high school teacher who (0+ / 0-)

          gave me a bad grade for refusing to have sex with him. It didn't matter at that time because I'd already been accepted to college. My previous grades in the other three of the four quarters were A (another teacher, she left mid year due to pregnancy) so the average wan't that bad, anyway. As a student, you're totally powerless to do anything about that. It's your word against his an no one believed students back then. Years later, I saw him in the Port Authority bus station in New York, verbally abusing a homeless man. I didn't hate him any less at that moment either.

  •  Musical instruments (6+ / 0-)

    When I was in 5th grade (in the early 70s), it was time to chose my musical instrument.  My choices were flute or clarinet, as everyone knew that those two were the girls' instruments.  I really wanted to learn saxophone, but that was out of the question.

    So I chose flute because the weird girl on my bus played clarinet and I didn't want to be like her.  (Don't get me started on how cruel even 'nice' kids can be to each other...)

    The next year, Pebbles moved to the school. The problem?  She had already started learning to play the saxophone in her previous school, so the band teacher had to let her continue.  It caused quite a bit of consternation, I can tell you.

    When I got to high school (9th grade), I joined the band and found Antoinette, from another sending district, playing the trumpet.  Boy, was I shocked!  She did a decent job, though.

    In 10th grade I got asked to be the drum majorette.  Wow, I thought!  Fantastic!  What an honor!  

    Then they showed me my costume, which was a spangly, sparkly one-piece leotard with fingerless gloves to the elbow.  No way.  I refused and caused quite a ruckus, but they ended up buying me a proper uniform with a short skirt like the other girls', so my skills and not my legs and boobs were on display.  I was the first drum majorette to stand in dignity at the head of that marching band, and I did it for 3 years. I also started calling myself the drum major, not drum majorette.  It wasn't a popular decision, but they got used to it.

    Old lessons die hard.  When my daughter asked me two years ago (in 7th grade) if she could play the trumpet, I felt so incredibly happy for her.  I tried to explain why I was so emotional about it, but she simply couldn't understand.

    But even today, when I sit in the audience at her band concerts and see a couple of boys playing the flute, I can't help but think them unmanly.  I'd never say a word to anyone, but I have to fight my own thoughts.  Old, in-grained habits die hard.

    Thank goodness things have changed for the better.

    But we haven't changed enough yet.  Let's never give up the good fight.  

    Saxophones for girls!  Flutes for boys!

    "He has a right to criticize, who has a heart to help." ~ Abraham Lincoln

    by harchickgirl1 on Sat Nov 03, 2012 at 12:57:55 AM PDT

  •  Freaky similarities (4+ / 0-)

    We are of a similar age, I was invited as the first female in community college to take drafting, and I ended up with a degree in mathematics.  

    I will now go back and read your diary on wearing dresses to school.  I recall the lifting of that rule when I was in junior high school, followed by a new rule on just what constituted allowable pants for girls.

    It wasn't until after I graduated high school that the gym and health classes stopped being segregated by gender and girls could start taking shop classes (and boys start taking home ec classes).

  •  thank you for writing these. I was growing up in (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NonnyO, Carol in San Antonio

    Michigan in the late 60s through the 70s, and I remember too the pants with dresses, although for some reason it was only a warmth thing that we shed along with mittens hats coats and boots. But it was also true that we didn't actually have to wear dresses, they just still were there as half of my wardrobe so I did if I felt like it. Same country, different attitude- even though that would have been right about 1970, and I was going to a beautiful, multicolored, modern-carpeted, multi-cultural elementary school, named after some famous guy, although at the time I had no idea who Martin Luther King, Jr. was...
        Title IX was good for me and my cohort too when we moved to NH, so all along I feel like I have been lucky myself, always managing to ride the wave that was still churning for others. But I consider myself among the last of the baby boomers, born a month after someone shot Kennedy.  

    What will the next generations bring us? Real Change?

  •  Anyway (6+ / 0-)

    I was lucky in Catholic high school in the sixties (graduated in 1968).  We were taught by nuns, so our female math and science teachers expected exactly the same from the girls and the boys.  Our high school prided itself on 100% of graduates going on to college, so the only girl who got flack was the one who insisted she didn't want to go.  These were my formative years, so I had a good reservoir of confidence when I graduated.

    Fast forward to college and real life.  My freshman college roommate was denied the scholarship she won and it was given to the 2nd placer, a boy, because "women should stay home and raise babies."  (Fortunately, her parents had money, so she got her education anyway.)  

    In my first job out of grad school, I hand-carried the resume of a woman friend who was getting her Ph.D. into a department that required one, and was told, "No thank you, we already have a woman." (Fortunately, she got a good academic job anyway.)

    Once I was working, I took up flying, and got remarks like, "Since when did they paint the sky pink?"  (Fortunately, I found several female flight instructors, and went on to become a flight instructor anyway.)

    A slightly older friend-of-a-friend went into academia and was denied tenure.  The word went around that "the department had a hard time getting around her two books and fifteen publications, but they managed to maneuver her out."  (Fortunately, she marched across the street and got a job as a stockbroker the very next day and did quite well for herself anyway.)

  •  God, I hate that kind of story. (6+ / 0-)

    … But oh, how I understand it. At least you were allowed to take drafting. I wasn't. Had to to take cooking and sewing, when I wanted to take wood shop and metal shop and such. (I'm a tad older than you are.)

    So sad that you were bullied by that asshole.

  •  I'm shocked to learn (4+ / 0-)

    that this was done to you in 1977. I took drafting and architectural drawing classes in college in the late 60's and no one ever implied that I shouldn't be there. IIRC, there were a fair number of women in those classes.

    However, I can tell you that at my first post-college job, in 1969, I wasn't sent home, but was given a very stern warning for coming in wearing pants, a long-sleeved shirt and a vest, rather than a pants suit. We were also required to wear hose with skirts. And this was in a textile design studio, not a bank!

    "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."........ "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." (yeah, same guy.)

    by sidnora on Sat Nov 03, 2012 at 11:07:21 AM PDT

  •  I majored in Physics, and I was physically abused, (3+ / 0-)

    not just psyched out.  My lab partner picked up a laser and shone it directly in my eye.   I have a hole in that retina, which I can't prove was caused by that incident, but likely was.  The other eye is fine.

    I was picked up and thrown head first off a bus that took graduate students to campus from the graduate living center after I finally managed with help from a friend to board the bus.  The men who did this to me would yell at me all the time that women shouldn't be studying physics. They wouldn't let me on the bus for months, prior to the incident, by shoving me and pushing me, thus, I had to walk through woods, in which I was told a woman was raped and killed by a serial killer, to get to class.

    A professor erased my answers on a re-test (he threw out the results of the first test, on which I did very well and the rest of the class did poorly), and he threatened to fail me on my prelim, an exam I would never get back, that I had to pass to get my PhD, if I remained at the university to get my PhD.  When he realized that I was applying elsewhere, he told me he had friends in all the programs and I wouldn't pass anywhere.  When I got to grad. school, I discovered his good friend taught there, and he was in charge of my prelim.  He told me and two other women that in order to pass, we had to see him (he regularly harrassed us when we went to his office, so 2 of us didn't go, and found out later that he told people what was going to be on the exam, which put us at a tremendous disadvantage).  The prelim is an exam that unlike the med boards and law boards can be administered unfairly, and I saw that not only was the prelim used to prevent women from getting their PhDs if they didn't do the bidding of the professor, it was also used to unfairly pass people who were unprepared to pass.  This happened with another friend of mine, who told me that this same professor and another professor told him that they passed him, even though he actually failed.  They told him that he would have to help students in future to get jobs.  

    Women now constitute 50% of medical doctors, because the test that they need to pass to succeed is administered fairly.

    In order to get more women PhDs in this country, we need to do away with the prelim and have national exams like the med boards, which are administered fairly.  If a fair national exam were administered, misogynists and discriminatory people could not use it to disqualify people they are biased against or help people who they are biased to help.

    What you said about how the misogynist teaching assistant who psyched you out and tried to kill your love/enjoyment of technical drafting, at which you excelled, likely committed the same crime (and, yes, to harrass and bully you was a crime) against other women hit a chord with me.  

    I think about all the victims of pedophiles who couldn't get justice until they grew up.  I don't compare what happened to me to their pain, but my career was successfully damaged by a few evil men, and I doubt I was the only woman who they mistreated.  

    When these victims told what the preditor did to them, at first, they were called liars, but then as more and more men told their stories,  it was evident that they were telling the truth.

    I would love to create an organization where women could share these stories, and I would love to institute fair "prelims" that are administered nationally, not subject to the machinations of a few evil professors.

    Information is the currency of democracy. ~Thomas Jefferson

    by CIndyCasella on Sat Nov 03, 2012 at 11:39:08 AM PDT

  •  Please recommend this diary! (5+ / 0-)

    so more will see it.

    Most younger people i know do not realize what it used to be like for women.

    So when they hear anti Female stuff it does not alarm them as much.

    I just missed it 1977 I was  finishing grade school not in  Jr/Sr. High like the diarist
    I was six when Title Ix came down. It was normal to take shop class (drafting, metal wood) in my Jr. High and for boys to taking cooking...though there we less girls in shop there were several--more than I. No flack from teachers around that.
    my theory is that Title nine changed everything for girls in school. Because I did not experience anything like this but my friends more than five yrs older than I did.

  •  In fifth grade (4+ / 0-)

    My teacher was an elderly religious Catholic woman who had definite ideas about how girls and boys were supposed to behave. This was in the mid-1970's. By the time we started at the school, the girls were allowed to wear pants (and generally wore dresses only on the first day of school and picture day), and things were generally, in her eyes, going to hell in a hand basket.

    I ran into her the day before I started my sophomore year of college. I was attending the state land-grant college, and when she discovered this fact, asked in a very nasty way "Are you going to be the farmer's wife?!?

    "A biochemist, actually," I said, and walked away.

  •  I hope things have changed a LOT... (4+ / 0-) the sciences by now. My 12 y/o daughter is obsessed with math/sciences and just announced her intention to become a mechanical engineer and specialize in nanotechnology. I sincerely hope any moron who wants to give her shit about this has enough sense to give her a wide berth. She may be tiny, but she suffers no fools and doesn't take anyone's guff. Which makes me immensely proud as her mom.

    "Reality divorced the wingnuts after the wingnuts were discovered to be fucking goofy." - DWG

    by Jojos Mojo on Sat Nov 03, 2012 at 12:51:59 PM PDT

  •  I started working (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    old gaming mama

    as an accountant at a big CPA firm in 1979. Luckily I had a father who said we girls could do anything and we should go to college. I was just of an age where women were being hired equally with men, but anyone could see in the management ranks that women were thin, and in the partner ranks they were non-existent.  Many reasons for this, but mostly it was still new for women to be treated equally in the workforce, and also the work demands were very incompatible with family life.

    In the 80's and on, many strides were made in advancing women in professions like mine. I'm 55 now, and overall have been very lucky to live and work in the times we've had, thanks to the sacrifices of many brave women before us.  I have financially supported our family of four, including my husband, for all of these years.  He did househusband duties and I'm proud of his contributions to our family, too.

    By the time we got to the 90's or so, Dr. Laura was teaching that feminism is an enemy, and Limbaugh (that unmitigated prick) was actually linking Femi with Nazi, and many young women seemed to think that Feminism meant being un-feminine and hating men.

    No.  No.  No.  Just no.  We cannot go back, we owe our predecessors and the men who supported us too much.  We can't write off half of our population or condemn them to second class status.  It's not productive, smart, or good for anyone, men or women.  We will not go back.

  •  i was there too (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    old gaming mama

    in the early 1980s, i was the first girl to take shop in my school.  it took multiple meetings between my parents and the school principal for me to get special permission to take shop instead of home-ec.  The first day i walked in and the teacher said "what can i do for you dear."  That was thirty years ago, but as I type this, I can feel how panicked I was then.  I thought--oh no, this is going to be a LONG semester.  But my experience was nowhere near as bad as yours.  Sorry you had such a rough time of it.  Very glad you are so amazing now--success (and voting) is indeed the best revenge.

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