Being a Confident Woman in a “Man’s World”

madsteps“You’re a good man, Kush. I don’t care what your mother says.” I thought my Muslim friend would understand that I was joking, but apparently his mom does get on his case quite a bit, because he started defending himself. “No, no, I was kidding, your mom never told me you weren’t a good man.” He kept defending himself.

In America, the perception of Muslim women is that they are abused and crushed down and we should drop bombs on their country to liberate them. I wonder if the Muslim women have gotten the memo? For example, I was watching a documentary about Bin Laden’s driver, who was arrested for “material aid to a terrorist” and “rehabilitated” in jail. The camera crew went to his home where apparently his family was planning a cookout.

His wife stood, hands on hips, and immediately started upbraiding him for something in a language I don’t understand. The body language, however, was eloquent. The ex-terrorist slinked away from the encounter defeated. I don’t mean to minimize the cruel insanity of woman-crushing around the world. I mean to suggest that women aren’t all weak victims.

Having grown up with four brothers and 12 male cousins, I am an expert on this subject. Until puberty kicked in, I was as physically strong or stronger than they were. After puberty I was just smarter than they were. Girls were not allowed to play in Little League in those days and I was a slugger. A group of boys begged the coach to let me on the team. No. Can’t she put her hair up under the cap? Who would even know? No. The boys weren’t budding feminists, they just wanted to win. I was not offended, I figured it was their loss and I had better things to do anyway.

I was reading Jared Diamond’s “Guns, Germs and Steel” and he mentioned that the only animals that could be domesticated were those that already had a social hierarchy. The bull leads the herd of bovines, for example. Having grown up on a farm, this was a surprise to me. I NEVER saw a bull lead a herd of bovines. I doubt that males lead any herds of livestock. Every leader of cows, goats and sheep I’ve observed was a female, usually an older female.

In the pasture across the street, the farmer kept young heifers. When he introduced a bull to the herd, do you imagine the bull strutted in and the heifers submitted to his magnificence?  Au contraire! They approached the newcomer and spent half the day pushing him around the field until he was totally demoralized and knew his place. I felt sorry for the bull, but he would make a lousy leader. He did stupid things like wander off to bellow at passersby, throwing dust up over his back in a threatening manner. The cows ignored this foolishness and kept grazing.

I like men. I like my brothers and cousins. I also like being a woman and refuse to take the role of victim. Fight back if someone tries to put you down. Smarts and inner strength beats biceps every time.


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