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Thursday, September 9, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 13

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Growing up to be our parents, not!

By Margaret Mitchell

When your mom and dad became parents so many years ago, they probably had visions of what you would look like and what you would be like.

Whatever that vision was is very likely not what you are today. I know for a fact that my mother would never have imagined having a 31-year-old secretary/college student/single mother and a 29-year-old bagpiper.

But she wouldn't trade us for the world. And I'll bet your folks wouldn't, either (no matter what they might say).

In the not-so-distant past, people were brought up to see boys and girls in certain ways. Remember the old nursery rhyme:

What are little boys made of? Frogs and snails and puppy dog tails. That's what little boys are made of.

What are little girls made of?

Sugar and spice and everything nice. That's what little girls are made of.

Things are a lot different today.

I learned a lot of things from my mother. She made me take typing classes so I could type my own papers. She sent me to driver's ed so I could learn to drive the "right way."

She took me to see symphonies, operas, ballets and plays so I could decide for myself what I liked. But the one thing my mother never taught me was how to be a "girl."

My mother never taught me how to wrap my hair in a bun, or put on makeup or shop for the trendiest clothes.

She never encouraged me to be a meek little mouse who never raises her voice because it's not ladylike. She never told me I couldn't do something because I am a girl.

Now, this is not the relationship every girl has with her mother. Many mothers still teach girls how to be "girls." They spend time instilling the values of good hair and how to properly apply makeup.

Also, there are some who still believe that girls, like children, should be seen and not heard. Or that girls are put on this earth to serve and never to be served.

That's not to say that my mother and I never related in ways only girls do, like telling me honestly that my butt looks big in a particular skirt, or that a color does not suit me, or "Gee, your hair looks like hell today."

As women's roles have changed over the past two decades, so have attitudes. Attitudes of both women and men. Today, women work in the government, in the military and in nearly every kind of job and sport.

Today, most men understand that women won't put up with a lot of the crap that would have been overlooked just a few short years ago.

There is still, however, a huge double standard in the way society sees women.

While we can all get behind the U.S. Women's Soccer Team for winning the World Cup or our own Houston Comets and their three-peat, the support seems to disappear when it comes to equal pay for equal work because nobody wants to rock the boat.

The idea that women can be strong and have the courage to say things that are not strictly status quo is one that does not sit well with many people.

Just look at Hillary Clinton -- so many people hate her guts because she has had the courage to say what she believes in. You may not agree with her beliefs, but that's not a reason to get nasty about it.

The fact is, whether you find it wonderful or not, women are an integral part of society and will continue to have an impact as long as we are in society -- so deal with it.

And to those who would like to go back to the days of sugar and spice, my suggestion is to head down to your local bakery. I'm sure you'll find something there.


 
Mitchell, a junior political science major,
can be reached at smeggie37@csi.com.
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