I grew up ‘the boy’ in a predominately female family. On a day-to-day basis it was my mom and my (slightly older) sister. We were supported heavily by my aunt, my grandmother, and in my earliest days even my great grandmother. Even with the extended family support, I have no idea how my mom did it (still in awe).
I knew and occasionally saw my dad growing up but never lived with him and rarely spent any real time with him or around him (probably a good thing really).
In fact in many ways, my grandmother was the one to actually play the 'fatherly’ role in my world as she was the one that introduced me to most sports, taught me the most about honor and respect, and what it means to have a positive impact on your community and the people around you.
Actually the majority of men that passed in and out of my life when I was young were primarily because of the fleeting relationships that one of these four women would be involved in (as far as I know, my great grandmother did not date by the time I came around).
Some of these guys were perfectly nice but many also had serious flaws (none were what you could consider good role models).
Looking back I think I was lucky to experience them all from the view of the women whom I cared the most about…I did not really look to any of them as role models, and in fact, I think I learned a great deal about how a man can often (unintentionally) make a woman feel or act.
It really shaped a lot of my 'feminist’ views on how the world *should* be. It also helped point out a lot of how the world *really* is.
Maybe because of my early years, and the strong influence each of these women played throughout my life, I’ve always looked to connect with and be close to intelligent and independent women.
I’ve always completely believed that a woman could do anything I could just as well (given the same or sim. circumstances) and I’ve always been more than happy to follow a woman’s lead (at least as much as any man’s lead).
I always identified, and hated, getting special treatment by the guys just because I was 'a guy’. I think they thought they were doing me a favor, but I always looked at it like they were being more disrespectful to the women than anything else.
Throughout my life I’ve also seen many women, and have had more than a few female friends, who have struggled to be ’Wonder Women’.
Even though I’ve probably spent more time than most (men) thinking about and being in/around the idea of woman’s rights and challenges in the world, it’s impossible for me to really counsel them. I am not a woman. I do not really live the challenges that they do.
This is one of the reasons that I’ve become such a fan of Joanne Wilson over the years that I’ve been reading/following her blog.
She often writes about these very topics…and she does it from the perspective of a successful woman (and mother). She has lived the challenges. She speaks from experience and shows that…while not *everything* is possible…more than you think, probably is (and often highlights other woman that are proving it daily).
So - if you’ve spent time thinking about any of these issues over the years (or have a woman in your life that has been challenged to be 'Wonder Woman’) I highly recommend you read Joanne’s blog as a starting point.
In the meantime, since it’s the Holiday Season, I better go figure out just how to best thank all those women that helped shape me…
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Kevin has a day job as CTO of Veritonic and is spending nights & weekends hacking on Share Game Tape. You can also check out some of his open source code on GitHub or connect with him on Twitter @falicon or via email at kevin at falicon.com.
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