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Celia Capace - My Generation, Gender and Me

I am the youngest of the baby boomer generation and was a tomboy as a young child.  I loved to play outdoors and run around with the local children. My hair was always short and long pants were my main mode of dressing.  I was also very careless and often come home dirty and grubby from my play. My mother soon abandoned hope of dressing me up girly unless it was for a formal event.  My generation defined little girls and boys as very separate entities and was very black and white when it came to socially constructed gender roles. Little girls were allowed to be tomboys as long as they grew out of it while boys were never accepted as effeminate.

Males and females had strict defining roles.  Fathers were the providers and mothers the nurturers and homemakers.  Females lost a lot of their autonomy when they married including losing their jobs, especially once they became pregnant.  Banks only offered loans to husbands as they were considered the head of the family and responsible for the control of household finances.  This made it difficult for a female to leave a bad marriage as financially and socially restrained she had nowhere to go.  

Even though my parents had a very happy, loving marriage most of my childhood friends could not say the same.  I was eventually to realise how fortunate I was. By the time I was a late teen most of my friends parents had divorced.  Maybe this was because divorce no longer carried the stigma it had in the past, and that the feminist movement was now in full swing.  

We are a product of our life experiences and surrounding environment.  As a child I was programmed to dream of a handsome male waiting to fulfil my every desire and a big white wedding to follow.  After hearing about the dysfunction occurring behind a lot of white picket fenced homes from my friends my thoughts extended to the days after the wedding and the very real consequences of making the wrong choice.  This is a major reason, other than my illness, why I haven’t married.

I’m now 55 years old and looking back it’s mostly been a good life.  I was fortunate that a loving home as a child gave me the inner security to cope with most of life’s obstacles. Some of those obstacles were horrendous at the time but they passed and I was often left with a lesson learned.  I’m happy I was born in the period of time that I was and if death came knocking at my door I’d be good to go. I know that is a little morbid for some but my faith has me believe that the soul is eternal and I truly don’t fear death.  I’m very fortunate that I’ve achieved everything I set out to in life and feel an inner peace I very much lacked in my youth.