Still With Her

womancardDuring sixth grade in Catholic school, the day arrived when we girls were to watch “the movie” — the exposé on menstruation and our burgeoning womanhood. In preparation for this motion picture event, the boys got to set up the film projector. In 1974 our teachers accepted and acted upon the notion that boys could do technical things like setting up film projectors — because they were boys. Girls, on the other hand, could not — because they were girls. However, we girls were allowed to set up and take down the folding chairs in the church basement, which served as the film viewing room.

We must have set up the chairs, because we did indeed watch our movie. But as I recall, we girls were angry that we weren’t allowed to set up the projector. Sure, the boys always got to set up projectors or any other cool technical device. But this was our movie. So we rebelled by not taking down the folding chairs after the screening. We went back to our classroom without being helpful or kind.

Well the Holy Water hit the fan that day. Sister Principal was one ticked-off nun. She and the teachers couldn’t seem to understand why we girls were upset. I imagine we were punished, although I don’t remember how.

I never liked being told that I, or any other girl, couldn’t do something simply because of being a girl. Didn’t like it when I was 12, don’t like it now that I’m 54. So in 2016 I went door to door for one very qualified candidate for president. I caucused for her. I made phone calls in my county for her. I donated to her national campaign. (Yes, I am proud to have my Woman Card.) And I voted for her.

This time the presidential glass ceiling did not completely break. But it came damn close. And eventually someone will break through.

I’m still with her and every other her who wants to do what others say can’t be done. Because today girls of all ages can run their own movies and chase their dreams, whatever they may be.

Laura Sternweis


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