Girls just want to have rights, so why do we have to fight?

It is time again to rummage around in my wacky brain.

With all that continues to curtail women, I find the hypocrisy in so many things in the past, as well as currently. For those who don’t know already, I have not had the typical “female” jobs. I have a bachelor’s degree in police science with a minor in photography. Prior to that, I was a security guard. Most of my adult life, I worked for the Salt Lake City Police Department as a crime scene/crime lab technician. It was always funny to see men who didn’t think women should work is such a position; yet, I could handle things that many of the men could not.

Looking at how women were treated in the early 1800’s, there are some things that have never changed. Some things have improved, but not enough. In my 60 years of life, there have been many things I have seen changed. Women required men to take care of them, whether it be a father, brother, uncle, or husband. A woman was technically the property of males and had very few rights. It was rare for a female to inherit without a man being in control of her inheritance, if not a family member, it would be a solicitor, banker, or man of business.

A prime example of this is in the story A Father’s Sin by J Dawn King. Our beloved Elizabeth is forced to abandon her family when her father is furious and blames her for her siblings dying in an epidemic. He disowned Elizabeth and writes to Mr Gardiner that he no longer has a daughter named Elizabeth. Later, when Mr Collins wishes to marry one of the Bennet daughters, and Elizabeth is not yet of age, Mr Bennet demands her to return to marry Mr Collins. Legally, even though the man had had no contact with his daughter for 5 years, he could force her to marry whomever he insists. The man could pretty much sell the female, even to someone who could be brutal. Say a father “sold” his daughter to a violent man, there was nothing that could protect her from being beaten, raped, or mentally abused, there was nothing that anyone could legally do to protect her.

I can remember my mother not having anything in her name when I was a kid. In the 1960’s, females still were second class, and everything was based on their husband’s wages: No credit, no purchasing insurance, or property, nothing. If my mother had wished to have a job outside the house, she would have had to get my dad’s permission.

Another thing that has not changed completely over the centuries is blaming the woman if she is abused, whether sexually, physically, or mentally. I cannot begin to understand why, if the female is raped, she is forced to marry the rapist or whomever the man in control of her life finds to marry her. If she doesn’t, her entire family can be ruined. And the female is always to blame for being attacked . . . sound familiar? It has always been believed that the woman brought it upon herself. If she had dressed different, had she not flirted, if she had not been so pretty, she wouldn’t have been raped or assaulted. It was seen as inappropriate if a young lady were to walk alone as our beloved Lizzy enjoyed, yet a female the same age as said gentlewoman, who is a servant or a tradesman’s daughter, or a tenant’s daughter could be sent all over on her own with no need of a male companion.

If we look at Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Charlotte is an example of relying on males. If she doesn’t marry, she will be required to be at the mercy of her father and brothers. Desperate not to be a burden, and no other offers available to her, she accepts Mr Collins. That, in my opinion, is horrible, and I am glad it is no longer necessary.

As in the 1800’s, if a female becomes with child outside of marriage, it is the female’s fault. I have never regretted having my daughter. Her father and I had been on and off for several years when I found myself pregnant. I lost some friends over it, but Cate’s father only had people give him sympathy. Over the years, Cate has had females contact her through Facebook messenger that they were friends of her father and wanted to help mend their relationship. My daughter is nearly 33, has had the same cellphone # for almost 20 years, and I have only limited him on driving with Cate, when she was a kid, when he had been drinking. For years, I attempted to keep her involved in his family. But because I had custody of her and he hasn’t seen her in over 10 years, I must be trying to be evil and vindictive. He lives around 10 miles from us; yet, he makes no attempt to contact her. But it is always the woman’s fault. In the 1800’s, he could have taken Cate and refused to allow me to contact her at all. So there is some progress in 200 years, but there is a LONG way to go.

Now, for the last issue I find extremely crazy. During the 1800’s, if a gentlewoman or a peer was with child, when she began to show, she had to refrain from being seen by others. Why? I never could understand this. It was almost like they believed it would corrupt young ladies if they were near a pregnant woman. I can remember my grandmother saying that when she was younger, a woman couldn’t say someone was “pregnant.” They would say a female “stubbed her toe.” What did they think using a word such as “pregnant” was going to create? Having children is natural: yet, it was treated as such a vulgar and vile thing that a woman should be hidden away from public.

I am so grateful to Jane Austen for writing as she did. Her incredible strength and devotion has changed the lives of millions of people all over the world, even after more than 200 years. For those of you who do not know, when Austen originally published her stories, it was under the name “A Lady”. If you notice on Amazon, most of us in the genre have “A Lady” as a co-author. It is partially to help link those in the genre, but it is also in respect of our beloved authoress. Without her, we would not have our beloved characters, and that would be a terribly sad, indeed.

Have a fabulous 4th of July (which is also the anniversary of my first book being published 11 years ago).

10 responses to “Girls just want to have rights, so why do we have to fight?”

  1. Glynis Avatar

    You obviously did a great job with your daughter on your own so I don’t think she’s missed out. My husband decided that children were a bit of a hindrance to his social life so left when they were 3 & 1. We were given joint custody but he was happy for them to live with me. He did take them out occasionally but the last time he saw them my son was 13. Both my children are now in their forties! Luckily he did sign his share of the house over to them so my home is my own. Thank goodness we live in this day and age! You are obviously blessed with your daughter and your friends. Stay safe!

  2. Regina Jeffers Avatar

    My parents separated shortly after I was born (never divorced). This was the late 1940s. My mother and I ended up living with a multitude of relatives. Like Blanche in “Streetcar Named Desire,” upon “the kindness of strangers.” I say such is what made me stronger than many others. I never wanted to live in that manner again, and so I made certain I could make a living and remove my mother from those conditions. It was the early 1970s before she had a “job,” other than child care for others. I got her the job at the hotel for which I worked. She ended up as one of their department managers.

    1. Melanie Schertz Avatar
      Melanie Schertz

      We were fortunate. We lived close to my parents. Then we all bought a duplex together. We had them to keep an eye on Cate when I worked graveyard shift, and we were there to help my parents. They were the fill in other parents.

  3. Michelle David Avatar
    Michelle David

    On the one hand we had come so far but sadly now the zealots are passing laws left and right repealing laws and protections. It’s sickening and enraging at the same time. We shouldn’t have to fight these battles again. Please keep speaking up and definitely keep writing 😉

    1. Melanie Schertz Avatar
      Melanie Schertz

      It is completely to see the “keep the little lady at home, barefoot and pregnant”. Maybe that was why they said she stubbed her toe, she was barefoot. Haha.

  4. cindie snyder Avatar
    cindie snyder

    Good post! Lots of info. We have come a long way but it seems we still have a ways to go! Love the pic of you with your dog what a face! So cute love the doggie smile!lol

  5. Melanie Schertz Avatar
    Melanie Schertz

    That’s my grandpuppy Chewie. She is a grandma’s girl. Cate’s children all are furry with paws.

  6. Michelle H Avatar
    Michelle H

    This was a great post, Melanie. Thank you. These facts are important to remember, and repeated so we do remember. Lovely photo of you and your daughter, and puppy.

  7. Hollis Avatar

    You go Melanie!!! Excellent points.

  8. Kirstin Odegaard Avatar

    I am also infuriated and baffled by society’s propensity to blame the women or disbelieve the woman when she speaks up. Thanks for this post.

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