Hearing the word “journalism” sends me back to my childhood in the 1950s.
My father was a reporter for The Washington Star newspaper in Washington, D.C. He worked long hours and was always on deadline, readying his copy to go to the Editor for publication in the evening edition of the paper, The Evening Star.
As Daddy’s little girl, I idolized him and his writing ability, all the while accepting I could never be a reporter. I was a female child and so the opportunities, he explained, were limited. He didn’t like it, but that was the way it was. And indeed, that was the way it was. My mother, trying to console me as mothers do, broadened my prospects by saying I could be a nurse or teacher until I married, or if I wanted to go into business, a secretary.
I even thought of myself as Lois Lane while teaching myself to type on Daddy’s Royal typewriter. I felt so smart with the inked ribbon winding from one spool to the other as I clicked the return carriage to roll up the typing paper to my next line.
When the above comic came out at the drugstore, most of my playmates thought of Lois as the bride of Superman, but my eyes saw her sitting behind her desk at the typewriter. Regardless of my attempted foreshadowing as a reporter over the long haul, by the time I was in college, I had decided I would be a teacher.
It seemed a better fit, because, well, journalism was just too difficult for a woman to fight her way up “through the ranks.” For years I went round and round, never excited about one particular career and always wanting to write, working it into whatever profession I was in. Writing technical manuals. Writing directions for quilting patterns. Writing grants. Writing promos. Always writing, but never reporting, because, well, you know, I was a woman.
Can you believe this? Can you believe blindly following what you are told and for YEARS? That’s pretty much the way many women were back in the 1950s, 60s and less intensely in the 70s. I was taught to accept my role. It wasn’t that I had to marry and be a mother, it was just that I couldn’t be anything else. I was not compliant as much as I was not awake to the idea that my life could be, perhaps should be, different.
Luckily, I was at the crest of the wave of social change. My high school abolished the dress code in 1969, my Senior Year. The so-called “Summer of Love” and Woodstock followed soon after. By the time I graduated from college, I had awakened to other dreams and possibilities, but it wasn’t until, being much older, I thought of having a blog and getting down to the business of written self-actualization.
So now, maybe you’ll understand why I am fascinated with blogging and with BlogHer.com. With the Internet climate promoting blogging, anyone with the drive and desire can write, edit and publish. With all of the accessible self-publishing opportunities, anyone can express themselves while promoting their interests to the world.
It is a phenomenal concept some may take for granted, but not this little girl who finally decided to become her own version of Lois Lane, and also, BTW, Perry White.
Tags: 1950s, 1960s, career, comic books, feminism, future, newspaper reporter
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