What if Norman Rockwell’s America had been depicted differently?
What if little boys and little girls were treated equally, that they might pursue similar dreams, based on their aptitude; and not by what was in their diapers. Maybe then, coding, and entrepreneurships wouldn’t be as male dominated as they are…
What if “Rosie”, the Riveter wasn’t just a wartime phenomenon, but was commonly seen in everyday life, as a woman no more extraordinary than the housewife attached by an apron string, by choice.
What if after the war she was promoted to CEO and we saw that image as well. What dreams might her daughters and grandchildren have and how might they have lived, seeing themselves depicted equally?
That’s what I think. And I’m only thinking that way now, because this past August my idea was accepted and then advanced to phase two of the YouNoodle competition, Verizon’s Powerful Answers. And as I moved along in the competition, the portion which I found most difficult was entrepreneurial, because I had no training in that area. So I did my research and pushed forward, but it did sit with me and ultimately, my idea was passed on.
That’s what encouragement or lack of encouragement does, it can sit and become a burden, one that vexes you, or it can inspire you to rise and push, that you might become your greater self. I call it a lemonade stance! Taking life’s lemons and bartering them for a chance to live your life, your way!
Sometimes, we do it to ourselves, because it might be easier to create our own club, rather than knock on the door of his club. But we need to remember that separate is never equal.
And being comfortable to speak, doesn’t guarantee that we’ll be heard; because we’ve effectively made it easier to be ignored, as a group huddled to one side of society.
I’m not a history revisionist, but if I were… we’d all know the wives of the great men of America. Her story, the wife’s story would be motivational, for surely she had a story, as we all do and must.
Of the five men who have been credited with making America one of the most affluent and influential countries in the world, we know very little of their wives. Try looking them up, there’s very limited information about them and it’s not simply because of the times, but society that has historically and effectively stifled them.
Laura Celestia Spelman, Abolitionist, Philanthropist and teacher married John D. Rockefeller (Standard Oil) who she met in an accounting class.
Sophie Johnson married Cornelius Vanderbilt (Railroad) and ran the Bellona House, a hotel for weary travelers of her husband’s steamships.
Clara Bryant married Henry Ford (Automobile) and along with gardening was a business supporter in her husband’s business deals, that included convincing him to sign off on a Union contract.
Frances Tracy (2nd wife) married J.P. Morgan (Financier). She preferred the quiet of the suburbs and home.
Louise Whitfield married Andrew Carnegie (Steel) and was a philanthropist. She said it best: “I am the unknown wife of a somewhat well-known businessman.”
But it’s wintertime in New England, a wonderful time for white fluffy snow that appeals to our aesthetic sensibilities. A good time to pause and ponder life’s inequities, and like snow, thaw ideas that then nourish future minds, and grow so a child might become her greater-self and he might know of her.
Let’s begin by bartering life’s lemons for lemonade; to build lemonade stands. So we can pass along tech advice, while we sip on cool pink lemonade and reimagine stories of what a damsel in distress looks like.