Every year for Women’s History Month, I read a book about women. I started this my first year out of college, when I was given, America’s Women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates & Heroines, by Gail Collins. If you haven’t read it, please do. It was a great way to remind me how far we’ve come. It has become a way for me to learn more about the women who came before us and made it possible for me to do the everyday things I take for granted, like going to work at a job that requires a college education.
Last year I mixed it up a little. I knew I should read something focused on women, which normally ends up being a work of historical non-fiction. Instead, I chose The Help, by Kathryn Stockett. I loved it! Not just because I could hear the Southern drawl when I read the dialogue, but because of the picture it painted of all the different women. Those feeling fulfilled with marriage, home and children, and help; those unfulfilled and unsure about being a mother despite the expectation; those raising other women’s children; and the one desperate for a career instead of the husband, home and family to care for. How far we’ve come indeed!
This year I’ve taken on another book, When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present, also by Gail Collins. I’ve already started and have to say: I can obsess easily about the stereotypes of life in the 1950’s and 1960’s, but this book starts out describing rather perfectly what you see in the movie Pleasantville. I have such a hard time wrapping my head around this, but reading about it helps remind me those stereotypes and pictures and movies all got if from somewhere.
We have come along way, and in a short amount of time, especially given all that has happened between 1960 and today. Curious about what that might be? Read with me or check in with me again in April! I will let you know what I’ve learned.
What do you do to celebrate Women’s History Month?
Originally appeared on Fem2.0