I felt the stirrings of feminism as I read the book at the time. It felt
more than comfortable to read about women and men being interdepen-
dent. It was enlightening. I did not realize then that I would first have
to emancipate my own mind toward the notion of me deserving equality
in order to come even vaguely close to the idea of interdependence. The
journey ahead would be long indeed.
It would be almost twenty years after reading Clinebell’s book
before I would embrace feminism and start the journey of self-emanci-
pation and liberating my mind of our patriarchal system that had been
hammered so deeply into my consciousness growing up. I discovered
that the male-privileged and -dominant system was deeply ingrained
in me, and, even now at the ripe old age of sixty I still have to work
very hard at shedding those self-destructive beliefs. Lately, I notice all
kinds of complicated and complex feelings. For example, how my self-
worth was always tied up in looking pretty or being attractive or sexy—
whatever all these things mean. In other words, a dominant male view
was the one I sought out or felt was all-important and meaningful.
I tried to match my self-worth against all of those preconceived
notions and found myself lacking. I was unable to take myself seriously.
The belief that I must constantly sacrifice my self for one him or another,
seemed honorable and was all consuming. Later on, in my own book,
Confronting Our Discomfort: Clearing the Way for Anti-Bias in Early
Childhood, I wrote about bell hooks describing the “strongest patriarchal
voice” in her life as that of her own mother (Jacobson 2003). “When I
began to resist male domination, to rebel against patriarchal thinking
(and to oppose the strongest patriarchal voice in my life—my mother’s
voice), I was still a teenager” (hooks 2000, x). I identified very much
with hooks’s description, as it was true for me, too, except that I started
to rebel when I was in my thirties—two decades after being a teenager!
I have often thought that my mother tried to protect me so that I could
succeed in our society, by teaching me that men were more important,
vulnerable, and needy, and should be taken care of more seriously than
women. Indeed, to this day I am uncomfortable when my life partner
makes dinner after he and I return home from work. I can still hear my
mother’s voice in my mind expressing concern that men are tired after a
hard day at work. Somehow, I learned to expect that it is a woman’s duty
to continue working in the home even if she returns from a long, hard
day outside of it.
Two other books helped transform me into a feminist. The first,
Mother Daughter Revolution: From Betrayal to Power (Debold, Wilson,