I recall in my early days at University I had attended a session on feminism. The topic was very ‘philosophical-sounding’; one of those with about 25 words in the title. I cannot remember the exact wording but it could have been The Impact of Feminism on the Educated Female and the Consequent Effect on Socialization of the Caribbean Diaspora; the Role of First Socialization Exposures.
In that lecture/discussion a few years ago, I made the mistake of standing up and boldly declaring that I was not a feminist. To my mind, a feminist was someone who was all about women’s rights, wanted little to nothing to do with men, and thought those women who loved pink and perfume were weak. As I have matured, this is no longer my view. However, the tongue-lashing I received from those self-confessed feminists has not left my mind.
Whilst I do not believe that by virtue of being female I am less than a male, or that I should not be afforded the same opportunities because of my gender, I still believe the male should be the head of the household.
That last statement is potentially controversial because there are instances where there is no male in the home, and even if one is present, he does little to add value to those with whom he lives. Conversely, there are several homes where the male is doing what he is supposed to do as outlined in the Bible so many centuries ago.
I have heard men complain that ladies seem to want things both ways – they want to have equal rights and at the same time they want men to open doors for them and pull out their chairs; they behave like the ‘weaker sex’ when it is convenient. I believe I can choose employment in a traditionally male profession such as carpentry or working on high-tension wires, and should also expect that my male spouse would still carry my bag if it is too heavy or open a door for me. I am not enough of a feminist to struggle with a heavy grocery bag or break my neck trying to reach something off a shelf.
A few days ago, I put away any feminism I had, finding myself in the role of ‘damsel in distress.’ Let me tell you what happened.
It was a bright and sunny evening and I was in the company of a wonderful young lady, my daughter. She recently celebrated a birthday, and we had promised her a treat at a restaurant she wanted to try.
We were driving one of those vehicles that can be considered part of the family. The vehicle has a name and there is a special way to open the door from the inside; when you drop in a pothole the wipers turn on; the vehicle rattles so much that you automatically slow down when you come to that rough patch on the way home (even in someone else’s new car!). The particular malady this car had been experiencing was a leaky bladder. The coolant was escaping from a crack and so at intervals, the fluid would need to be replaced. We made it to the food establishment with no difficulty and were on our way back to the vehicle.
A few feet from ‘Betsy’ my heart started to plummet because I saw a long trail of green liquid signifying that the ‘bladder’ had leaked again. I was not completely despaired because there was enough coolant in the bottle and I knew how to replace it. However, I could not get the bonnet opened. I tried pressing and squeezing and lifting, even called a friend for help, all to no avail. I was about to panic.
It was then I remembered where I was and I felt hope fill my heart like the glimmer of sunrays after a heavy shower. My daughter and I carefully crossed the street to the nearby police station. I recalled that their motto is ‘To serve, protect and reassure’ and if ever there was a time I needed service, protection and reassurance it was right then.
Entering the station, I had to crane my neck to look the ‘bear-like’ officer standing behind the desk in the eyes, to greet him and explain myself. Since I am not frequently found in the company of police officers, I confess I was a little scared although I had done nothing wrong. I very quickly informed the officer that the assistance I required had nothing to do with murder or fraud, I just needed some help with my car.
Maybe it was my imagination but his facial expression became less sombre and I felt my heart rate slow down and my shoulders relax. He apologized explaining that he could not leave his post at the desk at the time but immediately asked a gentleman standing nearby to help me. This gentleman picked up his keys and cell phone and accompanied us to our ailing vehicle to lend assistance.
In a snap he had the hood lifted and using his handy-dandy cell phone shed light on the situation. He replaced the coolant, looked at me and said, ‘You need to get this fixed.’ I promised to go straight away and put the vehicle in my husband’s hands to let him deal with it. (I am sure all the feminists are frowning). As we chatted, I discovered that he too was a police officer.
Hence, in a time where the public is quick to ‘forward’ negative information about the police officers, I salute Officer Louis for rescuing me, a damsel in distress!
(Renee Boyce is a medical doctor, a wife, a mother and a Christian,
who is committed to Barbados’ development. Email:reneestboyce@gmail)