Lacy MacAuley


a home for my pen, projects, and passions

sexism and wild horses

A grazing wild horse in the Intag region of Ecuador, which I photographed in March 2009.

Masked in gentility, your offer says, I possess the value of the abstract male. You do not. I have power and capability. You do not. Masked thinly in traditional old-fashioned common sense, he asks me if I need help with my luggage, in a demeaning voice, calling me “Miss.” I am not a child and I am not weak. I am certainly stronger than some old and futile man who barks at his wife, commands and instructs, and asks, “Who do you think you are?” All his wife can do is feed him and go to sleep, tucked uncomfortably into a generic blue seat on this train that I’m stuck on. He sits behind me and accuses her in ignorant bleats. He orders her to do the most minute tasks, criticizes when she doesn’t do things his way, instructs with the bloated words of a master. She complies, offers a few flat, defeated remarks and then escapes into a freer world behind her eyelids.

Don’t mistake me for some harnessed mount. I am a wild horse and my will has not been broken.

Often I forget that I grew up in a family where I was not as constrained as others, that I am privileged to have grown up in a world that allowed me to grow to my true size as a person, not clipping me back to shape me as a proper woman.

I grew up with a mother who allows herself to dream. She uses the power of her machines and her technology to propel her to new worlds. When I was a child, she used to pile my sisters and I into the family car and cruise ravenously down country roads, trying to find out everything about everywhere by going and seeing. She liked to go “exploring” behind the wheel of her automobile. She grew up as a wild country girl who drove the pickup truck around the farm by the time she was eight and would jump off the barn loft two stories high into big piles of hay. My mother makes websites now that she’s older, explores the online world ferociously and is the sole visionary and daily manager of a website that gets thousands of hits per week.

My mother was raised, for the most part, by her two aunts, strong old women by the time she was in her teens. One of my aunts, Edith Rogers, was the first woman to be in the local government, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. I never knew her, but look at photos of her and I’m proud to say that I bear her resemblance. And I have the strength, wildness and rebellious spark of my mother, too.

I’m also proud to say that I possess the quickness and ire of my firey German grandmother, a young teenager in Frankfurt during World War II. She escaped on bicycle from British soldiers who were firing on her and tightened her belt to survive. Later in life, when she could no longer suffer through the overbearing strictures of my grandfather, she had the strength to divorce him. My grandmother is 82 years old and not only living independently, driving herself and her friends around and climbing stairs, but volunteering with her local community theater.

I come from some very strong women.

So yes, I refuse your offers to saddle me, to put a rope around my neck and lead me into domesticity, I refuse to go quietly into your world in which you are the arbiter of power. I will buck you in an instant if you attempt to commandeer me. I refuse to let you deny me my own power. Make no mistake: You will have to shoot me if you want to dominate me, because you will never break my spirit.


Filed under: lacy's life, thoughts and philosophies

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