Great article. I could not help but to read about your grandmother and compare her to my mother in law.
She’s a hyper-fit 82 year old conservative Dutch-American woman. She wears a very close cropped hair and adopts a masculine clothing style. She would draw upon her idea of how a ‘man’ would do things to navigate through life. This unfortunately causes her to act well, like an aggressive man. I love her, but especially after this last election cycle, she’s a handful.
She is, even at 82, very critical of any feminine quality exhibited by women. You just get a feeling that she hates women. You see it in the way she treats my wife and women vs my brother in laws and men. Which brings me to my wife and my daughter.
My wife was raised wearing her brother’s hand me downs. She still recalls being at a friend’s house where she would launch herself at any opportunity to play dress up or with Barbies. She had an innate healthy balance of her own femininity, athleticism and drive but her mother showed nothing but contempt toward her. While her mom disliked any overt female qualities, she was also competitive with my wife in regards male attention. To sum it up, it was tough to have a relationship with her.
My wife and my daughter’s relationship however is very cool to watch. My wife shares her mother’s love for fitness but allows my daughter to cling onto as much of the traditional female role as she wants. In short, to overly simplify it, she likes pink and beats all the boys in foot races at 6 years old. Now what’s interesting is that my mother in law is totally cool with her grand daughter’s wardrobe and appearance but still critical of my wife. It’s like she knows it’s unhealthy but can’t help herself with my wife.
I don’t know why I let you into the dynamic of these important women in my life. It’s very interesting to observe from my vantage point and wanted to share with you. Thank you for the article and I look forward to reading more.