As a kid, the one person in my family I was proud of and looked up to was my uncle. His charm affected everyone in his presence; the ladies giggled and adored him, the men shook his hands and respected him. His obvious confidence carried him far in life. He not only made a lot of money, but traveled the world.
Fast forward two decades later, he moved away from us a while back so we hadn’t had the chance to see him too often. We lost contact with him but earlier in the year I had the chance to spend a few days with him on a family vacation….and boy did my perception of him change!
His sexist jokes, his expectations of my aunt to serve us because “it’s a woman’s job” and “women are better in the kitchen” remarks.. I mean, he made me mad. Was this really the uncle I looked up to? And then it all came back to me… The trips we did when I was a little girl- how my sister and I had to stay at home because “girls aren’t good at sports” as he enjoyed a round of tennis/skinning/baseball with my male cousins. How he always told me or my sister to go help our Mom or aunt in the kitchen as he enjoyed a little siesta after lunch…Or how we should learn how to cook so we can one day make a man happy….How he pushed for my male cousin to get a job and used his connections but wouldn’t help me even though I have more degrees and experiences.
I felt deeply disappointed after a few days with him and decided not to have as much contact with him. To think I am only good for something because I was born a woman is demeaning. It’s still a problem nowadays but I didn’t expect to find it in my own family. Did any of you experience a similar situation? What do you do when your role model turns out to be something completely else?
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