Something I Kept – Egalia’s Daughter by Gerd Brantenberg

(The first in a series of posts where I describe something I didn’t get rid of – and why it means so much to me that it made the cut.)

I read this book in my Feminist Ethics course – and being good literature it stuck with me more than any of the other assigned reading or lecture from that class.
It is a hilarious and profoundly sad story of a dystopic parallel universe where men are women and women are men. Roles are reversed. Breast feeding is a public event that demonstrates a woman’s power is one example from the book.

The book confirmed and strengthened my conviction that gender inequalities aren’t based on anything inherent about being female. It is based on a power structure that is institutionalized in our societies. And I don’t have to play along. I can’t control that the way I look doesn’t come anywhere close to the feminine ideal – but I can control how I use my power and intelligence.
Having this book around reminds me to be myself independent of what prejudgements people superimpose on me. And of being in college and having discussions with people as radical as me – heck even more radical. And how that felt good.

And I want to have the book around to share with my stepkids when they are the right age, if they need it. Maybe gender disparities won’t exist by then – but if they do, I want to be prepared.


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