02 November 2008

Podcast - Stories of Poverty in the 1st Person - E21, Vanessa

Episode 21 of 24. A reading from the book Policies of Exclusion, Poverty & Health: Stories from the front.

Vanessa's background is one of wealth, with an emphasis on conservatism, religion and traditional "family values" and roles.1

Likely not surprising, Vanessa's independent spirit and suspected genius almost immediately placed her at loggerheads with her family's expectations and the norms of much of society still.

When I thought about my future, one thing was clear: I didn't want to grow up and serve some man. I didn't want to get married... There was no freakin' way in hell I was staying home 'til 5 o'clock and making sure someone's dinner was warm. I didn't want to be a servant. I worried and fretted about this. I did not want to be a wife; that's what it boiled down to. I could accept the notion of fatherhood, but not husband...

Then, when I did grow up, that's what I became. For years. That's the biggest thing that bothers me about society: It beats your spirit out of you.

1 Which prompts me to wonder whether the pressures to maintain traditional gender roles might not be even greater among the very wealthy. That is, wives of the very wealthy need not work to maintain their or their family's lifestyle or put food on the table.

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