“Keeping It In The Family” is usually a phrase you hear when a man passes something down to his heir. This heir, even in these currently progressive days, is also usually a male. Whether it is the family business, the family last name, the family home, it is still common to relate that phrase with males in the family line.
In honor of Women’s History Month, I would like to highlight a very special gift that I kept in the family: my passion for being a strong, female writer.
You see, my very distant relative (through marriage) is Ayn Rand. She married my great, great uncle, Frank O’Connor. For those of you that are unfamiliar, Ayn Rand is the author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. However you fall in regard to her views, you have to admit, she a pretty impressive woman.
What I found most impressive was my great, great uncle’s intuition that Ayn’s writing was of great importance to her. He supported her by putting his acting career aside so she could work on her writing. Now, that’s what I call a good match. More than 6.5 million copies of The Fountainhead have been sold worldwide. Atlas Shrugged has been translated into over 25 languages (https://www.aynrand.org/).
The recent women’s empowerment movement has not just brought to light that women have been mistreated in the past. It has shown that women, if allowed, can provide the world with so many unbelievable and impressive talents. What if Ayn Rand had not had the supportive husband she did to allow her the time and energy necessary to dedicate to her novels? What if she had not persisted when so many publishers had turned her down or insisted she make cuts to her work?
There are many, many more inspiring women in history that we can now use as our guide posts, our fires to light the way. I just happened to choose this particular woman because she is a part of my history. She helps to explain why I am such a strong woman.
As women, we constantly face adversity greater than that faced by our male counterparts. For me, I’ve always been viewed as a very opinionated, pushy, bossy woman. If I were a man, wouldn’t I just be referred to as confident, intelligent, a leader even? There were times I felt these qualities hindered me, especially in the dating world. Thankfully, I found the right one for me. The one who challenges me. The one who calls me strong, not bossy.
Now, we have the opportunity as women to show our daughters (and sons) how to grow and change. We can show our daughters that they can be strong, successful women but still have a life at home. We can show our sons how to be supportive partners, as equals.
The true reason I believe we are still living in a world that struggles to support women like Ayn Rand, is because it requires change. It is a scary word. Most people hate the idea of change. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Well, we can have different opinions but I think we are getting closer and closer to broken.
We can learn from Ayn Rand and other women in history. We can use their principles and strong will when faced with adversity to make a positive, progressive change. Society will never change if we aren’t willing to make the first move at home. My family is full of strong, opinionated women. I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of a family that supports that. When I first learned I was related to Ayn Rand, the tone of the conversation was one of strength. It was understood that while her opinions were not always vastly popular, she stood her ground and made her own path.
To see a society today that still struggles with the idea of women in power makes me feel like we haven’t come far enough. So, it’s my job now to continue my family tradition. I will encourage my daughter to be a strong, opinionated woman. Equally so, I will encourage my son to respect that in a woman.
What would our society look like if it was ruled by women? We’ll never know until we try. I could speculate a million different things that could change based on the amazing women in history. They have ignited the fire. It is up to us, and the generations we are teaching at home, to fuel it.
Do you have Beyonce’s “Run the World (Girls)”, stuck in your head too? Well, you should.