Elizabeth Bastian

BY ELIZABETH BASTIAN, Perspectives Editor

March is National Women’s History Month. While this normally brings to mind images of suffragettes picketing outside of the White House in anticipation of earning the right to vote, or Rosie the Riveter telling everyone that “We Can Do It!,” for me there is a different connotation. A more personal one, a more modern one. So for this week, I am taking the time to recognize and thank all of the beautiful women out there who have greatly influenced the person I have become.

I cannot begin with anyone else. To my mother, who has known me longer than anyone else. Being a stay-at-home mom is no easy job, but you do it with grace, style, and joy. Thank you for teaching me how to express myself, how to read people, and how to do Chinese fire-drills.

To my Oma, for raising eleven(!) children and still maintaining an open door policy, for introducing me to my German heritage, and for letting me use your basement pottery studio as a child. I will always cherish those memories.

To my Nana, for spoiling me and my siblings as only a grandma could, for telling me stories about your Detroit childhood whenever I asked, for all the quilts and afghans you made me, and for teaching me how to knit, sew, and cook.

To all the working mothers and adult women who work alongside me in the restaurant industry – you have put up with the service industry for longer than I can even imagine, dealing with irate customers all day and then going home to a house and a family. You work harder than anyone else I have ever met, and do not receive nearly as many benefits as you deserve. I admire you so much. Thank you for showing me that you can do it all, and for sharing your stories and your dreams with me.

To my best friend, who has taken me in like a little sister, watched out for me, protected me. Thank you for accepting me, for encouraging me, and for showing me the true meaning of maturity. Most of all, thank you for demonstrating the vitality of the voracious pursuit of a dream. You have single-handedly established yourself as a floral and wedding designer in the space of a year while working at least one other job. I am so proud.

To the ladies of the Honors Program, for proving the age-old adage that “anything you can do, I can do better,” and for the infinite amounts of wit, irony, sarcasm, and sass. You are all going places, I know it.

To my female professors, whom I have learned so much from. Breaking into your field may not have been easy, but you accomplished it nonetheless.

And there are so many others whom I could list, but I won’t. There are so many fabulous females out there, on and off campus, who manage to juggle incredible amounts of work, school, and extracurricular activities. I don’t know what my own future holds, but I hope that it reflects the lives of all the generations of women who have fought to even allow me to be in the place I am in now.

It’s mind-boggling to think that just a hundred years ago, I would not have been able to vote, attend college, own a car, or even to travel some places by myself. Things have changed in the past several decades because women were not complacent with remaining docile domestics for the rest of their lives. Sexism is nowhere near eradicated in our modern culture. We still have battles ahead of us, but I believe we are much more well equipped than we formally were.

So here’s to women: past, present, and future. We have come so far, but we’ve got so far to go. And I am honored to be a part of this rich history of the feminine.