ஒரு அமெரிக்கப் பெண்மணியின் பதில்கள்
நட்சத்திர வாரத்தின் இறுதிப்பதிவாக இதை இடுகிறேன். ஒரு சாதாரண அமெரிக்கப் பெண்ணின் வாழ்வு எத்தகையது என்று அவரே சொல்லுகின்ற விடயங்கள் இவை. ஒரு மேலைநாட்டுப் பெண்ணின் வாழ்வியல் அழகுகளும், சிக்கல்களும் இதில் தெரியலாம். இதற்காக நேரம் ஒதுக்கிப் பேசியமைக்கும், தான் பேசியதை இங்கு நான் பிரசுரித்துக் கொள்ள அனுமதித்ததற்கும் கிம்பர்லிக்கு நன்றி. மொழிபெயர்ப்புச் செய்யாமைக்கு அவகாசமின்மை மட்டுமின்றி அப்படிச் செய்கிறபோது சில இடங்களை அவர் சொல்லவருகிற அதே பொருளில் கொண்டுவந்து சேர்க்கமுடியுமா என்ற சந்தேகமும் காரணம். எனவே ஆங்கிலத்திலேயே உள்ளிடுகிறேன்.
Where did u born and tell something about your childhood days? And also about your family now?
I was born in Menominee, MI and raised in Marinette, WI, a small town with a population of 11,000. I grew up in a happy home with a younger sister, brother and a dog. My father had a job transfer when I was 13, so we moved to Green Bay, WI. It was a very difficult to leave my friends in Marinette and move to such a large city. I had a few difficult years of adjustment, and then when I became a freshman I started to meet new people and we became great friends throughout my high school years.
My family now consists of my husband Michael, my 23 year-old daughter Wendy, my two step sons, Jason and Tyler, and two cats and a horse. My mother now lives in Florida, my father passed away four years ago this summer. My sister and brother both live in Green Bay, and are married with children.
Could u tell something about your hobby, favorite movie etc?
My hobbies include taking care of my horse Max, reading and watching movies that are full of suspense and mystery.
What do u do in weekends, how often u travel?
On the weekends I enjoy spending time with my horse, riding with my husband on his Harley, and just relaxing and reading.
What is your job and tell something about it?
I work at Kohl’s Department store as a Point of Sales Supervisor. My duties include answering questions that the register operators may have during their transactions, financial input and output of the registers, and I am also specially trained to give new associate orientations and audio register training.
What is your first job? At what age you started working?
I started babysitting for family members and neighbors at the age of 11. My first real job was at Ponderosa Steakhouse at 16 years old.
Did you get equal opportunities as men when u applied for jobs?
This is hard for me to answer this question, because I have never had to compete with men for any job position I have ever held.
Do you think you are competing enough with men at workplace?
At my current job everyone starts at the same base pay, male or female.
Do you have any role models in your life? And what is your dream which should come true?
My role model is my mother; she was one of the only working mothers in my neighborhood where I grew up. She bought and ran her own business from the time she was 40 until she retired at age 62. My mother led by example, always believing in me and showing me how to be independent. My dream is financial independence and to be debt free someday.
When do you wake up in the morning? What are your normal day to day activities? Tell about your typical day.
A normal day for me is getting up at 5:30 am with my husband Mike, eating breakfast together and getting him off to work for 6am. If I am not scheduled for work at Kohl’s, I will do some chores around the house, and then head out to see Max around 10 am. After I get home I will do laundry, pay bills, make Mike’s lunch for the next day and get ready for work if I am working nights.
The working women here, how they manage their family and work at same time?
I only had to work part time when my daughter was young. Eventually when she was in school full time, I went to work full time. So I was home with her in the evening, and did the majority of the household chores on the weekends.
Whether women prefer to be working woman or to be stay at home mom?
There is a lot of guilt in either one you do. If you are working women I feel in America you have the guilt about you are at home not raising your children. If you do become stay at home mother, you have a lot of guilt about not being out in the working world. I had to go through it myself with my daughter. So I worked part time. It took care of whole lot of things. I was home quite a bit with my daughter, but yet I was still able to go out and contribute to the working world and do something for me. That was important to me. I think that made me a better mother.
What are the issues working women face at home? How do they tackle these?
Again it is the guilt. I feel guilt about not being home. I know for fact that my husband did not. The gents don't feel the guilt that women feel. I don't know if that is society making us feel like that or it is self inflicted. It was different for me again, because my mother worked. My mother owned her own business 30 years ago. She was ahead in the curve. She did very well and supported the family. My dad quit his job to work for my mother. He could help her and make her business grow which was something unusual. But that was tough for her to too, because she was not home for us. I had to do a lot of the raising of my younger siblings. I know now she feels guilty about it. She really shouldn't. She had to do what she had to do.
All over the world, considerable amount of inequalities exist between men and women in various stages of their life. Do you find anything like that in your society?
Even in my marriage, my husband works very hard. But he doesn't think anything about going out with guys or doing something with men. I don't know if they do it in India? They just do it. They assume that the wife will take care of the children and wife will be there to do grocery shopping and take care of the house runs. I think once they commit to the marriage the family should come first and they should work as a team. They can ask "Dear do you have any plans? Is it alright with you if I do something on Saturday?”. My husband now does that. But at the beginning he didn't. He has come a long way.
There are two different lives for woman before and after marriage (of course, for men too). Which way life after marriage differs for woman?
Definitely, two different life styles exist for women in America before and after marriage. I was single for a while. I can do whatever I want. You don't need to answer anybody. You are in control of your own destiny. If you become married it changes you. You become part of a team/partnership. You need to keep the other person's feelings, thoughts and opinions in the forefront. You can't operate as a single unit anymore. Some days are difficult. Some days I like to say "I had enough now, I want to be single again for a week (laughing)". I think that is one of the biggest ways life changes after marriage. Also the fact that they have to make the decision then who is going to stay at home, who is going to raise the children. How you are going to work that between you. From what I am reading now, that is changing little bit. I do see there are a lot of men now coming home, staying home and being more involved in raising the children, which I think is wonderful. I think they understand now that is ok for men to stay at home and raise the children if the women has better carrier or if it works for them as a couple. I think every individual couple makes their own decision and society as a whole should support it. I think till recently that wasn’t happening. I think society always backed men should be the one out making the money and the women who is the one raising the family. It is nice to see that is changing.
Women do not hesitate to break their marriage at any stage here when they feel they are not satisfied with their life. Is it true?
Yes. Women do not hesitate to break the marriage. I have been divorced myself. Actually this is the third marriage for me. My first marriage was very difficult. I stayed in it as long as I could because of my daughter. But, yet I know, I would be ok if I did end the marriage, and we did. I was ok and was single for seven years. I raised my daughter myself. He was not involved. I did receive money from him. But as far as him being involved in raising our daughter, he chose not to be. So, I do think, now, if women feel the marriage is not working they end the marriage. What they are saying statistically 50% marriages end in divorce. That is huge. During my mother’s days, they stayed. They felt they had no reason because of the fact that lot of them did not work. They felt what are they going to do without their husband to support them.
What are the challenges that divorced women face here?
Of course the first challenge is money. That is the huge thing. Especially, if you are raising children and if you do not get child support. Because women do not make what men make. Trying to raise children without any support is really difficult to keep them in the lifestyle that they really should have. I was lucky, because I did receive child support. I was able to support my daughter. She was able to do things that she wanted. I have personal friends that never received a dime of support. My friend raised her daughter 18 years on her own. Never got a dime. That guy doesn’t live in the state. One of my coworker here only receives fifty dollar per month for two children.
What about law here regarding maintenance of children?
Law is there. But he refuses to keep a job. When he does work, he doesn`t work very many hours. By the time it is all set and done, she only receives around fifty dollars a month and trying to raise two boys with her income.
Do the divorced women receive maintenance?
I received maintenance in the first divorce for three years. I could have received because we were married for 10 years. I could have received maintenance for another year if I chose to go to school. I worked for my family at that time; I didn’t have the need to go to school. Some women doesn’t receive maintenance. They will just take child support for their children and do the rest on their own. I chose to take maintenance, because I supported his business. I felt he deserves to give some money back for what I have supported for him. But I think as far as in society being a single woman here is very difficult. If you have noticed everything here is for couples. I always felt like a third wheel. All my friends are married. They always included me in everything. But I always felt out of place being divorced. Even though it is so common, I felt like failure, because I couldn’t keep my marriage. It is a guilt thing again.
Do women here face sexual harassment anywhere in their life?
I personally have never come across sexual harassment. I worked in many places, it just never happened in my life.
In workplaces I think the law is serious, what about other public places like schools?
Now they don’t tolerate it at all in schools. They follow zero tolerance for that which I think is a good thing. In our days, a lot of us, girls, were harassed in high schools as the girls are developing and they are changing, the boys would tease them. This is hard on the girls self esteem. They don’t just tolerate that anymore.
What are the issues that old single women face?
That is tough. That will be a good one for my mom. She is more than 6o years old. She is single and widowed. Luckily she does have an income as she owned a business. Even after she sold it she is getting income from that. I think the biggest issue a single old woman face is poverty in this country. If they were not prepared financially, it is a huge thing. I am thinking now, if something happens to my husband it will be very difficult. Watching my mother if she didn’t have her business, what she gets from social security and Medicare, she would probably at poverty level or she would have continued to work. I think that is very sad for elderly in this country. The government is not supporting as much it should. Lot of elderly people has to choose between paying for the medication and not taking it. I think that is ridiculous. That one makes me angry. Cost of medication and the hospital care in this country is costly. I have had an ongoing bill to Aurora hospital for five years, because I can not afford health insurance at this point. So I just continue to pay him, pay him and pay him. The country is perceived to be rich, but we have many many starving people ourselves. There are children in this town that we read in the paper that didn’t eat for days.