I grew up in the 1970’s and 80’s. My feminist mother, daughter of my feminist grandmother, raised us on Free to Be You and Me. The first female lawyer in her downtown Boston firm, my mother taught my two sisters and me that we could be anything we wanted to be.
On a summer’s night in July of 1984, she woke me and my sisters up to watch Geraldine Ferraro accept the nomination as the Vice Presidential Candidate for the Democratic Party. She wanted us to witness history. I was 9 years old.
I don’t remember what Ferraro said. But I remember the look on my mother’s face.
I also remember when Ferraro and Mondale lost (a dark day in my house because it meant four more years of Reagan). But it was a bigger loss than that.
I remember a teacher telling me when I was in fourth grade that America was an amazing country because anyone could be president. And I remember thinking that the teacher was wrong because Martin Luther King, Jr. was my hero and I knew he couldn’t be president. I also knew that I, as a Jewish girl, could not be president either.
I remember speaking at a protest in high school and having a male teacher remark in surprise at my public speaking style because “women aren’t usually charismatic.” It was in the air. I knew it. I was never going to be president.
But the air is different now.
When Hillary accepts the nomination on Thursday, I will be watching with my 9-year-old daughter. She will see a smart, capable woman (a lawyer like her grandmother) rise higher than any American woman has before. My daughter, born on the same day as Susan B. Anthony, will get to see that women can do anything. We can be powerful and strong and charismatic.
My daughter, a fourth generation feminist, will witness history. Her world will be bigger and her options greater than they were the day before.