It’s All About the “Good Ole Boys”
Today, I am writing to you to share a few isolated, heartbreaking experiences I’ve endured while standing up for my rights and the rights of all women.
While I will not name the organization specifically I’ve fought with and lost, I will say, this organization is nothing but a group of “Good Ole Boys,” who will do nothing but stand tall for the “good of the order…” Whatever that means! The phrase “for the good of the order,” relates to parliamentary procedures, or “Robert’s Rule of Order.” Even the women who have been ‘allowed’ or should I say, “permitted to join” these organizations as a member do believe in the “good of the order.” In the beginning, these women had to make a lot of noise, including a lawsuit, just to join these organizations. Yes, for the “good of the order!”
But? What is a good ole boy? Simple. Perhaps some of you have never heard the expression, “Oh, he’s a good ole boy!” We hear it lots in the South! When I was a child, I didn’t understand the terminology, until we moved in with our grandparents and I could see, my grandfather was most definitely a “good ole boy!” Papa, as we called him, was extremely protective and supportive of his male friends and relatives. After all, “good ole boys” are birds of a feather, and they flock together. Women aren’t appreciated or respected by the “good ole boys!”
Good ole boys believe that women are ‘second-class.’ Women belong in the home. Having them babies and taking care of the house. We were supposed to cook and clean and be quiet!
Although Papa tried to train me in the belief of the “Good Ole Boys,” I chose to be my own woman! I had big dreams. After all, I’m a feminist and so proud of it! Lots of Southerners still believe in the terminology of “Good Ole Boys.” As for this household, we do not practice “Good Ole Boy” terminology.
I should share, I’ve dealt with “good ole boys” all of my life. When I was 15, a “good ole boy” a maternal Uncle, wanted to get a bit friendly with me. He was a Deacon in the Pentecostal Church. He thought it would be fun to go down a dirt road with me and pick blackberries. This road was deserted. No houses. No farms. No one around. How convenient for my uncle. He stopped his truck, moving his hands all over me. I screamed. I cried. No one heard me. Then, I hit him hard right between his legs. He screamed. Cussed. Is this the behavior of a “good ole boy” or a deacon in the church?”
Suddenly his strength was gone. He grabbed himself and moaned. He was hurting.
Good. If you touch me again. I’ll hurt you again!
I jumped out of his truck and ran down the red clay roads. My asthma got the best of me due to the dust flying in my face as I ran. My uncle caught up with me and pushed me into the truck.
“If you touch me again, I’ll hit you harder, exactly where I did before.”
He kept his hands on the steering wheel.
That day, I suppose you can say, a 15-year-old, innocent girl won! My uncle agreed to drive me home, and he said he would not touch me again.
Before I jumped out of his truck to run into the apartment, he said: “If you tell anybody I touched you, they won’t believe you. After all – I’m a deacon in the church!”
If you ever try to touch me again, I’ll hurt you. I wear high heels to church now and I’ll kick you with my high heels! No one’s ever gonna touch me like that again! One day you’ll be gone. I hope you burn in Hell!
Those were the last words I ever spoke to that uncle. Never did I share with my family what he did to me until the day he died. When he died, my mother phoned me, letting me know he was dead and I should come home.
“Home? I’m already at home. I’m not coming to his funeral. I hope he burns in Hell,” I said to her, “And if you are asking me to send flowers, I’ll send black roses!”
I must say, when a woman is touched or groped in a certain way, she never forgets it.
I’ve remained on guard. Never wanting to make a scene.
GOOD. OLE. BOYS?
I must say, these organizations organized and managed by a bunch of men, or shall I say, “good ole Southern boys,” probably know I am a writer, well-seasoned and professional. I speak my mind, and I research passionately to know what I communicate. On three occasions I’ve been asked if I would consider writing and editing their newsletters. I laughed. Shook my head and said: “I will not consider doing it as a volunteer, nor will I join “the good of the order,” to be “permitted to write your newsletter. I will only consider it for $600 — monthly, payable in advance.”
Of course, those “good ole boys” laughed. They’d never pay anyone $600 just to write a newsletter! Such are the actions of these antiquated, good ole boys organizations. A woman writing a newsletter? Scandalous isn’t it!
For eight years I’d written newsletters for “good ole boys” organizations. Those newsletters won many awards. I never received anything, with exception of knowing those publications shared important information, keeping the non-profit ‘good ole boys’ clubs well informed. After one decided to censor my newsletter, I resigned. I saw one of their newsletters recently and I laughed. Only two pages, filled with too many typos and grammatical errors. Yes, they needed me to write for them, but I refused to share my talents for free.
I should mention I am a freelance writer and editor, but the “free” in freelance does not mean I am free! While I guarantee I can improve newsletters, especially grammatically, I would not consider ever writing for free again. Not even as a volunteer.
On one occasion I had an experience where one of the men at this “Good ole boys” fraternity wanted to get just a little too close. He spoke to me while running his hand down my right side, just a little too close for comfort. How I regret not making a scene on that night. What I should’ve done is to push him away from my body, and I should’ve screamed so everyone in attendance could see and hear what he was doing. Regretfully, I did not. I conducted myself as a lady. May I never do this again. The next time some drunken man approaches me to get a little close, I plan to hit him exactly where it hurts! This action will no doubt drop him to the floor! And then, he will never attempt to touch me again.
While I’ve had these incidents happen before, my husband has always jumped up and knocked the guy to the ground. While he might be short, when he is angry and sees me threatened, he becomes The Incredible Hulk. He’s knocked many guys down. After this incident, I asked Phil to let me handle it. How I wish I hadn’t! Deciding to file a grievance – a sexual harassment complaint. The good ole boys were not exactly happy with this complaint. Oh well! What I really regret not doing is calling 911 for the police to arrest the culprit on sexual assault! Then, I could file a lawsuit! Sometimes, it just doesn’t pay to conduct myself like Julia Sugarbaker! If this scenario ever happens again – WARNING – I will hit him exactly where it hurts!
Meanwhile, when I was in attendance for different events, each time with my husband, suddenly everyone wanted to know who I was. I smiled, introduced myself to all of those gossipy women and, dare I say it again – “good ole boys,” and I exchanged pleasantries with them. Yes, I noticed people whispering into each other’s ears, and I saw fingers pointed at me. I simply smiled and waved. It was obvious I would get nowhere with my complaint. After all, the “good ole boys” seem to laugh it off and cover their butts. I had nothing to be ashamed of, and I was determined to stand my ground.
Unfortunately, no one would come forward as a witness to what happened. No one wanted to get involved. You probably know the type. My philosophy is – if You see something, you say something, but there are many women who allow their husbands to make those decisions for them. Thank God I am a woman who stands her ground, refusing to allow my husband to make my decisions! My husband supported my complaints 100%, BUT – in the “good ole boys” world, since there were no OTHER witnesses, it is just a He said…She said…and in the ‘good ole boys’ antiquated world, I was treated as second-class!
On another occasion, the same ‘good ole boy’ – drunker and nastier, not to mention obnoxiously LOUD, attempted to humiliate me and a few of my friends. Yes, I filed another complaint!
I was told he would be suspended for a year. He wasn’t. I was told I had to meet with him personally to ‘hash this out.’ I did. All he did was deny. DENY…AND DENY AGAIN! He called me a crybaby. And he screamed at me so much, verbally abusing me. I crumbled. Yes, I cried. How I wish I hadn’t. I lived with verbal abuse as a child. Anytime someone verbally abuses me, I crumble.
I was told if we did not settle the matter on that night, then I would have to file another complaint with the same committee I filed the ORIGINAL complaint. A vicious cycle! Regretfully, I agreed to disagree.
If I heard it once, I probably heard it about a million times. You are not a member. You do not have the right to file a complaint!
Gee! I was under the impression this was the United States of America.
Not where the “Good ole boys” reside. Yes, the “Good ole boys,” won, only because they are an archaic fraternity who will not step into the 21-First Century. After all, they’re “good ole boys!”
Perhaps I’ll share more about these incidents later, in my blog, or maybe I’ll pitch a few ideas to national women’s magazines! Now, that’s an idea I should consider!
While it is true, I agreed to move forward, I did not agree to stay quiet or to shut my mouth. That is not my style! I shall continue standing up to share my story with others. After all, I am a feminist and a proud woman who will always voice her opinions.
As for the “good ole boys?” Let’s just say; they’re still stuck in the 19th Century!