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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Barbara Lorie, February 26, 2001. Interview K-0211. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Assessment of gender dynamics in the United States

Although Lorie abhors the labor of victim, she contends that white male patriarchy permeates throughout American society. She describes a telling incident with her brother who admitted his surprise of her intelligence. Nevertheless, Lorie concedes that gender relations have gradually improved.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Barbara Lorie, February 26, 2001. Interview K-0211. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

BARBARA LORIE:
It's so hard for me to talk about the Women's Movement, because my life - I refuse to look at myself as a victim. But I was victimized by the legal system - my whole life has been saturated with patriarchy. I see it today. All you need to do is go to Raleigh and sit in on the legislature. Okay, that's all you need to do. Go sit in there and listen to those windbags talk about making the laws for the people of this state. And you know, fifty percent of the people of this state aren't represented by those windbags. All you need to do is listen to some of the windbags on the UNC campus. All you need to do is go into some of those old-timey professors and listen to them talk, and you want to puke! You want to just puke because they haven't got it. They haven't got the message, they don't understand about women. They don't understand why we feel like we were enslaved also, and of course we were slaves! We were slaves of a different kind than the black slaves were working in the cotton fields. I try very hard not to go there, not to go to this place of anger that I have towards men. Because my anger is so huge. My own family - my father was, you know, we bowed down to him. My brothers were, we bowed down to them. And my sisters and I, we barely - we were supposed to go to college to get married and that was it. None of us were supposed to show any signs of brains or whatever. I will never forget my brother who was the professor, my other brother was a medical doctor, surgeon of course… and my brother, Charles, who is a famous professor - was, he's retired now - written all kinds of books, he was a Classical blah blah wancho, Greek and Latin scholar stuff. He was down here giving an address at the university. One of the significant issues in my own personal life was that my family never helped me when I needed it. I came from a family of some means. Because I got divorced, and because there was a stigma there. I just had a very very rough time. A very very very very rough time. I was always one minute away from the street, and I will never forget that my family didn't help me. Finally I was a teacher, and my brother, Charles, came down to lecture here, and I hadn't seen him. When my husband committed suicide, my family didn't show up here. I didn't have any telephone calls or, "Gee, what's going on," or "Sorry." But my brother was here, and of course, I was still enamored of him as being my brother the big professor. So he came out to cook dinner for me and my children. We lived in a very tiny house, about a thousand square feet; it was just really a hovel. When he was cooking dinner and pontificating, finally we were having this argument about some theological question. I can't even remember what it was, maybe existential something. And all of a sudden he stopped, and he turned around and said, "Really, you know you're quite bright." Then he went back to stirring and you know. I remember that vividly. But anyway, I can hardly talk about the women's movement - it's been so powerful in my life, and I'm so grateful that even though it was at the end of my life, I was able to witness that women are coming into their own. They aren't anywhere near there yet, not at all. But I'm so grateful that I live in this community. And all of the men in this community I love, and have tremendous respect for, They are gentle, loving, caring men who understand women's issues, and who are devoted to women in a way… I never met a man like that, you know, I never had a man in my life like that. That's for sure. So, things are changing, and they're raising their children, these men are raising their children in a totally different way than from how you were raised, even you probably, were not raised the way these children are being raised. So there are changes, there's great hope. There is such hope. I am so proud of the women I see out there doing what they're doing. My heart just opens up, and I am passionately loving of these women going out and standing up for their rights.