Photo illustration by Jeff Boyer / Times Union
While I was in high school, Ms. Magazine appeared on newsstands, and before long my best friend's girlfriend announced that she was a feminist.
I told her that the notion of women's rights didn't seem like such a big deal to me. My mother, I noted, had recently begun to introduce herself as "Lillian Smith," rather than "Mrs. Ralph Smith." Surely, I said, we would have a woman president within a very few years.
"I'm not so sure," she said. "I think you underestimate the gap between what's expected of you and what's expected of me."
Of course, she turned out to be right on both counts. I didn't realize then what advantages I had inherited by being born male, nor how slowly the political world would adjust to the notion of gender equality.