Buffy Jones the budding feminist

girl and window

DAY 59

Buffy Jones was sitting in the back seat of the police car, wedged in between a police officer and her best friends brother.

It wasn’t exactly where she had planned to be at 4am on a Sunday morning. Worse still, they were taking her home. Her mother thought that she was at a sleep over at her friends house. Yep, she was an idiot, and nope, this life couldn’t get much worse.

It had started at her best friend Debbie’s house, around the dinner table. Debbie’s mum had bought the usual Saturday night roast chicken and chips and they were eating dinner with Debbie’s older brother in the kitchen. Her mum and dad were in the lounge room, ‘giving them their space’, as ‘cool’ parents did in those days.

While the three teenagers worked their way methodically through the chicken drum sticks and slightly over cooked chips, they were in a battle of wills and whispers. Usually they got on well with Debby’s older brother Rob, but lately he always seemed to challenge their ability to do anything, simply because they were girls. Really, if he wasn’t useful for things like paying for concert tickets or finding a way of getting them back stage, (he was a budding photographer), they probably would have poured the bottle of tomato sauce on his head, and walked away from the kitchen table, leaving the chicken wings to rot in hell with him.

But he was useful, and they really needed those Alice Cooper tickets, so they were stuck in a passionate, albeit whispered,  discussion about women’s rights and the 1970’s feminist movement.

According to Rob, women needed a man to take care of them. As Debbie’s older brother, it was his job to watch over them. It wasn’t an unusual statement for a teenage boy to make in 1975, but Rob was clearly goading the girls into an argument. One which he hoped would end with Buffy smacking him in the head, so he could wrestle her into his lap and trick her into kissing him. It had happened once before so he was pulling out all of his offensive tactics to make it happen again!

Buffy wasn’t having a bar of it though. As if she could read his mind, which frankly wasn’t too hard, she kept her distance and her head. She focussed on the bottle of Pepsi in her hand, and tried to laugh off his insane and misogynistic comments. One day perhaps boys might respect girls, but today wasn’t the day and trying to get Rob to see things differently by whispering at him through gritted teeth wasn’t perhaps the best. His sister however, was on a mission, whispering at the top of her lungs; daring Rob to give them any challenge where they could prove a girl could do better than a boy! For a moment, Buffy wanted to laugh, but then Rob looked down his nose at them and waving his chicken drum stick in the air, dared them both to undertake something that was clearly insane. Then an equally insane heartbeat, Debbie accepted the challenge. For both of them.

Which is pretty much how they found them selves wandering the streets of St. Kilda, (because girls couldn’t walk the streets at night safely) mixing it with the ‘night folk’ as Debbie creatively coined it, robbing the coin machine of a local laundromat (because girls apparently didn’t know how to break into a coin machine in a laundromat) at 4 am on Sunday morning.

Yep, it was one giant step for women’s liberation, until they were pulled over by a patrol car full of female police officers. Interestingly they weren’t too impressed with Debbie, Buffy and Rob’s explanation, and were pretty quick to point out that many of the ‘night folk’ were quite capable of knocking Rob unconscious and, well, doing ‘night folk’ activities with the girls. In fact they were surprised that the group of teenagers were still alive, let alone unharmed. Buffy and Debbie had felt a little less liberated at that stage, and a lot more frightened. They also thought it might be prudent to keep the theft of approximately $32 in mostly five cent pieces from the laundromat as quiet as they could. Although the guilty coins were difficult to subdue in the pockets of their satin jackets as they were bundled into the police car. They held all held hands through the talking down that Rob got, neither of them getting much joy from the fact that he seemed to be in more trouble than they were.

Buffy Jones sighed heavily as the patrol car pulled up in front of her house, and she was marched up the front path, by the surprisingly firm grip of the police officers. The front door opened to reveal a less than impressed mother, who clearly had not had her ‘beauty sleep’.

“We believe this young lady belongs to you?”

Buffy lowered her head. Here it comes.

Her mother nodded and turned her gaze towards her daughter.

“Carol?”

The police officers looked at each other.

“So this isn’t Buffy Jones?”

My mother burst out laughing!

“Um, no. Buffy is the cat’s name. This is Carol. Carol Smith. But clearly her real name isn’t creative enough!”

I breathed out. Okay so my alias was a bit weak, but at least she was laughing. That was a good sign right?

Maybe not. In the excruciating 25 seconds of silence, I could feel the stare of death as I focussed on looking down at my sneakers.

“Well Buffy, you’re grounded…possibly for the rest of your life.”

That’s when the police officers started laughing.

Damn it!

Well we’d show them. One day women would be liberated. Perhaps we wouldn’t be breaking into coin machines, but we’d be able to walk around safely at night. Right? One day women will be just as equal as men.

But for now, Buffy Jones was headed to her bedroom and at least four weeks of boredom. Taking over the world would have to wait.

I Am Woman (Helen Reddy and Ray Burton)

I am woman, hear me roar
In numbers too big to ignore
And I know too much to go back an’ pretend
‘Cause I’ve heard it all before
And I’ve been down there on the floor
No one’s ever gonna keep me down again

Oh yes, I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to
I can do anything
I am strong (strong)
I am invincible (invincible)
I am woman

You can bend but never break me
‘Cause it only serves to make me
More determined to achieve my final goal
And I come back even stronger
Not a novice any longer
‘Cause you’ve deepened the conviction in my soul

Oh, yes, I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to
I can face anything
I am strong (strong)
I am invincible (invincible)
I am woman

I am woman watch me grow
See me standing toe to toe
As I spread my lovin’ arms across the land
But I’m still an embryo
With a long, long way to go
Until I make my brother understand

Oh, yes, I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to
I can face anything
I am strong (strong)
I am invincible (invincible)
I am woman

Oh, I am woman
I am invincible
I am strong

I am woman
I am invincible
I am strong
I am woman.

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