Monday, August 20, 2012
Not much has changed
By Sunday, we had eaten most all of the really healthy food. We pulled the anchor and headed to a picnic that was being held at one of the local yacht clubs. The place is pretty nice, not fancy, but it has a great new pier where we were able to tie up. We sat under the oak trees watching the thunderheads move in, knowing that there was going to be a severe storm about the time the picnic started. We weren't disappointed as rain came down in sheets, forcing everyone to move inside.
As I was walking around the dining room, I couldn't help but notice photos of the Commodores. All were white men in navy jackets. Later, a group of us were talking, and a couple of people were asking about membership. My wife asked why there were no women Commodores. Another lady said, "Well, only men can be members. Ladies can be part of the Ladies Auxiliary." And forget the idea that there were any African-Americans allowed to be members. I just don't get this form of exclusivity. I know that if you have a private club, you can apparently do as you please. But it still takes be aback that in this day and age, white men still seem to think that they are the most important and have to guard their position. Fear or ego?
I did a bit of digging and found this from 1957 in which a question was posed as to whether women should be allowed as full members of the US Power Squadron:
Mayor of Hamilton, Bermuda, owner of the cutter Undina
Yes. Many women can handle a sailing yacht as well as men. They are expert helmsmen and they are handy with the sails, even in heavy weather. Women are also useful in the galley, serving cocktails and tidying up. Besides, it's always nice to have the pleasure of a lady's company on board.
MRS. LOUISE MILES
Co-owner of cruiser Frelousan, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
No. Most women who like boating don't want to crash the membership of the U.S. Power Squadrons. They feel there are times when men should get away from their wives for an occasional healthy vacation. I hope the men won't give in to the few militant women on this issue.
U.S. Consul at Nassau, Bahamas
Only on an amendment to the constitution of the U.S. Power Squadrons which now limits membership to males. Women are active in almost everything. They serve as WAVES in the Navy and SPARs in the Coast Guard, but they do not go to sea. Perhaps women should compete with men.
Owner of the Enchantress
No. The majority of the members in the U.S. Power Squadrons are opposed to women members. Sure, the men like to get away from their wives, but they know that most women are poor seamen. The Miami Beach Rod and Reel Club admitted women for one year, then threw them out.
COL. HENRY R. DUTTON
General Manager British Colonial Hotel
Today women are contenders in all sports. Few men do a better job on my boat Argus than my wife, Edna, when it comes to handling sheets or taking the wheel. The Power Squadrons are saying: "What's left for the men?" My answer is: "We still have the women. God bless them."
MRS. EVELYN CRISE
Owner of the cruiser Golden Fleece, Miami
Absolutely not. There are some things men can do better than women. Boating is one of them. How many women could take a cruise from New York to Nassau? The one who can is a very rare exception. No woman will seriously argue. So why should women be members of the Power Squadrons?
New York, Stockbroker and railroad director
Women should have full membership. They are more careful than men in handling power cars or boats. Anything an intelligent woman sets her mind to she can do. Cleopatra controlled Julius Caesar and Mark Anthony. She could also captain a trireme as skillfully as any navigator.
Commodore Nassau Yacht Club
If the Power Squadrons don't want them, no. The English Royal Yacht Squadron and the Miami Beach Rod and Reel Club don't allow women members. The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club only recently capitulated for their annex. Few women are qualified to take a boat out in any weather.
Who sailed the 23-foot Felicity Ann across the Atlantic alone
There is no compelling reason why they should be admitted and there's no point in trying to compete with the men. If you look on the Power Squadrons as a Naval reserve for war, do we women really want to get into it? Frankly, all the men I know who sail, sail much better than I do.
RICHARD I. N. WEINGART
Owner of the yacht Serendip, New York City
Yes. My wife took the course sponsored by the North River Power Squadron in New York and finished second with an average of 99%. Once, when the skipper and I were green to the gills, she took charge. The Power Squadrons are always ready to help the Coast Guard. Why not a women's division?
It is an awakening to me to know that there were a few enlightened people around back then, but to realize how little things have changed in some arenas still takes me aback. Equality may be what is law, but separatism and segregation is still alive and well. Some days I want to apologize for being a white male.