Whoville, the Dr. Seuss creation where all the little Whos are struggling to be heard, struggling to just let others know they exist. As a woman married to a successful man, I sometimes feel like I live in Whoville. This isn’t the fault of my husband, of course; it’s the fault of individuals in our society – and often they are women, too – who fail to look beyond Horton the elephant to see that there are also Whos. This happened again yesterday. I received an email from the UofO Duck Athletic Fund regarding our recent deposit for seats in the new Matthew Knight Arena. Our Duck Athletic Fund account is in both of our names (though that took years to happen since they initially set-up the account in only my husband’s name, even though everything sent in to them contained both our names), the seating application form had been filled out by me, I had signed the check and, guess what – I’m a UofO alumnus, too! Yet, this woman in the DAF office sends an email expressing gratitude for the deposit, but the email is addressed only to my husband. This wasn't a form email that just picked up the first name on the account; it was a personal email – addressed only to my husband, but in reference to our joint account.
I had a previous professional life and, I will admit, when I first quit my job to stay home, it took awhile to become comfortable with my new identity. I often wanted to introduce myself to people saying, “Hi, I’m Debbie. I used to have a professional position.” In the years since I’ve come to appreciate my contribution to both our family and society and I no longer struggle with the need to justify myself. However, when someone so inconsiderately overlooks my handwriting, my signature, indeed even my name, to focus on just my husband, I revert to feeling like just a little Who in Whoville.
P.S. I sent this woman back a stinging note about this subject – I don’t think she’ll overlook a Who again.