Women’s Day. Hmm?
I can hear all of the skeptics out there cynically muttering, “What about Men’s day?”
I’m sorry gentlemen, but my tissues are for the next generation of men who have to reconsider gender roles as women surpass them in education, professional accomplishment and financial independence.
Men’s day, at least from my North American, First world perspective, has been happening every day since the colonies were established. Alas, the pendulum is indeed swinging my darlings, in ways as interesting and multi-faceted as Cole Porter lyrics.
I could site facts and numbers about women still being under-paid, under-hired, and over worked. But I’m not going to do that. I don’t need to prove anything to anyone who still needs convincing.
Today I want to talk about the women in my life, of my generation who blossomed into full-blown ‘womanhood’ during a time when having it all was the ideal.
Not only were we pressured to pursue professional careers, we are still expected to maintain beautiful homes, cook nutritious meals, and mother in an overbearing and perfect way.
Oh, not to mention, in certain circles, we’re still expected to hunt down and trap that elusive breed of male who have educations and incomes better than our own. Are you serious???
My own neurosis of not being a stay at home mother and creating the illusion of the perfect Martha Stewart home versus my guilt over not contributing significantly in a financial way to the family, ruined my marriage. Well, that and a few other things.
I am one of very few women whom I know who are happily single and don’t feel pressure to bake cupcakes for the school/sports/band bake sale that look like something Marie Antoinette ordered.
My independence and devil-may-care attitude came at a high psychological price. For years I battled with guilt, and the seemingly two diabolically opposed personas fighting for air time.
Women often compare themselves to one another; their men, their children, their waistlines, and their mortgages. For many years in my twenties and very early thirties I felt like a failure.
Not only did I not have a husband, but I was divorced. Imagine that horror my little sweets! I rented instead of being mortgaged to the neck, and I barely made enough money to cover my bills.
Some time between then and now, I had a wonderful epiphany in my sweet-pink-girlie-soul. It may have been brought on by champagne bliss and the detailed attention of skilled lovers, but it was an epiphany nonetheless; I am educated. Well educated, with a professional designation, and I don’t have to check in with anyone before I travel, spend or save money. I’m not tied to a house with windows that need changing, a roof that’s leaking, or worse yet, a pot-bellied man sitting on my couch every night wearing sweatsocks ( I have a particular aversion to men who wear anything white below the belt) .
When I look at the women who are my contemporaries, for the most part, they are all juggling the ‘You Can Have It All and SHOULD Have It All” culture that our bra burning aunties worked so damned hard for.
The notion that, ” I must be married have a family, run a perfect household, be mortgaged to the hilt, and pay half the bills” really isn’t all it’s cracked up to be now that we’re pushing 40. Buh-arf.
So, this women’s day, I send out love and blessings to the women of my generation who are just now second guessing the insidious pressure our society has placed on us to ‘have it all’.
My best friends are women. If any of them came to me and said, “Duchess ( I like to be called that sometimes, especially when I’ve had a few drinky-poos), I need your help.” I would help.
Not only would I help, I’d recruit my bevy of strong, independent, beautiful friends, and they would help too.
We are lucky to be ‘First World Women’, and should never take for granted the basic human rights so many women around the world die for every day. We ought also to rejoice in our freedom and the opportunities we have.
So, on this International Womens’ Day, women of my generation, don’t forget you are loved, and we totally ‘get‘ you.