Thursday, October 11, 2012
No Such Thing
Did you see this article in Newsweek recently? Debora Spar, President of Barnard College, presents the reality about successful women. She asks why feminism, which was meant to make us happy, often makes us so miserable!
As an advocate for women's college and a lady attempting to "do it all," this caught my attention immediately. Debora asks us to remember feminism at its beginning, rooted in sisterhood and community. A joint venture for social good.
Here's a confession: I've always been a silly perfectionist. Tell us something we don't know, you're thinking. I've been way too hard on myself, which leads me to be too hard on others. I try, sometimes successfully and sometimes not, to avoid this. As Debora says, I consistently feel pressure to try to excel in two jobs, develop my blog, be in hot yoga as much as possible, "impress" John with interesting meals, take Herbie on long walks, design our home, and be a good friend, sister, and daughter - all while wearing the sexiest shoes I can find. When I fail - which, as she points out, is inevitable - I get annoyed. At myself. This, as you can imagine, is really productive.
Why can't we accept, as Debora suggests, that something's got to give? Why are women always comparing, one-upping, degrading the ladies around them who seem to be doing it all - or worse, the ones who seem to be failing? I fall into this trap more often than I'd like to admit. Why aren't we celebrating each others' triumphs and taking care of each others' kids and animals? Why aren't we bringing back the potluck dinner? The old, trusty neighborhood women's unit - we need that back.
I got a big dose of sisterhood at Converse, and I'm thankful. Women in the work force are often, I've found, trying to take the other females around them down a notch. It's hard to respond to that with grace and dignity; in fact, sometimes it seems easier to just go to bat. Show up and fight back.
How is that going to get us the 23 cents we need to match the male dollar? I don't know.
Let's not be perfect anymore. Let's be messy, let's call each other and frantically beg for babysitting, and let's not roll our eyes when we do. Let's be nice and make lives that matter.