How Women Forgot to be Women
ONCE upon a time...
...there was a little girl who never wanted to be a woman. She was pleased with being a girl and toying with the notion of never growing up. Experiencing carefree play in a tree or catching butterflies in a patch of wild flowers- this was the best life had to offer and as far as she was concerned it only went downhill from there.
In those sacred childhood places, deep in her dreaming mind, society's eyes couldn't find her. She did, however, notice how society viewed her mom- a woman, a stay-at-home mom, which seemed to be even worse. The little girl imagined she wouldn't be happy as a grown woman. Her mom cried a lot, didn't make any money of her own, and was weak and dependant. So what could possibly be so great about being a woman?
And that's really where this story begins...
Not a feminine fairytale
Becoming a woman, but not wanting to from the very first milestone of picking out a training bra to crying over her first love lost to landing a career...the little girl growing up began approaching life as a man would. She ignored the things that made her a woman, and while she had to eventually grow up, this route was far less painful.
The irony is many women approach life like men...and increasingly so. This isn't unusual at all.
- hide your emotions
- hide your insecurities
- Always be game-on: play hard ball in love and work
- it matters what car you drive
- a stay-at-home mom is the lowest of low "professions"
- Flowers are unnecessary
- never let someone do something for you that you can do yourself, unless it's an order you gave or task your delegated.
- brag about yourself and act as if every conversation is an interview of your life
- define yourself by what you do for a living
- never admit your weaknesses
- never feel sorry for yourself or anybody else
- never need anything
- Children? What children?
- never let them see you sweat and...never let them know when you're PMSing.
- and...for God's sake don't ask for directions
Yep, that about covers it. The little girl who finally grew up didn't have to succumb to really being a woman. Her clothes and figure clearly stated she was a woman, but her mind, soul, and emotional being did not fall into that category. By her mid-twenties, she was career driven, accomplishment-focused, and independent to a point that when her latest boyfriend remarked about her worst trait being she was too independent, she took it as a compliment. She didn't need anyone to open a door for her or pour her wine- she took charge of her life.
And the little girl soon disappeared completely...all that was left was the determination to not be the weaker species.
Fear of being my mom
Women have to become this modern version of a woman to be "successful" or "useful" or "equal" and respected as a woman in this society. It is far-detached from the version I now believe what a woman is. But that's the problem, society has progressed and the model of today's woman is strikingly similar to a man if you can call that progression. Yet what little girl wants to become the mom of decades ago who worked tirelessly in the home without any respect or rights within or outside of the home.
I know many women who changed their lives around to not resemble the life their mom had. Women want more respect in their relationships, more control and equality. For equality to occur, there must be one standard of measurement and sadly women (namely feminists) have worked hard to make the standard a man's life. Women are not men no matter how hard we have tried. And we shouldn't want to be. We should be celebrated as women, respected as women, and valued for whatever we are good at.
The unfortunate thing is since women are able to do more and be more, they believe they must. So they start out on that education and career path only to overlook those nagging feelings of wanting more...like a family and love. But being a stay-at-home mom is still looked down upon- who would want to be just a mom, right? No woman should be looked down upon for something that is her choice rather that is a career or simply (well, it's anything but simple) raising her children.
On becoming a woman...The story doesn't end here
Recently I had my second child and a nurse told me to remember this: "The woman is the center of the home". This is absolutely true even if the woman works outside the home. She really wanted me to get this advice because so many women have a baby and don't take care of themselves- we sacrifice ourselves, our careers, for our loves, our families, or whatever we've chosen to dedicate our lives to.
The little girl who never wanted to become a woman, finally (and truly) did...willingly, graciously, and happily. When I had my first baby, my daughter, I had to evaluate what it meant to be a woman. I was now responsible for a little girl of my own. I decided it is OK to feel, OK to be weak or strong- but not one all the time, it is OK to dream and revise dreams as life unfolds, it is OK to do what makes YOU feel free, it is OK to need help, and most of all it is OK to love with all your heart and open yourself up to the world.
For every woman..and the little girl never forgotten
The Modern Woman Myth
One thing I've learned about being an independent woman is independence is short-lived if you live a long life.Meaning that if you have children, they depend on you and you teach them that dependence, not by being independent yourself, but in knowing who best to rely on (and depend on). When you have children, you almost inevitably depend on a partner, friends, family or some sort of support system to help you raise those children. Women can no longer be with their family all the time since many work outside the home and try to have a "life".
Also in one's life there may come a time when disability, illness, and/or age becomes a factor and you may lose your independence- one must accept graciously the help from others, as this is a strength as well. Women have taken their independence to a new level and believe, as I once did that I needed nobody. Ever heard of 'No man is an island', well he wasn't talking about women because there was a time, and I'm sure many women can relate, that I believed i could do it all by myself- like we have something to prove. Haven't we been down this feminist road before? We shouldn't have anything to prove, not that we can do it all or do a man's job...and a woman's job. This will only make the modern woman weaker...perhaps extinct one day. Women do not know how to ask for help anymore and more is now expected of us.
Modern women are almost free to do whatever they want- they can have families without a partner/ man. They can put themselves first while families, children, careers, etc. do not define the woman but rather the woman defines her own self and world. It's a very individualized definition in our individualistic society. Does all this mean a woman is happy? I'll tell you she is exhausted. Having a "life", career, and children is exhausting.
Having a choice is also a myth. The modern woman doesn't have as much choice as we'd like to think- in order to be independent, she must earn her own income which leaves a woman without a partner (or time for a love life) and without children or having to wait until she's much older to have kids. What if a woman's choice was to live on a farm and raise children- that is nearly impossible by today's standards and exactly what feminists were trying to steer women away from. Yes, we can own property, but again, that takes money and to earn money women often give up personal dreams of having a family.
Everything comes with a price and the struggle that women are living is in choosing between career and family or other things in life. The modern woman definition is similar to superwoman and that's not reality.
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