Thursday, March 08, 2012

Girl Power

International Women's Day is trending on the twitters today. Generally, I like to make fun of trending topics because they are often really ridiculous. This particular topic brought to mind some ideas I'd been throwing about this week anyway, so it was super convenient. Thanks, the twitters, for making my life easier. You're swell!!

I rarely like when folk begin opinion articles with caveats, though I'll take this brief moment to say that I'm not entirely sure I endorse the views I'm about to throw out. I plan on throwing them out and seeing where it all goes.

I've known (and currently know) plenty of strong ass women in my lifetime. I studied about lots of strong ass women in the history books and am proud and grateful for their accomplishments, which I owe a great of my rights and freedoms to.

However, I feel really uncomfortable with "women empowerment" propaganda. I got started thinking about this when I saw an advertisement for Rochester's Estrofest. The keynote speaker for the entire event was TV's Greg Brady. Really?! Greg Brady? What about Greg Brady makes anyone think about women? Why does Greg Brady get to be our spokesman? I do not feel, as a member of the female sex, that Greg Brady speaks to me or represents me in any way. What disappointed me about this is that it makes me think that this is an event for older women who need to feel good about themselves. Which paints a whole picture that women of that age are somehow less, or weak and in need of empowerment. I'm sure there was much more to this event but that's where my mind went. Sheesh. Plus, if you're going to get a dude for your keynote speaker (which makes no sense) at least get someone a little easier on the eyes (cough cough LEE PACE).

I know that there is still a ways to go in achieving equality for women. There's no disputing that. I feel that events such as Estrofest do little to help us gain any ground. Constantly pointing out that we need to be inspired and empowered implies that we are weak, wilty women who are incapable of meeting the challenges of life. Understand, too, that I am disagreement with affirmative action. I understand the reasons why it exists and I suppose that there is some small justice in it, but I'd rather employers not be assholes and simply employ the applicant who is the most qualified, regardless of race, sex, orientation, etc. Why can't people just not be assholes? See, I've solved the world's problems right there!! I'll be expecting that Nobel Peace Prize any day now!

If women are to raise the bar and highlight their abilities and strengths, it really doesn't do for us to be portrayed this way. As I said before, there are role models a plenty both past and present. Read their stories, hear them speak, but for heaven's sake, stop marketing these things as women's self help events that need to be led by an old sitcom male actor.

I suppose I've gotten down to maybe what bothers me more, which is marketing. I think I hate it. That's a different topic. And I'm tired. And the flow of this post is all off, like I didn't eat any fiber this week. This means I should stop writing now.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Nothing New

Today I relayed a story to a friend from the days when my oldest daughter, who will be turning 11 on Wednesday, was an infant. I recalled phoning my grandmother on a particularly difficult day and her simple response was to say there was nothing new under the sun. Of course my baby would cry and fuss and throw up and never sleep. Every baby that had come up before and every baby that would come up after would be just the same. I found this both a frustrating and wonderfully reassuring piece of advice. There was relief in knowing that millions of babies over hundreds of thousands of years behaved the same way. Cara was normal. Of course when you are sleep deprived and a person who values personal space, this was also frustrating. But mostly a comfort.

It's not widely publicized that parenthood is as hard as it is. Sure, lots of moms and dads say it's hard. But then they walk out into the world with their hand sanitizer, unstained clothes and cartoon grins and tell the world how super easy it is to have a great family! No one is ever upset, the kids always do exactly what you ask, when you ask it. Even the Cleavers and the Seavers had more complications than what your average family is willing to publicly show.

I say all this to remind myself in a particularly hard moment that there is nothing new under the sun. All children have neglected their dinners for weeks on end, yell at you and then stomp off to their rooms and slam the door, and all children that come up after mine will behave the same way. It's really frustrating. But, I remember frustrating my mother in this same way. Karma, apparently, really is a bitch! Heh.

So, all you young moms and ladies who may someday have children, there is nothing new. In a particularly hard moment, call your grandmother or a friend with a kid. She will listen to you and remember when her kids were just as ornery, and then share her own battle stories. You'll each have a good laugh and the moment will pass. I know because in the time it's taken to write this post, sweet Bubs was making all kinds of fuss at the table (long after the rest of us have finished), ran off to her room in tears because she had to finish a small helping of sweet potatoes, changed into her pajamas and is now happily playing Old Maid with her sister. Maybe she's bipolar, or worse-completely normal!