Today is being celebrated worldwide as International Women's Day. If it weren't for Facebook I probably would not have remembered. Much in the way that I don't need the month of February to remind me that I am black, I don't need a day to remind me that I am a woman. I am reminded everyday of my powers as well as my limitations.
Just last night I was having a conversation with H.S. Sweetheart about finishing up grad school. The first thing he had to say about that was that I needed to get my home life straightened out first because I have the kids and I have alot going on. So? Many women have alot of things going on. Many men have alot going on too. Does this mean that I can't accomplish my goals? He tells me that he is not saying I can't but...
Already he has me pegged. The odds are stacked against me because I am a woman. Now, I do not deny that I have alot of roles that I must play, alot of responsibilities to fullfill, and alot of tasks to juggle. But it has been wired in my DNA to tackle everything that was thrown my way with a smile. Yes I may sweat or shed a few tears, but after panting, and pushing, and breathing I usually give birth to my ambitions. The pain may be great, but with perseverance I usually smile at the end.
I do not deny that this glass ceiling exists. Nor do I not acknowledge my own limitations as a female. All I am trying to say is that I work though whatever problem I am faced with. If complacency is not an option then I push to remove the status quo. If it benefits me to stick to traditional gender roles then I do so. As a woman today I have to be flexible and I have to find that balance. The balance between being independent and being feminine.
Sex and Sexuality
"Women are at the mercy of a man's dick." H.S. Sweetheart said this to me once when I had told him that I wanted to see other people. This is true. In a committed relationship it is usually the woman who has to find a form of birth control. If he is a cheater you leave yourself vulnerable to contracting STD's. Even if you insist that he uses condoms he could always find sneaky ways to get around this...most times without you ever knowing!
Likewise, men are also at a woman's mercy. I love the fact that after about a decade and a half my Sweetheart is still excited about being with me. I love the fact that my married lover of a decade still calls me hoping to become romantic with me again. I love the fact that my STBE still writes me nauseating letters telling me how much he loves me. I also love the fact that men, who I have never been romantic with nor desire to be with, buy me expensive gifts or offer to take me on trips. I am NOT the sexiest woman on the planet and yes, I admit I can be a bitch on the wrong day. But I got to give it up to the naani because it has powers that can be harnessed be any woman who is in tune with her body!
In addition to having a sexual aura, women nowadays tend to be more liberal with who they sleep with. In times past, a man had to earn his way into a woman's underwear, oftentimes by way of marriage. Nowadays, women are practically offering it up on a platter before the man even has an appetite. This sort of "sexual liberation" has a double edged sword. Yes, it has become more acceptable for a woman to have more than one partner, but at the end of the day, men still regard such women as being loose and do not desire to marry a woman of reputation. Because of "liberated sex", marriage is the last thing on a man's brain and many women end up crying over spilt milk when the clock starts ticking.
Education, Work, and Family
Statistics do not lie. More women than men today are furthering their education by achieving undergraduate, graduate, post graduate degrees. But more educated women do not necessarily mean many highly paid women exist. The sad reality is that mostly men still occupy top positions in most companies. Why is this? Women have periods and they have babies. They are more likely to call out because of a sick child, or have off-days when they are on the rag. It is a sad truth but it is what it is. There are the exceptions to the rule who do make it to the top, but oftentimes end up sacrificing family time in order to chase the paper.
Women like myself are often ridden with guilt when they spend too much time away from their kids. It is hard to climb the success ladder without sacrificing family life. Men are wired to spend extended amounts of time from their families. Back in the days when families survived on just dad's income that was OK. Today, both mom and dad are working, while little Junior is in daycare or an extended hours after school program. It is my opinion that this sort of lifestyle is contribution to the denigration of society, as mothers of the past stayed home and made sure that everyone toed the line. Now our children's values are being shaped by The Simpsons and Family Guy (shows I will admit I am huge fans of but not for the moral content!).
With today's socio-economical disposition, women today are needed both at home and in the workforce. They are also expected to be freaks between the sheets and saints in the streets. We are expected to fulfill opposing roles and we are quite capable of doing so. The keyword though is "balance". We need to hold on to our femininity, yet still be able to hold our own like our male counterparts. I could pee standing up but it makes more sense for me to just sit. Just like I am sure I could repair the leaks in my roof if I watch enough DIY, but it just makes more sense to ask my guy. And just because I am "independent", it does not mean that my date should not hold the door or pull out chairs for me. And no, we are not splitting the bill, no matter how much I offer.
We are beyond the point of proving that we can do what men can do. Yes we can! What we should ask ourselves is if the sacrifices we make are worth it. I can bed as many guys as I feel like because I am my own person dagnabit, but is it worth it to have tons of meaningless, cheap sex and possibly contract a virus or get pregnant with God-knows-who's kid? I could make more money if I put in 80 hours a week at work, but will all the nice clothes and toys be sufficient for the kids? I try to ask myself all these questions when I think about making changes to areas in my life.