As I have traveled across the country, I have had the privilege of meeting incredible women from all walks of life. From young women paying their own way through college, to moms working the extra shift to keep food on the table, to women struggling to make ends meet during retirement.
We talk about their bills, their children — how they’re constantly striving to strike that balance between work and family. And no matter what kind of challenges they’re facing, they don’t complain. They just work harder.
This is what we do as women. We persevere. Because no matter our ages, backgrounds, or stations in life, we are determined to leave a better world for our children and give them opportunities we never even dreamed of.
I realize that I’m being a bit nit picky, but like I said, I think growing up the way I did makes it so that I see things others generally just gloss over and don’t notice. I think Michelle Obama is a wonderful, strong woman and I admire her, but I think she has some of the same gender blind spots that many other (most?) Americans have:
1. Women shouldn’t complain even when things are bad.
2. Women exist to fulfill the needs of their children.
Furthermore, I love my daughter Sally dearly, but I do not exist simply to fulfill her needs – or anyone else’s. I am my own person with my own hopes, dreams, longings, and desires. I reject that meme of the self-sacrificing woman who puts everyone else before herself and works until she drops. It’s not that I wouldn’t jump in front of a bus for Sally, it’s just that I want to live too. I have needs too. I’m a person too. I exist, I didn’t just disappear when Sally was born and become sort of extension of her. If we really want to achieve equality, we’re going to have to drop the self-sacrificing woman meme.
It’s weird that something as simple as a campaign email from a progressive woman could bring all this up for me again, but it has. Am I the only one who sees these things? How can we hope to dismantle things like Christian Patriarchy when mainstream society jumps up and down to parrot its main tenets?