A lot of traffic has been streaming through my mind in the last week since we began the Vintage Wife series here on the blog. There’s a lot that’s been bothering me, and it started I think when I was writing out my responses to one part of the Marital Test.
I found I wasn’t entirely comfortable.
There was a nagging thought at the back of my mind while I was laughing at a lot of the questions. And, it was that the quiz wasn’t so dated after all, and that people back then were not the only ones so downright ridiculous in their thinking. I mulled it around in my head, tried voicing it to a few. Oddly, I found I wasn’t really able to say what I wanted to.
Then Chan’s post appeared soon after, and she said something which hammered on the disarray striving for clarity in my head.
As much as i would like to laugh about this it’s still prevalent today. We may not measure the same way but the opinion of what makes a good wife and mother are still very similar. No matter what role you have to play be it breadwinner, home maker, career woman, super mom.. there is a label waiting to pin itself on you and judge you.
Labels, I thought. Yes, that’s what had been bothering me so much. – The word alone speaks a thousand truths, and it tells us something I think many of us don’t really want to hear.
We haven’t changed all that much from those people in the 30s. In many ways (too many ways) I think women are pretty much the same suppressed creatures we were back then. The only difference is, what we consider outrageous and ridiculous from back in the 30s, is really just in some ways our normal now.
Hear me out. – I’m not saying there hasn’t been progress, because there has been. Women can vote, women can work, etc. And, that’s all great. However, if we really think about it, how far have women really come?
Do we still have women rushing home at the end of a work day just so dinner can be ready on time for the family?
Are there stay at home mothers determined to finish the day’s work before 6pm so they have a few minutes to “freshen up” and “look presentable” for the hubby on his return?
Do we unconsciously get our daughters to assist us in the kitchen and with laying the table more than we do with our sons?
Are we the ones who hope and cheer for a happily ever after in books, TV, movies where there is abuse in a relationship which is cured by a few simple R’s such as Realization, Regret, Repentance and Romance?
Sadly, the answer to all of the above is still usually yes.
So, did women really change?
Not so much.
Society, and our own collective efforts have just contributed to causing us a boatload of confusion so far, and so much so that we’re going nuts trying to walk a tightrope between one extreme and another while ignoring the truth which in itself is not OK.
That women require definition.
And, please don’t tell me that is not a requirement in this day and age. Because it is. Wrong, but it’s the truth.
Let’s take a look at what we as women have been taught (and what young girls today continue to be taught.) be it from books and fairytales, television shows and movies, music and art, or right inside our very homes.
That it was all wrong before. But, that we need to keep trying to find some perfect end result so we can be whole.
Excuse me, what?
But, it’s the truth isn’t it? We’re a confused lot looking desperately to find a balance between two unhealthy extremes.
The reality is, today while we shout from the rafters about independence and rights, feminism and what not, we’re really nothing but a mess of comparisons or contradictions trying to fit into the perfect mold, and one much better and broader than the women of bygone years.
Welcome to Mindfuckery 101.
To be strong, a woman must first suffer. However, that is only if we are first not “saved” by a strong and capable man.
For our goodness to shine, there must be a vamp trying to sabotage it. Unless of course we are the vamp who by a man’s love and attention turns over a new leaf to live a good, wholesome life with him.
To celebrate our “plus” bodies, we must severely attack “zero” as pathetic and weak. But, if we’re zero, then let’s point at the fat and call it lazy. To be inbetween is to choose a side and stick to it come hell or high water.
Beautiful on the outside = bimbo, and bimbos are fickle. True beauty is only skin deep. And, now let’s rush out and buy that fairness cream, or anti-ageing anti-wrinkle cream, or burgundy tinged hair colour, because hey “we’re worth it.”
Women can choose career over home and family, it’s perfectly acceptable, this is the twenty first century and not the 1930s where mindless homemakers were glorified in cute ads. But, also… Motherhood is a choice. if you stay home and tend to the flock you get paid in love, people! That’s priceless and more rewarding than a career. No, no, no! No! Women can balance home and career, bitches! We can do it all. In fact we must. Just to show them we can. So, let’s. Eeeee * happy dance *
Embracing your sexuality does not make you a slut. You’re a woman. You’re strong, capable, and beautiful inside out (and also outside in) Just a sec though… You do know you have to save all that sexuality (see: virginity) for only your husband right? Otherwise you’re just a common slut. Oh nonsense! If you’re not a virgin it’s no big deal… Just be sure you give what’s left of your virtue to someone you love, and who loves and respects (and accepts) you for who you are. Checkered past and all.
Education is important and every girl’s right. Women can be masters of their own destiny. A good education will give them that advantage in this cutthroat world. – Oh and an MBA will also give them an advantage over a lesser BA girl in the marital destiny arena. Just saying.
OK, just writing that gave me a killer headache. So much confusion is enough to fry braincells into charred and clotted lumps.
But, it’s what we’re taught isn’t it? This is the reality for us women today. This is what we’re forced to see, read, watch, experience, try to fit in no matter what. Accept as normal.
It’s what our kids are hearing, seeing, and sadly trying to figure out with all the mixed messages we’re sending them. This is the truth we’re living.We’re normalizing bullshit and messing with our own heads.
We’re confused, and horribly so. Which way is right? Which one is wrong? Can we do just one? Can we do all? Should we?
It’s a mess, but that doesn’t seem to be bothering us. We’ve created a world of titles. So much to choose from.
Yippeee! Let’s forget everything and just find one which fits us best (but hurry up and choose… there’s a rat race to be won, a non existent finish line to cross, and a fight to the death over everything in the process.)
Choose your label.
Career Woman 1
I am strong. I am independent. I have ambition and goals. I am something and not nothing! Fuck homebodies and their sobfest fueled online chat clubs.
Career Woman 2
I am strong. I am independent. I have ambition and goals. – But, they say there’s something lacking. Are they right? OMG is cooking in high heels a real option and not just for wussies?
Well, it’s not just television and eating fucking bon bons all day, is it? This is the hardest job in the worrrrrld. I’m a MOM and this is my Mommy blog! So suck on my 24/7 no time for coffee breaks schedule Career bitch!
I need more purpose than just emptying the diaper pail and blogging about it. Maybe I should write fiction to curb my depression induced insomnia.
SuperMom 3 (Limited Edition)
Life with a maid to do everything for me is not a bed of roses, you know? I mean, she asked for a day off this month. Can you imagine that?!? I’ll actually have to stay home and miss the “Complain About Your Maid’s Laziness Luncheon” – Ohhh I nearly died from the stress of that thought.
Single Woman 1
I’m loving it!! So, if you like it just put a ten carat diamond ring on it, asshole. If not, there are plenty of fish. Marriage is for insecure whiney birds anyway. Toodles!
Single Woman 2
Please put a ring on it? A zircon will do.
Commander in Fucking Chief!! Dickwads!
Wash, Iron, Fuck, Etc. (in that order)
Career Woman 1 and 2/Wife 1 and 2/Super Mom 1 and 2 (not 3) /Daughter/Vampire Slayer/Layer
Hear me roar, bitches!
Yes, we’ve come a long way from the 1930s woman. We really have. She was allowed just one title. Even here on this blog sadly, and by one of us who is currently raising her daughter in a world of contradictions and superficial label grabbing.
As a woman am I really much better off than she was?
I could say yes. Because we have progressed to more than a single title.
I could say ‘poor her’ because it’s a simple matter of finding a “label” which “defines” the “real” me.
But, can I really and truly celebrate that as some kind of glorious, modern day victory over age-old female suppression?
Can any of us?