On the other end of the spectrum, I saw a man, the former Stanford swimmer who was convicted of sexual assault, get a pathetic, slap on the wrist sentence for a crime that warranted more than six months in the county jail.
It was a week in which women finally broke through a long standing glass ceiling and a week in which the justice system failed one of our own.
As I thought about these events, I considered my experience as a woman and the highs and lows I've experienced because I have a vagina. All and all, I consider this day and age to be a good time to be a woman. I've had more opportunities than my mother was ever afforded. Millennial women, no doubt, have had more opportunities than Gen Xers like myself. We are definitely making progress.
Despite how far we've come, I can't help but remember several instances in my life that illustrate exactly how some things have not changed at all. It appears that the old saying, "The more things change, the more they stay the same." is an old saying for a reason. There is some truth behind it, enough so to guarantee its continued usage decade after decade. That was the inspiration for this post.
The Paradox of Being a Woman
If we're short, we're told to wear heels. Elongate those legs, baby... The higher the better! Pay no mind to how much they hurt! If we're tall, we're told to wear flats because we shouldn't be taller than our boyfriends/husbands.
If we have small breasts, we're told to get implants because we're as "flat chested as a prepubescent boy." If we're well-endowed, we're told to cover up because exposing our breasts is indecent.
If we keep up with fashion trends and get regular manicures, pedicures, and hair stylings, we're considered high maintenance. If we don't, we're told that we're too plain and not attractive.
If we don't like wearing dresses or other girly garments, we're automatically considered to be lesbians.
If we are lesbians, we're told that all we need is a "real man" to show us what we've been missing and to convert us. But, if we're going to make out or have sex with other women we should at least let the men watch.
If we're skinny, we're told that we need to gain some weight because men like a little meat on our bones and like some cushion for the pushin'. Heaven forbid if we're overweight or our thighs touch or we have any stretch marks! No one likes a fatty after all.
If we wear too much makeup, we're called tramps. If we wear no makeup, we're told that we need to put more effort into our appearance.
If we're smart, we're told to go to college, get a job, and support ourselves. But, be careful on how much education we get - because men don't like women who are smarter than they are.
If we wear long skirts, we're told to raise that hemline, girl, and show off those legs. If we wear short skirts, we're told we look like hookers.
If we have consensual sex with some random, predetermined, moving target number of partners, we're sluts. If we maintain our virginity, we're considered prudes.
If we become stay-at-home moms, we're told that we're not contributing to our families' finances. If we are working mothers, we're told that we're putting our jobs first and neglecting our families.
If we have more than the median two point whatever children, we're reminded of how overpopulated the world is. If we choose not to have children, we're considered selfish and less of a woman because we haven't procreated.
I have no idea what it is like to be man. All I know is what it's like to be woman and the experiences I've had in my forty-something years. I honestly feel that being a woman, right here, right now in this day and age, is probably easier than it ever has been, but it's still tough. We've come a long way, but we're not there yet.
As always, thank you for stopping by.
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*Friday Reflections Prompt: What are you thinking of right now?/Free write