I often ruminate about womanhood. What does it mean to be a woman in today’s world? In our constant struggle for equality, we keep taking on new roles and obligations, which sometimes make our lives ever more stressful.
What, or who is, a woman? She basically does it all and has to look good at the same time. She is a Jane of all trades, juggling a work life balance which is usually 90% work and, if she is lucky, 10% rest. Because really, when she gets home, there is just more work to be done.
We have been given the right to vote and the right to work. I count myself lucky to meet a number of incredible women on a weekly basis. They are lawyers, teachers, accountants, artists, models, aestheticians, architects, engineers, hairdressers, you name it and they do it. These women have amazing attributes which they bring to their careers and I applaud them heartily for doing it.
What about those women who work in jobs which are not perceived so highly, such as cleaning other people’s houses or offices? Or the check out girl at the supermarket? What about all the waiters and bartenders? Too often, I hear people dismissing this sort of work as lowly and not admirable. Well, that person may be doing it to support her family; it may be the cash she needs to get her children through school. And if not, if she is simply supporting herself, well done to her! We all have our bills to pay and if you stop and have a word with this woman you will see that she has aspirations and expectations too. Just as much as you!
After a minimum of eight hours at work, we go home. If we live on our own, the cooking and cleaning has to be done, but at least we have some leeway as to when it’s done. If you have a family, it’s another thing altogether. Your partner and your kids will want dinner and there’s the laundry to be done, and the dog which needs feeding and walking. If you are lucky, your partner will be someone who helps you with household chores; because he or she knows that your sex does not automatically make you the do-it-all around the house.
So, we are doing it all. And how do we look in the meantime? We ought to be looking perfect! Our hair should be perfectly made up (or loosely flowing around our shoulders), our nails should be manicured and every inch of our body should be hairless. Because our partner, and the world at large, deserves shiny pretty things. Why don’t we ask the same thing of men? Why don’t we insist on regular haircuts and shaves? (Well they do in the army and police force, but isn’t that pretty much it?) Oh and heels. For some reason, being short is a crime and you have to add at least five inches to your height to be deemed smart. Being of slightly more than average height, I thank my lucky stars that at least I can get by on relatively flat shoes at the office.
So, where does this leave us? It leaves us running around with frazzled nerves on a daily basis. On the outside, we look cool and put together, but on the inside our worries eat at us! Well, not everyone, of course, there a few women who have it all completely handled (and make the rest of us feel like incompetent fools all the time).
Ladies, the only thing I can say is this. Keep up the good work and try to find some time for that glass of wine and book you’ve been waiting to read for ages.