We Need to Talk About Women
Are we really in this together? Or do the deepest cuts come from one another?
We trade stories about men holding us back like baseball cards. We talk about the boy’s club, and how we’re still denied access to entry. There exists no golden parachutes or keys to the corporate kingdom. Our nods are collective and knowing. We pass around articles about America’s obsession with long hours, the cult of overwork, and the evils of capitalism as the cause of our demise. We are Schrödinger’s cat in a box: simultaneously prospering and flailing before the gas is extinguished.
The first female CEO of X company! The first female creative director of Y agency! Look at these three Silicon Valley unicorns — all owned by women! Judge fails to sentence a rapist because he had no prior record. Women of color still make a fraction of the white male dollar. 53% of white women in this country voted for an incompetent misogynist in 2016 because of money, “Christian values,” racism, I hate Hillary, etc.
It seems as if in the gold rush to snap up all the real estate in firsts, we’ve become blinded by their gloss and sheen. We take our scraps because it’s the best we can get, and compartmentalize the still-real sexism practiced openly every day for all the peanut-crunching crowd to see.
But it’s when we open the box and peer inside, do we realize that at this moment, we are only one of these things — prosperous or flailing. Or possibly we prefer to spend our whole lives outside the shut box, oscillating between two states of unknowing, never sure where we stand or the cause for it all.
I’ve been following the Britney Spears saga with great interest. A woman who was imprisoned against her will and robbed of her basic civil rights for thirteen years. A woman everyone expects to be congenial, smiling, and normal because we’re supposed to forgive our abusers. We’re supposed to pretend like nothing happened. We’re supposed to be the perfect mother, daughter, wife, sister, etc., without realizing we’re all fallible, imperfect humans. We’re all messy though the degrees of how our mess is put on display varies.
Friends who are mothers confide the harshest judgments of their parenting come from other women. Women who all seem to…