It really is a different world. I’m not referring to one of my favorite TV shows of all time A Different World, I’m talking about the actual world we live in today. By we I mean women. And specifically, any woman born circa 1970s or earlier. So why am I stating the obvious? It’s really an excuse to share a great story my aunt told me about one of my young cousins.
My cousin accompanied my aunt to a doctor’s appointment. My aunt’s doctor is a man, a fact that completely shocked my five year old cousin. She was shocked to learn that boys can be doctors too. You see her doctor is a woman and a couple of her aunts are nurses. When you think about it, that’s pretty cool.
It’s cool because if you’re a woman who’s over the age of 40 you remember when we were five and women were only allowed to be nurses, teachers, secretaries and housewives. I say allowed because although those professions are as rewarding and honorable as any, in general, girls were steered towards them, regardless of their personal interests, likes, and talents and discouraged from pursuing other professions. Fast forward to 2011 and the women who are in these professions are there because they choose to be, not because they had no other options.
I contrast the hopefulness I feel when I hear my cousin’s story, with the exhaustion (for lack of a better word) I feel when I hear another story about another wildly successful young female celeb/entertainer who reaches her 18th birthday and equates womanhood with nudity and overt sexuality. Brittney, Christina Aguilera and now Miley Cyrus (none of whom I really follow) all “celebrated” their womanhood by stripping down to almost nothing and dry-humping stripper poles. In all cases I think cages were involved as well as images of bondage. Is that what passes for womanhood in the 21st century?
We’ve left an era where womanhood was defined by one’s ability to keep a spotless house, cook the perfect pot roast and produce 2.5 children, and entered one where womanhood is defined by one’s ability to undress. There’s got to be a happy medium in there somewhere. Now if we could only define where that is…