It has truly been an interesting year: Susan G. Komen decided not to renew funding to Planned Parenthood, then decided to give it back. Then, talks of universal health care brought many people's views of women's reproductive organs into the limelight, and caused general upheaval. Women's bodies are under attack! (And we don't earn as much as our male counterparts, which sucks.) On a positive note, the US women scored a big-time medal count in the summer Olympic Games, and golf finally decided to allow women access to the mighty green jacket.
I've been wanting to write something about being a woman for months, but something keeps holding me back. I literally have 4-5 different posts on my dashboard that I haven't finished or posted because I'm scared of being shunned by my own gender. So, I thought I would break it up into a few articles.
As you are probably also experiencing, there seems to be a rising number of invitations to "Women Only" events in my inbox: make-up parties, kitchen product parties, jewelry parties, etc. Go ahead and tell me these parties are ok for men. Go ahead. Now think about who actually attends. . . ok. Yes, they are for women. Women between the ages of 30-45 are the consumers of this country, and don't you forget it. We even tell men what to wear and decide which cars they drive. Anyway, I don't cook well so I'm generally worthless at buying kitchen gadgets. I've never understood the use for a cake plate since I will never bake a cake. That is what bakeries are for. As far as makeup is concerned, I've worn the same brand for a long time and tend to wear the same colors. Once a year I will venture out an try on a new color, use half of it, then throw it in my "pile of unknown beauty supplies" which I will rummage through for Halloween. Jewelry is pretty, but I've been wearing the same earrings for the past month. This year I've spent more money on my bike than on clothing.
Don't even get me started on women's magazines like Cosmo. The only time I read them is when I'm getting my nails or hair done. (See? I can be a girl!) Seriously, who cares about these clones in Hollywood? I've also had some very frank conversations with other women about the Real Housewives that make me cringe because we end up talking about them like they are our friends. That really freaks me out because I'm participating in this BS. Yikes!
I am a girl, so I'm supposed to like girl things. Right? Sometimes I even push myself to try and be more girly: hence the Pinterest challenge, the "Run like a Girl" t-shirt, or hosting a brunch for my girlfriends once a year (Brunch = the girliest meal of the day). But, I always feel like I should be doing more: supporting women's causes, doing cheers, joining women's organizations. . . but I just don't want to. I like a day out with a group of my (awesome) girlfriends, but don't necessarily want to be a part of a big organized group of women. Does that make me a bad person?
So, now I fear being shunned by my own gender.
Another reason I've been feeling mighty un-girly lately is women's athletic events in particular. This year has been a real eye-opener to how many events are women specific. Now that I've participated in a few female-only events, I kind of prefer the co-ed stuff. I mean, I don't participate any differently in an all-women's event than I do in a mixed event: I train the same, I have a good time, I perform the same, etc. Sure, I still check times based on gender and age, but I don't have a great affinity for doing women-only events. I especially am not big on wearing pink, boas, tutus, or anything that screams "I'm a GIRL!" at an event.
My mother has a very strong aversion to working out with big sweaty men at the gym, and she was a member of Curves for years, before she realized that doing the same circuit routine wasn't doing much of anything anymore. Now she works out mostly with my dad. My mother also grew up in the 60's when men and women's sports were completely separate, and actually you could say women's sports were pretty much non-existent. My youth was in the 90's when public school gym class was co-ed, and you just kind of get used to the boys winning every game of dodge ball. My strategy for dodge ball was - just don't get hit in the face.
I often feel like an odd girl. I'm not sure if it's because I am different, or I just want to be different. It seems that those who fight conformity are just pigeon-holing themselves into another category of "conforming to non-conformity." So I tend to go back and forth between "Girl POWER!!" and "What the hell is a Blowout Bar?"