So about 6 weeks ago, I took one of my regular ‘time outs’ – where I am out of the office not to go on vacay, but to just have a ‘normal life’ as I see it: unrushed breakfast with my household, nice calm mid-morning nursery run (oh yeah, the child still goes to nursery), read, cook dinner in more than 30 minutes and generally sort my life out. I also like to do quaint things like read a real live newspaper and listen to the radio: and it was from these 2 media that I got the idea of this my well overdue latest blog.
Article after article and radio segment after radio segment in one way or another just lamented about what a state woman were in today. One London radio station spent 40 minutes debating on how girls were apparently getting meaner. A weekly tabloid mag’s leading story was on the extent of cellulite on the thighs of 3 leading female celebrities. Another apparently newsworthy story was about how working mothers were putting their children’s health at risk: as they didn’t have time to cook nutritious meals for their kids they gave them more junk food instead. The other working women with no kids were just as dangerous simply because they had no kids, and worse, no hope of having kids as they had no man, so really what purpose did they serve? This onslaught on females was global: a story on the Nehanda Radio website, an online Zimbabwean radio station and webpage, which sparked debate on one of my current favourite sites ‘Her Zimbabwe’ (http://www.herzimbabwe.co.zw) was about an elected Zimbabwean Senator who essentially blamed the AIDs epidemic in that country on women – because they were becoming too attractive. So if women all shaved their hair, lost weight and dressed shabbily, basically no man would sleep with them and this alone would curb the spread of the virus. Furthermore these women should be circumcised – and I refuse to share his reasoning for this here as it is just too stupid for me to repeat – read it here for yourself (http://www.nehandaradio.com May 12, 2012). If I had had another week, I am sure I would have found more evidence for why we were such pathetic, mean, hapless harlots.
What was remarkable, and in some ways pleasantly surprising was the reaction that these stories evoked in me and the significant majority of the individuals who took part in the ensuing debates on these stories. Girls getting meaner? Heck, girls have always been mean to each other – just as boys are mean to other boys. Just because we are females doesn’t mean we are all always going to be nice! At one point or another we were all either the victim of mean girls or had been girls ourselves. I remember being both; but get this, it was other girls that were my saving grace from both situations.
Working mothers not feeding their children properly? Well most working mothers are pretty smart and can cook and have freezers and so can batch cook nutritious meals to freeze and last a week. They work because most had a career they enjoyed before the kids came and they continue to work both out of enjoyment and necessity. They also work so that their kids can have an overall good quality of life and learn that you don’t get stuff from doing nothing.
And oh the horrors of childless, single 30-40 something women. Actually, many women are making a choice not to have children as they are far too busy having a life – and one that is not just centred on a career. Our generation were raised to take it one step further than our mothers did – educate ourselves to the hilt and become self-sufficient. With that comes a certain element of freedom that includes not having to be limited by having children. I say this as a proud mother, who cherishes her child and takes her role of Yummy Mummy seriously, but I am well aware of the things I have sacrificed – temporarily I may add – to raise another human being. Many of these childless women are in happy marriages/partnerships and see no need to alter the dynamics with the pitter patter of little feet.
And for those women that choose not to have a husband/significant other, or have let go of the one they had, life could not be sweeter. First of all, whilst marriage can be a wonderful union, increasingly many now care less if someone has decided to partake in that union or not. As we mature, it is clear that the important thing is to have a relationship that is functional and makes one happy however that union is presented. For many women, who have relinquished their hitched status it’s all about having a second wind – having been there, done that and worn the apron, there is no need to go round that block again. Women are now freer than ever before to find their functional happy union (FHU) in more ways than one. They can forge these FHUs off-line if they are ‘old-fashioned’ or on-line if they are into ‘modern love’. They are more confident to break the ties when ‘it just ain’t happening’ with no fears of not finding another. And if they don’t find another, who cares, as the commitment of a FHU can be at whatever level they choose – see the rise of the ‘sex buddy’ phenomenon – self explanatory – amongst perfectly well adjusted happy and single women.
So the days of lamenting over the sorry state of women are rapidly fading away, because we are far from being in such a state. We have a new found freedom and a plethora of opportunities – clearly more than I have alluded to here. We can only but thank our mothers and grandmothers and ancestors before, whom through divine guidance from our Creator have got us to where we are today. May we take up the gauntlet to share and positively exploit this mindset with the countless other women who are yet to experience this joy, to generations that will follow, and of course to our wonderful, beautiful partners in crime, our men!