I am a woman. I am a mother. These are my two qualifications for saying what follows. It is a very personal and limited view. My very wise brother said that everyone has a dragon, and you can find that dragon in the things you are afraid to speak about. I’m facing this dragon, so I guess you’re along for the ride.
Ever since I can remember, I had no interest in a career. I have one by default, or necessity perhaps. Being a wife and mother who cares for her home and children is fully satisfying for me. I have many other interests and I follow them, but I must work at my home business because life in 2018 requires two middle class incomes for survival.
Those who marched, legislated, wrote and lobbied for women to have jobs alongside men, and I fully support their right to do so, did not speak for me. But you go along, you get with the program, you don’t make waves. Still, there were enough women who felt as I did that I knew we were an underground of secret, gentle rebels.
There has been a push for many decades for women to break through the ‘glass ceiling’. Statistics have been cited, and often stacked to present the impression that a man doing the same job as a woman gets more pay. Although I believe the research is not complete, if it is true it is because there was once a reason for this. Men who were providing for a family (women and children) were given priority. This values the welfare of the vulnerable over all others.
I feel we’ve ignored the biology right under our noses at our own peril. For the survival of our race one of the genders must bear children. This is a great privilege and a great burden, but a sacrifice that is more than rewarded. The role of a woman’s body in childbirth makes her vulnerable in a way that men aren’t. This isn’t to say men are not vulnerable, I still feel compelled to add. And there again I feel the zeitgeist pressing in on me. ‘Don’t say women are vulnerable. Shout from the mountaintops that they are as strong as men.’
In fact in many ways women are stronger than men, but there is such a tug of war over this that the truth gets strangled.
We now find ourselves in a strange situation. For years we’ve been pretending that women aren’t vulnerable and don’t need to be protected while shouting that men should stand down in just about every way, because they more often violate women. And lest I be misunderstood, NO MAN SHOULD EVER VIOLATE A WOMAN. But it seems to me that a great violation of our society is the insistence that a woman must have a career and raise children simultaneously and this magically makes her equal with men. Being a mother is a full time job to start with. Every mother knows this. Most of the women I know will tell you their lives are characteristic of two full-time jobs. And who gets squeezed in the middle? The children. Please don’t pretend the children are not vulnerable, or the gig is up. The mother principle holds everything we know and love together. The unique and distinctive privilege of being a woman is all but buried under a cry for sameness which we call ‘equality’.
And where does the apple pie come in? It is my favorite dessert because it has two conflicting tastes, a sweet and a sour. It is the marriage of a paradox. So it is with truth. It has two sides. The thing is that it is the vulnerability of women that often makes them nurturing to children in a way that men aren’t. And children need nurture. This is a generalization, and there are, of course, exceptions, but we all know there’s truth in it. There is a nobility–a privilege in being a woman. It is something to be proud of in its own right. You don’t have to become a man to live as a woman.