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*JRN202

Do you ever feel like a superwoman? Or Wonder Woman, if you prefer. It is not easy to maintain that confident state of mind, especially when a woman decides to enter areas that are largely managed by male hierarchy. On a daily basis, women have to deal with more shit than men – at least that’s how I feel sometimes. We are not exactly encouraged to pursue non-traditional careers (traditional=social workers, retailers, secretaries, teachers, caregivers etc.). The other day, I read an article in The Daily Beast which was about the “new feminism” and the PBS documentary Makers: Women Who Make America. The reporter Gail Sheehy wrote, “Their definition of success goes beyond financial independence. The dream for many millennial women is to make a difference as social and political entrepreneurs.”

What I believe every girl needs as she grows up is a number of female role-models. Women who made the decision to go after their dreams and they did so with class. I’ll never forget watching Reese Witherspoon accepting the Generation award at the MTV Movie Awards in 2011, where she said that it’s possible for a woman to make it in Hollywood without releasing a sex tape.

Politics and power*

“The myth that women shouldn’t lift heavy is only perpetuated by women who fear work and men who fear women.”      — anon (Frankly, I couldn’t find out who said this.)

weight

from Women’s Rights News Facebook page

When stepping into professions that direct us to science, technology, business and finances, many women have to face sexism and the glass-ceiling. Take the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for instance; while some criticize her for not bringing in a new feminist ideal into the world of politics, there is no doubt that she has proved that a woman can hold a position of power. Unlike many congress men and senators (and not to mention presidents), Clinton has also done it with style and maintained her ethics and grace. Her ex cannot say the same. (Link to a Daily Beast article on Clinton stepping down: http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2013/02/04/hillary-clinton-exits-politics-her-enduring-legacy.html )

In countries such as the United States of America, feminism has acquired a new meaning, because we have laws that protect us and personally, I think there is not much more we can ask from the government (other than making abortion legal nationwide). Sheehy goes on to say, “This is the new feminism–women mentoring and sponsoring other women to rise in formerly male hierarchies and bran out into launching their own businesses or inventing new ways to do global good by becoming social entrepreneurs.” As the article implies, women’s issues is now more of a social matter, a de facto problem.

We have laws that protect us and give us certain rights, and we are perfectly capable (intellectual, physically, emotionally, legally) of earning the same high income, landing the same successful career and controlling the same kind of power a man does. However, a woman in general has to work trice as hard as a man does in order to get into that position. Additionally, if that woman isn’t pretty, she has to work even harder (yes, I’m serious).

Me - one month old (Dec. 1991).

Me – one month old (Dec. 1991).

My mother

I am fortunate enough to have a mother who is fearless. While my brothers and I were toddlers, she made the decision to go to college and earn a degree in finance. By then, she had already run two businesses with my father; construction businesses to be exact. He did the handy-work, along with a crew, and she did the office job, along with a staff. She traveled to the city twice a month and went to lectures, studied at home (with us kids running around, I don’t know how) and earned her degree.

Since then she has worked for several companies, mostly car-related ones, and in many instances, she has been sent to those places to rise it up from the ground. If you need someone to organize your papers, my mother is the financial wiz you’d want by your side. She has helped several places in Sweden and General Motors in Germany and HERE, in Detroit, in Warren, Flint, and I’m sure there’s more. She has done business trips to South Korea, Russia (they were really, really sloppy), and Venezuela on behalf of General Motors. She is known for helping people getting their shit together.

However, it wasn’t always easy for her, and she was not always fearless. She was always brave, though. She has had her share of horrible bosses: men who have treated her like the dirt under their shoes, because she was a woman and they assumed she was stupid, weak and without a spine. Men who have been plain stupid themselves and left their people, including my mother, to pick up their slack. I’ve heard my father call her bosses “penguins,” “ostriches” and some other things I probably should leave to the imagination. She was able to stand her ground, though, and she has advanced further in her career despite emotional set-backs. I think it was definitely helpful having a husband around who would pep-talk her every time she considered quitting her job. Let me just say, for the record, she reported one boss who was especially mean and he didn’t last long at the company.

I cannot blame anyone for seeking her help, head-strong and coolly collected as she is. Can you even imagine how many times I’ve turned to my mother myself? I will actually go to her before asking anyone else, sometimes even if she doesn’t necessarily have expert knowledge in the subject. What can I say? She is my superwoman.

LINK:

New Feminists: Young, Multicultural, Strategic and Looking out for each other

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/02/26/new-feminists-young-multicultural-strategic-looking-out-for-each-other.html

*This is part three of a feminist trilogy

**This blog entry was written for ‘Writing for Mass Media,’ JRN202, at Central Michigan University.

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