Friends, can we stop considering this a compliment? I had a waffle date/play date yesterday morning with another Mama and her boy. While we sipped coffees, I said I was the same age as another 30 year old we know. And she said: “You don’t look 30!”
And she meant it as a compliment.
I smiled and said “Thanks, but I’m really ok with being 30.”
Because I am 30 and I do look 30. I look like me at 30. By telling a woman she doesn’t look her age, we’re actually telling her that she doesn’t look what you expect that age to looks like. “Oh, you may be 30, but you’re still pretty. Weird.” 30 Rock dedicated a whole episode to this when Jenna tells a newspaper she’s 56. But really, she just looks good compared to the societally perceived norm for that age which is unattractive. We do the same when we say “Wow! Helen Mirren looks amazing at 67.”
So let’s not bring age into this. I look 30. I look like me at 30. I don’t know who else I’m supposed to look like at this age.
I know it’s considered a compliment. But let’s stop that.
Let’s just tell each other: “You look nice.”
"The legislation requires a woman to explain her desire to have an abortion to a panel of at least three people, including a gynecologist, social worker and mental health professional, who must discuss abortion-related health risks and alternatives including adoption. After meeting with the panel, a woman must then reflect for five days before finally opting to have an abortion."
Uruguay becomes the third Latin American country to legalize abortion, but there’s a catch.
"Women of my generation have clung to the feminist credo we were raised with, even as our ranks have been steadily thinned by unresolvable tensions between family and career, because we are determined not to drop the flag for the next generation. But when many members of the younger generation have stopped listening, on the grounds that glibly repeating “you can have it all” is simply airbrushing reality, it is time to talk."
Anne-Marie Slaughter for the Atlantic.
"There is a growing list of female contenders whose work-life balance stories will resonate with female voters who are also trying to find the right mix of working hours to support their families and time at home with the kids."
Is it okay for me to be annoyed any time that people talk about “work-life balance” as some sort of special issue for women? It just casually and unreflectively captures so many bad assumptions about how families should be structured. Men also have families they should prioritize. Maybe they suck at balancing work and family—but they’re still supposed to do the job.
Presidents Obama, W. Bush, and Clinton all had younger children while serving as President. Why don’t we spend more time asking them about “work life balance”?
When single dads equal the number of single moms, then we can say this is no longer a gender issue. More than a quarter of children in America are being raised by single parents. The 2009 American census told us that of those 13.7 million parents raising children single-handedly, 84% of them were mothers.
Now look at the paltry maternity benefits given to American women. Twelve weeks of job-protected leave that is unpaid is hardly a benefit. What if that mother wants to continue breast-feeding after her 12 weeks of leave? That means time at the office spent pumping bottles and longer hours spent at the office making up for that time pumping in the conference room. And when a breastfeeding (or bottle-feeding) mother gets up with her child two, three, four, five times a night, she’s still expected to be at work on time and producing the same amount of work as the man at the desk next to her, while she supposedly is paid less.
And then you factor in the responsibility weight of pregnancy and giving birth. I don’t know how women work up until their due date. Being 34+ weeks pregnant is the worst and then to factor in dragging my butt to an office? Oof.
There are also the societal pressures on mothers. Look at that Time cover. Look at the response it got. It wasn’t men who were crying foul. It was women. They were saying it was an exploitation of breastfeeding. It was ridiculous to imply that they weren’t “mom enough”. It was inciting “mommy wars”. Would Time magazine run an image of a father using an artificial breast on their cover? Would it get the same response? Probably not. It would probably get people coming back saying “Breastfeeding should be left to women!”
A man that has a few after-work drinks with the guys when he has a pair of small kids at home? Or spends every Saturday morning on the golf course blowing off steam? Totally cool with society. A woman who does the same? Not cool. Societal pressures play a factor in this too.
In 2010, 5 million women were stay-at-home moms. In the same year, stay-at-home dads numbered 154,000.
So yes, this is a gender issue.