I am an angry person. You wouldn’t know it by talking to me, having me as a Facebook friend, or sitting next to me at work. But I am angry inside. Mostly, all of the time. And I can bet that many of you reading this right now are angry too, because at least half of you- are women.
It’s much deeper than the cliché, “women are bitchy”, or “she’s PMS-ing”. It’s about a seed that has been planted deep inside of us. Most women will never let you know that they feel this way, for fear of sounding weak or being called a whiner, so they put on a smile and go about their business. The actual bitchy women- the ones that just don’t care- I envy them. Their sheer bitchiness probably saves them from a lot of anguish on a day to day basis. But the average woman, the one who can’t rest until she has everything on her plate accomplished, well, she’s screwed.
A friend once said to me, “Marriage is exactly like a wedding. The bride has to plan for months, she has her hair and makeup done so that she looks like she’s put together, she has to squeeze into a corset to be smaller, and a pushup bra to be bigger. She has to walk down the aisle, all while people are judging her, and all the groom has to do is stand at the altar with a flask in his pocket.” And you know what? She’s right. There is nowhere to fit a flask in a wedding dress.
It’s no secret that women are busy, especially this day and age. To the women who burned their bras while protesting equal opportunity- I thank you for the sacrifices you made and the scrutiny you underwent. But I have to be honest, there are some mornings when I’m up at five, sitting in traffic, just to make it on time to my mind-numbing job that I think, “Damn, was this worth it?” The thing is, the Women’s Rights Movement wasn’t just about equality; it was about choice. And when women gained the right to vote, work, and have casual sex, no one took the other duties off the table. We were made to believe from a young age that we should take advantage of the fact that we can manage an office, earn equal pay, and run for President. But no one told us that it’s also okay to choose not to do any of that.
Women in America in 2015 are generally expected to have an education, but preferably not a higher education than her partner. She should have some debt so she has established credit, but not too much debt that she can’t pay her own bills. She is usually expected to work a 40 hour work week, but not let that impede on her household responsibilities. She should keep her home clean, but not too clean because then she is considered neurotic. And time-out, can I just mention- cleaning is one word, but encompasses so much. It’s like when someone says, “Did you hear about the dumb thing Kanye West said?” Umm, can you be more specific, please?? At the very minimum, cleaning entails vacuuming, dusting, wiping down the kitchen counters, bathroom counters, toilets, showers, windows, mirrors, washing the floors.. Never. Ending. Laundry. Weeding, skimming, dog crap… HOLY CRAP, the list goes on and on.
Women are usually expected to cook, followed by the cleaning of the pots and pans and special knives and whatever else that can’t go in the dishwasher. Women tend to be the ones who grocery shop, which requires planning daily meals a week ahead of time, seeing what inventory is already stocked in the home, and finding which store has what on sale so she can run around town like Jon Lovitz in Rat Race. Women are expected to dress nice, but not too nice or she might look arrogant and snobby. She should be sexy, but not too sexy, or she’ll look like a slut. And she should also be casual, like the cool girl, but not too casual, because then she’ll look sloppy. It is a constant juggling act.
Oh wait, there’s more. Women are ALSO expected to have hobbies and friends and look pretty and be skinny… but not too skinny, because no one likes a boney ass.
Society leads you to believe that women should have hobbies, because men have sports and video games and cars. So, most women drive themselves nuts, feeling inadequate if they don’t have anything other than their old DVDs of Sex and the City to keep them occupied during their downtime. But oh yeah, that’s right, women don’t have any down time! Not without feeling like they should be cleaning, cooking, working out, or curing cancer.
We are supposed to have friends, because women that don’t have friends, well, they must have problems. People look at a girl who has no friends as someone who is either stuck up, or steals her friend’s men. Maybe she just never had any time to make friends between her hours on the elliptical and trying to find the cheapest place to buy bulk toilet paper!
The pressure to be attractive in America could actually make you want to run head first into a brick wall. Which in turn, would make you a lot less attractive, so that’s why no one does it. But every woman, at one time or another has been so frustrated by her looks that she wanted to run into that wall, and she wanted to hit it hard. No matter what a girl looks like, she has, on more than one occasion, thought she was hideous looking. Someone else will always have something you don’t, and you will always think that what they have is better. I don’t ever remember any of my Disney movies or fairy tale books telling me that lots of people have lots of different and wonderful qualities, and those qualities are all special and beautiful. Bull shit. Ariel was special because she had red hair and fins and everyone else, besides the bird, sucked. Cinderella didn’t have any competition. They made her sisters look like brutes, and once she told them off, there was no one else in the picture. Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, Aladdin… All of these movies taught us there could only be one special and breath-taking heroine of the story, and she was the only one that turned out happy in the end. And that’s how we were raised. Only one of us can be happy, and I want to be the happiest of them all. We never saw movies where girls stuck together and supported one another. Well, not until Now and Then was released anyway.
The addition of the biological clock does not help the anxiety levels for women over 25 either. Society thinks you’ve missed the boat if you haven’t yet had kids but can remember standing in line to purchase Duck Hunt. This predicament leaves childless women feeling like they have missed out, will never know true happiness or fulfillment, and have no right to ever complain about being busy, especially to a mother. Which, is actually pretty understandable. Mothers are the ones who endure pregnancy, labor, and breastfeeding. Mothers generally get stuck with the brunt of the diaper changings, getting up throughout the night, packing meals for her children, dropping them at daycare or watching them all day at home. Mom is usually called when her child is sick, and is expected to be the one to leave work when her child is sent home.
Now, I know that there are many wonderful fathers out there that take on a lot of these tasks. What I am saying is that even if your helpful partner is assisting you with these duties: you, as a woman, feel guilty about not handling it all yourself.
There is so much pressure on women today to run a household, maintain a career, be a great mother, be a laid back wife, lead a healthy lifestyle, be kind to others, FEEL HAPPY, and not get addicted to antidepressants! All this pressure to get things done leaves you falling short of living. We live in a world where we feel guilty because we don’t have time to enjoy ourselves, but when we get the opportunity to do something fun, we feel guilty for doing it. When we live each day just to “get things done”, we are not living, we are prepping. And carrying on like this can definitely make one feel angry from time to time.
This is not meant to put blame on anyone for why many women feel this way. It is society as a whole that puts unrealistic pressure on women. It is Facebook and other social media sites that only show you what others want you to see. And it’s us. It is ourselves. We are our own toughest critic and we put this weight on our own shoulders. We get mad if we’re not able to juggle all the pins while riding the unicycle across the tightrope. We need to be okay with ourselves if one of the pins drops. We need to be okay with ourselves if we decide, “today, I’m only using one pin, and I’m going to throw it over the tightrope and then go book a massage.” We have to stop being angry, and the only way to do that, is to let go of some of the expectations we put on ourselves.