Dear Lucy: Is it my imagination or is there a new level of interest in things that pertain to women? Everywhere I look, there is something about women's rights or beauty or abuse. There is just so much attention on women now. I don't know whether to be sad or glad. What is going on?
– Confused Woman
Dear Confused Woman: I notice it too. But what I see looks like a long overdue push back.
There is nothing new about feminism and there have been lots of myths around about what it means to be a feminist. To stand up for equal treatment of women does not mean that you have to be female or gay, or liberal or support abortion or atheists or any thing of the sort. I think it is simply enough to expect to be treated respectfully, to be treated equally and to be able to speak your mind without fear of censure.
Sure, there are other important issues such as race, culture, poverty and so on. But gender is pretty significant. After all, it takes a female to get other humans into the world...good, bad or indifferent, we all have mothers.
As I am on the latter edge of being a baby boomer and the verge of whatever it is that comes after "boomers," I know that I am a lot more vocal than ever before about what it means to be a female. I am somewhat resentful of the commercialization of aging and the burden to be skinny, athletic, cute, have skin without pores, wear shoes that hurt, dresses with too much spandex, apply a cream for my face, one for my hair, one for my feet and one for my hands.
And when you don't participate in the game, you get to stand in line at the check-out and read the front of all the magazines reminding you of what a loser you must be because you don't look like the twenty one year old advertising the latest anti-aging product.
And as a "boomer" I am very sensitive to all of the media messages that target my eight-year-old granddaughter. She is being systematically programmed not to like herself or not to ever be enough. It's in the games that she has downloaded on my iPad. There is one for creating bizarre outfits, making multi-colored hairstyles, applying weird looking makeup and painting nails in decorative designs. While I appreciate the encouragement of creativity in her, I feel compelled to be certain that she still has the capacity to read, write and do arithmetic.
So, in retaliation, I have become very conscious, as is her mother, of what she is thinking about who she is, who she can become and what we affirm that she is. I did not have the Internet to provide instant news and opportunities to compare myself with folk I don't know and may never know. No Instagram, tweets or texts either.
I think that today, in many ways, every generation of women is finding its own way to fight back. The expectations of women to be a certain way have simply gotten out of hand. Ask yourself how much time you spend getting dressed, getting made up, getting nails and hair done, shopping for the new outfit, surfing the net looking at styles and unrealistic models of beauty. How many men do this? Really?
We don't have to fight back by not taking care of ourselves. We can begin by loving, supporting and encouraging each other. Stop criticizing, condemning and judging other women. Celebrate yourself and uplift another woman today and be glad for the voice to do so!
(For help with the feelings that get in the way of prayer and peace of mind, get Lucy's new book, "BE NOT ANXIOUS." Order it directly from her at 901-907-0260 or go to her web site www.heartworks4u.com.)