March 3rd, 2010 — Family Life, Feminine Heritage
“What further complicates this picture is the fluctuations in hormone levels we experience during our life. The surge of hormones during puberty is one major hormonal shift that we all recognize. However, there is a second major hormonal shift that takes place in midlife. For women this is called menopause, but men undergo a similar shift that has traditionally been called a midlife crisis but is increasingly being referred to as andropause.
During this secondary life-shift women’s estrogen-levels are programmed to drop and testosterone becomes more dominant. Men have a similar shift in which testosterone levels fall and estrogen becomes more dominant. This is why many women start a career and become more assertive at this stage of life, while many men want to stay at home more, gardening or tending grandchildren. In other words, we are programmed for a partial reversal of roles after the childbearing years are passed. Nature is obviously very fair, but because we do not understand this secondary life transition, we have both men and women panicking and resisting this important life transition,” from the article Blame It On Hormones: The Biological Differences Between Men and Women.
At 36 and post-childbirthing, I can feel the lessening of the very strong hormonal pull that tethered me to home for the last 8 years.
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March 2nd, 2010 — Family Life, Feminine Heritage, Mentors, Role Models, Peers
There’s this one chapter in Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage by Elizabeth Gilbert about the modern-day difficulty of girls having so many choices.
In prior generations a woman might have regretted not having a career, but hey it was out of her control, so the regret was not so much about her personal choices as regretting a broad social condition, for instance.
I find myself having random fleeting thoughts like . . .
Why didn’t I join a sorority?
What was attractive about the “bad boys?”
Should I have taken the LSAT and applied to law school instead of jumping on my first writing job?
What if that one guy had been single?
What if I had stayed in California?
What if I had stayed in New York?
What if I had dumped the guy who wasn’t really into me, for the guy who was?
What if I had gone to Lithuania alone, instead of with my ex-husband?
What if I had gone to grad school in creative writing?
Why didn’t anyone ever encourage me to apply to an Ivy League school (aside from BYU)?
What if I had exercised in high school and college?
Why didn’t I ever like the nice boys who asked me to marry them?
Why did I waste like 15 years on a friendship that felt awful to me at least half the time?
What if I done what I was supposed to and married a nice Mormon boy?
As Elizabeth Gilbert points out, it’s not that I hate my current reality, I don’t. It’s just that, unlike my mother, who felt her only decision was to get married or not, choose a family or no family, I was born into a world with more choices. My daughter is born into a world with nearly unlimited choices.
Also, there is a large feminist time-lapse involved in my regrets. For instance, I grew up in a microcosm of ultra-socially-conservative-mothers-should-stay-at-home culture, religion and family. So, though my family encouraged college they discouraged ambition in girls. One went to college to find an educated man, and make sure you could provide for yourself and children if you had to. You should choose not to.
To plan on any career, or clandestinely nurse any professional worldly dreams, outside the nuclear family at all was extraordinarily ambitious. To move to Lithuania or California or New York at all was extremely adventurous and independent of me (defined as “dangerous” by my conservative family). To pursue writing as a J-O-B was a nice temporary choice, to be abandoned at the birth of a my first child.
It’s only in retrospect, when I am 36, and not 16 with all my choices ahead of me, that these same social conservatives have the likes of Stephanie Meyers and Sarah Palin, Ambitious Religious Conservative Mothers. There certainly was no such thing as a Feminist Mormon Housewife.
So, I’m not going to feel bad about my occasional musings on what might have been if the choices available to me had been different. Is “regret” really the best word for it? As my daughter’s choices expand into infinity, I get the odd pleasure on reflecting on a world of unlimited choice and daydreaming about how my life might have been different if I’d have gone right instead of left, or left instead of right, at the many forks in the road.
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February 26th, 2010 — Mentors, Role Models, Peers
Girls, come on! Leave the saving of the world to men? I don’t think so! I don’t think so.
~ Elastigirl Incredible
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August 12th, 2009 — Disney Princess Culture & Fairy Tales
My daughter, like every five-year-old girl loves the Disney Princesses. I mean, we can’t really walk through any store without seeing clothing, dolls, books, backpacks, flash cards, puzzles, games, dress up clothes, videos, bed spreads or shoes that aren’t logoed with these girls.
Since banning the princess paraphernalia we like to play a little game. She tries to think up a princess who was an empowered girl and I explain to her why that princess is not an acceptable role model.
What’s wrong with Ariel, The Little Mermaid? Ainsley asks.
First, Ariel made a deal with the devil, Ursula is pretty much the evil devil character in the story. You must never assume the devil will look a certain way. You should never believe anyone who tells you they can give you something you desire if you give up your talents. Because most likely they are lying.
Second, Ariel had the gift of a beautiful voice. That’s a talent given to her by God. When God gives you a gift or a talent you don’t ever trade that for some guy. I don’t care who the guy is, if he loves you, there will be room for your gifts and talents to flourish.
Third, Ariel fell for the first man she saw. Smart girls date and have a few boyfriends before they settle down and get married. See, it takes practice and trying different boyfriends out before you really know what kind of man will be best for you. Never marry the first man you see.
Fourth, Ariel gave up her family for the prince. True love will never require that you abandon your parents or siblings or friends or life. If a man wants you to give up family or friends to be with him, then he doesn’t really love you.
Fifth, Ariel gave up her voice. No man worthy of your love will want you to give up your voice. You have important things to say, valid and worthy things. Any man you marry should encourage you to say what you think and voice your opinions. Don’t ever, ever let a man silence you.
Give a girl you know an alternative to Disney’s version of girl. Try something likeThe practical princess, and other liberating fairy tales or missing piece meets big o where the messages are you can save yourself and you’re already whole and complete.
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July 14th, 2009 — Genderization
Foreign Policy has an article, The Death of Macho by Reihan Salam, siting compelling evidence that your daughters’ future will likely be brighter than your sons’.
The Great Recession, as their calling our current economic situation was caused by “macho” testosterone heavy policy, reaction and motivation and the price has been men and their macho jobs taking the brunt of economic cut-backs.
The recession, in spite of all feminism promised, is actually The World Wide Economic Revolution femininity has been waiting for, the article states.
“For years, the world has been witnessing a quiet but monumental shift of power from men to women. Today, the Great Recession has turned what was an evolutionary shift into a revolutionary one. The consequence will be not only a mortal blow to the macho menís club called finance capitalism that got the world into the current economic catastrophe; it will be a collective crisis for millions and millions of working men around the globe.”
What’s unclear is whether this is more burden or blessing for women and girls. Or whether our sons and their fathers can handle it.
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