“Everybody knows that smokin’ ain’t allowed in school.”
— Brownsville Station and, later, Mötley Crüe
Not literally. Don’t smoke. Smoking is horrible for your health – everyone knows that by now.
I’m talking about attitude. Style. Frame of mind. Life approach. Career goals. Taking the opportunity to be a rebel while Star Wars is cool again (#PrincessLeiaForever). Marching the march every day, not solely a single Saturday in January 2017.
Whether you choose to acknowledge it or not, as long as there have been boardrooms, glass ceilings and guillotines, those of us in the “gender: F” category have had to work twice as hard for twice as long for close to half the greenbacks only to end up first on the chopping block. Whew – that was a long sentence! Let’s all take a deep breath and ponder for a sec.
I’m not an anthropologist but would bet we considered ourselves more equal back when we shared caves. Women were hunter-gatherer, forager-moms who popped out babies in between large treks across previously connected continents. Due to an extraordinarily high mortality rate for everyone, especially children, jobs aimed at guaranteeing our survival as humanity were divided based on practicality. IOW, she who birthed it, nurtured it. That in and of itself did not lend itself to the superimposed inferiority and phrase “best seen and not heard.” That came later and is better explained by those much more scholarly than I. Suffice it to say, somewhere along the way, the collective “we the female” began to be misrepresented as the “weaker sex.”
Well, enough is enough. Say it with me: Estrogen is the new testosterone!
Don’t worry gender M’ers – this is not intended to disparage you. Quite the opposite! You’ve made your own adaptations and progress towards a kinder, more equal society. Keep reading … you’ll see.
No longer do men have the market cornered on being cocky. Can you say Madonna, Sarah Palin, or Amy Schumer? Einstein and Hawkings aren’t the only certified geniuses in history. Give it up for double Nobel Prize winning Marie Curie, 128+ US patent holder Edith Stern and Computer Scientist Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper (thanks for the first English to computer code translation, Grace!). And don’t even get me started on the political arena. When roughly four million marchers take to the streets wearing pink hats, whether you’re for or against their demonstration, we might want to rethink this whole 80 cents to the dollar business. Or the less than equal representation in government at all levels. But, I told you to not get me started.
My point is these women of yesterday and today have one thing in common: they didn’t let their chromosomal markers stop their brain cells from kicking ass. These women took a page from the book of men, did whatever the hell they wanted without caring what other people thought while still caring for other people. These women proved, especially for those of us born before this millennium, equitable success for career, cures, country and plain ole chutzpah is possible.
And, women are not alone in their changing attitudes in these gender games. Men of the world are rebelling against the age old norm of sole breadwinner, back-up nurturer and emotions on the down-low. We live in a dual income society now where the number of stay-at-home-dads is on the upswing, The Rock rocked a set of fluffy white wings as the Tooth Fairy and, well, #manbun. Recently lost music icons David Bowie, Prince and George Michael helped define a new masculinity that was sexy, strong and unhindered by what we used to think makes a “manly man.” I haven’t seen a count yet of men who marched with their equals last weekend, but saw their photos over and over again. Men want women’s equality, too.
So, whether your dance card is marked by a plus or an arrow, or some combination of both, turn up the music and turn down the way things used to be. Let your equally-smokin’-hot-self achieve whatever you want towards your best career and life.
Like Leia says, “Somebody has to save our skins.”
Kathleen Vaught is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.