The Shame Game
Sometimes I feel as if there's an unspoken hierarchy amongst women in social circles. We've come a long way since the bra burning feminist movement of the 60's. Some studies even suggest not only a second or third, but fourth wave of feminism that's been going on since 2010 with new media platforms available for women to share ideas.
We are still fighting the good fight for reproductive rights, domestic violence, equal pay, maternity leave and sexual harassment but, I fear there's a larger more insidious and even more dangerous fight we are fighting without even realizing it.
Women against women.
Kerry Folan recently wrote an article for the Washington Post about yoga pants, worn outside of the gym, being "An Assault on Manners and a Nihilistic Threat." If you're like me, you would need to google nihilistic, so I will save you the trouble. It is defined as "rejecting all religious and moral principles in the belief that life is meaningless."
I believe the point of her message was to take pride in ourselves and appearances which I can partially agree with (I wrote about similar matters here) But, I don't think Ms. Folan understood the grossly negative and shameful effects her article would have on the women who choose to and love to wear yoga pants on the regular.
I have a friend who asked me multiple times throughout her pregnancy if I thought it was okay that she wanted to get an epidural. We talked at length over it. And I couldn't help but wonder if she was just exploring her options for birth and pain relief or if someone told her she shouldn't get one and she second guessed what she felt was right for herself. Did she feel she wasn't a real woman if she didn't give birth unmedicated? That's wonderful if you want to wear your unmedicated birth as a badge of honor but shouldn't all birth be a badge of honor?
You may be thinking unmedicated birth is a sharp tangent from yoga pants but stick with me.
I see articles, memes, Facebook posts and tweets on the daily about breastfeeding moms vs. formula feeding moms. Epidural births vs. unmedicated births. Working moms vs. stay at home moms. Married women vs. single women and now yoga pant women vs. denim women.
Forget having to battle it out with men for equal pay, we can't even support each other as women when it comes to every day choices. We will go to war over organic rhubarb and toxic sunscreen when all we really want is for someone to tell us "you are okay." "You are making the best choices you can for yourself and your family and that's all that matters."
It's a constant competition and it's got to stop.
We will never get anywhere with women's rights if we can't get it right at home, within our own gender. We women have to worry about being enough as it is, so lets stop heaping our own personal convictions and expectations on each other and just celebrate the fact that we are all unique and different in our own ways.
So its not what you would have chosen to feed your child, that's fine, you don't have to. It's not what you would have chosen to wear to work, that's fine, you didn't. What it all boils down to at the end of the day is peace. If you have peace about the decisions you make, you owe an explanation to no one.
And dare I say even the worst of choices can be redeemed. There's still hope at the foot of the cross. God doesn't love you more or less based off of your actions. He loves you because of grace. Bottom line. He loved you before you even existed. Before you even drew breath, He knew you. You are valued, honored and esteemed by Him.
Let's do the best we can and leave the rest in His hands.