Poor Caitlyn Jenner. How quickly the accolades change to attacks, all because of a few poorly chosen words.
In case you haven’t heard, Jenner was honored last night at the 25th Annual Glamour Women of the Year Awards. In a Buzzfeed interview, Jenner stated: “The hardest part about being a woman is figuring out what to wear.”
Jenner said a lot of other things too, none of which will be remembered. Also left out of the discussion will be an important part of the interviewer’s question, the two words “FOR YOU.”
Jenner did not say that fashion was the hardest part of being a woman for every woman. I doubt it makes the top ten for most of us. I work at home and my everyday wardrobe is whatever nightgown I slept in. I just got back from taking my daughter to work and for that I slipped into a stretchy skirt from Wal-Mart, a Georgetown t-shirt, and the pair of my son’s Crocs that were nearest to the door. And no bra. But I can do that because there are no paparazzi lurking in my bushes. Caitlyn Jenner has to look good all the time or face the consequences on the cover of the National Enquirer the next day. I could see how that would be very hard.
Caitlyn Jenner will never suffer through a difficult pregnancy, or have to worry about finding quality childcare, or be forced to abandon a cherished career to stay home with kids. Jenner won’t spend long days with a house full of small children, or be a single mother living on welfare while looking for a minimum wage job, or even put up with monthly cramps and mood swings. Starting to live as a woman at the age of 65, and as a wealthy and famous woman at that, means Jenner will miss out on a lot of the difficulties experienced by most women.
So let’s cut Jenner a little slack and realize that this is a question that each woman might answer differently, depending on her stage of life and her experience. I almost hesitate to even answer the question, since I don’t want to imply that I believe being a woman is uniquely difficult, or somehow harder than being a man. Personally, I think life is hard, no matter your gender.
But as I reflected on the question, I decided that FOR ME, the hardest part of being a woman is living up to societal expectations: the pressure to be a perfect mother, to seek personal fulfillment through a career, to take care of everyone and everything, and to be thin–but not TOO thin!–while doing it.
Of course, while I won’t presume to speak for them, men face daunting societal pressures as well, and some of those pressures may seem to conflict with one another: to support a family financially and succeed in a career while spending more time with the kids, to be strong but sensitive, to be a gentleman while also treating women as equals.
How would YOU answer the question? What is the hardest part of being a woman (or a man, if you happen to be one!) for you?
Trying to find time to appreciate myself.
dealing with other women’s criticism
Getting along with other women. I mean that in the sense that so many want to judge others. #mommywars. Seriously, as women we need to learn to support each other no matter what our difficulties or life’s path.
For me, the hardest parts of being a woman are the ones wrapped up in the greatest blessings of being a woman: Wondering whether I will ever be able to conceive or whether I’ll ever get a break from conceiving. Morning sickness. Shifting a huge, pregnant belly out of bed in the middle of the night. Labor. Caring for a newborn while suffering the baby blues. Not producing enough milk. Chasing a couple of toddlers in two different directions, in public, with a baby strapped to my chest. Getting everybody fed and cleaned and making my household run well enough to avoid feeling like I’m going to lose my mind. I have these challenges because I have these blessings, and both are intimately wrapped up in my womanhood.
It’s a womanhood that Mr. Jenner will never experience.
Hmmm…honestly, I never thought about it from a woman’s perspective! I rather go with your statement that life is hard for either gender!
I think it’s the expectations (what to wear, what kind of mom to be, etc.) that people place on women.
There are plenty of things that are hard in life, some gender related. However, I guess I’ve never really looked at it that way. In general, I try to focus on the blessings in my life. Having a positive focus definitely changes my attitude as I face each day. Caitlin Jenner has way more problems than what to wear and in my opinion really has no right to comment on what it’s like to be a woman.
That is such a hard question to answer. For me it’s living authentically because society really does have all these unwritten rules for women. Must get married. Must have kids. Must be nurturing. The list goes on.
I feel like it changes depending on the time of life, but there are always society imposed expectations that put pressure on us.
I think you are right about it changing. Sometimes even from day to day!
I wasn’t aware of that quote because I’m usually not aware of anything BUT I think my answer is similar to yours. The hardest part is balancing everything I want to do with everything I feel like I’m expected to do– whether that pressure originates with me and I just blame it on society.
Good point. After all, we don’t HAVE to bow to societal pressures. But it’s amazing how quickly we internalize them.
I am not sure. Life in general is difficult. Menstrual cramps suck pretty bad.
I think both genders have difficult situations that come up in life. Life can be hard for anyone to navigate through it .