The Hardest Part about Being a Woman: There’s No One Answer

The Hardest Part of Being a Woman

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?

nablopomo

Best Picture = Best Worldview?

Okay, y’all, this is essentially an irrelevant fluff post, because I lost an hour of sleep this weekend and it took extreme heroism for me not to just go straight back to bed after John and Lorelei left this morning.
So, John was reading Time Magazine the other day while we were driving somewhere (aren’t we ALWAYS driving somewhere?) and he informed me that Time readers had selected the two top Best Picture Oscar winners.  And the Oscars go to . . . (Why can’t they just say, “And the winner is”?  Who do they thing they are kidding?) The Godfather and The Lord of the Rings (well, you know, really it’s The Return of the King, even though they said The Lord of the Rings).
I first saw The Godfather when Teddy was a baby.  I can remember hearing about it when I was a child–you couldn’t escape hearing about the horrific horse head scene, probably one of the most shocking scenes in any movie, ever.

As for The Lord of The Rings, I saw all three films at the theatre as they came out.  I rarely go to movies but these were a must-see for me.  I’ve read the books more times than I can count, and while no movie adaptation is ever perfect, this one comes very close.

As far as pinning “The Best” label on one or the other, I think that’s silly.  They are both masterpieces.  And at first glance they seem too different to even invite comparison.  But consider the following:
They are both myths, in a way.  J.R.R. Tolkien created his own mythology in a secondary world he imbues with such reality that we believe it.  Mario Puzo fictionalized and romanticized something from the real world.  And they are both journeys, with unlikely protagonists who are forced into roles they never really wanted to assume.
What is strikingly different, of course, is how those journeys end.  Frodo single-mindedly seeks the Ring’s destruction, even though he expects it will mean his own death.  He wears ultimate power on a chain around his neck, but he only wants to be rid of it.  That he does in the end put on the Ring and requires a little accidental help from Gollum to complete his quest doesn’t reflect on him because the Ring’s own supernatural powers would have overcome someone less pure of heart long before.

On the other hand, Michael Corleone, the good son who was supposed to do things right and stay out of the family business, quickly loses his purity of heart when he chooses revenge.  At the movie’s end he has willingly taken up the corrupting mantle of absolute power.  Certainly there were events that pushed Michael along the path, but the choices were his to make, and to quote another favorite movie: “He chose poorly.”

Do I have a point here?  Not really.  I just think it’s interesting that the top two movies present such opposing world views.  And as cynical as I sometimes feel, I am going to put my faith in Tolkien’s view.
What do you think?  Do you like movies better if they reflect your own worldview?  Does it even matter?  Which of these two do you prefer and why?