I am not a super hero. I find it hard enough just getting out of bed in the morning. I push my snooze button at least five times. I applaud myself for getting through the day without ironing any of my clothes. And I have a stash of Easter Eggs that I eat in bed at night that my family doesn’t know about (until now!).
I spend about 50 per cent of my time worrying about how I’m going to get through the day without falling in a heap. The other 50 per cent of the time I spend working out ways to win a substantial amount of money, so I can stop working and spend more time watching Friday Night Lights on the couch and going on extended beachside holidays. Sometimes I struggle just putting pants on.
I worry that women put too much pressure on each other to be, and do, everything. On top of getting through the daily grind. We are meant to be strong and powerful and fight for our rights. Our voices are meant to be heard. And if they aren’t, we’re meant to cut through the noise until they are. We’ve got to fight for the right to party. And by that I mean, we actually have to claw back every moment so we can get anytime for ourselves to breathe. If you don’t, you get swept up in the bravado – work, be an involved parent, have a hobby, read books, be socially aware, be financially independent, exercise, have glowing skin and freaking shiny hair. BE EVERYTHING. Do it all with a big fucking smile on your face because WE CAN DO IT ALL. We are women, hear us roar.
Actually, for many of us we are freaking lucky to live where we do. We have running, drinkable water, we have a safe, dry, house to live in. We have access to education. We have dreams.
When I traveled to Cambodia with Oxfam Australia, I met with a group of women who work in the factories that make iconic Australian swimwear for women to wear as they take their kids to the pool or swim laps before going to the office. Despite working six days a week, they hardly got paid enough to live. I asked them what was their dream job? They looked back at me with blank faces. Aside from one or two women, they didn’t have one. They had too much to deal with every day, just surviving. Dreams were not factored into their thinking.
On the contrast, if you looked at my Instagram feed today you could be forgiven for thinking a magical unicorn vomited all its aspirational quotes all over it. All we ever seem to do is dream, and we’re living like Queens, compared to many women in the world.
Today, I’ve been inundated with International Women’s Day messages. It’s overwhelming. I’m not drawing strength from the statements. I just feel even more inadequate. Being a woman is hard work. If you believe the hype we have a lot to live up to. I find it hard enough getting up in the morning and I don’t have to work all day bent over a sewing machine, before heading back to my 4×4 metre room which I share with two others.
International Women’s Day is getting lost in the western world. Fair enough we still have ceilings to crack, but for many women globally they don’t even have a ceiling. Poverty erodes equality. And it’s those women I’m thinking of today. They should be our focus each and every year.
Meanwhile, we focus on women who already seem to have it all, but are struggling to keep afloat.
You see women can’t have it all, that’s a crock of shit. Women can try, but most of it’s smoke and mirrors. Behind the smile is a woman who feels guilty that they are either letting their kids down or letting their partner down or letting their boss down or letting themselves down. Women who get up on International Women’s Day and see all the empowering memes and immediately feel defeated.
If I can’t even make it through the day without fear of cracking. How am I meant to be a freaking super hero? If I’m struggling and I have all I need, then what hope have I got to be an empowering and strong change maker?
Let’s ease up on the pressure for women to “have it all” and instead turn our focus to the women who have nothing.
Sometimes, I think being a woman is too hard, I reckon I’d rather be a dude.