A Woman's Place... Really?

By Kitty Lane

 

To the soapbox...

 

Seriously ladies... let's chat. How many times have you heard "A good woman knows her place."? Can I just say...what the fuck does that mean?  And by the way, who is it that determines a woman's place? I mean, society has always played its devious little part in that going back generations. Now, as far as I am concerned, what some see as a "woman's place" has certainly changed over the years, but it depends on who you ask. Think about it... If you were to ask a woman, say in her late 50's-60's what she knew as a woman's place growing up, what do you think she would tell you? And if you asked the same of a woman in her 30's? I am willing to bet the answer would be pretty different. 

 

photo credit: alsis35 (now at ipernity) <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/57686999@N07/6252594832">Food Is Fun, c1950</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/">(license)</a>

photo credit: alsis35 (now at ipernity) <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/57686999@N07/6252594832">Food Is Fun, c1950</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/">(license)</a>

Let's take the woman who is in her late 50's or 60's... Now the answer here tends to vary but in a lot of cases, these are the women who were raised to be "Susie homemaker" so to speak. You know, grow up, be pretty, act like a lady so you can find a good man with a good job. Get married, have kids, and stay at home for the rest of your life raising said kids and cooking, cleaning, and waiting for your man to come home after a long day so he can either a) appreciate you and all that you do for the family while you are at home, or b) ignore you because he is too tired to hear anything about what you have done all day, and where is dinner, by the way? Sure, these are not the only options here but the two presented are pretty common. It ends up that lots of these people end up together forever and hate each other or they get divorced and still hate each other. Sometimes they see their differences for what they are and can be civil for the kids if they have them. In some cases, they waited until the kids were grown and out of the house before they divorced in order to continue their lives. Whatever the case, it seems that unless they are the perfect match and are doing exactly what they want to be doing, it's not going to be the best marriage. Sure, I bet there are plenty of cases to prove this wrong but this is my opinion... 

 

photo credit: GSCSNJ &lt;a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/44102337@N03/7882614208"&gt;Woman and young girl in kitchen with laptop and paperwork smiling&lt;/a&gt; via &lt;a href="http://photopin.com"&gt;photopin&lt;/a&gt; &lt;a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/"&gt;(license)&lt;/a&gt;

photo credit: GSCSNJ <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/44102337@N03/7882614208">Woman and young girl in kitchen with laptop and paperwork smiling</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/">(license)</a>

Now, look at the woman that is in her 30's... Again, there will be varying answers here but in many cases, these are the working women. These women are married with children and a job. In many cases, both parents in the home work, and sometimes they never see each other, or their kids never see them, or it works out that they work perfect hours and mom gets home just in time to make dinner so its ready shortly after dad walks in the door. WOW, wouldn't that last scenario be nice and ideal? HaHaHa. We all know it hardly works that way.  Some of these women will stay home while the kids are babies and once school starts they go back to work. Some parents take turns working and staying at home. In some cases, mom is the worker bee and dad stays at home with the kids. In other cases, one or both parents can work from home and be there with the kids. It seems that Generation X and the Millennial generations had more options than generations prior. Our generations of women were brought up maybe a little bit tougher, a little bit more independent, than others. Sure, those women from the past were smart and strong, but they were still willing to stay at home and rely on the man. That takes some serious strength. I couldn't do it, that's for sure. That's not to say I don't ever rely on a man for something, but I wasn't raised to just stay at home and look to the man to take care of everything else. Many of these marriages tend to last longer or they have it figured out before they get too far that it isn't going to work and no matter what, they stay pretty civil for the kids. Even if they despise each other, they never let the kids see it. If parents are not going to stay together, that is how it should be. Equal time with each parent and civility between them. Not hostility and devious actions to try and keep the kids from the other parent or turn them against one parent or another. 

photo credit: Free For Commercial Use (FFC) &lt;a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/156555495@N04/36065900880"&gt;Broken Hearts&lt;/a&gt; via &lt;a href="http://photopin.com"&gt;photopin&lt;/a&gt; &lt;a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/"&gt;(license)&lt;/a&gt;

photo credit: Free For Commercial Use (FFC) <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/156555495@N04/36065900880">Broken Hearts</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">(license)</a>

 

All I'm saying is that our generations and the ones coming after see things differently. We learn things differently. We are the children of those parents who got divorced for one reason or another... we are the children of those parents who grew apart over the years and waited until we were stable and out on our own before they broke the news to us that they were splitting up. I almost think it would have been harder to deal with it as an adult to find out that the people I looked to all my life as the perfect couple, really weren't so perfect. My parents divorced when I was very young. It was hard for me because I was losing my daddy at home but he wasn't gone forever and I knew that. Many of my friends growing up came from 2 parent families with no divorce issues and sometimes I envied them. At the same time, some of these same friends have parents who are divorcing now and it's devastating. I guess in some cases, as a child you never truly understand why its happening and you just kind of have to go with it. As an adult, you can talk to your parents like an adult and try to understand but that doesn't mean you will, in fact, it might just make you angry. Neither case is easy. 

 

So, going back to a "woman's place"... I think that if everyone stays open and honest in a marriage and communicates what they want, that helps. I think that if each party in a marriage is willing to have an equal give and take in things, that helps, too. No one wants to marry a person that turns out to be someone other than they thought they were. No woman from our generation wants to be told she has to live her life a certain way to keep a man. No woman in our generation wants to live her life in a way that makes her unhappy and stay that way just to make the other person or the kids happy. No woman in our generation wants to be told what her place is and that is all she gets. Women in our generations and those to come know their place as they see it, whatever it may be, but there will be no one making the decision for them. Women decide their own place. Women of the past made the decision to make their place behind the man and that's partly due to how they were raised. Women in our generations are not going to let anyone tell them how to live or who to be. We are going to be who we want to be no matter what we saw growing up or how we were raised. At any rate, we are all good women, no matter what.

Jeanine PeerenboomComment