While I'll admit, the Kara Marie Boudoir blog is a pretty positive place to be. Lots of happy messages here in my peppy "written voice" can be found in juuuussst about every single post.
And while today's message is still "YOU GO GIRL" (more than most, actually), it's a little less warm and fuzzy. With the thousands of readers following along, why not use this platform to speak up against things that are just...well...fucked up.
Allow me to preface the message with a very real example:
I live a pretty modest lifestyle. Comfortable, but modest. My husband and I both own our own businesses. We both work crazy hours and have go-get-'em attitudes. We contribute relatively equally to our bank accounts (obviously one is always going to be making more than the other...and that's flip-flopped a lot throughout our relationship). He cooks and does the grocery shopping. I handle school drop-offs and whine about folding the laundry. We are career people AND parents. It's not the right way or the only way, but it's the way that works best for US and keeps our family the happiest.
We are equals.
Sadly, much of society that doesn't know us very well still raises their eyebrow at our lifestyle. They ASSUME that I do all the cooking and cleaning and parenting. They ASSUME that he makes all the money and my business is just a glorified hobby. I'm reminded of this preconceived notion of what "a woman's place is" quite often, by someone super ignorant.
One such ignorant person: a first-class-seated business man....sitting in the seat directly BESIDE me. Yeah yeah, he had the window. So I suppose it could be argued that he was sitting in a better seat. When actually I CHOSE the aisle because I get a bit claustrophobic on planes...but I digress.
He was sitting beside me in first class. I was not wearing a business suit because, well, I'm an artist, damnit. We got settled into our seats and I promptly ordered myself a Woodford Reserve on the rocks (You're assuming it's to ease plane nerves...but I just like bourbon, damnit.) which left him with a surprised expression so big I could see it out of my peripheral vision.
"Are you traveling alone today?" He asks.
"On this big ol' plane ALL BY MY LITTLE OL' SELF!?!?! What I wanted to say, but didn't.
I just nodded and smiled.
Next question out of his mouth about 30 minutes later, I swear to God, I must have been FUSHIA (I would say BRIGHT RED, but I'm a girl, so clearly it has to be a shade of pink.): "So, what does your husband do?"
Seriously? My husband must have been such a saint to send his little housewife on a trip, and FIRST CLASS, nonetheless, while he slaved away at work to fund my shopping and vacationing habits, right? Because that's the only possible explanation for a young woman to be flying first class alone?
"He works." I said, with a smile.
"Do you have kids?" He thinks he's trying to be polite...but his message here is so completely condescending that I was about to go back to coach "where I belonged".
Me: "Yes. We have 2 boys."
Asshole: "AH! Boys! I bet that's a handful for you."
Me: "Yeah, well, it's a handful for both of us. We keep things pretty equal. And they're great kids."
Asshole: "That's really cool of him to help out with the kids."
Me: "They're his kids too...."
Asshole: "Oh, yeah, but you know what I mean. I always wish I would have helped my wife out around the house and with the kids and stuff more so she could have had some girl time or (as he hand-gestured towards me) took a girl's trip or something."
Me: *slugs some bourbon*
Asshole: "I bet it's nice to get away for a little bit!"
Me: "I'm actually on a business trip...though I love what I do, I'm traveling for work and not 'just for fun'".
Asshole: "OH. Wow. That's great. So who has the kids?"...
....and this exchange went on for approximately 3 more infuriating minutes before I plugged my Hello Kitty headphones into my bedazzled iPhone and listened to some angry feminist music whilst doodling in my diary.
It's not just old-school men though. It's women too. It's the media. It's the magazines. It's sometimes even OURSELVES. We've got all these voices telling us that our job is to be pretty, take care of the kids, and slave over the house.
And I'm calling bullshit.
We can be artists. We can be truck drivers. We can be moms. We can be childless. We can be married. We can be single. We can love whomever we want. We can be BOSSES and breadwinners. AND WE CAN BE ON TWENTY DOLLAR BILLS, DAMNIT!
It shocks me that this argument even has to be had these days. But alas, here I am, explaining to moms of my son's classmates after getting lots of resistance, that, no, I cannot meet for "mom's day" every Tuesday after school drop off because I'm working....and THAT IS OK. Just like sipping coffee with other stay-at-home moms is OK...just don't chastise someone for doing it differently...and certainly don't think that YOUR way is the RIGHT way.
This video came across my Facebook feed today, and, although it's ultimately selling a hair product, it resonated big time with me. And it should with you too. Time to stand up, speak out, and shine (and I don't just mean your hair.)
So go be whatever the hell you want to be. Female or male. Regardless of what the "norm" is. If you want to be a stay at home mom....better you than me, girl. If you want to be a stay at home dad-- HELL YES. We need more of you. If you want to be a career man or woman, DOOO IT.
And try to be a bigger person than me when you come across those ignorant people. Let's educate them rather than wishing them ill. I'm still working on that. ;)
And if you're a woman who wants to be more but has a hard time finding her self-worth, let's chat.