Moving through the seasons of life can be tricky, frustrating, liberating, and hilarious. Regardless of your personal stats, women have common denominators, linking us together. In this three-part series, we’ll take a look at life, through the lens of age and time.
As we age, we’ll face things we never saw coming, and others we did see coming, but could not fend off despite the fact. Living in the 21st Century has been a wild ride so far, and the century is still young. Who knows what is in store for us in the realm of medicine, law, technology, education, and the lot. For every pendulum swing to the right, there is an equal, and opposite, swing to the left. Time has a way of opening our eyes and helping us see certain patterns.
Depending on our age group, we may be ready to get married, and begin a family; we may be settled into our life, rearing young adults, while preparing for the next stage; or we may be seeing the world through the eyes of someone who has passed through those phases, and is ready to take on the universe as an older woman. Priorities change as time passes. What was vitally important to us in our thirties, becomes irrelevant in our seventies. And vice, versa.
As individuals, we all have our own stories. What we can count on, despite appearances, is that we will all face struggles, fight for victories, feel lonely, feel loved, collect memories, and find our true selves. Finding commonality in other women is our strength. Despite differences in age, race, education, or background, there is a common thread that connects us all.
Women, in the U.S., have more rights today than at any other time in our history. We can start a business; have (or not have) children; get an education; buy/own property; get into our debt, drive; become doctors and lawyers; choose who/if we marry; vote (or not); decide what we do with our bodies.
There are still women in the world who are not allowed to get an education, vote, choose their spouse, decide for themselves if they want children, own a business or property. The list goes on; we have much to be grateful for in the U.S.
Looking back just 30 short years ago, to 1990, the world was somewhat different. Women were in the workforce, by choice, more than ever, but that thick glass ceiling marred the view to the top, for most. We chose our careers over marriage and motherhood, well into our 20s, and paid for it by being called “selfish”. Those who dared become pregnant were not guarded against being dismissed from work, until well into the decade. We began to exert our sexuality and became more objectified for the trouble. And finally, women were beginning to be seen as real components of the government at all levels, though still woefully low in numbers.
Intersectionality, a word coined by Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, had just come into play; the definition, “An intersectional analysis considers all the factors that apply to an individual in combination, rather than considering each factor in isolation”. We began to see the multiple layers involved in defining how individuals go through life. A woman’s ability to move through her life is reflective of how all aspects of that life are working, at any given time. This concept helped to pave a better understanding of the “third wave” of feminism. A woman is not simply her race or marital status; she is composed of everything which is happening in her life at that time.
Every generation of women fights for the next set of rights, which seeps into all other generations. While encompassing varying stages of life, such as the thirties, fifties, and seventies, every woman has fought her personal battles to strive for independence within her community; her drive for personal education or enlightenment; and her viewpoints on topics ranging from parenthood to sexuality, and women’s rights. Therein, each woman was fighting a battle for all women. With each personal victory, a small stone was laid along the path for all to use.
Regardless of your current age, the best we can hope for is that women come together, in unity. Call off the competition and opposition, and replace it with cooperation. Support other women, and their choices, regardless of age, race, gender identity, etc. Even if you have a different stance on a subject, when women unite, we all come out stronger.
In part two of this series, we’ll take a look back fifty years, to see how women’s lives looked at that time. 1970 was not that long ago, but you’ll be surprised at what you’ll read!
Please be sure to check out the second part of this series —