My husband and I went on a quickie date for frozen yogurt.
“A man would not be caught dead in here without a woman.”
“It’s just so girlie in here.”
Two couples walked in. A group of teenage girls walked in. A mother and daughter walked in, leaving a male companion in the car parked directly outside. As I am starting to think about why a man would be so insecure as to limit his dessert impulses, my husband asks, “Why are there no windows in that gym? And why do women need all-female gyms?” referring to the windowless, all women’s gym across the street.
“If a woman is being looked at, whether by a man or a woman, they may feel judged.” I reply.
“If I don’t look at you though, you seem to feel ignored. Do I need to look at a particular part of your body so you feel neither judged nor ignored? For example, at your boobs?”
“Well, then I would feel objectified.”
“To recap, the options are feeling judged, ignored, or objectified?”
“What an awful way to live. No wonder women are so anxious.”
I wasn’t sure how to respond to that except with a “I guess you’re right?”
And it’s true. This constant insecurity really works against us, not just socially, but in every realm. This evening, there was a story on NPR (National Public Radio) about the recruitment of female politicians. Did you know that although women represent greater than fifty percent of voters in the US, less then twenty per cent of our representatives in Congress are female? When this is studied, the answer is the recurrent, “I am not qualified.” And apparently when approached to run for office, women have to be asked more then men to convince them of their worthiness.
The attitude extends far beyond the political arena. Am I a bad person if I don’t bake the healthy treat for teacher appreciation week even though my husband is out of town and I am already working fifty hours? The other mother manages…There must be something wrong with me. Why don’t I look like before I had babies? It’s been four years…The other mother manages…Does my boss have any idea how much I have to learn about this project before I have to complete it? (Scott – if you are reading this – I am a genius and it does not apply to me. Just sayin’.) The other people at work are so smart…And on and on and on.
There are so many factors to contribute to this attitude, I am exhausted just thinking about them, not to mention writing them down. So, I propose this. Let’s ignore our insecurities. Seriously. Talking about them and working through them…so much work! And does it work? How about just choosing to not hold yourself back? The next time life presents you with an opportunity, stick your chin up, and take it on with confidence. And men, this applies to the frozen yogurt shop, too.