WHAT DO WOMEN WANT? HMMM…
There’s something weird happening with the working woman debate that’s starting to worry me.
I was having dinner with an old friend last night and mentioned to her that I’m thinking of studying law next year. Returning to study is a big decision and obviously it’s not one I’ve taken lightly.
I wasn’t expecting her to get out the balloons, strike up the band and hire a sky-writer, but I also wasn’t expecting her first reaction to be this:
“Why would you want to be a lawyer? Don’t you want to have children and a husband?”
I was stunned. I wanted a change of career. It hadn’t occurred to me to weigh up whether it was a decision a man would find attractive or not. Why should it?
A decade since the movie and Mel Gibson’s still not sure.
I’d like to say I questioned her politely but that would be a lie. What I actually said was, “What the f#% has that got to do with it?”
Her answer only made things worse. She declared, with great certainty, that the only reason men can have successful careers is because they have a wife at home. Therefore, because I’m a woman I have to find a partner, then get him to marry me, then have his children, then look after his house and offspring and it simply isn’t possible to do all that and have a full-time demanding, high pressure job as well.
If I attempt it, I’ll wind up over-worked, sad, alone and probably crying myself to sleep on the polyester chest of a giant stuffed teddybear.
Why were we talking about my theoretical never-to-be-born children and tragically empty womb? Why weren’t we weighing up the merits of my attending the toga party during O Week and having a crack at a beer bong?
Personally, I thought the idea of returning to uni and being a mature-age student was a far more entertaining topic of discussion. I remember the mature-age students from when I did my Bachelor Degree, and from what I can gather, to do it properly now I have to find myself a pair of brightly coloured reading glasses, an array of wacky woollen scarves and a hand-made beret.
Obviously I’m also meant to turn up to my first class having belted through the entire semester’s reading list and then pull out a page of completely irrelevant questions I’d like to ask about what I’ve read. I should then declare myself a newly-converted ‘veganatarian’ and pass out from anaemia.
That is the discussion I wanted to have. That is not the discussion I got.
Instead I spent the night being lectured on my impending childless, husbandless, career-based doom.
I really wanted to say it was a stupid theory but I couldn’t get a word in. So convinced was my girlfriend that her worldview was right, there was no point telling her that some successful women do have children and partners, some even have stay-at-home husbands and some, heaven forbid, are childless and quite alright with that.
Our sense of adventure has been obliterated by this hand-wringing fixation on a ‘work-life balance’ and trying to ‘have it all’.
I genuinely have no frickin’ idea what either phrase means.
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