It’s International Women’s Day. I’m sure it’s not the first annual occurrence but it’s the first time I’ve paused to think about what it means to me.
I was blessed to grow up in the United States in the 1980s. More so to grow up in very liberal California. And even more so to grow up with a very encouraging mom who stressed from an early age that I didn’t need a man in my life; that I can be or do whatever I wanted. Say what you want about the body image that Barbie dolls portrayed to young girls, but as a young girl, I was more concerned with the fact that she was a ballerina one minute and an astronaut the next. And for every six Barbies in my collection, there was only one Ken, so he was clearly not necessary to her success. I took these lessons to heart.
As an adult, I wasn’t really phased by the fact that I was a single parent. I have a wonderful support system in my extended family that makes sure my kids are surrounded in love. Until my recent health issues, I worked full time to provide for my family without complaining. I got my bachelor’s degree more for a sense of personal accomplishment than anything. I did all of this while completely aware that if I lived in another part of the world, it wouldn’t be possible simply because I lack a penis. That’s what I keep coming back to on International Women’s Day. I love my life. But the life I love is not possible for some women simply because they’re women.
In the United States and in a lot of the world, women have come a long way, but in other parts of the world, there is still a long way to go. Not to force our way of life on those women, but just to allow them to have the choice.