Tuesday, March 8, 2011

International Women's Day

Apparently, today is International Women's Day. I didn't know that there was an International Women's Day until I saw it in a few emails today. Side note- I get a lot of email. Some of it's useful, most of it's not, but I'm willing to delete and glance through on the off chance that I get something useful. Like finding out about International Women's Day.

I'm not a crazy femi-nazi or anything, but I definitely believe that women deserve to be treated as equals to men. Note I didn't say identical. Equal is not identical. There are certain innate differences between the sexes, and I think that's a good thing. Evolution and genetics have made us that way. Rather than minimizing or working to eliminate our differences, I say we embrace and celebrate them. It's part of what makes us interesting and attracts us to each other.

I think it's good to have someone who's strengths compliment your weaknesses. For example; the big guy and I tend to score on opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to introversion/extroversion. I'm super-introverted; give me a book and some music or a bottle of wine, and I'm set. The big guy is super-extroverted; you don't earn sales rep of the year for North America by being a wall-flower. He helps bring me out of my shell in situations where I might be shy at first, and I get to show him how relaxing a quiet night at home can be.

What's nice about this? We're a team. There are countless other ways that we compliment each other. Compliment, not complete. I'm a complete person on my own, as is he. By acknowledging that we need each other, we actually get a little stronger as a couple, and as people. We live in a place that makes this partnership possible. Our parents have set this example for us, our society encourages men to treat their wives well. But what about women who don't have that?

A while ago I finished, Reading Lolita in Tehran, and found myself being extremely grateful for something as arbitrary as the geography of my birth. There are so many places where women are taken for granted, where women are undervalued, under appreciated, and worse. I'm not naive enough to think that those same things don't happen here, but I am hopeful that our culture doesn't encourage it and that someday we'll have the courage to change it, for good.

I also found myself grateful for some not so arbitrary things.I'm grateful for the women in my family and my female friends. As I read the story, I was amazed at the way they came together and supported each other. That need for female companionship and that shared experience is universal, I think. We all need someone to talk to who gets our perspective right away. Someone who understands what it's like to be a woman and face the pressures that bombard us all every day. Someone who understands the unique trials and tests we face every time we walk out the door, turn on the TV, or open a magazine. I've been truly blessed to have some amazing women in my life. Whether it's over dinner and drinks, or across the Internet.

Today, and every day, I'm proud to know them. And I'm proud of the woman they're helping me become.

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