What is the most difficult part about being women?

hardest part about being womenI was recently afforded the opportunity to attend a gala dinner. Previously unbeknownst to me, a gala is a black tie affair and women dress in formal gowns or dresses. This new knowledge left me standing in my closet looking at my sad collection of clothes wondering what in the world I was going to wear.

This was not the first time this had happened, of course. I stand in this position on most mornings, trying to decide what to wear to work. I try to pick things that look good on me, but at the same time I don’t care as much as some people about whether my assets caitlyn-vanity fair coverare being shown off. I absolutely hate this non-stop merry-go-round of choosing outfits every day. Standing there trying to decide if I own anything nice enough to wear to a gala was when a horrifying and bone chilling thought crossed my mind, was Caitlyn Jenner was right? Was the hardest part about being a woman deciding what to wear?

It certainly seemed so at that exact moment in time. That is until my higher reasoning abilities kicked back in. (Somehow standing in front of too many clothes reduces me to my 14 year old self complete with adolescent anxiety as well as world view.) I recalled all the recent articles I had read on Equal Pay Day, as well as my own personal struggle with balancing motherhood and a full time job.

“Start early and begin raising the bar throughout the day” ~ Bruce Jenner

Bruce Jenner (now Caitlyn) won the decathlon in the 1976 summer Olympics. Up until 1972, less than 20% of participants in the Olympics were female. Just 20 short years ago, prior to 1996, less than 30% were women. Even in the most recent summer games, less than half of participants were female. Historically, sports have been primarily dominated by men. Thanks to women’s soccer, basketball, golf, and other leagues, the bar has been raised in regards to women’s sports, but there is still a long way to go too.

The media gives most of its attention to the more familiar and traditional teams. Some sport clubs go back over a hundred years. Women’s teams sometimes find it difficult to compete for attention. But in an age when our young girls are being told they can be and do all the same things a boy can, does our society follow through with that promise?

When my daughter grows up she can be a judge, doctor, engineer, scientist, or any number of other professions that have previously been dominated by men. But if so, will the media nickname her like they did Lucy Jones, the Earthquake Lady? Jones discovered her love for science in the late 60’s and early 70’s. Similar to professional sports, not many women were entering the field of science at the time. She said once in an interview, “The guys doing the same thing don’t get called ‘the earthquake guys.’”

You’ve come a long way, baby

During the Victorian era, women were considered the property of their spouse, with all their earnings, possessions, and even their very bodies belonging to their husband. Physical activity for girls was believed to be inappropriate and even dangerous. Young women were warned to keep their health for giving birth to their husband’s children. Women were offered only selective education. They could study subjects which would aid them in becoming interesting conversationalists such as history or geography. They were discouraged from attending universities and it was reported that higher education would even make them ill as it went against their nature.

In this new millennium, surely we are more progressive, right? Nope. Despite making up over 58% of the workforce, women still only make 78.3 cents per dollar of what men make. In the last 25 years, we have only closed the gap by 10 cents. At this rate, my granddaughter might have a shot at equal pay. And this is despite the fact that over half of high school valedictorians are female, and more women are graduating college than men. In 2003, there were 1.35 females for every male who graduated from a four-year college and 1.3 females for every male undergraduate.[1] So what’s the deal?

My two cents

Our society, whether we like to admit it or not, greatly shapes the way we think. And unfortunately our society is greatly shaped by our media. Hopefully this doesn’t shock anyone too much, but the media is generally out to sell something, which means they have an agenda, an ulterior motive. This applies to the news, sitcoms, reality television, and most of all, to advertising. If you take a look at what the media tells us, we can more easily see how this view of women as well as other beliefs have come to be. (A full analysis of how the media shapes current thought is enough to fill several books, and has. Here is one of my favorites.)

Women in advertising-that's what wives are for     women in advertising     women-marketing - women spend too much time shopping for shoes

I don’t have all the answers. I do know that as a marketer I can see through a lot of the “spin” thrown at me, and still I have succumbed to society’s influence. We could bury our collective head in the sand and go dark. But I would rather be in the fray trying to make a difference and change things for the better. “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” is a good motto to live by.

What are your thoughts? Do you see society and media’s influence in your life, in the lives of those around you? What can or should we do about it? As mothers we can do our best to raise a generation of people who treat everyone with fairness and equality. As working mothers we can take advantage of ‘take your child to work’ day (April 28, 2016) and show our children of both genders what equal work looks like. We are society. Can we change the long-held belief that women are somehow less deserving than men? What will you do?

[1] http://www.nber.org/digest/jan07/w12139.html

Marketing Mommy interviewed by Working Motherhood

womoRecently I had the awesome opportunity to speak with Portia Jackson over at Working Motherhood. We had a great conversation and I wanted to share that with you. You can hear the full interview over on her site.

The interview began with Portia asking me a little about myself. It was like that horrible interview question except asked by a friend so it seemed a lot less scary.

Being a working mom is something very important to me. I want to show my daughter and son that women can be successful on many fronts. And since my husband and I both work, we share household responsibilities also showing my kids that men can cook or change diapers and be successful at many different things. My husband is a great cook. He does all the grocery shopping in our house and cooks most of the meals, with the exception of Thanksgiving, that’s all mine. (more…)

Why Mothers Make Better Employees

Originally posted April 19, 2010 – updated July 6, 2015
Why MothersMake BetterEmployees
I’m sure by now you have seen one of those articles listing all the responsibilities a mother has and what her pay would look like. They usually make the rounds around Mother’s Day. For all that work we are rewarded with much appreciated hugs, kisses, and I love yous. But who would have thought that the skills we have garnered with all those responsibilities would mean that mothers make better employees? Those are “mom skills,” not work skills, right?

Wrong.

I’m sure you have heard the tried and true wisdom about mothers’ ability to multi-task and how that is an advantage. Or maybe how moms are very efficient, or great time managers and moms have good people skills. Those are all fine and good, but could apply to a lot of different people, moms and childless alike. There are some skills that are slightly more relevant to mothers but just as applicable to working. (more…)

The two biggest myths about spoiled children

The Two Biggest Myths About Spoiled Children

We all want to be good parents. So is it good parenting to spoil your child?

Some people say that spoiling a child is a good thing; that kids deserve to be happy and have all the things they didn’t. But others say if you spare the rod then you spoil the child, implying children need strict discipline, not lovey dovey parenting. So which is it?

I consider that being spoiled is NOT a good thing. The “spoiled brat” image of Veruca Salt still comes to mind when I think of being spoiled. Usually when something is spoiled it means it has gone bad. Would you eat spoiled food? Of course not (at least I hope not). Why would you want children that have “gone bad?” I don’t! (more…)

What Baby Registry Items are Really Essential?

What you NEED &

The time leading up to having a baby, especially your first, is an exciting and sometimes scary time. There is a lot of preparation to do and things to buy for the new arrival. Thankfully (maybe) there is no end to the advice you can find for what you need to do, what baby registry items you need, and how much you should buy.

Between friends and family (not to mention perfect strangers who are all too willing to share just because you are pregnant), baby-centric websites, blogs, TV shows, social media, and baby stores, advice abounds, much of it differing. You can find advice on everything from the hotly debated vaccines to which sippy cup to use.

No matter what parenting choices you make, there are a few universal items every parent needs to buy. This list of what a baby “needs” will vary depending on who you ask. (more…)

Building Bigger Houses to Hold More Stuff

too_many_toysWe were driving through an older neighborhood where the houses were a bit smaller. My daughter wanted to know why they ever built houses so small. I tried to explain to her how when those houses were built they didn’t expect children to play inside and kids didn’t own several rooms worth of toys. the concept was totally foreign to her.

Today we build homes with big living rooms to entertain and a separate family room for play. The room needs to be big enough to fit our 60″ TVs and enough space to place the sectional couch an appropriate distance from the TV. Today it is tantamount to torture to have children share a room (probably because there is so little space in the bedrooms thanks to all those toys). (more…)

There is No Magic Pill

no magic pillI was sitting there scanning through blogs and articles when I came across this article by a phenomenal woman who in my opinion has her “stuff” together. She was trying to find her inner power and discovered you can’t find that on Google.

That’s when it hit me. That is exactly what I’ve been doing!

Okay, I haven’t been looking for my inner power. I’m not even sure I know what that means. But I was looking for some secret magic pill none the less. Only I didn’t realize it. (more…)

Is “Organic” Just a Marketing Gimmick?

USDA organicIs organic food really better for you and your family? Or is it just a way to get you to fork over more of your hard earned cash and line the pockets of sneaky farmers?

The Organic Industry

Eating and buying organic food has grown in popularity of late. One report shows a 3400% increase in sales over the last 24 years, making organic the fastest growing food and lifestyle trend in modern history. With sales over $30 billion (yes that is billion with a B), the organic industry is definitely booming. (more…)

The Stress of First Foods for Baby

Image via flickr user magic robots

When I had my second child I figured I knew the ropes and had this entire feeding first foods thing down pat. Yeah right! It is right when you start feeling confident that life throws you curve balls. Ever been there?

I thought recalled everything I learned from my first child including the trauma of making baby food in a food processor.  So I bought a Baby Bullet so I could more easily puree “grown up” food into something my darling baby could ingest. (more…)

Book Review ~ Moms: As Elite as the CIA…Well Almost

I was given a free copy of this book as an e-book. I was not compensated in any other way. Opinions are my own.

September Book Review:

Moms: As Elite as the CIA…Well Almost
by Andrea Keeney

Moms As Elite as the CIA, Well AlmostThis entertaining story, the first in a series, is about a special breed of elite mothers that I can only hope I will belong to one day. Keeney tells the story of one of these extraordinary mothers as she tackles the seemingly commonplace task of going to the grocery store. As I read, I found myself nodding my head in understanding and agreement as well as laughing at the honest but funny aspects of motherhood. Keeney captures the entire experience with the uncanny accuracy that only another mom can deliver. (more…)