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Dear sisters–here’s what I think we’re missing.


{My co-workers devour German pancakes like nobody’s business}

You might think this sounds overly simple.  And I’m certainly not the first woman to think or write this.  But I have an idea about feminism that I’ve been meaning to share for a while now.

A good friend from high school sent me a Facebook message last week saying that she was here in town (we both grew up in this small valley in Southern Oregon, where my husband and I are now raising our family).  She wondered if I’d like to get together.  Marveling that I literally had not seen her since high school (almost 16 years!), I was thrilled to set a time to reconnect.  On Sunday afternoon I snuck away for a quiet hour to visit with my old friend, Anna, and her darling new baby girl. We had a really fun, rewarding reunion.  We talked about college years, careers, children, and old friends.  Interestingly, 16 years ago, our lives were nearly identical.  High school students studying US History and performing in Bye Bye Birdie together.  A decade and a half later, our lives look significantly different.  She heads up an advertising team and lives in downtown San Francisco.  I head up a circus of 4.5 small children in a tiny town in Oregon.  I marveled as she talked about late nights working on important projects for huge clients while 9 months pregnant.  She was amazed that I can ever find time to eat a hot meal or take a shower.  The point is this:  as women, we have made many different choices in our lives, but we both have complete admiration and respect for the other’s path.

This visit reminded me of visiting my dear friend, Holly, exactly a year ago in Cleveland.  Holly has two teenage children and is a successful attorney.  Similarly, although our lives look quite different, we are very close, and are respectful and proud of one another’s life choices and accomplishments. While sitting at lunch with Holly last March, I had an epiphany of sorts.  At least to me.

There are countless conversations about feminism these days.  I’ve read dozens of articles and far too many long comment threads on the topic.  Some of these pieces make me think on new levels or inspire me, but honestly, a lot of them disturb and disappoint me.  And here’s why– on the one hand we hear from various stay at home mothers, who get uppity and ride their high horse til Kingdom Come, absolutely sure that they are somehow more virtuous and noble, and have certainly chosen better than working mothers.  On the other hand, many working women bash those who have chosen to stay at home, with implications that they are allowing themselves to be oppressed or not reaching their full potential or living in the 19th century.

So here is what I decided that day I spent with my amazing friend, Holly, and what was reiterated to me during my visit with Anna:

Women will never get where they want to be until they first unite as women.

We can talk all day about wage inequality or discrimination or any number of issues we face as women, we can work to improve awareness, culture, and even legislation.  Of course this is important, and we are continuing to make great strides as women.  But I think, in large part, we are missing the key elements of love and respect.  How can we expect men and society as a whole to respect and revere women properly when there is so much infighting?!

Listen up, sisters!  It starts with us.  Make your choices.  Live the life you think is best for you and your family.  And then stop raising your eyebrows when another woman chooses differently!  (I’m allowed to sound bossy and preachy about this, because I’ve judged plenty of women in my day, so I’m dually calling myself to repentance!) Like I said, this may sound overly simplistic.  Women’s issues are deep and vast and complex.  I’m not so naive as to think otherwise.  But I think this is where it starts.  Just pure and simple love.

Solidarity, sisters!



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