New Year, Fresh Perspective
About a decade ago, I picked up a little text from Book Soup in Hollywood, Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Women. I was 21 years old, and the title sounded incredible to me. It began my journey into the depths of what it means to be a woman...in my personal life, in my career, in my family, with my friends, and most of all in the wider world.
In preparation for the January 6th episode of Woman's Place, I have been rereading it. It's funny, but I didn't know it was exactly what I needed to reenergize. 2019 has been a rough year for me, while also being one of the best. I have an amazing partner with whom I can share the burden of life, I work for an amazing company that just shared 2019's profits with its employees, I finished my master's degree, and I achieved a level of financial security that I finally feel good about. Underneath all of that, though, lied a struggle. I also overcommitted to my volunteer work, got transferred at work, had to recalibrate on my values, and ultimately decided to ask for a demotion. It's been a soul-searching year, and I'm so glad it's over. But, despite my efforts to remain grateful for what I have, I have dwelled on the tough bits, frustrated that I even had to consider how my values aligned with my life.
In rereading Vindication, though, I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude and a stirring in my soul. It is a PRIVILEGE to deal with these kinds of difficulties, my 'first-world problems' if you will. For the first time, women are in positions of power...at work, in school, in the home, and OUTSIDE of it. This notion of life outside the home for women was only burgeoning after WWI as the roaring 20s took hold. This year, in 2020, I will celebrate the fact that my entire life seems to be outside the home, that I have a good career, an impeccable education, a feminist man in my life, and the legal rights that prior generations only dreamt of. Mary Wollstonecraft was an adamant advocate for the education of women, and I endeavor to do my part in continuing to support and educate women in whatever way I can and to take advantage of the access I have to higher education.
Woman's place was hugely restricted in the past, so let's be thankful for the advancements made by women like Wollstonecraft as we celebrate a new beginning. And, let's continue to consider what we can do to make every place woman's place for ourselves and for generations of women to come.