The Theatrical Journalist

Improv, Comedy, Women, Melbourne and everything in between.

A Female’s Life in General and the myth of Having It All

According to the (not so ancient, but a little archaic) myths of print media, there comes a point in a woman’s life where she must slay the triple-headed beast named “Having of the Alldria” whilst giving birth to it, bossing it around in a neat pantsuit (and making a suitable income) as she holds a martini and gossips with her friends. It helps if she’s married to Jay Z.

Life in motherfuckin' general.

Life in motherfuckin’ general.

But, you know: we can’t win ’em all, and we’re not all married to Jay-Z.

At least, that’s the phrase I constantly reassure myself with (not so much the Jay-Z part, Donald Glover and Seth Meyers are my dream lovers). However, it would appear that this phrase of being okay with “not winning ’em all” is insufficient when it comes to being a woman in contemporary society.

‘Having it all’ is what us women are supposed to do – and want – when we reach a certain age. Every Sunday when I delve into the weekend newspaper, I make a bee-line for The Age’s Sunday Life magazine. It’s a great publication – Michelle Bridges has a column, they do great interviews with notable artists and famous people, and “My Day On a Plate” is the best thing ever (feature me, please!).

Atlantic cover

However, I’ve come to notice a certain pattern in the articles and headlines. Almost every week there is an article with the heading, “Can Women Really Have it All?” alongside a woman juggling babies, work, and sex. Or “me-time”. I can’t remember, because I don’t really care.

To that I say, “Do Women Really Want it All?”

 

I don’t understand where this need to excel and be all-encompassing in every area of our lives came from. Currently, in the world, there are females my age who:

a) Have won an Oscar
b) Scored a corporate internship
c) Have a full time job
d) Are currently pregnant
e) Are currently a mother
f) Are married
g) Struggle with abuse on a daily basis
h) Struggle with a mental illness
g) Struggle with a disability

And,
h) (for Hayley) are fortunate enough to be studying at university, working, and writing.

What if some women on this list just want to succeed in one aspect of their life? Some of these women just want to be happy and appreciate what they have. Some women appreciate the fact that they’re alive.
So, why is the message of “having it all” constantly forced down our throats? Women have come very far, and we can only go further – but this myth of being a great mother, the sexy wife, brilliant boss, and social butterfly is, once again, pitting us women against one another as we compete to see who has got their shit together the most.

And while all this is happening, George Clooney is a handsome, single 50 year old and he’s a catch. He’s an actor and a handsome man and that’s about it – but people still worship him and admire him for his lifestyle. If you’re a single female over 30, you’re made to believe you’re going to be a spinster and live alone with octuplets (of cats).

Among my group of friends, we share a variety of goals and dreams to be achieved in this wonderful life. One wants to be a mother – more than anything. One just confessed to me that she “hasn’t found her place here in Melbourne” and she needs to keep moving, travelling, meeting new people. One doesn’t know what the fuck she’s doing (like most of us, actually).
And me? I want to do what I love for a living, and I’d like to be in love, marriage or no marriage. I’d love to have a family, nuclear or not. But most of all, I just want to do what I feel comfortable doing, and what I’m interested in, without feeling like I’ve missed out on something special in life. 

In Sex and the City, each character represents a different criterion for having it all. Charlotte is the perfect wife and mother, Miranda has the high-paying, high-powered job, Carrie’s got the enigmatic man and the shoe collection, and the sexed-up Samantha is played by Kim Cattrall (so she’s clearly the winner here).

In Girls, each character represents the more realistic criteria for whatever ‘having it all’ really is, and what it means to my generation – the 20 somethings. Jessa is the travelling gypsy who explores her sexuality and does what she feels, Marnie is determined to have a relationship with someone successful so she doesn’t have to work so hard, making sure her beauty is still appreciated, Hannah wants to have a great career and to be loved without loving, and Shoshanna wants to be like the girls from Sex and the City. Go figure.

Whether you have a passion for work, love, friends, children, exercise, art, cats, or just doing nothing… as a woman, you’re still valid. We shouldn’t cave to what old, white men have subliminally made us believe by creating and then catering to our insecurities through ad campaigns and celebrity culture. If you do what you want to do with passion and appreciation, you’re winning your own race. Don’t run in anyone else’s lane, go your own pace – because the sprinters are probably feeling like shit right now anyway.

“Having it all”? More like “I need another Gin & Tonic”.

We really can't have it all, can we?

If Jenna Maroney can’t have it all, I don’t know who can. (Apart from her creator, Tina Fey).

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This entry was posted on March 16, 2013 by in Culture & Society, Women and tagged , , , , , , , , .
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