Kryptonite is Killing Superwoman | By Rebekah Pierce
Many women today tout being a modern day superwoman. They cook, clean, raise the kids, work and volunteer in their churches and/or communities. This is the 21st Century feminist.
Feminism of the early 19th and 20th centuries espoused the rights of women to have a voice and thus to choose what they wanted to do with their lives: work or get married and have children. Women like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Charlotte Perkins Gilman weren’t necessarily fighting for equality of the sexes, but rather the right of a woman to create her own destiny in a time that determined it for her: the silent, reproductive woman.
The feminism of the mid 20th Century saw a major shift in ideology with the advent of technology. They wanted equality across the board. That meant access to jobs traditionally belonging to men, equal pay for equal work and being sexually free and choosing to not have a family. This Helen Gurley Brown generation supposedly burned their bras as a testament to how strongly they believed the Declaration of Independence was also talking about them when it said all “men” are created equal: men meaning humankind.
It’s 2009. Where is feminism now? Did women get their equal rights? According to a 2005 research report by the American Academy of University Women, “women working full time earn about 75 percent of what men working full time earn.” Health wise, women still live longer than men, but “Each year about 55,000 more women than men have strokes, and about 60 percent of total stroke deaths occur in women.” With regards to corporate America, they say the glass ceiling has finally been broken, yet “Currently, 12 FORTUNE 500 companies are run by women, and a total of 24 FORTUNE 1000 companies have women in the top job.” Teen pregnancy rates have been fluctuating over the last 10 years, but the STD rates are higher than ever it seems. In fact, 1 in 4 teen girls has an STD, according to the Center for Disease Control. Finally, the national divorce rate is still at 50% and the number one reason for divorce is…finances. Yet, the dating services industry is a multi-million industry.
Is this the end result of the equality so hard fought over the last 200 plus years? Today, if a woman decides to leave her career and be a stay at home mom, women in her own circle call her “nuts.” If she decides to put the kids in daycare and go back to work, many in her circle say she must not love her children, or she’s touted as a superwoman…a role model even…until she dies of a stroke.
This seems to be the feminism of the 21st Century: the Superwoman. But in an effort to be the superwoman who has it all and can do it all, women are dying physically, spiritually, emotionally and financially by the minute. Kryptonite – the career, volunteer work, the family – the feminism of today – is killing superwoman. What are we going to do about it? What can we do about it?
~Rebekah L. Pierce is the founder of The Girlfriend Connection, a non-profit organization, formerly Average Girl Magazine LLC, whose mission is to educate and empower women in Central Virginia on their finances, health, career and education.
An avid writer, veteran and prevailing entrepreneur, Mrs. Pierce knows her purpose is to give a voice to women from all walks of life through her company and literary publications. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org