The Double Standard - Happy International Women's Day

March 8 is International Women’s Day. No better day to write about the double standard between men and women. Isn’t it funny that if a man were writing this it would be considered progressive and/or innovative, even respected? And I don’t doubt that coming from me, it will sound a little like bitching and complaining. That is one of the largest double standards there is, a man speaks up and it’s forthright and noble, a woman speaks up and all of a sudden she’s difficult and a bitch. I know you know what I’m talking about. I have a successful, female, entrepreneurial client; she’s got some wonderful, fact based research in her most recent blog post. It’s to her credit that I have really started paying attention to the above-mentioned double standard.

I used to think International Women’s day was almost sexist. I used to work in online gambling, a very heavily male dominated industry and they have a Women in Gaming Conference and Awards and I thought that was a bit sexist. I realize now I had those thoughts because by definition, I am a feminist. By definition a feminist is; advocating social, political, legal, and economic rights for women equal to those of men. So damn straight, I am a feminist! I thought this Intl Women’s Day and those Gaming Events were totally diminishing because I view men and women as equals. I thought they were irrelevant because if they had one of those for men the world would be up in arms… I thought all of this until I began to educate myself on the issue. I thought this way before I knew how imbalanced the average boardroom is. I thought like this before I learned how much less women make than men in the same roles. I actually assumed things were relatively equal and thus we don't need days or events acknowledging our achievements or our generally awesome contributions to the workplace and family. I thought all of this before (wait for it, this is the big one) I became a mother, even more so now since I have a daughter of my own. So why is this day so important and why are the Women in Gaming Events so important? Because as it stands, right now WE ARE NOT EQUAL TO MEN and that is total effing BS.

Having had my own struggles with this is issue, even in my own moderately progressive household, I couldn’t not write about it for International Women’s Day. I think this day is needed and totally awesome because women have to work WAY harder than men to accomplish just about anything. Because the majority of us were brought up with some BS programming that women stay home with the kids and the man is the breadwinner (BTW, I totally acknowledge those Dads who haven’t bought in to this. Those are men who have the ego inside of them in check – bless you guys!!!!).

(And here is where I get really noble, vulnerable, respected and honest. Or to those living within the sexist system – bitchy…) I preface the following with that I have a very supportive Spouse. One who is willing to look at these sexist prejudices and acknowledge them when they might be present in our relationship. He definitely believes in equal rights for both sexes and has been able to see how his own childhood programming along with hockey culture (he played professionally for 14 years) has contributed toward his own sexist views at times and (to his credit) mostly unconsciously. Once he see’s these prejudices he is able to quickly acknowledge and move toward a feminist point of view, for that I am truly grateful! Let’s just say that having a daughter has also significantly helped him in this way. (And here it goes) I read an article once that started like this:

 Are you the default parent? If you have to think about it, you’re not. You’d know. Trust me. The default parent is the one responsible for the emotional, physical and logistical needs of the children. Spoiler alert: It’s typically the one with the uterus…

Currently I work 4 days/week and I am earning more than my husband (this has never before been the case, only in the last 6 months. And you know what? It feels great!) I do the majority of cleaning, I do about 90% of the cooking, I pack the school lunches, I do the majority of pick-up and drop-offs for our children, I take the kids to their activities (again about 90% of the time). And I do it all with pride and joy (about 90% of the time). It’s not that he can’t do more, I’m sure he would if I asked (maybe I need to ask?). It’s that I feel it’s my responsibility. I feel like if I want the kids to do stuff then I’m the one that has to do it with them. I guess writing this I am even more in touch with why this day is so important and honourable, because WOMEN HAVE TO DO MORE, women are expected to do more and until that is not the norm, that deserves an acknowledgement, that deserves a day (and a day at the spa)! Women also have to build boundaries, take more of a stand and make uncomfortable requests in order to cultivate the opportunities to harness our greatness and follow our dreams. And I am one of those women. You know what that makes me? A total badass! You know what that makes me? Strong as f#$&! You know why? Because I am a women, I am a mom and at the end of the day, I am the default parent. 

What Other People Think of Me is None of My Business

I’m sure we’ve all had the embarrassing moments when your dress was caught in your underwear while walking down the hall in junior high (yes, true story). Or maybe you started smoking in grade 9 because all your ‘friends’ hung out at the park and if you wanted to smoke at school you had to be 2 blocks away and that is where the park was (another true story). I swear to this day, I never felt peer pressure (maybe not, and it sure as hell was trying to hang with the kids I wanted to be friends with). Or maybe you are concerned you’re way too liberal for your in-laws (another true story). Perhaps you added your ex-boyfriend to Facebook so he could see how awesome your life is without him (yup, true again). Or you post only the glamour shots of yourself on social media because god forbid anyone saw your massive whitehead on your chin the other day (not true for me personally, if you follow me on instagram I have been found numerous times with bedhead and no makeup on insta stories) and on and on…. What is this? This is caring what other people think about you and it’s utterly damaging to the most important relationship that you have in the entire world – the one you have with yourself!!!!

The truth is that what other people think of you is none of your business. And what you think of them is none of their business either. We are all entitled to our own opinions. And what matters most is what you think of yourself, period. This is what self-esteem is. This is what confidence is. It’s owning YOUR truth. Not the truth that the beauty magazines tell you, you should own. Not what your best friend of 30 years thinks your truth should be. YOUR TRUTH, the one that is inside of you that you are informed by everyday based on how you feel.

See we live in a society that tells everybody what to think, what to wear, how to act, what is acceptable, what is unacceptable. We live in a world filled with media telling us what to eat, how to dress, how to raise our kids, how not to raise our kids. Likely your parents, siblings and close friends all have an opinion on what you should share, what you should keep to yourself, how you should view something or someone, whether you should attend church or go to the gym.

At the end of the day, the only thing that is going to bring you true joy and utter fulfillment is when you honour what’s inside. Trouble is some people don’t even know how to listen to this powerful voice anymore because they have been so busy buying in to what other people think of them that these are the only voices they hear.

So I encourage you listen, to slow down and find that voice inside again. Do the crazy thing, be the wild child and honour that unique truth that is your gift to the world. You are enough, you are! You are enough just the way you are, with your faults, your flaws, your quirky likes and dislikes – you are enough. And when you own that, when you let the world see all of this funkiness, you will feel so liberated and so loved. Because you will be doing the one thing that no one else can do and that is honour your God-given truth! That is authenticity! That is admirable! That is inspiring! Go against the grain, speak up and step out! I got your back! And at the end of the day, what I think about you doesn’t matter either. This my friends is the true gift, the gift of truth inside of you is the true law of integrity – own your truth!