Thursday, August 11, 2011

I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar

On a recent shopping trip to... WAIT FOR IT... Target, I discovered a new genre in greeting cards: Mom-to-Mom/Woman-to-Woman.  As I searched for a birthday card for my sister I came upon a shocking category: Menopause.   I gasped, loudly enough so that the guy next to me (who was presumably NOT shopping for menopause cards) turned and looked to see if I was okay.  
Mackenzie, who was in her stroller, also looked to see what all the fuss was about.  I proceeded to explain to her (out loud) how weird it was to find greeting cards specifically created for menopause.  "What's next? 'Congratulations on your first period?'" Mackenzie looked as befuddled as I was.  And the guy who was still standing next to me seemed vaguely uncomfortable.  (Hey, it's his own fault.  What's he doing in the ladies' card section anyway?)
The whole thing got me thinking... remember when people who talked publicly about tampons and hot flashes and birth control and leaking breasts were social pariahs?
I sure don't.  But apparently such a time existed.
Back in the day when my parents were kids, it was taboo to discuss feminine hygiene and women hid their maxi pads in the bowels of their linen closets.
My generation falls somewhere in between the free love and bra burning of the 70s and the sexting and jelly bracelets of today.  We're a generation of co-ed dorm rooms, unisex bathrooms, friends with benefits, and sexual equality.  We don't think twice about discussing menstruation, flatulence, and breastfeeding with members of the opposite sex.
Hollywood's young starlets have paved the way for us regular girls to expose our bare pregnant midriffs and Facebook serves as a forum for us to share sonogram images of our unborn children with 500 of our closest friends.
The word "douchebag" is uttered on almost every television show we watch, typically by both male and female characters.  "Celebrities" like Snooki and JWoww capture our attention with their giant breasts, revealing skirts, and sexual promiscuity.  We tune in to witness girls -- who supposedly never knew they were pregnant -- give birth in toilets. Women like me write blogs about pregnancy and childbirth, with some sharing the most intimate and personal details of these life experiences.
We aren't ashamed by our sexuality.  We embrace the fact that we're different from the male species.
While I don't pride myself on being part of a generation where privacy is absent and innocence seems all but lost, I do believe that over time we have grown stronger as women because we're comfortable with our bodies and all the good, bad, and ugly that they endure.
There's nothing shameful about being a woman.  We shouldn't need to apologize for having to pee five times on a long road trip.  We don't have to be embarrassed every time we buy a box of Tampax at CVS and there's a man working the register.  There's no need to bury ourselves in our cubicles at work and whisper into the phone while making an OB-GYN appointment.  No.  We are women.  We are strong.  We have the ability to bear children.  And while it may be a little weird to mail a note that says, "Hope you're surviving the hot flashes," I believe we have earned the right to our own card section.

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