“Female role models who are imperfect but human, who are judged on the same level of scrutiny as a man, and not condemned to live or die by how attractive they are.”
This is important on so many levels. First, it recognizes that we need to recognize that all of us are imperfect sometimes, but we can still be role models to one another. Hey, who hasn’t made a mistake out there, anyway? Second, it elevates women to be on a level playing field next to men. It may lead to more criticism, but if we are judged for the same actions and not for our boobs, that is okay by me. And third, it removes one of the most frustrating components of sex in today’s society, your completely irrelevant attractiveness quotient. But uh, yeah, please shower and look presentable, this isn’t a pig pen.
“A job where she must ask for and work for the things she wants, but isn’t relegated to the position of striving Career Girl who must sacrifice it all to have it all. A job with balance, and respect for the wide spectrum of human life.”
All women (all people, for that matter) should recognize that nothing comes easy, and the best rewards are those that are earned by hard work. Gratitude and appreciation come with hard work. No person should have to sacrifice their emotions, money, family, or well-being for the same paycheck that someone else just gets handed.
“A relationship in which she is an equal, in which she is half of the important decisions being made and treated as an active and important part of a team, instead of just a muse or emotional support.”
This should apply to all kinds of relationships, not just the romantic kind (although it certainly does there). Many of us bow down because we want to have a boyfriend, best friends, career success, climb the corporate ladder, paycheck, [insert yours here]. Regardless, any relationship should build you up as you build the other half, resulting in emotional support and personal growth.
“Freedom to be healthy and love her body without everything being tied to how it looks. Freedom to need to go up a size, and to feel totally comfortable in doing it, because a number on the back of her jeans is not her worth as a person.”
SO IMPORTANT. Every woman should want to and be able to be healthy. This means that we change the standard of beauty in our culture to one that admires healthy beauty, but also means that we provide every child and adult the access to healthy food and safe environment in which to be physically active. You are not your jean size.
“Intelligent and productive financial advice, from trusted sources. The knowledge and confidence to make smart financial decisions, even if she was raised in a household where ‘girls don’t need to know about money,’ because having control and direction over your money is not a luxury item.”
Now more than ever, women need to be educated about not only finances for their imminent future, but also finances for the long-term. You’re making a paycheck now? Awesome. How about when you are 90 (+)? I doubt you will be working at that age so you need to prepare now for the life you need later (but with science, you never know…).
“A raise, when she deserves one."
…when she deserves one. Don’t expect things to be handed to you. Work for it, earn it, then savor those rewards.
“Friends who support and understand her, and who want to talk about everything life has to offer, instead of just their dating lives and how many calories they’ve consumed that day. Friends who recognize that beauty and love are part of life, even wonderful parts, but so are independence, achievement, and personal fulfillment. Friends who make her better.”
Would you waste your time eating bad beef when there’s filet mignon out there? Don’t waste your time on bad friends, either. It is easy to make friends of convenience or keep the friends that you had when you are younger, but as you grow and develop as a person, sometimes your friendships do, too. It can be hard to say goodbye, and hard to say hello, but you need that support system for a stable emotional balance just like your lungs need oxygen. Surround yourself with people that make you a better you.
“Cheese fries. With a side of salad, to balance it out. Plus a glass of wine. Without guilt, shame, or a feeling of personal failure.”
This does not need explanation. A good life is a life in balance and moderation.
“Feminism that fits and understands her, which doesn’t admonish her for human mistakes and shortcomings, which doesn’t hold her to a higher standard of ideological purity simply because she’s a woman.”
I was going to skip over this one, but the more I think about it the more I like it. You don’t have to be a raging, hairy-arm pitted, hippie living, mega-phone blaring feminist to be into feminism (although if you are, more power to you, sister). I believe everyone should have a spiritual ideology that encourages respect for oneself and for those around you, pushing for equality and equal rights, and want the best outcomes in the world. Find a feminism (or motto, or inspirational preacher, or book, or whatever) that fits you and helps you grow spiritually.
“Comprehensive and competitive maternity leave. Even if we all must ask for it together, louder and louder, until we are heard.”
PREACH. All companies need to have a maternity leave policy, a good policy, for their female employees. Just saying that the policy is that “you will still have a job when you come back” isn’t good enough. Other countries will give women a significantly higher paid maternity leave, which is beyond appropriate when you create a new life inside your body. And while I am at it, I believe that men (or partners) should have paternity leave, too. A new baby is a big job, and if you have your significant other helping you through the first critical weeks of it, hallelujah, now you both can get no sleep.
“Happiness, as she defines it. Even if that just means a new book, a warm blanket, and the cat she has chosen over ever having a child. Because her happiness is hers, and it’s not up for debate.”
This is the perfect closing to this article. You need to define what makes you happy. No one else can define it for you, because if you let them define what it means for you, you will never reach your true happiness. Even if it is momentary happiness (yes those shoes are in your size!) or long-term happiness (like checking off the last country on your travel bucket list), it is truly yours to decide.