Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Role of a Female: Workplace & Home

Sitting at work last night, I overheard a conversation about what someone wanted for their future.  As it was something my mind has been mulling over for a while, it didn't take much for me to start thinking it all through again.  Since I had some time, I expounded my thoughts on a handy notepad.  I've decided to share some of my thoughts here, too, as I would love to hear feedback on the subject.

At this point in my life, I am single, young, and seeking an exciting career path.  Long-term, I want a successful career in a field I love.  I also hope to someday marry.  When I look at what I want, I feel the need to begin strategizing how I will handle certain situations.  There are variables I cannot anticipate and plan, such as whom I will marry, how our strengths and weaknesses will coordinate, how we will change together, etc.  In the meantime, I can only plan from what I know and have seen. 

A movie that has been coming up a lot lately is The Devil Wears Prada.  Miranda Priestly goes through three husbands, has two daughters, and keeps her successful career as her main priority.  I reference this movie because the industry around which it revolves is one by which I am greatly fascinated and would like to become a part.  However, I do not want my life to reflect Miranda Priestly's (or Andy Sachs', for that matter).  Last week a friend and I debated about the character of Andy Sachs and whether or not she was properly represented in the film.  We disagreed, but I took some good points away from the discussion. 

I think Andy Sachs was poorly portrayed.  Yes, she made decisions that caused her to be far less social.  Yes, she didn't sit down and explain to her friends and boyfriend that, for at least the next year, her time would be far more occupied than it previously had been.  However, her friends lacked understanding of her profession.  At the end of the film, it is made apparent that Andy doesn't want to become Miranda Priestly.  She doesn't want to lose her friends, her life, and all that is important because of, "Shoes and shirts and jackets and belts." 

The illustration above is supposed to somehow represent, in part, the dilemma I have been mulling over in myself.  Can I successfully have a career and a family?  I don't want people to assume that because I am (will be, maybe, someday) the wife that I will sacrifice everything.  Am I opposed to sacrifice?  Of course not.  I am willing to sacrifice my desires as life requires.  But, I don't want it to be automatically assumed that because I am the woman that I should sacrifice when time needs to be distributed differently.  Marriage is a partnership (and I don't anticipate marrying someone who opposes sacrifice on the male's part).

I was thinking about the men who are called workaholics.  That "disease" can destroy a family.  But, as long as the wife keeps things running, life can continue (with repercussions).  But, if a woman is away from the family too much, she is labeled as neglectful and considered a bad person.  People expect the woman to be at home and be the glue.  (I will admit, the idea of a stay-at-home dad is still strange to me).  Yes, I am generalizing, but as I've said, I'm thinking, processing, and trying to see how this could potentially all play out.

I understand the value of children.  If I ever have children, I don't want them to be raised by teachers and babysitters.  There has to be a balance.  In Nancy Pearcey's book Total Truth, she talks about the roles of men and women and how the roles changed during the industrial revolution.  I think the "traditional" roles society puts forth come from these post-industrial ideals: that the man is in the monstrous world and the wife needs to create a good, righteous haven for him in the home.  Somehow Christians have morphed that into a Biblical mandate (yes, the Bible, specifically Proverbs 31, shows the woman in the home, but may I point out that Proverbs 31 has her in a lot of other places too?  Like, the market place!)

My point is not to bash home makers and Christians, nor is it to support male-bashing and certain feminist ideologies.  It was simply to write my thoughts, albeit in a less than concise manner, and to open the floor to conversation.  I know I am not the only one who thinks about this.

So, thoughts, opinions, anyone? (Don't be shy....but, if you go anonymous on me, please keep it civil).


  1. Good post! I've always thought this is a very interesting (and tough, it seems) subject. I'd love to hear what others think about it as well, given that I'm looking into a field that requires alot of time (most likely away from home) and attention. I don't want to give up a family for the career I choose, I want them to go hand in hand. Okay, sorry I'm rambling. :) I just wanted to say thanks for the awesome post.

    P.S.- I also love the bit about Proverbs 31. I think alot of times we tend to translate Bible passages how we want, rather than seeing what they are actually saying.

    1. You are very welcome! Thanks for responding! It is something that many young women (my friends!) are sorting through. It is important to have an honest view of what is expected of a woman, not just what society, sub-culture, family, etc. says.

  2. Being a woman is a wonderful privilege! The problem is that we tend to put ourselves into a box, or try to live outside that same box. In doing so, we become our own worst enemies. Yes, men have historically dominated the world and placed women at their disposition. Yes, we want to be more, do more, compete more and be recognized for and as more.

    But who do we really dress for? Who do we go on diets for? Who do we put on make up for? Men? No - other women! We want to be better than each other! We women do not support each other as a whole. We pit ourselves against each other. We compete with each other, for...I'm not exactly sure what. Maybe for men's attention? Maybe for equality with men? Maybe for higher positions or more money? But why?

    At the end of the day, we go to bed and close our eyes with only ourselves and the Lord. Which other women come over and ask if our light bill has been paid? Which one asks if our cell phone has been upgraded? Do any come over and cook for us or take us out to eat? For that fact, do any men do that for us? Does anyone at all?

    The answer is NO! No one, unless we are still living with our parents, older siblings or grandparents, or unless we are in a truly supportive marriage, has the luxury of going to bed at night knowing that tomorrow is taken care of and that there are have no real worries.

    So, then the question should really be...what are we going to do about our box? Who gets to define it? Do we? Does society? Does history?

    1. I'm not sure how much your response and my initial post correlate. I wasn't questioning being a woman. Nor was I looking at defining any boxes. I addressed a situation, a set up. How can I, as a woman wanting a career, marriage, and maybe children, not give up everything because I am the female? I wasn't addressing supporting other women, or fighting against women, for that matter. I addressed where some of the definition of the roles of a woman come from. In reality, the roles a woman can have far exceed what certain sub-cultures state.


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