The Never-Ending, Relentless, Ridiculous Juggling Act Of Being A Woman


When I picture my future, I am definitely barefoot but I’m not pregnant or in the kitchen. I’m on a beach in Cabo, thanks to all the money I’ve made and spend only on myself, because I don’t have any children.

I legitimately thought I’d never encountered sexism until my favorite professor told me my ability to lead, organize, and inspire would make me a great mom one day. Which almost sounds like a compliment until you realize he would have never told Brad in the seat next to me that his persuasive and passionate speeches would be just perfect for organizing an army of greasy toddlers into a minivan.

Maybe I’m biased because I attend an evangelical Christian university where the gender roles are so strong they Hulk-smash your autonomy any time it rears its blasphemous, ambitious head.

I’m sure that professor didn’t mean I can’t have a career too — I can have it all! But I can’t. I can have pieces of everything like samples from a buffet table but I cannot have it — completely, totally, unequivocally — all. I guess what I’m saying is, nobody would ever suggest to Brad in the desk next to me that if he wants a career it means that he’ll have to juggle.

Save it, I know. I’m too young to make all these decisions about marriage and children. But the way I see it, at least my decision is reversible. Nothing against women my age who are raring to go in the procreation game — all I’m saying is that keeping something alive besides myself is a terrifying prospect.

Side note: they are women. Not ‘girls’. Every time someone refers to the 21 year old guy I’m with as a young man, and me as a girl, it makes me want to cry like a… well, to use the trite term, girl.

But what does that even mean? Cry like a girl, throw like a girl, throw a filter on your selfie like a girl. Accept unsolicited comments on your appearance like a girl, be simultaneously alluring, but not a slut, and modest, but not a prude like a girl, be daintily dipping your toe in like a girl even when your body is screaming for you to run and jump and scream and break shit and be in a bad mood without being told by perfect strangers to smile like a girl.

Why do I have to juggle? I’m not a clown, and I’m not a housewife, and I won’t throw my career in the air to catch my Swiffer.

I’m pressured into looking flawless at all times, which includes a gym routine. But then if I wear makeup at the gym, I’m an object of ridicule by other women and men alike.

I’m expected to be flattered when strangers catcall or make unprompted comments on my appearance. But then if I do actually follow up with a guy hitting on me, I’m easy. You’re a bitch if you keep walking, staring straight ahead, and you’re also a bitch if you say something rude back. But you’re a whore if you respond favorably.

Speaking up in the office? Sit down, bossypants. Let the man with leadership abilities say it. Not speaking up in the office? You make the best coffee, sweetie, and your ass looks great in that pencil skirt.

So guys like a girl who can slam down a burger and milkshake but also has the body of a vegan marathon runner; who knows every player’s stats on each team but not in a way that makes the guy feel like you know more than them; that isn’t expecting them to pay for everything but doesn’t make her career, the only way she can pay for things, the focal point of her life.

I’m a really crappy juggler, so I’m throwing all the pins in the air and going to Cabo.

image – Shutterstock