Cyndy Aleo

Four Little Bees Writing & Editing

author, freelance writing, editing, and a little bit of web development, helping clients with content development, book editing, and blog set-up and customization

Dreams for girls

This election is causing me a lot of anxiety, and I'm not alone in that. And the one thing that's making me the most anxious is that it's causing so many people to share their personal values, and I had no idea how many people around me in my life are sexist or racist or classist or homophobic. Those things were so nicely hidden in polite society other than the occasional comment, right?

I apparently do not espouse the values of a lot of people who surround me. And that is anxiety-producing in even the tiniest of ways.

Yesterday, I had a disagreement with someone over a picture they thought was touching: a flower girl staring at the bride's wedding dress hanging with one of those captions like "someday..." blah, blah.

Do we take pictures like that of little boys in weddings staring at tuxedos? I've never seen one, but the flower girl one is a photo I've seen countless times. Why do we encourage our girls to dream of being princesses and brides? And am I a failure for not being married?

I have a lot of friends who never married... maybe more than most. A lot of days, as I'm working my near-minimum-wage job then driving my 11-year-old minivan for all the kid activities, I'm jealous of them. They can take trips on a moment's notice. They're beholden to no one. Yet I wonder if our insane focus on women being brides and wives and mothers makes them feel like they've missed something, that they are failures in the eyes of our society.

It's always women at the center of these conversations: how do you work and have children? When do you plan to get married? Where are the conversations on the other side? Where are the people asking how men balance family and career? Why is the pressure on us? Why is there such an emphasis on the school dances with amazing dresses and weddings with dresses that cost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars while men show up in a rented suit? Why are women supposed to focus on everything but bettering ourselves and our OWN situations?

I've hit the time of year where I'm already stressed and exhausted: two kids on different football teams often going in opposite directions, two kids dancing on different days, one teen working with hours that often conflict with mine. And then you add things like people saying it would be great if women didn't vote so their candidate could win and my ex commenting how exhausting his one day of driving our kids in 400 directions on one of his two weekends with them a month is going to be and I just think I'd much rather see a picture of a flower girl looking at a space suit or a Bunsen burner or Sandra Day O'Connor's judicial robes or a woman in a suit running for President of the United States.