FEMINISM: the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes

Here is the text from an email I received from a client on Monday:

Please review the attached background info for the project we’re going to discuss on this morning’s call.  I’m going to go pump really quick.  Give me a ring on my cell phone when you’re ready and don’t mind the funny background noise. 

It strikes me that no matter how eager a man is to share the parenting load or how dedicated he is balancing work and family, he will never have to arrange conference calls and meetings around breast engorgement.  Come five o’clock he does not need to make sure that he has met all applicable deadlines and produced 16-24 ounces of liquid gold.

I couldn’t help laughing a little during the conference call.  There we were, two college-educated ladies trying our best to use our brains to make the world a better place – while one of us was simultaneously pumping milk to provide a healthy start for her baby and the other one was trying desperately to finish mopping the floor and packing lunches before it was time to leave for school.

I’m guilty of falling for a Hollywood-flavored image of what it looks like to “have it all.”  You know, the fashionably dressed lady bound for an impressive job with a latte in one hand and two well-dressed and obedient children trailing from her other hand.  This stylish lady navigates PTA meetings and board rooms with equal grace and charm.  Her hair is always styled.  She remembers to wear earrings.  Her insightful comments make her the envy of her co-workers.  Her children are confident of her love.  She makes cookies in the morning and presentations in the afternoon.  Her family never runs out of clean underwear and there are no dishes in her sink.  Oh, and she makes it look effortless.

Today I choose to replace this unattainable image with a different one: A woman hooked to a breast pump while she conducts a conference call with her neck craned to hold the phone between her ear and shoulder.  I doubt any marketing exec will match such an image with a “Best of Both Worlds” or “Modern Mommy” caption, but if they do I’ll frame the poster, wear the T-shirt and proudly display the bumper sticker.


14 thoughts on “Feminism

  1. Nicely said! I don’t know anyone can ever have the best of both worlds. Just a bit of this, a bit of that – or all of the other.

  2. You brought back memories of when I was in the Queens Supreme court going through a tough divorce. We had to take a break in the hearing so I could go to the bathroom and breast feed my new born. It was too wierd to breast feed in the courtroom with mostly men in suits watching me.

  3. The freedom to pump was way down on Gloria’s list of the freedoms that women and girls would enjoy in the newly enlightened society. When it was relayed to me that women wanted an equal stake in the twentieth century; I thought that it was about time. When it was time to burn the bras I said “HOORAY”, Actually a dumpster was provided for the occasion. To all be politically, economically and socially equal sounded timely and was filled with the promise of honest and equal give and take with the emphasis on give. This could only be good!

    What a grim time we find ourselves in. While much less than full equality ever came, there were some areas where men and women could interact on a more or less equal basis. There would have to be an advance agreement, but between two people it didn’t need to be on paper. I hope that it isn’t time to sharpen the longest of the kitchen knives and tape them to broomsticks (all joking about the “Feminine Air Force” aside); some feathers could be added and also some scary war paint which you already have. You will have to get your significant other out of the garage. He or she will have to stand with you again. I am already afraid. I cut myself with my pocket knife, so lets hope that the adversary has seen their own blood sometime recently.

    I really thought that equality would grow like a weed and that things would just get better. Some one said the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. It was a long time ago and I don’t think that woman were included, but you get the idea and it is applicable to the twenty-first century.

    The “eggsuckingpup” aka Phillip

    PS How do you ladies get those bras off without taking off your shirts? Is this some sort of sisterhood secret? I too harbor a secret; I really loved that look and have always wished (prayed if you will) that it would return.

  4. I commend any working mom who can pump in the middle of a work day. I hated pumping, but I did it for 5 months with my daughter. I went back to work when she was 6 months old and put the pump away. I couldn’t imagine pumping between patients – “worlds are colliding, Jerry!”. Kudos to the moms that can!

  5. I loved this post! While I don’t work outside the home, there’s still plenty to juggle with a toddler and newborn, a blog, and other commitments. I can’t even imagine how much more difficult it would be to get to work each day!

    1. I’m pretty sure the toddler/newborn juggle is one of the most challenging circus tricks. 🙂 You should check out my thoughts on “Balance.” Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Well put. As a new mom who is trying to find a way to make a career fit in with motherhood, I am learning a new lesson: if I want to have “it all,” I need to redefine what that includes. And that may sometimes include a conference all with a screaming baby, or a breast pump 🙂

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