Wonder Women All Around

stork parkingThe first time I saw this in a parking lot, I was irrationally irritated. Seriously? I thought. Humpf! I waddled my fat pregnant ass from the back of beyond all through Christmas. Yeah, petulance is not my best side. I’m not proud.

More rationally I thought: Since when do pregnant women need special parking? It’s not a physical disability. (Said the woman whose sole complication of pregnancy was packing on 50 pounds through the constant consumption of Mexican food.)

Have you seen Wonder Woman yet? If not, stop right now and go see it. Seriously – git. I’ll wait.

Back? Good. Now we can talk.

I was not a Wonder Woman comic fan; when I did read comics, it was Spiderman for me. Bat Man on TV. Hated the 70’s Wonder Woman TV show (sorry, Meggie). But I adored the new film starring Gal Gadot, and were I a younger woman I’d happily follow her Wonder Woman into battle to bring about a just world.

I’ve always enjoyed movies where the girls got to be just as badass as the boys, that’s the appeal, for me, of X-Men, the Avengers, and the Justice League, that the girls are equally fearsome and talented. Truly treated as different, but equal.

Then I learned, maybe with the rest of the world, that Gal Gadot did her own stunts while five months pregnant. As one does.

gal-gadot-wonder-woman business insider
Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman; photo Business Insider

Just before that I learned, maybe with the rest of the world, too, that Serena Williams won her latest Grand Slam title while two months pregnant. As one does.

Serena Williams SI Cover
Owning it!

Along with the beautiful, Jesus-like humanity of the Wonder Woman film and character, and the glow that came from watching a beautiful, powerful female lead take the box office it’s opening weekend, came a far better reason for my irritation at a parking sign conferring a privilege on my younger sisters I never enjoyed: we aren’t delicate flowers, really, in need of special parking places when we’re pregnant. Women are carrying on with their lives, while pregnant, every. single. day. Lifting. Toting. Multi-tasking. Conference calling and commuting. Wheeling and dealing. Building buildings. Selling stocks. Buying bonds and groceries. Cooking meals, running restaurants. Performing brain surgery or delivering other women’s babies. Lifting aged patients. Performing weddings, baptizing babies, burying the dead. Picking-up, dropping-off, checking-in, driving, carrying, and tending children, husbands, wives, and partners, too. In other words, women are Wonder Womaning all over the place every day and every where you look. Often, while pregnant.

Gone, for me, is any whiff of condescension or patronage, replaced instead with a sense of a gift given in recognition of shear badassery. A gift given not to “weak” pregnant women, but to pregnant women who are soldiering on as women always have done.

And I admit, when I was preggers and roughly the size of Jupiter, there were a few days towards the end I would have put aside my stupid pride and used that parking space, were they popular 28 years ago, so I’ll not begrudge my younger sisters for enjoying it. They’re earning it every. single. day.

Keep on Wonder Womaning, Sisters.

 

Feminists & Goats

Over dinner one evening, Paul wondered aloud about something he’d watched while eating lunch. Unless he tunes it to English Premier League Football, the TV in his office’s break room is generally showing HGTV or the like, so he’s come to know all about Tarek and Christina el Moussa, house flippers once married to one another, but alas, No Longer.

With the end of their marriage and show, Tarek and Christina are now busily working on independent ventures. A recent show featured Christina doing a photoshoot. In a bikini. And here is reason #852 why I love Paul: watching the attractive Christina promoting her new venture by showing as much of herself as is allowable on daytime TV, Paul wondered if he’d soon see an ad wherein Tarek was doing a photoshoot, clad only in swim trunks or, if we’re to have true parity, a speedo? Would he have Revenge Abs? Realizing that men don’t have to promote their work with revealing photoshoots, Paul wondered aloud that night at dinner, Why are women still putting up with this?

In the wake of a celebrity breakup there always follows an article on the woman showing the ex what he’s missing with her Revenge Body. As I was googling Tarek and Christina I found this article about her Revenge Body.

When we moved to South Carolina I faced the debacle of getting a new Driver’s License, for which I was required to produce: my birth certificate, my first marriage certificate and/or something proving I had a right to my first married name, then my divorce decree, followed by my new marriage license and subsequent government-issued ID in that name. Upon our return to Texas a year later, I dragged it all back to the Texas DPS to get my old, still-current Texas license reissued. All of which had Paul wondering aloud why women are still changing their names upon marriage? Given the giant pain in the a$$ it is to change one’s name in a day when we are no longer exchanged for a certain number of goats and thus, traded from father to husband as property, why do women still take their husband’s names?

The old argument was women retained their married names upon divorce because their children bore that name, and I would concede that point if we were still living in the 1950’s, but we aren’t. Having worked in Education and dismissed from campus literally hundreds if not thousands of students, I can assure you what their mother’s names are makes no difference to us whatsoever. It all comes down to a) who is listed by the enrolling parent/guardian as authorized to take a student from campus, and b) if they have ID to prove they are who they say they are. Period. That’s it. If you’ve listed Mr. Peanutbutterandjelly as an authorized contact and granted him permission to take your student off campus, and he has government-issued, picture-bearing identification proving he is, indeed, Mr. Peanutbutterandjelly, your student can leave campus with him.

Paul’s and my marriage is quite traditional, but our blessing is we choose that, rather than society imposing traditional roles upon us. I might do more cleaning and he may do more handyman things, but it’s based on inclination and skill, rather than traditional gender roles.

As we neared the end of binge-watching The White Queen and subsequently gobbling up the actual history of the time, Paul remarked of Margaret Beaufort and Queen Elizabeth Woodville that for all their lack of autonomy they, like so many intelligent, capable women before and after them throughout history, still found ways to exert influence and shift the course of events. How much might such women have accomplished if they had rights? Birth control? Equality?

Fast-forward to the 20th century and the epic battle between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, as deliciously told in Feud on cable channel FX.  Fueled largely by a male studio head who felt convincing performances could only be gleaned if they kept the two leads perpetually at each other’s throats.  What followed was the kind of emotional guerrilla warfare only old foes can make, strike-counter-strike, hitting with unerring accuracy the ancient, never-healed wounds in each other. What took my breath away was the lack of respect for them as Academy Award-winning, acting professionals. Would Jack Warner have suggested such a thing if the stars had been, oh, let’s say John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart? I sincerely think not.

Here we are in 2017 and in Texas we have SB 25 looking set to pass the legislature, a bill allowing doctors to lie to or withhold information from a woman they believe will abort if informed of birth defects/issues with the child she’s carrying. Think about that: a doctor can LIE to a woman by omission, and is immune from prosecution for doing so, thus removing her autonomy to make her own healthcare decisions, and possibly affecting her for her entire life. Doctors will be legally permitted to treat adult, rational female human beings as children, incapable of making sound choices over their own lives.  Left unanswered is who will pay the staggering costs of raising all those profoundly disabled children?

It seems we are not so far removed from trading our young women for goats after all.