Wedding season is in full swing for 2014. Like most of my friends, I have several brides-to-be in my circle. I couldn't help note one thing they all have in common: they're all in their 30s. A 30-something first-time bride is no longer a late bloomer, right? It's something we've all come to embrace as normal in modern society. Right?
This is where my headline comes into play. Yes, you read it right. It says the 1990s lied. The '90s were deceitful. They were filled with smoke and mirrors. The '90s narrative was a HOT MESS! Let me explain what I'm talking about. Go grab a drink, take a pee, whatever you need to do to make yourself comfortable. If you're willing to bear with me, I think it will be worth it.
If you're a woman who came of age in the 1990s, you're probably in your 30s right now. This means you were born in the mid-70s to early 80s. So you were probably raised by a mother who had a mother who didn't even have her own bank account. Yeah, grandma didn't have much independence. Grandma wanted different for her daughter -- your mother. Your mom was heavily influenced by the women's liberation movement. Maybe she even burned her bra once. If she didn't do the bra thing, at the very least she was subconsciously influenced by pop culture.
The problem: some of our mothers took independence to the extreme with us. Many women who came of age in the '90s were pulled in one direction or another, for the most part, not everyone. A good chunk of us '90s coming-of-agers were pushed into the workforce with the bullish momentum of the '90s economy. We were told to focus on careers, break the glass ceiling, and take men head on in the workforce.
Divorce rates started to spike in the '90s. Many of our mothers raised daughters not to depend on men in the traditional sense. I mean, who needs too with a high-powered career? The "I don't need no man" attitude became prevalent in the '90s. Shows like Murphy Brown, Sex and The City, and Living Single all featured women living a independent lifestyle deep into their 30s.
The '90s also tackled a teen pregnancy crisis head on. The whole "you have time " message was drilled into our heads, as society tried to get a handle on rising teen pregnancy rates. The message wasn't meant for 25-years-olds, it's for 16-year-olds! But somehow the target demographic was skewed. A good chunk of us coming-of-agers got the message that even your 20s is too young for babies. Mature motherhood became en vogue, when the biological truth is by 30 you actually are running out of time. Have babies! Save yourself from all the ridiculousness of wanting to freeze your eggs, the expense of looking for a surrogate, a sperm donor, fertility treatments, or all the other unnatural ways women try to conceive when they're just too old.
You probably don't have a fertility problem. You're just 10 years too late, because you thought you could wait. Wrong! No you can't wait. Biology doesn't wait. It's not natural to delay procreation as long as us '90s coming-of-agers have been lead to believe.
The myth is still being perpetuated today, though. I still see stories in the media about women using modern medicine to delay child bearing. Just last week, I saw a T.V. news report about women taking a blood test to find out how many viable eggs they have left. And we see celebs like Halle Berry miraculously having babies well into her 40s. At 31, I still have women telling me I have time to have a family. Time? Sure, I don't need to get knocked up tomorrow, but what exactly should I be waiting for? Thirty one isn't 21.
This probably isn't what our grandmas had in mind. Yes, we all have degrees. Some of us are well traveled. We have nice things too. We might also own homes and make a really nice salary. Sure, these things are fantastic. Having the choice to obtain them is key. They need to be part of the buffet, but we should start to shift towards balance earlier on. I know too many women who thought they could wait. And, well, they're still waiting ...indefinitely. So many women got caught up in an illusion of female independence that the '90s portrayed. Now, reality is hitting with 40 knocking at the door!
Real equality for the modern woman is about quality of life. Quality of life should include all aspects of career and family. Of course, there are some women who simply don't want the latter. I'm not talking about her. I'm talking about the woman who does, but thought she could delay, delay, delay. The culture of the '90s had her believe delaying was the name of the game.
Being a bad ass modern woman shouldn't mean delaying your personal fulfillment for professional success. Feminism is about choice, not exclusion. I know too many women who would've made different choices if the '90s narrative would've been different. It's time to cut the crap and quit telling women they have all the time in the world. Sex and the City ended 10 years ago and the lying should've too!
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