One of my absolute favorite episodes of “Sex and the City” is the one when Carrie attends her friend’s baby shower. Upon entering the friend’s home, she is asked to remove her shoes. As a result of complying with this ridiculous request, Carrie’s favorite pair of Manolo Blahniks are stolen. But that wasn’t the kicker. When she tells her friend that her shoes were stolen, her friend offers to pay for them...until she finds out how much they cost.
So what does her friend do? She “shoe shames” her! She berates Carrie for spending too much money on shoes as if she has that right. The friend, who once spent oodles of money on shoes herself, acts all high and mighty now that she is married with children and refuses to replace the stolen shoes.
Anyway, Carrie goes on to complain about how she has supported and celebrated all of this particular friend’s life decisions (she actually calculates the amount of money she has spent attending her wedding and subsequent baby showers), and decides she deserves the same respect. And after much frustration and deliberation, she does something I wish I had the guts to do...she scores one for the “not-married-and-not-a-mommy-yet” women everywhere! Yes! Carrie registers for one wedding gift (she says she is marrying herself), and only sends one invitation. To whom? That’s right, her friend, Miss “Shoe Shamer”. And for what did she register? You guessed it, one pair of Manolo Blahniks!
The episode is entitled, “A Woman’s Right to Shoes”, and though the stolen shoes take center stage, there is a huge, underlying message in this episode in my opinion—a woman’s path in life, i.e., the personal decisions she makes, is her business, period. I was reminded of this episode when I was faced with a little “Sex and the City” moment a couple of weeks ago, and after talking to a few of my closest girlfriends, bestie, and cousin about it, I decided it was indeed blog-worthy. So here it goes...
We, as women, have got to learn how to mind our own uteri. Yes, we do, ladies. Mind it...yours and yours only. As I reflect on this subject, I must admit that I, too, have been guilty of it. I have asked those nosy “baby” questions to other women and for that I am deeply apologetic. The fact of the matter is, if and when a woman gets married and has children, is no one’s business but hers. Strangers, associates, coworkers, family members, and friends really don’t have the right to ask those pesky, somewhat inappropriate, “why don’t you have” and “don’t you want” questions. Ladies, you don’t have the right to tell another woman when she needs to have children unless she invites you to do so.
Meaning, unless she opens that door for you, please don’t try to walk through it. Quite frankly, the older I get, the more I notice just how much unnecessary pressure women put on each other. Sometimes we focus less on a woman’s professional achievements and more on her personal life as if we are all in some Olympic marriage and reproduction competition.
It is as if, despite all that she has accomplished in her life, a woman’s worth is reduced to whether or not she is married with a child and that’s it. The fact is, children cost a lot of money, and honestly, some marriages simply don’t last. So, some women are truly okay with taking their time before entering into either one of those life-altering situations. Maybe if more men and women did that, the divorce rate in this country would be even lower. Just a thought. But I digress.
Unfortunately, the pressure to have children doesn’t just apply to single women of a certain age group. Married women without children often face the same unacceptable, prying questions and judgement. Believe it or not, there are married couples who don’t want children. This is true. There are married couples who would rather spend their money on elaborate vacations than daycare expenses that are the equivalent of driving a luxury vehicle, and guess what? They have that right.
Then there are those married couples who simply cannot have children no matter how hard they try. To constantly bombard them with questions about children, because there is no way they can have a fulfilling, happy marriage without them, is beyond insensitive. And lastly, there are those married couples with one or two children and because somehow they are solely responsible for populating the entire world in some people’s eyes, they are repeatedly asked when they are going to have another kid...just one more kid.
My question is, when is enough, enough? I have a hard time believing that men sit around asking each other when they are going to have children and urging one another because the clock is tick, tick, ticking away. The reality is there are certain medical procedures that make having children a viable option for women over the age of 40 so enough with the clock is ticking comments. In addition, there is obviously a biological clock for men, too, or there wouldn’t be a need for Viagra now would there? Why aren’t they being pressured? Hmmm........
At the end of the day, society puts enough pressure on women. Some people want to tell us what we can and cannot do with our own bodies, pay us less than our male counterparts for the exact same work, and the list goes on and on. We certainly don’t need to add to it, ladies. So let’s try to be more supportive of one another and respect the various paths on which God has placed each and every one of us, shall we? Meaning, as I celebrate your marriage and newborn child, please show me the same respect, and celebrate my fabulous, shiny, brand new pair of Louboutin shoes. After all, every woman has a right to shoes!