I picked up a copy of Time Magazine’s article What Women Want Now. It was an interesting eye-opener.
The most interesting aspect was the difference between where women are now and where we (yes, I was one of them) were in the 70’s with feminism. It seems like women of the 70’s were trying to prove equality; we, of course, know that you are either equal or not, it’s pretty much in your thinking. I have been wondering "how do women see themselves, are we different, do we want different things?"
I write articles on business and also on what women want when it comes to shopping and buying. The data suggests that we like the hunting part as well as the buying but, different than men, the hunt can be as much fun as the capture—we don’t even need to capture to have fun! There have been many books written on us and our shopping habits; why so much on us? Because, as many of you know, we are the primary shoppers for almost every product. As the Time Magazine article points out, we also have the means to shop, with 40% of us earning more than our mates. With this statistic of 40% growing, it’s important to note the changes that have been gradually evolving in businesses over the past 10 years: children’s corners in retail stores, changing stations for babies in airports as well as nursing stations!
I know it’s tough when you work retail and realize your customer may be on a terminal shopping adventure.
Of course, not every female finds shopping that exciting and interesting. But, as noted in Retail Therapy, Life Lessons Learned while Shopping, Tammy Faye Baker Mesner put another point of view so clearly: "I always saw shopping as cheaper than a psychiatrist." All of these past articles somehow support the notion that one has to be crazy to like shopping. According to Barbara Pease, Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps, biological evidence seems to support the theory that men and women are quite different from birth and that it’s not easily “explained away” by social conditioning. Brought up on a desert island with no dolls or trucks, girls would want to cuddle and play with dolls while boys would want to compete with each other and form hierarchal groups.
Bottom line—we’re different.
What does that mean heading into 2010? These questions spurred me to take a workshop from a group called Jness. My questions were: Are we still like we were in the 70’s, trying to prove our worth through our male counterparts? Do we still believe that something has been taken from us and we must prove our ability to fight? It didn’t seem like it.
Jness literature states their purpose as: "Jness is an international organization for women with a mission of providing a warm and inviting environment for women to gather together and discover each other as we find and express our voice in today’s world."
In speaking with one of the founders of Jness, Pamela Cafritz elaborated: "In a fun, social context like this Jnessence weekend, we endeavor to discover the truth, fallacy and humor behind our male society. We want women to be empowered, overjoyed and maybe even emboldened! We bring together women who, like you, want to create a more honorable and compassionate world, and have fun doing it. We think women possess the warmth, heart and vision to bring balance to the world."
I found the workshop to be very eye opening; inductive group exercises designed to examine our place in the world and our concerns for ourselves, our mates and our children. The group consisted of different age groups 30-60, from various countries, each with careers, families and playing many roles. The theme being, as female adults, what roles do we play in society and what are our responsibilities for world change. I know, pretty heavy topics, but we had two whole days to solve these issues…
What I found was an interesting group of women, comfortable with their feminine “skin” and wanting very much to respect others' differences and concerns. The issues of ‘should we work?’, ‘does it matter how much we shop?’, and ‘do you like to cook?’ seem to be a given—not issues to be debated or defended. It really didn’t matter. The participants were interested in camaraderie in the feminine sense as we see it and live it.
The best part about the workshop was listening to other women share their concerns about life, and how that differed from our mothers and grandmothers. I related an interesting conversation I had with my 95 year-old female neighbor, Irma. It was Primary day and I wasn’t going to vote until I ran into Irma. She reminded me of "her time" when she was not allowed to vote; her statement: you have responsibilities to the world. I must say that woke me up.
As I think about my life on earth, which I do quite often, I wonder about my place and my commitment. I realize that I am able to make a difference by understanding others and supporting their beliefs that help them grow. By investing in myself and my learning I inadvertently help the world.
As Socrates said, know thyself.
My experience tells me that the best investment I can make for you and for me is to invest in myself.