By Dr. Paula Bloom
“How do you like those shoes?” I asked a 65ish-year-old woman at the hair salon. She was wearing a pair of Alegria clogs in black patent leather. I shared with her that I had recently bought the same ones in a leopard print. ”I only wear Alegria during the day. They save my feet so I can wear some less comfortable heels once in a while,” she shared. After a few more shoe-related style exchanges we got to talking about some deeper issues. She shared with me that when she was pregnant in the 60′s women were wearing high heels, “Can you imagine?” she asked me. I can’t.
What began as a discussion about shoes transformed into an enlighting conversation about feminism. I am fascinated by people’s stories, particularly those of women. For thousands of years, women have passed down valuable lessons through stories. Technology doesn’t have to impede this tradition. In fact, social media and blogging can be used as a vehicle to continue it.
Many younger women, including myself, tend to take a lot of things for granted. We don’t think twice about becoming lawyers, doctors and engineers. While women still earn less than men (even when doing the same work), we need to take some time to reflect on how far we’ve come thanks to the women who paved the road before us.
I recently watched a documentary called Gloria: In Her Own Words about Gloria Steinem. Even though I studied feminist psychology I really hadn’t spent a lot of time understanding the cultural context of those years. Watching news reports of that time where men (and women) assumed that being a feminist meant being anti-man caught me off guard. We can be FOR us without being AGAINST anyone else. I wish some sports fans could get this concept!
The day I met this woman at the salon was the first time my hair stylist ever ran late. At first I was irritated with him but now realize that I wouldn’t have had that thought-provoking conversation if he had been on time. Thank you to all the women who’ve come before me. A special thanks to the woman in the salon who helped me grow and gave me this topic to write about.
Would love to hear your comments and stories. We have a lot to learn from each other.
- Happy Women’s Equality Day! Reflections on Feminism from Isabel Allende, Margaret Cho, Annie Lennox (blogher.com)
- The Catchy New Word For Feminism (jezebel.com)
- Valentine’s Day: Gift-Giving and Game-Playing (blog.FootSmart.com)