You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby

I haven’t been watching the political conventions these past weeks because everything about this election stresses me out. Instead I’m watching re-runs of The West Wing as a Utopian exercise in denial. But there’s no way to avoid one key fact – a woman is making history tonight.

This got me thinking about all of the amazing women I know. And I know a LOT of truly incredible women. Indulge me for a minute. I want to paint you a picture.

80s Girl

Big hair, big dreams.

It was the 80s. My friends growing up were regular gals. They played with Strawberry Shortcake dolls or Star Wars action figures. They put Sun-In in their hair, or lemon juice, making friendship bracelets and folding notes to each other in origami intricate enough to make a paper crane blush. They were girls. Regular, ordinary, legwarmer-wearing girls.

I’m not that old. (Really, I’m not. Ahem – let’s move on). When I was growing up there weren’t many worthwhile role models around. We had a few good ones, sure. Sally Ride. Murphy Brown. Probably more. There were more, right?

Now we’re older and suddenly there are kickass women everywhere. My old girlfriends from grade school are now CEOs, CMOs, business owners, petrophysicists, attorneys, pharmacists, astrophysicists, instructional designers, and strategic experts in their field. And those are just the flashy titles. This gang also includes teachers, social workers, mothers, nurses, salespeople, writers, and loads of other jobs that are just as (if not more) grueling than the first batch. My LinkedIn connections list looks like a boastful Jeopardy category. I’ll take Impressive Careers for 500, Alex.

I’m not pandering. I don’t mean, “Gee willakers – look what the little ladies can do!” What I love is that we’ve done it while still being us. We have better highlights in our hair now, sure. But we got here without having to compromise who we are or apologize for being women. My girlfriends are still smart and funny, silly and disarming. And we are everywhere.

That’s not to say that things are equal. We all know there’s still work to do. But still — if I had a daughter, I would revel in the fact that don’t have to give her the, “You can be anything you want when you grow up” talk.

She’d watch the convention speeches tonight and see that it’s true.


Murphy Brown



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