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Encouraging Dreams is More Important than Dinner

The other day, I was doing some research on upcoming events that recognize women, when August 1st caught my eye. For those of you who are not familiar, August 1st is National Girlfriends Day. How cool is that? A day specifically centered around celebrating the women in your life that have seen you at your best and your worst, and still love you just the same. I was excited about it until I found a website that listed some recomendations that I thought were a bit bizzare.

The particular website that I was looking at had a list of suggestions as to how you could celebrate this day with your girlfriends. These suggestions included:

  • Bake a pie
  • Try on each other’s clothes
  • Watch the entire series of Sex and the City

Seriously? This is the summer of 2012. We rally for gender equality only to have a women focused website suggest these stereotypical ways for women to “enjoy” time with one another. Perhaps some have forgotten about National Women’s Equality Day, which has been held on the same day every year for the last 92 years. Yes, 92 years of celebrating women’s right to vote, otherwise known as the 19th amendment. Determined women lead the way on August 26th 1920 with confidence that change was in action and from that day on women would stand equal to men. While I can be a typical “girly-girl,” cooking, cleaning, crafts, and sewing are none of my hobbies. I can only speak for myself, and if you are reading this and like to do those things, that’s cool. It would just be nice if they offered some suggestions that didn’t feel so 1950’s June Cleaver-esque.

I know many women that spend their time doing things that may not fall into the “girly” category either because they like to do them or because they are a necessity. My mother is a single parent and has been since I was ten years old. Once my father moved out, my mom, my sisters, and I were forced to do the “manly” things on our own. These tasks included mowing the lawn, putting up the Christmas tree, and trying to repair broken appliances around the house. Of course, we also had to learn how to manage our finances, especially now since the budget was much smaller.

Cara, Kelsey, Courtney and Mom

During these difficult transition years I remember my mom feeling guilty that she was not home to cook dinner because of the second job she had to take on.  What she should have felt was empowerment and strength.  So what if dinner is Eggo waffles instead of ham and mashed potatoes? My respect for her as a woman and a parent grew when I saw the sacrifices she made, including not being home for dinner because she had to work in order to keep my sisters and I enrolled in our extracurricular activities.

Without her sacrifices and strong work ethic, I would not have been able to go on the Disney World trip with my dance team, or be a cheerleader. My sister wouldn’t have been able to take guitar lesson. Encouraging dreams is more important than a home cooked meal every night.

So, here are some of my suggestions this August 1st:

  • Do something with your girlfriend that is uncomfortable and out of the ordinary. You will be surprised at how powerful the feeling can be to conquer something you didn’t dream you could with one another.
  • Become important leaders for women and girls everywhere. Make an inspiring website together or start a new club at the school you attend.

Whatever it is you choose to do, make it something the women who fought for equality would be proud of.

Kelsey McMeans, AWP Volunteer

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