The image of superwoman has changed over the ages. In the 80’s era of emerging female power, the model was created in our minds of the first “Supergirl” from the movie of the same. She has appeared as early as the 1950’s in the comic version. Since then, we have used that trademark in various iteration to describe women.
We have the character Supergirl™ in the red and blue with that cute little flip skirt and boots.
We have supermum – the ultimate baker, maker, creator, cleaner, teacher, “well kept” housewife image that greets a new vacuum cleaner at Christmastime with joy. Also a product of 1950’s advertising and sadly still used today as the picture of the “perfect mum”.
We have the business power superwoman – she of the killer suit and heels, lipstick and stockings, career and family perfectly balanced to create a happy and fulfilling life. Her rise started fully in movies from around the 1980’s where women joined the boardroom in deadly but stylish shoulder-pads.
These are all fantasies created for us by advertisers, of both personnel and professional “beauty standards”, or standards of perfection that are not able to be achieved by anyone, least of all the man that dreamt up the images. If you are a mom, you use the best of baking equipment to whip up cupcakes any old time for your children and their friends because you always have time to do that, don’t you?
If you are a business women, you house is immaculate and clean, just waiting for that evening soiree that you cater for by cooking everything yourself in all your free time. Because you have so much of it of course.
Who here knows the real truth?
The one where the career woman has business paperwork, and maybe clothes scattered all over the place because she is always working and never has the time to get truly organized at home.
The mum that doesn’t bake because she can’t find the time between grocery shopping, cleaning, mending, ironing, schooling, delivery to numerous after school clubs, washing the dog; and is lucky to find anything other than a butter knife to ice those cupcakes because she is doing three other things at the same time.
These “failures” to live up to the dream, such as they are, consist of often small things that build until you want to scream… or cry….. or both…… We have this mental image that comes from asking “can we have it all?”, and knowing the answer is yes, but the solution isn’t anywhere as simple.
These pictures are carefully and artfully created and controlled to elicit these specific types of responses from us, but what if we stopped listening? What if we just stopped buying into the story that we are told, day in and day out, that we must have these “things”, achieve these “measures”, meet these standards, that provide our worth to society and we decided to create our own standards of measurement.
What if our image of the superwoman was taken back from the marketers and put in the hands of real women? If we nominated a figure of superwoman today, how would she appear to us?
What then would a superwoman look like? Act like? What would today’s superwomen truly be like – if real women created her?
Some of you might already have some samples of who you would nominate as a superwoman.
Over the next few weeks I am gong to discuss the different categories that might make you a contender for the title of superwomen (or superdad for those dads out there making it happen for their families).
BIO: This extract is from Becky’ published book, The Words of Bek , and was also the subject of her presentation on Louisville Kentucky USA in 2014.
Becky Paroz doesn’t fit in. She has worked for nearly 30 years in the construction industry, taking names and making one for herself. She loves her workboots, colours her hair purple and speaks loudly with a strong and confident voice. Bek makes her place in the world, she has never waited for a space to open for her. Moving beyond mentoring within industry for the last 10 years, Becky is now seeking her tribe to connect within and would love to hear from any fellow mavericks and nonconformists out there at any of her social media spots which you can find here.