A very dear friend of mine, let’s call her Madeline, or Maddy for short, is one of a group of 5 (and sometimes 6) known for their sense of humour, perspective, inner (and outer) beauty and overall capability…she is a friend that I met once I became a mom. And I have her to thank for the latest of my over-analytical queries…thanks Maddy.
In one of our more recent conversations, Maddy reminded me about how she always got stuck playing “the brainy one” of the Charlie’s Angels while she was growing up. And that got me thinking about myself…and my cousins’ basement. For as long as I can remember, my cousins’ basement was the absolute coolest place to be. My VERY cool aunt allowed her two daughters to completely annex the basement of her house which meant that posters and magazine tear-outs covered every square inch: Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp (circa 21 Jumpstreet), James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Star Wars and the Dukes of Hazzard (with the original Bo and Luke Duke along with Daisy, of course). And in one corner, the absolute perfect poster of the original Charlie’s Angels: Sabrina Duncan (the brainy one), Jill Monroe (played by the one and only Farrah Fawcett – the tough, resourceful one) and Kelly Garrett (the really pretty one akin to a damsel in distress). And while Maddy had to be Sabrina, my cousins were gracious enough to let me be Kelly.
Kelly had long, bouncy hair, she wore the very cool bell bottomed jeans and cute tops – my version of a Disney princess – smart, with cool martial arts moves and able to handle a gun. I could swear that without realizing, I have aspired to be her ever since (minus the gun part)! So this got me thinking about a couple of things…first, who are the role models for our children today? I mean, there’s the obvious: Iron Man, Spiderman, Merida (Brave), Rapunzel, Cinderella, etc. but what if your kid’s really, really into Spongebob??!! Are you screwed?
And then…isn’t it interesting the way TV shows always portray women in groups with one overly dominant trait or characteristic? We already covered Charlie’s Angels, but here’s what I mean:
- Sex and the City: (the pinnacle of all shows, if you ask me) Charlotte (prim, sweet), Miranda (brainy), Samantha (ballsy…in more ways than one) and Carrie (outgoing and flighty)
- 90210 (original): Brenda (dominant and easily swayed), Kelly (the pretty one), Donna (the comedic, not-so-smart one), Andrea (the brainiac)
- 90210 (revival): Annie (original main character, easily swayed and sweet), Silver (broody, philosophical, smart), Naomi (resourceful, younger Samantha), Adriana (artsy and troubled)
- Golden Girls: Dorothy (smart and manly), Blanche (the original Samantha but super sweet and southern!), Blanche (the original naïve blonde) and my favourite, Sophia (tough)
And there’s more! From Lipstick Jungle to Designing Women, and even Keeping up with the Kardashians! Surely we’re a lot more complex…
At what point do we start identifying with just one characteristic? And why are they always cute?
What if you’ve had a morning like the one I’ve had? I need these characters to identify with: angry, disappointed, raging, crazy! Better yet, disgruntled, disenchanted and disenfranchised…or unmotivated, bitter and haggard. Too much? You be the judge.
Last night, after organizing one of the most perfect days for my two boys (playdate at a best friend’s house, surprise trip to Toys R Us, staying up waaaaaay past bedtimes and extra video game time, etc.) I had to wrestle them to bed (I can feel judgement here: I admit, I spoiled and wound them up with all the great stuff during the day and they weren’t prepared for it to end). Unfortunately, I was then too tired for Thai takeout, TV and QT with my cutie.
No mind, dugout seats at the Jays game on the agenda today. So I wake up with a little bit more energy and excitement, tell Mr. Niceguy that I’m ok with both kids on my own so that he can run an errand (my birthday’s around the corner and I’m fiercely collecting brownie points!) and within moments things start to unravel…more wrestling as I struggle to get the 3 year old in a “tidy” outfit – no Angry Birds, Skylanders, monkeys or monsters, for the big game today. What should have been a 30 second exercise took at least 10 minutes and was laced with crying, shouting, exclamations of wanting daddy, throwing, flailing on the floor…and he did all those things too!!! Oh boy. And there was still one more child in the house to get ready…
I take a moment to collect myself…brush teeth, wash face, moisturize…wait, what’s THAT?! I swear I am being mocked. Not only did I wake up with an extra bushy head of frizzy hair (which the shower took care of) but a gigantic ZIT in the middle of my nose. And OUCH, it hurts! It’s not even a superficial zit. What if I’m on the jumbotron???? OMG. Now I’m really going to start identifying with those girls on 90210…
But, I manage to put it aside. And I catch my breath. And after a very quick 15 minutes I can actually look in the mirror, admire my quick work and say, not bad. And in the meantime, the 7 year old gets dressed without hesitation and my little guy apologizes, unprovoked, for his earlier tantrum….could things be turning around?
I know I can be crazy. I know I can get angry and bitter, unmotivated and disenchanted. And I also know I can be brainy and ballsy along with sweet, naïve, flighty, artsy and indecisive. And given the time, I can pull it together like Kelly Garrett too…and I’m not alone. As a renaissance woman, which so many women are, we are charged with so much and if we’re going to thrive, we have to be able to play not just one or two characters, but so, so many more…
I’m feeling good, I’m feeling like Carrie, Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte all rolled into one…except, when we head down for a late breakfast they both declare: “We want to stay home today. We don’t WANT to go to baseball!!!” @#$%.