“I took a stress management workshop at the beginning of the semester and the professor posed the following question to the class: What is the leading cause of stress for women? Several students volunteered answers such as men, body image, sex and parenting, all of which I found valid, but not entirely convincing.””
I took a stress management workshop at the beginning of the semester and the professor posed the following question to the class:
What is the leading cause of stress for women?
Several students volunteered answers such as men, body image, sex and parenting, all of which I found valid, but not entirely convincing.
These couldn’t be the only possibilities.
Finally, the professor revealed that the true stress for women was not any of these individually, but all of these collectively.
The most stressful thing for women is the unattainable pursuit to be everything to everybody-and perfectly, I might add.
Women are no longer necessitated to the domestic sphere.
Contemporary definitions of femininity are noticeably different from the traditional notions from just a few decades ago; the passive, domestic, nurturing, dependent, delicate feminine model has evolved.
We have provided women with the space and liberty to have both family and profession without forcing them to choose between the two.
The modern age of the superwoman is upon us.
And though I find it terrific in theory (since I’m a bit of a comic-hero nerd), I believe it falls entirely short of being ideal or realistic, for that matter. In fact, I think it puts a lot of pressure on women.
Dr. Harriet Braiker, clinical psychologist and best-selling author, studied many of these superwomen.
She found a significant amount of common thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and symptoms among them.
She coined her findings Type E stress, the stress of high-achieving women who try to excel in multiple roles and who fall victim to their own success; the more Type E women that prove what they are capable of, the more others demand of them.
Braiker states that to feel successful as a contemporary woman means not only attainment by objective standards in the workplace, but achievement in the personal arena of life as well.
Unfortunately, as Braiker points out in her book The Type E Woman: How to Overcome the Stress of Being Everything to Everybody, successfulness in both realms can result in frustration, exhaustion and a multitude of other physical and emotional health problems.
In short, women wear themselves out trying to have, do and be everything.
Do not misunderstand me.
I think it is great that women now get to ‘have it all.’
But I’m wondering at what cost? And I’m trying to understand who really benefits from the blue tights, red cape and S on her chest?