A Woman's Place In America

A Woman's Place In America

Remember to never let a man choose your life, because that is how you lose control of your life.

Last week, Politico held their fourth annual Women Rule summit that included conversation on women in Congress, women on the campaign trail and discussion with women currently in the White House with President Obama. During their "Women on the Trail" section, keynote speaker Kellyanne Conway addressed her future role with advising President-elect Donald Trump. "My children are twelve, twelve, eight and seven, which is bad idea, bad idea, bad idea, bad idea for mom going inside," Conway said about her future in Trump's White House. Conway then added, in reference to male colleagues questioning why she would not work in the White House, "The question is would you want your wife to. Would you want the mother of your children to? You really see their entire visage change. It's like, oh, no, they wouldn't want their wife to take that job."

Conway is the first Republican woman to run a presidential campaign, which speaks levels of strength, determination and dedication for a woman to break such a glass ceiling. However, her overall figure for breaking barriers is now overshadowed with these words she has spoken. Though Conway can be viewed as a modern-day matriarch, she is still almost 100 years behind in terms of women (and mothers) working to provide for their household. It is important to note that Conway did not say that women should deny a job such as that in order to raise a family, but she did essentially say that the power in the house still belongs to the man and that a husband is still the deciding factor of how his wife should live her life. To believe that a woman's dreams and goals in life should be set to the side for the sake of children and the sanctity of marriage is extremely asinine considering how far women's rights have come and how many women fought to be able to work.

I am not saying that children do not come first as a priority, but it seems as though people forget that in a marriage with kids, there is more than one parent. Even in the wording of what Conway asked to men, "Would you want the mother of your children to," she is depreciating mothers and implying that children are their fathers offspring alone. However, society preaches to women that they are the ones who hold responsibility for raising children. So, why must a woman who has an amazing opportunity in front of her dismiss it because her husband does not want to set aside his pride and ego to take on the role of a father?

If a man cannot step up and realize that the woman he loves is trying to pursue what she has worked so diligently for, then as a woman, you do not need him. Every woman is superwoman, and until a man is capable of giving birth to a child and bringing life into the world with his own body, he has no ability to dictate how his wife chooses to make her living. Jamie Smith, who served as deputy White House press secretary with President Obama, can vouch that having a child and being successful is 100 percent possible—and she did not need a man to decide for her that this job was possible.

There is no reason in this day and age that a woman's husband needs to decide what is right and what is not right for his wife to do. If he cannot step up to the plate and be a parent just as much as a woman is expected to, then he truly is not the type of man you want your kids to look up to. To put your kids first, you need to be able to show them that they can do anything that they put their minds to and that nobody can ever stop them from obtaining every dream and goal that they have set for themselves. Daughters need this especially, with a society that still teaches them that they need approval from a man before they make decisions for themselves, they need a mother who is not afraid to stand up and show them that a man does not decide your life, you decide your life.

Cover Image Credit: aflcionc.org

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I'm A Christian And I Have A Tattoo

Stop judging me for it.

Like most people, I turned 18 years old during the course of my senior year of high school. I’ll never forget the months prior to my birthday, though, because I spent hours making a decision that would be with me forever, the decision of where I would go to get my first tattoo and where that tattoo would go, and of course I spent a lot of time deciding on the font, the colors, and all of the other aspects of the tattoo I wanted. Throughout this time, two things stood firm 1) the fact that I was going to get a tattoo, and 2) the six letter name that it would consist of.

Now, three years later, I’m 21 years old and I still get the occasional dirty look at church on Sunday or in line at Walmart, and more often than not this look is accompanied by the following words: “Why would you do that to your body when God says not to?” A few weeks ago at a new church, a woman came up to me and said, “How can you consider yourself a Christian when you have that blasphemous thing on your foot?”, I simply smiled at her and said: “God bless you, have a good week.” I let it roll off of my back, I’ve spent the past three years letting it “roll off of my back”… but I think it’s time that I speak up.

When I was 8 years old, I lost my sister. She passed away, after suffering from Childhood Cancer for a great deal of my childhood. Growing up, she had always been my best friend, and going through life after she passed was hard because I felt like even though I knew she was with me, I didn’t have something to visually tribute to her – a way to memorialize her. I, being a Christian and believing in Heaven, wanted to show my sister who was looking down on me that even though she was gone – she could still walk with me every day. I wanted it for me, for her. I wanted to have that connection, for her to always be a part of who I am on the outside – just as much as she is a part of who I am on the inside.

After getting my tattoo, I faced a lot of negativity. I would have Leviticus 19:28 thrown in my face more times than I cared to mention. I would be frowned on by various friends, and even some family. I was told a few times that markings on my body would send me to hell – that was my personal favorite.

You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks on you: I am the LORD.
Leviticus 19:28

The more I heard these things, the more I wanted to scream. I didn’t though. I didn’t let the harsh things said about me and my choice change the love I have for the Lord, for my sister, or for the new precious memento on my left foot. I began to study my Bible more, and when I came to the verse that had been thrown in my face many times before – I came to a realization. Reading the verses surrounding verse 28, I realized that God was speaking to the covenant people of Israel. He was warning them to stay away from the religious ways of the people surrounding them. Verse 28 wasn’t directed to what we, in today’s society, see as tattoos – it was meant in the context of the cultic practice of marking one’s self in the realm of cultic worship.

26 "You shall not eat anything with the blood, nor practice divination or soothsaying. 27 You shall not round off the side-growth of your heads nor harm the edges of your beard. 28 ‘You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the LORD. 29 ‘Do not profane your daughter by making her a harlot, so that the land will not fall to harlotry and the land become full of lewdness. 30 ‘You shall keep My sabbaths and revere My sanctuary; I am the LORD. 31 ‘Do not turn to mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God."
Leviticus 19:26–31

The more I have studied my Bible over the past few years, the more I pity those who rely on one verse in the Old Testament to judge and degrade those, like myself, who made the decision to get a tattoo for whatever reason they may have for doing so. This is because, you see, in the New Testament it is said that believers are not bound by the laws of the Old Testament – if we were, there would be no shellfish or pork on the menus of various Christian homes. While some see tattoos as a modification of God’s creation, it could also be argued that pierced ears, haircuts, braces, or even fixing a cleft lip are no different.

24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor."
Galatians 3:24-25

In Galatians, we read that the Old Testament law was created to lead people to Jesus. However, we know that Jesus has come and died on the cross for our sins. He has saved us, therefore we are no longer held to this law in order to have a relationship with the Lord. Our relationship with Him comes from believing that Jesus came to Earth to die on a cross for our sins, and repenting of our sins – accepting Jesus as our Savior.

I am a Christian, I have a relationship with the Lord that is stronger than it has ever been, and - I HAVE A TATTOO.

I have a beautiful memento on my left foot that reminds me that my sister walks with me through every day of my life. She walked with me down the red carpet at my senior prom, she walked with me across the stage the day I graduated from high school, and she continues to be with me throughout every important moment of my life.

My tattoo is beautiful. My tattoo reminds me that I am never alone. My tattoo is perfect.

Stop judging me for it.

Cover Image Credit: Courtney Johnson

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Why do we have to hurry?

Why the rush?


Admit it, we have a timetable for our lives. At a certain age, it is expected that we have graduated college, landed our dream job, married, had kids (and/or a couple dogs)--these moments are given an approximate age.

Are you behind?

In my developmental psychology class, this construct is even defined-- our social clock is the sense of when events and things should be done, and if someone is ahead or behind schedule. The schedule? Our lives. Of course, culture dictates this perpetual clock, and our culture is no exception.

What if we slowed down.

Sometimes, often, always, the idea of missing out on life daunts me. We will never experience the same moment at the same time ever again, and while that may be beautiful, it's also tragic. Why are we rushing? This necessity of organization and assigning numerical values to experiences to reaffirm that yes, we are doing well, we are on-time, we are on-track.

As if there is a "right" way of doing life in the first place.

In many ways, I have felt myself "behind" in regards to life experiences, but I'm here to realign my perspective on the social clock. Instead of lingering on the things you have not yet done, bask in all that you have accomplished. It's true that the past should not dictate who you are, but it's somewhere to start. And sometimes starting is the hardest part.

There is something undeniably lovely in how no two people will live the same way, share the same experiences, perceive life in the identical fashion. The universality of the social clock may be a comfort to others, and a burden to some. It functions as a way to explain human development, but I find it rigid and restricting. Not once in my class were "abnormalities" discussed--marrying late, going back to college after a large break, having children early, having children late, traveling instead of attending university. Yet the startling truth is that these abnormalities, these seemingly labeled deviations from normality are in fact the majority. We all strive to align our lives with the clock, and experience discontent when we are "behind".

But what's the rush? Live slowly, but more importantly, live deeply.

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