let me know if any of the following sound familiar:
' how can a mother stand to leave her child in day care?'
'why go out with him if he's not, you know, The One?'
'i can't stand these women who can't control their kids.'
'if i had to be a stay at home mother i'd commit suicide.'
'why can't these women use birth control?'
'i just couldn't have a one night stand. it's not for me. i think i'm worth more than that, you know? but, hey, i'm not judging you!' (my favorite)
'how can you sleep with someone and not feel anything? it just seems so...cold.' (a variation on the above and also a favorite)
'why have kids if you're not going to raise them?'
'i would never have an abortion but i'd never tell another woman she couldn't have one. but i really think they shouldn't be allowed to have one after the first trimester.'
'i could never be one of those women who stayed with a guy after he hit me.'
'she's born again. whatever.'
'slap me if i ever tell you i'm moving out to downer's grove.'
'choices, people, choices! if you're drunk, you have no business being at a bar!' (strange logic but you know what i mean.)
i'll own up to mine. i've said at least half the things up there; if you do a thorough search of this blog you'll probably come across them. i've even felt superior while saying them, comforted by how 'together' my life is compared to some other woman's life. but that's what it is: comparison. by comparison my life is pretty good. i've made pretty good decisions in comparison to ... what? and if that woman's situation didn't exist for comparison, what then? would i still think i was hot shit?
that's a cheap sort of comfort.
i have a friend who would say 'it is what it is' when there was someone or something she didn't 'get.' she'd shrug and just say, 'ok. it is what it is.' and she'd move on. why can't we move on? why are we compelled to watch other women for perceived shortcomings and then prey on them? it's like we're baptist or something. (or HappyMom. remember her?)
but i'm not saying that we should suddenly become silent female switzerlands, neutral on everything. i don't think we have the capacity for that kind of forbearance. in my opinion, being judgmental comes with being human. we can't help it. our judgments make it easier for us to determine who's in the 'tribe' and who's out. but let's be honest about them, for honesty's sake, if nothing else.
i made a list of my value judgments over lunch the other day. it was a list of binaries that accurately summed up the so-called 'neutral' values that inform my judgments on. (the privileged term is first):
middle-class/working-class AND middle-class/wealthy
it was a useful exercise; feel free to share some of your own, if you like.
posts i've come across this week about judgments we make:
The Park Slope Parent Trap - New York Times
Trusting Women Who are not You - Feministing
Broke, part 1
Broke, part 2