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Pride and Prejudice and a Timely Reminder

“Someone once said to you that you didn’t have a romantic bone in your body, and I’ve come to think they were right…”

pride and prejudice
Credit: flickr / Apostolos Letov

My friend and mentor says. I forget where the conversation went from there, but I feel that she would have been shocked to find me curled up with Pride and Prejudice (free on Kindle!) for the umpteenth time shortly after.

I love Pride and Prejudice, though. The BBC TV series, the movie, and the modern tale of Bridget Jones (all Amazon). It’s that moment in the middle when Elizabeth tells Darcy, no, you don’t get to speak to me like that and expect me to be grateful – you don’t get to treat me with so little respect and have me thank you for it.

Of course, at the end Lizzy is putting aside some of her “pin money” to give to her feckless sister, and I can’t help contrasting it with the story Carol Leaman told at our last Girl Geeks Dinner in KW about cutting a personal cheque for a large amount of money to a company she’d just started at in order for them to make payroll.

We’ve come a long way. And yet – I still see things that make me wonder how far. The woman who says “my boyfriend is my top priority”. The woman who says “I’ll vote the way my husband does”. The woman who compromises her career because her partner won’t compromise his. I want to yell at them – it’s 2011. You get more than that. Take it.

In the same week I read Penelope Trunk’s post on how her husband is physically abusive. And discover the existence of the Atheist Feminist movement. I’m a little shocked by this, because given the effectiveness of religion to subjugate women, I took it for granted that if we got rid of the religion we’d have equality. Apparently not.

And so Lizzy’s feistiness reminds me to say – you deserve more. A reminder I should heed the next time someone overlooks me, because I’m a woman. The next time someone tells me I need to be more aggressive in order to be successful. The next time I don’t fight for something because I don’t believe I deserve to win.

You deserve more. Take it.


2 replies on “Pride and Prejudice and a Timely Reminder”

Just a little extra to add to this:

I recently shook things up a bit in my life, and I did so because I felt it absolutely necessary to the very core of me that what I wanted to be for myself and also for my daughter, as her first role model, was that person who wasn’t afraid to take a chance in the pursuit of feeling challenged each and every day, to push myself to be better, to learn more. And when I started down the path, I had this very real understanding that I would be sacrificing the flexibility and time I had to be totally there for my daughter and husband in a physical sense. I worried what it would mean that – but I felt strongly that taking this chance was worth it. I didn’t seem to have a choice in my heart.

Here’s the big surprise: since taking on this new adventure, something has changed in my marriage and in my relationship with my daughter. My husband has taken on a huge amount more responsibility in the home. My daughter has been delightfully happy and independent in daycare (a strange shift from a clingy stage she seemed to be going through). I come home, and there is this sense of mutual respect in the marriage that was there already, but just hadn’t been noticed so much in the first two years of my daughter’s life.

I am sure it will get harder, and there will be times when we are juggling and the balls are not staying up so well, but I will work hard to remember this feeling and what it means to help me push through the tiredness.

I guess what I am trying to say is not only do ‘you deserve more’, you might be surprised that it isn’t the sacrifice you were expecting.

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