9/09/2011

100+ Things that Women Are Expected to Know How To Do



Being a 21st century woman may be empowering, but it's also a lot of work.

Among the skills post-ERA women are expected to master: how to succeed at a career, advocate for ourselves, assume an equal role in courting/dating, and perform all those traditional "men" jobs.

However, we're also expected to continue to perform all those traditional female roles: mother, home-maker, family logistician, community volunteer. 

Finally, there's that unwritten, unacknowledged list of things attributes foisted on women by cultural expectation and practical necessity: feign interest when others insist on sharing long anecdotes about their  children/pets/health, forge compromise out of chaos, sit next to the uncle no one likes every Thanksgiving.   (Yes, I'm being tongue-in-cheek.  Sort of.)

Put all these responsibilities together and suddenly it makes a Darwinian sort of sense that women mature more quickly than men: look at all this stuff we're expected to have mastered by the time we're ready to venture out into the world ...!

Career & Community
  1. Manage a company and/or perform all necessary administrative functions
  2. Manage a community organization as efficiently as a company - but without any resources
  3. Accurately communicate strengths & achievements without embarassment
  4. Learn to network (correllary: know how to inconspicuously educate men as to the difference between networking and flirting)
  5. Speak confidentally in public
  6. Negotiate a salary or raise
  7. Serve as unofficial office social secretary (remembering and overseeing celebration of birthdays, weddings, etc.)
  8. Carve time out of the same 12 hour day our male colleagues are working to run family errands
  9. Proactively apply baked goods towards soothing frayed nerves
  10. Whip up casseroles for use as house-warming gifts, pot-luck events, and wakes
Social & Family
  1. Remember family names and relationships
  2. Maintain contact with family members (especially the ones no one really likes)
  3. Preserve, protect, and pass on family traditions
  4. Purchase and dispatch birthday/holiday cards and gifts so that they arrive by/before the specified date
  5. Gently deliver bad news
  6. Provide precisely the right words of comfort to those in need of comfort
  7. Protect those in need of protection
  8. Write thank you/consolence notes that sound personal and sincere
  9. Identify and purchase gifts that are simultaneously appropriate, thoughtful, unique, and affordable
  10. Plan and host a wide variety of social events (dinner parties, birthday parties, holiday parties)
  11. Plan and organize a wide variety of family events (vacations, garage sales)
Dating & Relationships
  1. Comfortably venture out in public places (restaurants, movie theaters) without an escort
  2. Ask a man out (as a date or friend)
  3. Remain polite even in the face of really bad pickup lines
  4. Hold our own in a basic conversation about sports (without expectation that men will be able to hold up their own in basic conversation about topics we're interested in)
  5. Feign interest in boring conversations
  6. Flirt without sending "signals" that could possibly be misinterpreted by even the densest, most sexist male
  7. Dance without embarassing ourselves (backwards, and in high heels!)
  8. Be prepared to assume bridesmaids duties at any time
  9. Change men without them knowing they're being changed
Interpersonal/Self-Advocacy
  1. Facilitate compromise (without anyone realizing they've compromised)
  2. Form and defend our own political opinions
  3. Say "no" in a convincing way
  4. Demand an explanation
  5. Identify and end toxic relationships
  6. Hurt someone's feelings when necessary
  7. Advocate for our own needs
  8. Learn to take criticism gracefully (but not passively)
  9. Delegate
  10. Handle stress/anxiety effectively
  11. Politely but noncommittally thank people* for unsolicited advice we have no intention of following (mothers-in-law, work colleagues, friends, strangers)
Motherhood
  1. Manage complex family schedules and logistical challenges that would daunt UPS
  2. Dispense allowances in accordance with a complicated formula incorporating age, number of children, number and difficulty of chores, etc.
  3. Possess sufficient medical knowledge to determine whether symptoms are minor or require a doctor's care
  4. Ensure children receive vaccinations and checkups (also, coordinate checkups required for enrollment in school, sports, and camp)
  5. Exorcise monsters hiding in closets and under beds
  6. Repair wounded stuffed animals
  7. Kiss boo boos and make them better
  8. Determine right/wrong in chidlhood disputes we haven't actually witnessed
  9. Interrupt even the most delicate tasks long enough to "watch this!"
  10. Still unruly kids - and adults - with a single "mom look"
  11. Maintain calm when faced with critical teachers, unrealistic coaches, and parents of "perfect children" intent upon telling us what we're doing wrong (or perhaps just telling us what they are doing right)
Home & Finance related
  1. Maintain a clean and tidy environment (house should appear magazine photographer-ready at all times, but without the staff)
  2. Make ordinary household repairs
  3. Kill bugs/catch mice
  4. Responsibly manage finances/investments
  5. Prepare taxes
  6. Know how to buy a car/house
  7. Prepare basic meals
  8. Whip up a meal out of whatever's in the refrigerator, no matter how eclectic or meager the ingredients available
  9. Know how to determine whether produce is fresh
  10. Instinctively sense when meat/food has gone bad
  11. Know how to set a table
  12. Choose the right wine to accompany a meal
  13. Perform basic wiring tasks (ex: setting up a stereo or computer)
  14. Follow directions well enough to assemble basic furniture
  15. Hang pictures on the wall so that they are lined up and straight
  16. Change a vacuum bag
  17. Fix a toilet
  18. Ensure that the house never runs out of essentials (because the woman always gets blamed when there's no toilet paper)
  19. Maintain a lawn (including mowing)
  20. Perform basic clothing repair (affix buttons, sew a hem)
  21. Properly care for common textiles (clothes, curtains, etc.)
  22. Remove a variety of stains
Car-Related
  1. Comfortably operate automatic and manual transmission vehicles
  2. Perform basic car maintenance
  3. Drive safely over long distances and in a variety of weather conditions
  4. Parallel park
  5. Jump start a car
  6. Flirt our way out of a traffic tickets
  7. Look sexy while traveling in a convertible, even if our hair is flying in our mouths and bugs are bounching off our cheeks
Health & Well Being
  1. Know how to choose clothes in styles and colors that best suit us
  2. Find and purchase expensive clothes at miraculously reduced prices (real women never pay full price!)
  3. Make inexpensive clothing look expensive
  4. Apply makeup cunningly enough to conceal exhaustion, stress, and/or age
  5. Perform basic first aid
  6. Drink responsibly
  7. Tan without burning
  8. Defend ourselves against a variety of threats
  9. Prepare and enjoy food without gaining weight
  10. Carve time out for exercise somwhere in between the 99 other things we do
Other Life Skills
  1. Take control in times of distress
  2. Demonstrate basic survival skills (building a fire, etc.)
  3. Tie a few basic knots: square knot, slip knot
  4. Apply makeup without a mirror
  5. Find the best deal
  6. Wrap a gift
  7. Hail a taxi
  8. Calculate the appropriate tip
  9. Hold a baby properly
  10. Entertain any child - even those not our own - for at least 10 minutes
  11. Locate items misplaced by others
  12. Be prepared with a supply of carefully worded phrases to offer in socially awkward situations (ugly babies, ill-advised engagements, unwarrented promotions, clothes that do make someone look fat)

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