I’m not normally particularly good at mornings. In part this is due to being an avowed night owl to the point where I’m pretty sure my biology is fixed in a nocturnal set of cycles. Even when I have slept long and well, like last night, the act of opening my eyes and becoming a productive member of society – or at least a writer – can be something of an uphill struggle.
“Does this belt look ok?”
I may have grunted an initial response. Anyone who knows me will confirm that I am hardly the world’s foremost authority on matters of fashion – though I can scrub up reasonably well I’m told. T’Other Half was securing a belt to gather in the dress she’d chosen for the day. Now, for many people, a question like that from his wife will typically be perceived as a trap – but when I’m still semi-comatose, things like that just don’t register. It looked good, it made the dress flatter her even more, especially with the successful weight battle against the weight that she put on when she was ill – so I said so.
“Good, I want to look good for the Women’s Day event thing today and it’s a tight enough belt it’ll help hold my tights up.”
Now, T’Other Half is many things, but a vain fashionista isn’t one of them. She’s a tomboy at heart and will quite happily grab a game controller or down pints with the best of them. For there to be a concern about appearance usually signifies that she’s preparing for something that means a lot to her.
In this case it is an event today as part of International Women’s Day – which is celebrating and showcasing successful women in business and IT. With her new job at Reuters, she has found herself front and centre in being a role model, whether she likes it or not. Being a fairly shy and retiring sort at heart, this is filling her with dread. A perfectionist and driven to succeed, T’Other Half has been amazing people with her ability to take her job and the complex negotiations involved in it’s execution and shaking it by the scruff of the neck until it turns over and begs her to rub it’s belly.
Somehow, she seems rather bemused to note that people are finding this no-prisoners, matter of fact and low drama approach to be both notable and refreshing. Her boss’ insistence therefore that she step up and be involved in the event today, and another next week, has come as a bit of a shock.
Perhaps that is part of what she will be able to bring to the event, even as she wishes she could just fade into the wallpaper. Her ability to project confidence and beat misogynists and lazy layabouts with their own preconceptions really is amazing to watch – but not because she’s a woman. It’s an amazing set of abilities and aptitudes and approaches to have for anyone. That is why I think it’s so important that she shines at showcases like this.
My entire family is notable for an air of eccentricity, wilfulness and sheer bloodymindedness that can and does drive saints to distraction and sinners to drink. The secret to the success of all these remarkable men? The women. It’s a saying among the various wives and sisters that “you need to be strong to put up with a Maidment man. If you’re not, they’ll run roughshod over everyone”. Strong matriarchs, whether they recognise it or not, every one of them.
I guess what I’m saying is that while there’s a lot to fight for and recognise, let’s not forget to celebrate just how amazing women are anyway, and not just today. Somehow it seems that if we’re celebrating someone’s success as a woman, that we’re fighting the wrong fight – why should it be so odd that a woman has succeeded?