So Ben asked me, MW’s resident girl, to write about millennial women. Holy pressure. The guys wrote an eloquent, well-received post about millennial men. It was thoughtful and true for many, and I did my best as an editor to wrap it up in a grammatically correct bow. But writing about millennial women? That complicates things.
Women have come so far, yet we have far to go. We can vote. We’ve made big economic and reproductive strides (kind of, but we won’t get into that).
But women feel pressure to be everything and everybody. It’s exhausting, and we can’t do it.
As a millennial woman, I want to be a free-spirited world traveler and I want the security of a purchased home. I want a loving family and I want to be a workaholic businesswoman. I want to embrace my curves and I want a thigh gap (not saying it’s healthy, just saying…). I want to invest all my free time in writing a novel. I want to volunteer at an animal rescue. I feel so far from the dreams and goals I had for my twenties, yet stunned by the serendipity of where God has brought me.
A problem women encounter every day is that they pass judgement on other women in a way I don’t understand — even though I do it myself. A woman can be a “mom” or a “free spirit.” She can eat her emotions or not eat enough. She tries too hard or doesn’t try enough. Millennial women have so many options, but constantly judge one another for choosing them. It’s sneaky and mean. And this hurts us in the end.
In my (late) 20s I have friends with husbands, babies, and mortgages. I have friends who cringe at the thought of committing to a man or a city or a long-term job. And I do my best to admire, love, and support them equally. The best part about being a millennial woman right now: We are open to so many possibilities.
Our generation is great because we’re willing to have a dialogue; we’re willing to sacrifice our lives to better others, whether that’s a child or a cause.
In my ideal world, a millennial woman is vulnerable. She loves other women, no matter their decisions. She recognizes the humanity in others and gives them grace to make mistakes and learn. She supports the good men in her life and she fights for the rights of women who are silenced by men.
Millennial women are taking a hard look at what’s worked and what hasn’t. We’re looking at our mothers, our grandmothers, or our lack of either. We’re entering graduate programs and churches and nonprofits to evaluate and encourage our beliefs. Millennial women are choosing to live on our own terms, knowing we can’t be everything to everybody, but we can mean a lot to the people we choose to love.
By Ali Harrison