LIFESTYLE: Women and Community, and Why I think the Social Media Sphere is Booming among Women
Women are social creatures. I think since the dawn of time, it has been this way. We talk, gossip and share. Mothers give advice and hand down recipes to their daughters. Men are social but in a very top line, superficial kind of way (no offense, guys). But guys don't ask a neighbor "My Daughter is teething and she doesn't like the teething ring I got her. What should I do?" and expect a 20 minute discussion about the pros and cons of this or that. If I call my mother, we are on the phone for an hour. If my husband calls his mother, he is on for 10 minutes. If I ask him what they talked about, he usually sums it up in two sentences. Even at the doctor office, men will ask little to no questions about anything. Recently, my husband had to take our daughter to the clinic for pink eye, and I could not take off work to go as well. When he called to tell me about the diagnosis, I barraged him with questions. "Is she contagious? How long does she take the medicine? Can she be among children? What do I have to do around the house? Are we susceptible? Can she go back to school tomorrow? Is the fever a normal side affect?"
I heard crickets.
Then he quietly answered, "I did not ask those things. The doctor didn't tell me anything else so I got the medicine and left."
We ask questions. We want to learn. We want to share our knowledge. We long for community among other women. We want to be part of something bigger; for validation, for support and for empowerment. I think we miss that. Our own physical communities have gotten so spread out and lonely. Our family structures that used to support us have moved or grown apart based on socioeconomic needs. Back in the day, parents lived near children more. So did cousins and siblings. In the fictional book "The Red Tent", an ancient biblical community would allow the women to hangout together in a tent during their cycle. They made special foods, talked, watched all the children and sang songs, all together. The sense of community and female bonding have always been around and it was easier to achieve. Church communities were tighter. Neighborhoods were tighter, and neighbors talked and watched out for other neighbors. Now, all this is becoming very rare. Aging parents are much more active and live in warmer climates, possibly miles away from helping or giving advice to their children. Siblings move to follow their jobs, sending them far away from nieces and nephews.
Hillary Clinton was right that it takes a village. But where is the village?
Enter the social media village.
I am in marketing for my other full time gig (I say other because being a mamma is my other, more important one as well as a being a blogger), and I see the stats. Social media is being run by women. This is an overstatement to a degree. But the fact is, most of the influencers and the people sharing and talking actively are women. And why is that?
It's the community of sharing. It's getting advice and making long distance friendships. It's feeling accepted and validated when you get a comment, a follow, or resyndicated. It's trusting other women that have been there and can tell you honestly what's what: whether it's a product, a school choice, life advice, cooking advice or gardening tips. It's a place to share ideas, and get better ones without feeling judged. Lets face it, as our communities that used to support each of us has shrunken and become more siloed, our lives have only gotten more and more complicated. We have more pressures, more to do and more things to worry about. We need ways to help ourselves and each other. We do need a village.
And we have made one.