Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Exposing the Double Standard

The other day Nate called from work, sounding really excited (rare), to tell me about an ad that was going to run during this year's Super Bowl. 

"An ad? What ad?" I said, with visions of half-naked women eating hamburgers and half-naked women washing cars and half-naked women selling *insert any thing you can think of here* and men-made-to-look-stupid ran through my head.

Then he told me about Tim Tebow and his Mom, and how they were going to share their story in a 30 second spot during the big game. 
Tim Tebow, who won the 2007 Heisman Trophy. 
Tim Tebow, who helped his Florida team win two BCS championship titles. 
Tim Tebow, who doctors said should be aborted.

Thankfully, his Mom said otherwise.

I got excited about the ad, too. A woman choosing to push through her less-than-ideal circumstances to prove she can do what she is told she cannot. A woman standing strong amidst uncertainty. A woman choosing life over death amidst a culture that encouraged her otherwise, that said, "You can't do this. It's too much for you."
A woman who did it.

An ad that celebrates life.

But, I guess some people aren't as thrilled as I am about the empowerment of women, the encouragement to reach past social mores and embrace something larger than ourselves, something outside of "what's convenient." 

"That's not being respectful of other people's lives. It is offensive to hold one way out as being a superior way over everybody else's." ~Terry O'Neill, President of the National Organization for Women

"An ad that uses sports to divide rather than to unite has no place in the biggest national sports event of the year - an event designed to bring Americans together," ~Jemhu Greene, President of the New York-based Women's Media Center.

I would wonder about Peta ads we've seen at so many Super Bowls past. Or, if we're going to say that it's "offensive to hold one way out as being a superior way over everybody else's," then I guess we shouldn't show any ads at all. Because someone would be offended that Mac says they're better than PC's... or that Bud is better than Miller... do you see how ridiculous that is?
Except, this ad is not political or controversial at all.
It does nothing to "divide."
It is simply celebrating family and celebrating life.

But, that isn't even what this protesting is really about. The bottom line issue is that these so called "women's advocacy/empowerment groups" are defensive because a double standard is being exposed. As a woman, I am told that if I am pregnant and my circumstances aren't what I would like them to be for bringing a child into this world, then I should not bring that child into this world. (Except, at that point, it's past the "should I/shouldn't I." The child is already in this world. You're choosing whether to keep it here or not.) I am told it will be very hard, even impossible... that my entire way of life will be forever altered.

Well, your darn right it will. And I can stand up and take responsibility for my own choices that I have made, and I can bring a child into this world, even amidst difficult circumstances... and I can raise that child to be a wonderful, productive, contributing citizen.

And that is exactly what I did nearly fourteen years ago. I was nineteen... a sophomore in college... far less-than-ideal.

Society told me, "You're so young. Look at how hard this is going to be. Your entire way of life is going to change. Why don't you just 'take care of this' and wait until you're better prepared at a later time in life?"

I chose strength. I chose to stand, even amidst extremely less-than-ideal circumstances. I chose life for our wonderful Taylor, even though I was told by women's empowerment groups it could stain my future and derail my dreams.

I am here. My future has been amazing. I am living my dreams. And I have an incredible 13 year old son with an awesome call of leadership on his life.

If I listened to our culture, he would not even exist.

I chose to walk head-on into my circumstances and overcome them.
If that is not the empowerment of a woman, I don't know what is.
Pam Tebow did the same thing.
Amidst extremely unfavorable circumstances, when doctors told her she should end her pregnancy, she chose to walk head-on into her circumstances and overcome them.

"I'm here because my mom was a very courageous woman."  ~Tim Tebow

This is reason to celebrate.

**If you're struggling with this very decision right now, you can do this. There are people out there to help you along the way, to give you the direction you're looking for. There is support. 
No matter your circumstances, you can overcome them.
 I have never met a mom who regrets giving birth to her child...
but I have met many women who regret not.**
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