As twenty-something women, we live our lives wedged between the generation that raised us to believe it is unsavory, unladylike and unacceptable to divulge details of personal and family matters; and a generation that has buried any concept of privacy under social media networks, twitter feeds and explicit reality television shows. Our mothers and grandmothers - the same women that shared not much more than household tips and baking secrets with each other in their day - must choke on their homemade cookies when they see strangers marveling over tampon technology and erectile dysfunction cures in between features on the evening news. Somewhere in the last century, a “don’t ask, don’t tell” society has evolved into a “please ask, please tell,” one where full disclosure is well compensated to say the least. But regardless of shifting social paradigms, two things seem to remain the same for women: many of us tend to say what we believe people want to hear, and even more of us try to be something we think we’re supposed to be.
To me, it seems as if women just went from painting falsified pictures of perfection with their carefully chosen words to portraying processed, sensational versions of ourselves across varied mediums. Somehow, all this media-centric “progress” has changed how women express themselves in public realms without changing how we express ourselves and communicate in our personal lives - where change matters the most. Yes, twenty-something and thirty-something women more willingly discuss constipation and orgasms than our mothers did, and the generation that follows us eagerly reveals much more, but where does that get any of us if we still can't be open and honest about the issues that have significant impact on our happiness and well being?
We readily talk about matters of vanity and prefer to focus on celebrities who bear their bodies and souls to the cameras, but many of us hesitate too long before turning to our mothers, sisters and friends and bearing enough of our own souls to get the help, advice and reinforcement we need. What are we afraid of? Why is it so easy to skate along the surface of who we are as women and so hard for us to expose our vulnerable selves and our most harrowing emotional experiences? What makes being unabashedly honest about motherhood, relationships, body image issues, mental health, and anything profoundly challenging so taboo? When did our real lives and real problems become dirty little secrets?