Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Women's Month

Yesterday was Women's Day here in China. And, yes, it IS celebrated here. Isn't that nice? Of course, it doesn't quite have the same...energy...as some of the other Holidays here in China...and it isn't quite a national holiday...but, it IS taken seriously by the women of China. I guess in a country where women are workers, without being citizens, per se, taking a day for themselves is important. I think it should all over the world. Many of the women leave work a little earlier...female students leave early from their classes...and they celebrate it - together. They often have dinner with their female companions, or their female relatives. It may not sound like much...but do we do that? Do we take a single day out of the year to celebrate...us? Women...friends...mothers...daughters...aunties, etc. I think it's a wonderful thing to do and I especially like to see the women here in China, who work so, very, very hard each and every day, making an effort to reconnect with their female companions at least one day a year.

Did you know that after having some deep, interesting...not to mention, revealing conversations with some of my International friends...I have come to learn that there is a general and mostly worldwide perception of Americans. Ok...a lot of them, in fact...but, one more pertaining to American - women.

I was having coffee with a friend of mine from Germany. This woman had lived in the U.S. for awhile, as an expat. So, it is always easy to sit with her and discuss any kind of American topic, since she can see both sides. She claims that many people, especially in Europe, feel that it's impossible to become friends with Americans. They have the impression that we are of little substance, providing very little depth in which to connect with anyone but ourselves. Uh, wow...right? My friend has been told by many people she knows from other places, that they have no desire to visit The States because Americans are too self absorbed. They actually believe what they are saying, according to her. They tell her that if she thinks she can be true friends with any one of us, she's disillusioning herself. We are just not capable.

For example...

Friends have mentioned that people in Europe get so upset with Americans about this particular topic and ONE example and reason they feel this way is because...when an American asks "How are you?"...it is [widely] believed that we don't really care what a person's answer is...we are just looking for the cookie cutter answer, "I'm good." Therefore, it's an example of our lack of depth in being concerned about other human beings.

Now...I'm an American...and I would LIKE to dispel ALL of the...er, unattractive perceptions about us. However, can any one of YOU argue with this? We DO act like this! Don't we? How many times have you asked another person how they are doing, albeit a friend, relative, stranger, etc...and not REALLY either truly heard their answer or had other things on your mind and truly not really have cared to have heard anything else?

We can all be accused of this at one time or another. Why? Because it IS in our culture to ask the question as a formality of politeness. That's just what we all do to and for each other. WE know this and WE understand the rules of this particular formality...but how do you think other's in the world perceive actions like this...and other actions as well!

Ok...that's not to say that we all do this, all of the time. It's just that...it seems to be that others think we do. I find this fascinating, myself. One of the things I have LOVED about living here...as I've mentioned before...has been the ability to discuss, argue and hear about world views, and especially from other moms and women from so many different countries.

My German friend takes the ill advice of her family and friends back home with a grain of salt, because she knows better. Having lived in the States, she knows we have more substance than what other believe we have. Which is good, especially for me, since her and I have become friends.

Although...I have to say...I'll be paying a lot more attention to the "How are you?'s" between us from now on. hahaha

I hope you are taking some time to enjoy YOUR women friends and relatives this month. Be kind to each other...listen to each other...and most of all...love one another - and tell them so.

1 comment:

  1. I think you're right honey. In the U.S., "How are you?" is more of a salutation than a question. I love you baby, and I'm amazed at your growth.