At the end of September, the New York Times posted an article on 27 Ways to be a Modern Man, which was widely ridiculed. Since we’re in the new millennium, it requires a complement on ways to be a modern woman.
- The modern woman marries neither too late nor too early, taking care to complete her minimum schooling first.
- The modern woman holds doors for her fellow humans, whether male, female, young, or old. She permits others to hold doors for her.
- Recognizing the need to care for her mental health, the modern woman shares her honest feelings–extensively or briefly, depending on circumstances–and listens to others’ honest feelings.
- The modern woman uses variety to celebrate her daily life, artfully mixing frivolous conversation with hard work and recognizing minute victories.
- The modern woman feels free to celebrate her fandoms without fear of attack or reprisal.
- The modern woman doesn’t let her frustration with men grow to misandry but clearly identifies behaviors of men around her that make her uncomfortable and helps them understand why.
- The modern woman understands not only how to defend herself physically but also how to verbally defuse uncomfortable situations in ways that improve those around her.
- The modern woman rejects externally-imposed standards of beauty, identity, and behavior and instead defines her own–edifying–standards. She knows the kind of woman she wants to become and seeks ever-better habits to guide her.
The Modern Man article took a lot of flak on Twitter and, I imagine, in other venues. Satire or not, the resulting confusion emphasized one thing in my mind: it is very difficult to comprehend the breadth of the human experience.
It’s so easy for me to assume that everyone else has the same kinds of experiences I do. Perhaps, once in a while, it’s good for me to read an article that throws me into utter confusion until I realize how many people out there I don’t yet understand.