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My middle ground

Laura Meyers | Thursday, January 28, 2010

 I’ve been thinking a lot about stereotypes.

At the beginning of the fall semester, I taught my friend Tess about The Notre Dame football coaching staff and told her to sound impressive by talking about Frank Verducci and his approach to the offensive line (A lot of good that does her now). After that lesson, she called me a “Renaissance woman.” I’m not really sure what that means. 
 
What I do know is that it’s hard to break out of any sort of feminine stereotype. On the morning of Thursday, Jan. 7, I was contemplating that very issue as I drove to the bank. It seems you can either conform to a stereotype, or be opposite to it. 
 
But where’s the middle ground? I imagined that a lot of women my age wonder the same thing as they try to figure out what to do with their lives. 
 
That night I sat down in front of our high-definition television, ate Buffalo wings and yelled at the screen as Nick Saban classlessly coached his way to a national championship. 
 
I don’t think there are any grounds to the idea that women don’t like wings or football or hating on Nick Saban, but I was still being an anti-stereotype at that moment. 
 
After the game, my mom and sister went to bed and my dad went to the basement to watch the Cavs. I went into the kitchen, popped in my “Fearless: Platinum” CD and began to clean so that I could bake cookies for the next-door neighbors, who had just had a baby boy. 
 
In other words, I was being a suburban housewife.
 
Well, I opened the cabinet under the sink to get some Ajax, and out crawled a big spider.
My first thought was to call my dad to come kill it for me. Then, I realized:
“No. This is my middle ground!”
 
So, I grabbed my dad’s shoe and took a whack at the spider. The little guy was crafty, though. He played dead, and once some time had passed he figured he was okay and began to rappel away. 
 
I got him in the end, though. I celebrated by dancing to “Hey Stephen,” and then continued to wash the dishes. 
 
Of course, I would now like to bring this together by using the acts of baking cookies and killing spiders as some overarching metaphor for feminism and life as a woman, but I don’t have the literary skills to pull that off. 
 
The point is that I found a middle ground in between being a stereotype and an anti-stereotype, and I’ll continue to try to do so. 
 
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some shopping to do.