”une femme moderne, quoi”

ramblings on whatever really

During a job interview some time last year, discussing my hobbies and interests, the lady across the table defined me as a ”modern woman” or in her own words une femme moderne, quoi … In the moment, I wasn’t sure if one part of me should be flattered by the implications or rather offended to be so easily put into a cliché, ticking off the box I belong to. Later, I couldn’t stop laughing about the notion, though. I mean, what does it really mean, to be a ”modern woman”? In my opinion, it’s not my cultural, literary, travel, or whichever interests that define it, I mean where would that make any sense?

I read, write, travel, solo or not, watch independent movies as much as the commercial ones, and look for music everywhere rather than just follow the charts, go to museums and theatre occasionally, read Les Inrocks, browse through markets and bookshops, keep up with the social conflicts, tried a bunch of different jobs in my life… And all that somehow makes me modern. I get it, sort of. But – it bothers me that such a word would define such a small fraction of being a woman today (or of my own life for that matter). Most can’t afford the lifestyle, time or money-wise, some prefer a different one. Even more importantly, the scale of our experiences and lives is so broad, that the notion of a ”modern woman” should mean exactly that expanded diversity and nothing else, nothing less.

It’s one of those crutches we use in our everyday minds, I know. I love reminding myself that they are just that, that they are helpful precisely because they cut off two-thirds of the good stuff, the juicy and the mushy, the tangled up and the shy, as well as all of the bitter (all of the pressure it comes with them). That there is a whole world behind them that we can’t see the riches and the anxieties of if we use them too willingly, rely on them to get to know people or life or whatever really.

So, I continue to laugh about it (or grin when it’s more appropriate) and use any opportunity I have to expand its meaning. I can’t seem to use it seriously and without cynicism. It became one of those internal jokes my mind only keeps, until it drops them, to distance itself from my supposedly so cool traits which I and the world would want to define our selves with, but eventually let crumble in its emptiness. Imagine the tone, then…

Let me not even start on the word modern as such… That’s a whole different chapter.



  1. I feel like the phrase modern woman only exists as a contrast to a traditional or old-fashioned woman… I find it really just means you aren’t married and don’t have kids. And no one seems to take that into account when judging whether me are “modern” or not…

    Liked by 1 person

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