The International Alliance for Women in Music (IAWM) Blog

The Failure of Superwoman?

Posted in Sabrina_Pena_Young by iawmblog on October 10, 2010

My friends call me Superwoman. Singlehandedly I juggle work, music, and motherhood, and still manage to get dinner on the table before my husband comes home at night. You can find me lecturing on Baroque Music and Beethoven in the university, composing electronic music until the late hours of the night, teaching my baby girl proper fingering on the piano, and trying to find ways to buy organic vegetables while cutting my grocery budget by another ten percent.

I appreciate the empowerment my mother’s generation gave to Generations X and Y. We grew up believing that we could have it all. Despite all of the bad publicity for being “slackers”, we believed that a woman could perfectly balance work, her dreams, and her family without a cost. My parents taught both my sister and me that we could be the best, and that we were the best. I am the overachieving product of an immigrant family, another alien wondering about this lost land.

I am Superwoman. I am tired.

Several months of putting in full time hours in my spare time has sucked me dry. I want to hang up my superhero cape, put away the neat utility belt, and just blend in with everyone else. Musical ideas nag me constantly, but who has time for a symphony when baby has an ear infection, there are fifty papers to grade, and time with hubby is already nonexistent? So many notes flying around in my head, floating and dying, with no creative outlet, like a million snowflakes in a blizzard. They disappear, and I hope that someday I will again have the time to write something great, or just have time to breathe.

I am Superwoman. I am not alone.

As the economies of the world crumble to dust, and millions more join the short path to poverty, billions of Superwomen keep each nation alive. They feed the world’s children, till the barren soil, attempt to help the fledgling generation that is our children have a fighting chance in a rapidly decaying environment.

How much longer can the Superwomen fight before kryptonitic exhaustion robs them of their waning powers? Are we the shadows of women’s liberation, or are we the soldiers of the New Great Depression? Are we forging a new path or are we simply trudging along a well-beaten trail? Only the herstory books a century from today can tell.

Look in the mirror, my sister. You might find the face of a Superwoman staring back at you.

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Sabrina Peña Young is an Intermedia Composer teaching at Murray State University and an experienced blogger. Her specialties are composition, technology, world music, percussion, and film & video.

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