Thursday, August 20, 2009

Sexism - Not Just For Your Mama's Generation

These are actual quotes that have been said to me over the past week:

"What did you think of that married guy we interviewed. Did you think he was cute?" (Um....I didn't even notice).

"Don't worry, you'll eventually want babies."

"Don't buy a home now; soon you'll meet a man and you'll want to move in with him and then you'll have to sell it!"

(I fell off the sidewalk recently, and scraped my knee.) My aunt's response: "Did a handsome man come and sweep you up and carry you away?" (Um, no. Magically, I somehow I managed to pick my own self up...)

"What do your parents think of you going to XXX country?" (seriously? I'm nearly 30 years old!)

An article today on CNN about South African runner, Caster Semenya, who is so good, officials think she's a boy.

While some of these comments are made in jest, the message is clear: Society just doesn't know what to do with women who are competitive, independent and fearless. Also, I am obviously defective because I am neither in a relationship or married. (When I told a friend about my aunt's comment, she said the same thing happened to her, only her grandma told her to "stay down there a little while" until someone came to help). (!)

You know, I totally get why Hillary reacted the way she did in Congo. Women who show any ounce of brain, ambition or drive get harassed, harangued, teased, tormented and "best-intentioned" by all sides. There's no escaping it. It doesn't matter if you're gay, straight, single, married or in a committed relationship. If you're married, you should "hurry up and have kids" before your uterus goes bad. If you've had kids, you're not a good mother if you don't stay home and raise them (or, you're unambitious and lazy if you choose to stay home).

This is a no-win situation. It's unsupportable.

Yes, I AM angry. Mainly because, if you're not angry, you're not paying attention. Women in the US still earn 75 cents for every dollar that men do. A census survey from 2004, showed that this gap is actually getting WORSE. I understand that this is leaps and bounds over what women used to get. I thank my lucky stars that women like Victoria Woodhull and Margaret Sanger came before me. And, my recent travels to Pakistan make me feel even more lucky that I can rent my own apartment, buy my own car and have a job without seeking the permission of anyone but myself.

.......but sweet jeesus. I still can't pick myself up off the sidewalk??

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Ooh, my favorite is: "You can tell who wears the pants in that relationship."