Tag Archive | feminism

The Cracks in the Glass Ceiling are from Banging My Head On It

(Let’s be honest; I don’t have something profound to say every time I log in.)

I am a feminist in that “respect until proven otherwise” should be the default setting between the sexes, I believe there is more to me than my reproductive parts (including the breasts) and ability to please a man, that I should get paid the same (perhaps more. I work hard), that all women are capable of making their own decisions regarding their bodies. “All men are created equal” applies to women, too. Of course, the man who wrote that was boinking one of his slaves. Small power disparity there.

I graduated law school and while there, encountered some young men who believed that women were attending for husband-hunting. I shit you not. All the nights I spent locked in my home reading cases, writing papers, and time researching in the library, I should have had 3 husbands magically appear (I wish. They could have paid the tuition for me). Not so much. In fact, I know of only two couples who met at school. In fact, most of the women who attended went on to substantial careers (a few of us didn’t follow the traditional path). So much for that theory.

Is it a male ego thing that they believe women inhabit workplaces  or higher education primarily to meet a spouse (or partner)? Or when women show that they can compete on the same playing field, it makes their balls shrink? Back when I worked for Fidelity (which was  a pretty good place to work), the big deal was to take the Series 7 exam, to be a licensed representative. This is the golden ticket; you can sell securities with it. The guys I worked with would stand around and brag about their scores. “I got 75.” “I got 78.” Well, I took that exam and passed with an 88. The next time the guys were comparing scores, I said, “I got an 88.” They fell silent and one said, “The score doesn’t matter as long as you pass.” I never heard the score conversation again. By the way, another woman who took the exam at the same time got a 92.

I worked in a department that assisted customers with resolving issues. Phone-based customer service. A couple of times, I picked up the phone and had a male voice demand that I transfer his call to a man. When that happened, we were instructed to politely try to get the customer change his mind. If not, we had permission to tell him to hang up and call until he got a man on the line. One time, my friend Jack was sitting nearby and said, “Give him to me!” I transferred the call, and Jack made himself sound like a gay stereotype. “Turbo swish.” (his term) That man called again; didn’t ask to be transferred. We also saw letters. One guy wrote in to object to a woman managing a mutual fund because (and I am not making this up) “All women want to do is go shopping and have babies. They have nothing but babies and clothes on their mind.” The female head of our department was not only a clothes horse, but also pregnant when that gem came in. She handled it personally. No, we weren’t allowed to read her reply.

Another life later at another company, doing a completely different job (due diligence underwriting), one of the men completed 82 files in a strictly data-entry project (“file scrubbing”). I’m pretty good at data entry; consistently clocked at 9800 keystrokes per hour with 0 errors (I could go faster, but I’d make mistakes). The men were marveling at his speed. I was assigned to that project the next day. I completed 127 files. The men fell silent.

I don’t see why I can’t stand shoulder to shoulder with anyone and be accepted. I believe we are all created equal, and that we should treat each other as such, regardless of, well, regardless of anything. One the fiftieth anniversary of the Selma March, someone from the NAACP remarked at the frustration of still having to fight the same battles now because of attitudes that should have died out a half-century ago. It’s the same with male supremacy. That should have died out, probably with the passage of the 19th Amendment, certainly after World War II when women undertook war production (Rosie the Riveter, anyone?). We proved ourselves. And still do.

I still hear, “Don’t let men know you’re smart” or “don’t show the men you can work as well as they do.” My late grandmother, said that in the mid-nineties, in fact. “Boys don’t like it when you’re too smart,’ she said as we were driving somewhere.  My friend sitting in the backseat hadn’t been briefed on how to deal with Gram and blurted out, “That is such bullshit!” My sphincter snapped shut, my grandmother tried to backtrack (Another time, she had to backtrack from saying Tiger Woods had made golf less classy), and my friend is now a partner in a DC law firm (not married, but doesn’t seem to suffer from the lack of a husband).

“Take Your Child to Work” day started as “Take Your Daughter to Work” day. The idea was for girls to see women working and realize that their options were as wide open as their imaginations. But.. the men objected to it as sexist. “Why should only girls get this?” and the effort to show girls what they could be was watered down because men didn’t want women getting ideas. There is a parallel in Black Lives Matter being countered with All Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter. Dilute the power of the movement.

The attitude will continue as long as succeeding generations are taught these out-dated “truisms.” I daresay it played a major part in the outcome of the 2016 election. Not just who the Democratic candidate was (Sec. Clinton herself is not popular), but I believe a number of people, men and women, did not want a woman as President, regardless of who she was. It didn’t matter that England and Germany had both been lead by women, Margaret Thatcher being in the same hard-nosed conservative mindset as Ronald Reagan, the patron saint of the modern GOP. Nope. “What’s going to happen when she has her period?” According to Robin Williams, “intense negotiations every twenty-eight days.”  Hillary Clinton has probably the best resume of anyone who has run for President in the last half-century. Foreign policy experience, legislative experience and relationships, activist First Lady (Arkansas and US), a willingness and capability to tackle the heavy, thankless work of governing. Had she been a man, the results would have been completely different. I know this.

I also know that a day will come where we won’t have this resistance to women as equals. After all, the glass ceiling has millions of cracks in it (3 million more than the current President). Who or what it will take for those cracks to finally merge and break that barrier, I don’t know. But I do know that it will happen.

 

 

 

 

Who Needs Feminism? You Do.

Want to see me in person? Sure you do: this Saturday at the Burbank Public Library Buena Vista branch, I will be there, signing books, selling books. There will be a bunch of other great local authors of different genres. Come on down.

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A few months ago, Facebook and other social media blew up over a Tumblr account of young women holding up signs declaring that they don’t need feminism:

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Yeah. What this smugster doesn’t realize is that her gender has already been politicized whether she likes it or not.

This group reminds me of young, wealthy and privileged, like Paris Hilton or the Kardashians. They are enjoying the benefits that a parent or a grandparent sweated blood, fought, fell back, fought some more, and sacrificed to secure. They don’t see a need for others to fight and struggle because they themselves don’t need it.

They’re not thinking about things like Title IX as they go out for a college soccer or field hockey team. Or these women:

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Because of their sacrifice, these young women are free to go vote for men (or women) who want to restrict access to birth control because it offends their religious sensibilities or outlaw abortion for the same reasons.

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Know this woman? No? Do you young anti-feminists use birth control? She did a lot of fighting and sweating to lay the groundwork for that.

“I’m morally opposed to having my tax dollars pay for birth control and abortion.” Hey, I’m morally opposed to having my tax dollars pay a salary to a Congress that’s been sitting on its ass for 2 years and wasting taxpayer dollars on 50 plus show votes to repeal a law that’s working. I’m morally opposed to churches getting involved in politics and not having to pay taxes. I’m morally opposed to paying for war. I’d prefer the money went to supporting women in controlling their own destinies.

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The young women in the Tumblr feed were not on the planet when the bitch shown on the left almost single-handedly sank the Equal Rights Amendment, which would have made gender equality a part of the Constitution. Know who she is? Someone dug up her nasty old ass and stuck a microphone in front of it. She’s running her trap again on topics as diverse as birth control, women’s rights (again. Jesus. Everything old is new again) and that she thinks the President is responsible for Ebola in the US. Phyllis Schlafly is an older edition of the spoiled rich kid who doesn’t appreciate the sacrifices that were made in order to allow her to publicly be a stupid shit. Seriously, though I generally do not wish I’ll on people, I want her to die soon and in the most embarrassing way possible.

Young Women Who Think They Don’t Need Feminism (especially THIS one):

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Do you want to make your own decisions? Like whether or not to shave? (I’m a feminist and I shave. I have the choice) If you find yourself with an unplanned pregnancy, how many choices do you want available as you chart your course? Just one? How about reading? Getting an education? Think it’s not necessary to fight that fight?

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Malala Yousefzai

This girl was shot in the head because she said she thought girls getting an education was a good thing and should be a right.

Got a job? You got to choose that rather than having your father choose a husband for you (sometimes based on what kind of stuff your prospective husband was willing to trade for you. Goats, camels, land, a title (Consuelo Vanderbilt), cash, a corporate merger, building a political/Royal dynasty (Catherine of Aragon). Women stopped putting up with that shit. That’s feminism.

Earn money from that job? Do you enjoy getting to decide how you use it? Want to buy a house or rent an apartment? Get a car loan? Not so long ago, you couldn’t have done those things without a man getting involved, whether you were married or not.

Feminism, my dear, spoiled young ladies, is not about shaving body hair, or allowing a man to open a door for you. Remember telling someone “You’re not the boss of me”? That’s what feminism is about; fighting for and protecting the right of women to be their own bosses.

Respect is an earned thing, not a freebie. Feminism is not only about us making our own decisions, it’s about them being respected. See this guy? And the woman?

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He’s now a US Supreme Court justice whose confirmation hit a major snag when he was accused of sexual harassment by the woman in blue. The hearings lasted days and the details were unflattering to an an educated man who would be making decisions affecting women. I suspect part of the reason that Justice Thomas does as little as possible on the bench is payback for being exposed. Know all the sexual sensitivity training that is now part of orientation? That came about because a woman came forward and said, “This is the shit I was subjected to as part of my employment. No one should have to deal with a hostile work environment.” That was over twenty years ago; two decades and four Presidents. Want to see what’s outside the HR Manager’s office where I work?

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She doesn’t think we need feminism, either. And she’s in charge of enforcing the policies that prevent this kind of inappropriate shit.

And we have to deal with this kind of shit:

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The reason we need feminism is because these battles from twenty, forty, fifty, and ninety years ago have not been won. People with means who don’t think that the American ideal of equal rights for all have been buying legislators on the state and Federal levels to undo this progress. Women are the majority in this country yet we are underrepresented in government at all levels. Do you honestly think the freedoms you enjoy now are going to be protected if women stop fighting for them?

You do need feminism, you spoiled little shits, even if you don’t want to mess up your manicure fighting for your rights.