Tag Archive | gender politics

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.





‘Tis Pity You’re an Inarticulate Moron

I am on Facebook. I used to be on Myspace. I am a passionate Red Sox fan which means I am also a passionate Yankees foe (it’s part of the package. Kinda fun, actually).  During last night’s game (a loss for the Sox), Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster deliberately threw the ball behind batter Alex Rodriguez three times, then deliberately pitched one that hit him in the thigh.

(The following may not be news to readers, but I do not make assumptions of who knows what when they read something) A-Rod (A-Rat, A-Hole, A-Roid, A-Fraud) has been served with a 215 game suspension for using PED (Performance Enhancing Drugs). Unlike the other guys who were also suspended, he appealed it and is still playing. He is quite close to certain batting records/benchmarks that, should he get to the, mean millions of dollars more for him. I am of the opinion that he should not still be playing, but then he has a history of this kind of “weasel out of it” behavior. Case in point: July 24, 2004. Red Sox pitcher Bronson Arroyo hit him with a pitch (that seems to happen a lot, huh?) and rather than just take his base as the rules dictate, A Rod started mouthing off at Arroyo. Jason Varitek, Red Sox catcher, got involved and well, this is the indelible image:

tek arod

Both men were hit with 4 game suspensions. Tek just served his, A-Rod ended up serving his after appealing it and continued to play until the decision was rendered. He had to serve.  As a sidebar, in an October post-season game facing the same picture, A-Rod pulled a punk move to avoid being tagged by Mr. Arroyo by slapping the ball out of Arroyo’s glove. Given the “Hamburger Helper” style (or Mickey Mouse, perhaps more in keeping with his level of play) batting gloves, it would have been hard for the ump to miss:


Just call him “Slappy.”

photoshop slappy

I like this version better.


This is what he prefers. I don’t know if this is the original (certainly the Mickey Mouse gloves are photoshopped in), but he does have a portrait of himself as a centaur.

But I digress. Let’s return to August 18,2013.

The WEEI (Boston sports radio) Facebook page had a post regarding last night’s incident and asked for comments about Dempster drilling A-Rod. Since I don’t think the sumbitch should be playing baseball PERIOD if he’s suspended, I commented that “Dempster should have drilled him in the head.” Perhaps excessive and rash, but if that’s what it takes to get him out of the game…

There was a reply to my comment from someone named Derek Moretti:

“You should have been aborted whore”

From this statement, we can deduce that punctuation is not Mr. Moretti’s strong suit.

In 2007, on a Myspace Red Sox community page, I posted a  comment about the previous night’s game (which the Red Sox won. Post season on their way to a second World Series title in 4 years. The previous being 2004. Again, I make no assumptions). I got a response from some who kept changing his name to variations on “Hack.”

“Shut up, you fat fucking whore. I hate you.”

“Whore.” There it is again.

Come to think of it, THAT “whore”  was provoked by a negative comment about A-Rod. Perhaps his fans are as doped up as he is? Or just dopes?

These two guys (I’m presuming they’re two completely different people. I don’t give enough of a damn to find out) figured that the most damage they could inflict was by calling me a whore.

When I saw today’s comment, I started thinking about the intended use of “whore” as a weapon. (And it doesn’t apply. Both of these guys could have called me a US Senator and it would have been equally as applicable. And perhaps the same thing) By their choice of word to use as an insult, these two have given me the impression that they consider women who trade sex for money to be the lowest form of female, something shameful. If I had been a man and they’d wanted to insult me, would I have been called the male equivalent of a whore: gigolo? I don’t think so.

The thought that occurred to me was “Well, if there were no johns, there would be no whores.” I tried googling “If there were no johns” and got back this image:


The Madonna/Whore complex in a picture (rebus).

Coincidentally, she dated A-Rod for a while.

If there were no johns, there would be no whores; good ol’ supply and demand economics. So, these two guys flinging the term “whore” around; would they be as judgmental and harsh towards her customers? After all, if there were no johns willing to pay for sex, there wouldn’t be any whores to sell it. (male or female). what I’ve observed is a lot of back-slapping and “You dog!” with respect to guys who have gone to prostitutes. I remember sitting in Starbucks and overhearing a detailed conversation between two guys who had just come back from a trip to the Moonlight Bunny Ranch. There was no shaming, no “how could you do this to your wife?” Nope.

A man who sleeps around doesn’t get shamed as a slut or a whore by his fellow men (Women he doesn’t call back or gives an STD to, that’s a different matter). In fact, there’s some approval of the “player.” And if a sports discussion got heated, no one would use his sexual activity (presumed or otherwise) as a weapon. Women, though? We’re sluts, bitches and whores if you get angry. (By the way, if we’re not supposed to be as sexually active, who are the players supposed to sleep with? Somewhere, the Westboro Baptist Church’s heads just collectively exploded)

Just a wee bit of a double standard.

I believe that anger is actually an aggressive form of fear and that by lashing out as these guys, they were actually displaying fear. Of what? A woman? Certainly, but what’s so fearful about a woman who likes baseball? Are they afraid I’ll try to talk about the game with them? Is sports and being a fan supposed to be exclusively a male province? In the Myspace incident, I was also called a “Pink Hat” which is a Boston term for the women who buy pink Red Sox caps to wear to the games with their boyfriends and and recently jumped on the BoSox Bandwagon when they started winning; couldn’t care less before then. (I’ve been a Red Sox fan since I knew what a baseball was. We’re talking 47-48 years here). Again, it’s an insult specifically aimed at WOMEN, although, in 2007, when Troy Aikman showed up for a World Series game decked out in Red Sox gear, someone told me he was a pink hat. Okay, it applied that time.

So what is so intimidating about a woman who follows sports and expresses an opinion (rather strongly)? And if such a woman is a terrifying thing, do you really think the word “whore” is going to stop her?