In James Brown’s words, this is a man’s world. This is a man’s, man’s world.
I often have discussions with my guy about feminism. The word alone creates horrific images and assumptions about what a feminist is. When people hear “feminist” they instantly forward their thoughts to burning bras and femi-nazi’s. As I have calmly and intricately explained to my guy, feminism is simply a movement to create equality for women.
When you understand feminism for what it truly is, there are few people who would label themselves a ‘non-feminist‘. In doing so, one is admitting that they don’t care about equal rights, and that women better just suck up the 77 cents to the dollar they are earning compared to men. Hell, despite all the bibble-babble of the presidential debates, even Obama-rama believes in feminism!
I, unfortunately, work at a corporate company that is the old boy’s club. Management is dominated by men and women are often found in the lowest paying jobs. Worry not darlings, I have been job searching to get out of the 1950’s. Today was a particularly challenging day of comments that really got my mind whirling about feminism and sexism.
Let’s just review the small dose of the Ike Turner mindset I experienced today:
1. “You should smile more.” This comment was uttered by my male supervisor today to me. My mind instantly jumped to my Introduction to Women’s Studies course in college. The professor gave us the most invigorating overview of the history and theories of various feminist groups. One of the concepts we came across was the physical appearance of women and what is expected. Women are expected to portray a positive, bubbly, happy appearance at all times. In studies, when people have compared a male’s ‘resting face’ (void of emotion) to a female’s resting face, people feel that men look normal and women look angry.
So, keep that smile bright and perky, ladies! It’s what is expected of you, after all. How dare a woman relax her facial muscles! And after years of maintaining the perfect, upbeat appearance, you can drown yourself in thousands of dollars worth of wrinkle-fighting products.
2. “Don’t get all worked up.” Ladies, I have an announcement for you. If you speak passionately about your job, you have lost your flippin’ shit. Abort mission, I repeat, abort mission. When men speak passionately about a topic, they are defined as strong, intelligent, and having leadership qualities. When the mere Betty Boop’s of the world speak passionately about a topic, we are considered irrational, lacking composure, and over-emotional.
3. “Why are you going to graduate school? Don’t you want to settle down and have a family?” This tops the big, fat cake of bigotry. I blame my Mom, I really do. You see, she raised me to believe I could have a career, a family, and a personal life all at once. Imagine that malarkey! On top of my mother failing me, I also seem to have a delusional disorder I wasn’t aware of. I imagined that I work a full-time job and a part-time job. Being a graduate student was all a magical mirage. Having a blog, writing, crafting, reading, and being creative every free chance? Eh, must have been a dream. Oh, and being an amazing partner to my guy, cooking, cleaning, paying the bills, and supporting him, and our families, in every way? Shit, I was off my rocker again! I must have been speaking passionately.
All hope is not lost though. We must remember the conclusion that all men should come to, as James Brown did: “This is a man’s world, but it wouldn’t be nothing, nothing without a woman or a girl.”