Wednesday, February 11, 2015

This Is Why We Need Feminism

At my former job, I had to face both sexism and gender discrimination at various points in my career. It was a difficult way to live and work, and at the very end of my time there, the worst of it happened. Without going into detail, I will say that there was much discussion about a co-worker's alleged, shall we say, exploits, and my name was brought into the conversation.

I was furious because it is no one's God-damned business what I do--or do not do--with my vagina. I am an adult and I refuse to apologize for operating while female. The whole incident pushed me over the edge, to the point where I was sobbing in my parents' living room (because I was lucky enough to catch wind of this while I was still on vacation rather than in my office). This is it, I thought. This is what it is to be a woman.

Having lived with and mentored college-age women for five and a half years, being an aunt/Godmother to a little girl, and coming from a family full of strong ladies, I am honestly outraged that we are still operating this way in 2015. And this is not just a first-world problem; conditions are much worse for women in some other regions, notably Africa and the Middle East. In China, sex-selective abortions are still performed on the regular. Women in India have worked to rise up against rapists who are not prosecuted.

In the United States, we are dealing with those who would curb our reproductive rights, the continued existence of the glass ceiling, and a literary culture that strongly favors men, among many other large and small indignities. I'd sum it up thusly: this is bullshit.

As a former Girl Scout, as the kind of person who does what she wants, as someone who eludes categorization, and as a female (both by birth and identification), I have to say that I am sick and tired of having my life prescribed for me and suffering consequences--however intangible or small they may seem--because I happen to have two X chromosomes. Unfortunately, I have no plan of action in mind; because I'm desperately trying to find a job and keep up with my writing submissions, I am unable to start, or even join, a group that advocates for women.

What I AM able to do is support my fellow women (including the trans* ones, for whom life is even more difficult). Need a sympathetic ear? Feel free to contact me. Want to rail against the patriarchy for awhile? I'd be happy to nod in agreement. Desire a chat about professional issues with a fellow female professional? I'm your girl.

Stay strong, ladies. I know we've faced thousands of years of oppression, but if we haven't lost the battle yet, I have a feeling we never will.


No comments:

Post a Comment