So, if there’s a scale for feminism, with 1 being “you are an embarrassment to your gender” and 10 being “I refuse to even acknowledge that men and women have different body parts,” I’m a solid 5, or maybe a 6. My feminist beliefs include:
- Equal pay for equal work.
- Equal opportunities.*
- Equal respect and consideration.
- All women should have the choice to do with their lives and bodies what they please.
- Mom doesn’t stay home and raise the kids because she’s the woman. If she stays home and raises the kids, it’s because she wants to.
- Women around the world shouldn't be abused, bought and sold, subject to genital mutilation, or worse. Of course, no human being should be victimized in such unspeakable ways.
- History needs to acknowledge the contributions of women.
- Every woman is beautiful, and Barbie dolls shouldn’t be the standard we aspire to.
- No little girl should be told that she can’t do something "because she is just a girl."
Frankly, I would hope all women agree with those points.
On the other hand, I have some feelings that radical feminists (a broad term for which not all of these apply) might be displeased with, including:
- *Equal opportunity based on qualifications—don’t give me a job just because I’m a woman and you have to meet your quota (particularly true in the STEM fields). Give me a job because I deserve it.
- A man complimenting you on your appearance is not despicable (unless he’s creepy and leering at you lasciviously; and/or he’s your boss or coworker and he acknowledges your legs and not your job performance).
- You can’t hate men for being men.
- You can wear skirts and dresses and still believe in women’s rights.
- I’m not offended when God is referred to as “He.”
- Women are no more superior to men then men are to women.
- Giving little girls dolls and dressing them in pink is not anti-feminist, as long as we’re also giving them Lincoln Logs and letting them wear whatever they want to when they’re old enough to dress themselves.
The point of all this is to say that I’m not one to quickly cry sexism at every perceived gender slight; therefore, when I say I was recently the victim of sexist behavior, I mean it.
Last week I attended a creativity and innovation workshop in which we formed teams and had to come up with a product or service, create a logo and prototype, and ultimately present to the rest of the group in a one-minute elevator pitch. I should add that I was one of only 3 women in a room filled with men, and the only woman on my team.
|Appropriately, the category is "Around the House"|
Whew. For a minute there I thought he was going to actually encourage me to speak. Thankfully all he wanted was for me to hold the poster board and smile.
I’ve been asked how I reacted to this Neanderthal (who was in his 50s), and I’m ashamed to say I responded with nothing more than a “Ha.” Yes, I blew it. After the fact I thought of a number of appropriate comebacks, including:
- Too bad I didn’t wear my stilettos and a shorter skirt today.
- After I play Vanna, can I get you a cool beverage and fawn over you?
- What decade is this?
- No wonder more women don’t go into STEM careers if it’s filled with assholes like you.
Women, I’d love to hear of your encounters with sexism, and men, I’d be interested to know if you think I’m overreacting, or if the guy really blew it. I should add that I don’t think he meant to offend; the problem is that he didn’t “think,” period. And that behavior is so ingrained in some men that they don’t even recognize that it’s wrong.
Share your stories, and suggest even better comebacks so