First there were pens for women. Because when I read Law at Cambridge, obviously the lack of female pens is why I only managed a 2:1 and not a 1st class degree. I chose to ignore this rampant sexism and keep using my old, male pens.
Then, as we know all junior doctors in the UK were getting a raw deal (ps. #saveournhs #supportjuniordoctors) – but within that, female junior doctors were getting even more shafted because biology/genetics determined that they would be the child-bearers and this in turn meant that the audacious women who were taking time to raise the next generation of human beings should be penalised. By the way, the men who were culpable for the co-procreation of said children were A-Ok and making the world a better place through the spreading of their seed. (#likealadydoc #likealadyboss)
Yesterday, a friend posted on Facebook that her husband, the only dad at the baby-parent nursery was disappointed that his son was already being taught male/female stereotypes because “the mummies on the bus chatter chatter chatter” and “the daddies on the bus work work work.” Why. Can’t parents be chattering or working as they have discussed and agreed with their partners/home-helpers/family-members?
And today I see this: https://www.facebook.com/kerrywiliams/posts/10209930631717760
A car, designed by SEAT, in conjunction with Cosmopolitan Magazine specifically for women. Obviously I don’t care if my headlights work, or have good fog lights for when the haze in Songdo is thick and visibility is low – my headlights will look like they have eyeliner – and the eyeliner is on point, so I’ll just smile and snap a selfie after checking my hair in the sun visors. I mean, I really don’t care that as I am a short female, a drivers seat with adjustable height, or a seatbelt that I could bring down so my boobs don’t have seatbelt welts in them would be SO much more useful. And yeah, I totally tan through the sun-roof year round because sun-damaged skin is sexy, and I need to look good to get/keep a man, right?
The world we live in is meant to have evolved. Yes, sometimes I baulk at the extremes that ardent feminists will go to, for example:a few years ago I knew of a woman who was a resident doctor in the USA and she was married to a male resident doctor in the same hospital. Often they worked different shifts. Said women, being a feminist, would only do her laundry / cook meals for herself when she had free time, citing her status as an independent woman who would not be chained to household chores as her excuse. Said husband would use his similar amount of free time to make sure both their laundry was done / cook larger portions to freeze or keep in the fridge so that his wife would have something to eat after a long day at the hospital. I mean, it’s just kind to help each other out in that way. Nobody ever said SHE had to do everything and he more than demonstrated his willingness to share the load. I don’t know what became of them – I wish them well whatever the case. My point is that we should make the effort to be fair and moderate in our lives, any kind of extremism always works out badly for someone.
But I digress. It’s 2016. We accept that people have different strengths and capabilities. We accept that there can be physical differences between the sexes – my husband will ALWAYS be able to open a jar more easily than me because he is stronger and doesn’t suffer from slipped discs in his neck and back, as well as tendonitis in his elbow all on the same side of his body. We bring up our daughters to believe that they can do anything they set their minds to (major props to my parents, amongst others, who told me this in the 1980s) and we lift them up, making sure that they have choices throughout their lives. And then we rudely crash them down to earth by designing tools in pink, pens that look pretty, cars that “have all the essentials” and we blame women for being provocative/too modest/always wrong… I know I’m screaming on the inside (as millions of women across the world probably are as well) but I also use my social media voice to bring light to the ridiculousness I see, as and when it happens. I still have some hope that enough voices will reach the ears of the people perpetuating such nonsense and change is possible. Until then, I scream and tweet…