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Posts Tagged ‘womanhood’

Mine!

I am a woman. That does not make me a traditional feminist, but while I say that, I’m also not an old-time fundamentalist either. On my hardest days at work, I think we’ve got a raw deal – I’d rather be home playing (and napping) with my tiny girl than slogging through the blech all day. But then, when I do get to stay home, I’m reminded of how hard my husband’s job really is, I re-appreciate the opportunities I’ve been given, and I also re-appreciate all the men and women who’ve been stay-home parents.

What I want, though, is respect. A woman at work put it very concisely this week when she said, “men are pigs.” Another has a bumper sticker on her desk saying, “Men are NOT pigs. Pigs are sensitive and intelligent animals.” OK, now, I’m guessing that there are at least three men who read this blog relatively regularly… so please take no offense, Handsome Panda, The Philosopher, and The Chemist. Just as men stand around and joke about how long it takes women to get ready to go out, women can generalize too. We love you. I know one of you Biblically – and another of you very well – and I’ll be the first to say that you’re two of the best. Which means that you probably can admit to having been a pig, at least once or twice. However, this post is most definitely not directed at y’all.

And, while I’m caveating up a storm, let me say now that this has absolutely nothing to do with the current political environment and all the cries of sexism that are being bandied about. I abhor political rhetoric, and all of that is political rhetoric for its own sake. Yuck. No, this is personal.

So. As I said. Respect. I’m not a frumpy dresser usually, and I do take some pride in my appearance (whether warranted or not). I clean up, fix my hair, apply my makeup with as much care as I can with a toddler hollering “me too, me too!” at my feet. I work in an office where the people mostly dress up – men in ties, women in skirts or slacks and heels, jeans on Friday. But even on Fridays, many still dress up, and “jeans” doesn’t mean grungies, it means trouser-style, dark dye, often still with dress shoes or boots. So I really don’t mind a second look, if offered. I’m self-conscious enough to think I’m having a wardrobe malfunction when I get a second look, anyway. However, by and large, I expect to be treated just like every man or woman, old or young, minority or majority, person in the office, in the neighborhood, or among my acquaintances.

By “respect” and “treated just like,” I’m not even referring to the equal-pay-for-equal-work rant that many women have. It’s hard to quantify all the differences that go into how a person is paid, including things like life decisions that take them away from work, but also including how aggressive they are about asking for what they deserve. Another generalization – men not only are more aggressive by nature, but also, an aggressive man is perceived as a “go-getter,” while an aggressive woman is considered a “bitch.” Go figure.

What I’m talking about is this. What makes it OK for a man (who’s not her husband or best friend) to ask a woman whether she’s “expecting”? Since when is it OK to ask a woman how old she is? Or her weight? Should I be flattered rather than offended if a man I hardly know saunters by saying, “Well nobody told me this was where all the cute girls hang out!”? Well, hmm… I do appreciate being told I look nice today. And I do compliment people when they’ve done something well or I like a particular pair of shoes, piece of jewelry, tie, whatever. But whether I’m speaking to a female acquaintance or a male one, I don’t want to be wondering whether they’re a) contemplating the health and occupancy of my uterus, or b) contemplating how to change the status thereof. If you’re close friends with somebody of the opposite sex, those lines blur a bit. You can joke around more without feeling like your privacy has been invaded. But if you’ve reached that place with someone, you know it, and if you haven’t… well… you damn well should know that too.

This is my body, and it is reserved.

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