"The unexamined life is not worth living" Socrates

- - scatterings of ideas sent to my younger self, a sensitive boy who often thought he should have been a girl - -

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

She Persisted

My imagination is excellent. I have loads of empathy. Can those admirable qualities over the years have allowed me to know what it means to be a woman in our world? Not a chance.

I watched with anger and frustration as my wife was pushed aside in her work so that a man, with less seniority, who didn't know the job or do the work as well as she did, could have it. "He has to have this job. He has a family to support." She eventually left that company after a year languishing in the typing pool. 

In my heart, I have always been a woman, and yes, I live as a woman. By law, I am a woman; my birth certificate, passport, and driver's license say so. But what do I know of the sorts of hurts and challenges that a woman has faced every day in the world? 

It is International Women's Day, 2017. Last month the drawing below by artist Courtney Privett came to my attention. This Huffington Post article gives the explanation of how she came to create it. The drawing is self-explanatory and its title, Nevertheless, she persisted, says so much about what it has meant to grow up female in our society. 

I will reproduce the content below so that those who speak a language other than English can see what she wanted her daughters to know of her own life. I also feel a compulsion to absorb all of them more fully. I have heard only a few of these sayings directed at me in the past year. 





"What war on reproductive rights?" ~ "Feminists are annoying" ~ "You'd be so pretty if you made an effort" ~ "Stay-at-home mom? Get a job" ~ "Frump" ~ "You're too old to dress like that" ~ "Why are you getting so emotional?" ~ "Your husband is totally whipped" ~ "He picks on you because he likes you" ~ "Working mom? You're neglecting your kids" ~ "You just haven't found the right man" ~ "You run like a girl" ~ "over-sensitive" ~ "You're wearing THAT?" ~ "That time of month, eh?" ~ "Girls can't do that" ~ "Why didn't you just leave him?" ~ " You're going gray. You ought to dye your hair" ~ "You're formula feeding? That's not good for the baby" ~ "Breast-feeding a toddler? Gross" ~ "Catty" ~ "Whoa, take your Midol" ~ "How much have you had to drink?" ~ "That's a man's job" ~ "She was asking for it" ~ "Your clothing is distracting the boys" ~ "You'd be so much prettier if you wore makeup" ~ "You're wearing too much makeup. You look like a clown" ~ "Women will complain about anything" ~ "She's hormonal" ~ "Dyke" ~ "Slut" ~ "Whore" ~ "Frigid" ~ "Feminazi" ~ "Bossy" ~ "*Catcall*" ~ "Let the men work" ~ "Calm down" ~ "Smile" ~ "Relax" ~ "Moody" ~ May I speak to the man of the house?" ~ "Bitch" ~ "What were you wearing?" ~ "You'll want kids someday" ~ "You need to lose weight, for your health" ~ "You're too skinny. Eat a burger" ~ "Your biological clock is ticking" ~ "So many kids. Keep your legs together" ~ "Aren't you cute?" ~ "You're too fat to wear that"

7 comments:

  1. The men who are interested might want to read this as well: https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/the-reality-that-all-women-experience-that-men-dont-know-about-kelly-jrmk/

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  2. very important to mention this given that we trans people don't truly understand although we suffered quietly in our own way. My daughter is a feminist in her own way; not militant but I always tell her that she does not come second to a man and to be her own person. This is so important today as all of us no matter the race, religion or gender fight for justice and equality in this world.

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    1. So important Joanna; absolutely. Even the mentally strongest woman is still bombarded by messages that can wear her down. They are exposed to situations where their vulnerability makes them have to choose between danger and strength when encountering a man who threatens to abuse them in some way. If I could go back, I might have sent my daughter to assertiveness and/or self-defence class so that she could have another option apart from deflecting, minimizing or quietly acquiescing.

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  3. It seems to me so many of the negative comments Ms. Privett posted have to do more with the general boorishness that has infected western culture. Does nobody remember the old adage about saying nothing if you can't say something nice? I'm certain I'm old fashioned but it seems to me good manners are even more important as time goes by.

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    1. At first I misunderstood your comment Susan, but I believe you are saying that people who say these sort of things to a woman are displaying a lack of good manners. I have heard many such comments made by people who were very 'well meaning' indeed; some of them quite old fashioned too.
      Having heard some of these being said many years ago now, it seems unlikely that boorishness is a recent phenomenon.

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    2. Yes, that was my intention, Halle. I agree that boorishness isn't a modern phenomenon but the problem I see in its current proliferation is that far too many people see themselves (and subsequently, their opinions) validated by a largely imaginary social media audience.

      What really troubles me is that we are being artificially divided into separate camps by a power structure (gov't, business, banks, media etc.) that doesn't want us to cooperate in a major effort to achieve social and economic justice.

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    3. Susan, it seems to me this is a discussion best had in front of a fine fire with a glass of red wine to sip upon. So much of our life is under the influence of money ... ah, media.

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