What neither candidate (or the mainstream media) gets about women and equality

Obama:  We know about the struggles of our mothers and grandmothers.  We don’t need it reiterated.  Tell us how you will demolish that path.  Equal pay is great.  Equal hiring would be awesome.

Romney:  Our concern is not really go get home in time to make you dinner.  Fuck you.  That answer was insulting.

Aside:
I’m watching Morning Joe, cause today is my late day at work/school, where I get to enjoy my coffee and my dog cuddles next to me.  This rejected ovary they invited on keeps insulting Mika for things she’s not even saying.  Mika is attempting to point out the fact that Romney shared a completely made up story about his hiring practices for women, the fact that an outside agency had to point out his lack of women and that is why he began to seek them out.  This sac is like “get over the binder thing!”  “Not all women have abortion at the forefront of their mind!”  I like Mika, but I wish she would raise her voice  a little more.  I constantly watch her seething while the others talk but rarely interrupts them the way they do to her.  Raise your voice Girl!  She did come back with an excellent response to a comment about women “needing” flex hours, “Well it’s great we can get a lower number of hours since we’re paid less.”  Oh shit!  And another killer one as I am typing.  Joe and the other sacs are clearly chastising her and she comes back with “you know, I have to go soon, I have to get home to make dinner.”  Rock it girl. (Just a little louder next time, these guys are lame as shit.)

When talking about equal pay, we are ignoring the lack of equal hiring.  Women are passed up for promotions, jobs, and such because it is assumed that they need to be home for their children (whether they have them or not, whether they are the primary caretakers or not).  A friend from school was applying to internships while she was visibly pregnant.  On every interview she was asked how she planned to balance these responsibilities.  I don’t know what she answered, she didn’t share.  But she did share that she wanted so badly to tell them their question was inappropriate and if they asked this to married men.  My school, and I’m sure others, has a history of putting women on Academic Development Plans (pretty much a scarlet letter on your transcript that most internships see and throw away your application without looking into) when they become pregnant.   Now, when you go on an ADP, you have to write and create a plan about “how did this happen” and “what is your plan to prevent this from happening again.  These things are written for people that like fail classes or display obvious lack of professionalism.   Becoming pregnant is not a failure or lack of professionalism.  It really has nothing to do with anything in your professional life if you don’t want it to.  It is so fucking unethical, and I’m pretty sure illegal to do something like this.

So what is wrong with women and work, in my opinion?  The fact that they are perceived so differently, that we assume their needs are so different.  We assume women have aspirations of parenthood.  We assume they will drop out of the workforce when they become parents.  Even further, we assume they WANT to drop out of the work force.  We assume they are the primary caregivers that need to be at home.

We have worked very hard to get away from the idea that women are less capable, less intelligent, less able, and less driven.  But, to my shock and disappointment, that has been replaced by the idea that women are “still just women,” who want and need to be mothers.   That women will always be caregivers at the heart.  Fuck that.  Some women are this way and more power to them.  Some men are fathers and caregivers at the heart, and more power to them.  We really have to get over this fucking idea that men are women are fundamentally different.  If so, I guess that makes me and boyfriend fucking mutants, what with our agreement that if kids happen he will be the primary caregiver and I will be the worker bee (after he learns to cook, lol).  At some point, the media, employers, and politicians, I can only hope, will get this point that both men and women can be equal at home and at work.  That they can share equal responsibilities.  If women “need” flex hours to fulfill their responsibilities at home, men do to.  If women are assumed to leave the workforce after becoming mothers, so should men when they become fathers.  Friends, this is equality.  I could put it in more positive terms, but people don’t seem to really recognize difference when it is put in positive terms.  When I hear this argument applied equally to men and women, I will believe it.

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Thoughts that stick with me: “Bound” by culture.

Sorry my little loves that I have been so lax in my posts.  I feel like I am constantly making excuses.  But I promise, post-November, I will be solid with posts.  Well, maybe not, cause I’ll still be swamped with work, but I will have one thing off my plate.  When you are in grad school, that is A LOT!

But my normally anxious, impulsive, inattentive  little mind has been constantly irked by a comment made several weeks ago during a meeting at my place of work.  One of the issues discussed at great length when you work in human development and social sciences is the influence of culture on how we meet the needs of clients, what issues are addressed and how.  Anyone who knows me at all, or who has even just read a post of mine, might get a slight indication that I, oh, might be a little tiny bit biased against patriarchal cultures.  I admit to struggling a bit with individuals who are in this type of culture, but who also feel the culture is working for them and they knowingly adopt the role they have taken in that culture and how it effects the people around them.  Where I feel that all individuals and families should have equal power roles across genders and such, many in these cultures understand and accept the roles their culture has placed on them, if they are happy, comfortable, and fulfilled in those roles, it is not my place to upset the system simply because of my personal opinions.

However, when individuals in such cultures are being victimized, are held hostage by their culture and are disallowed opportunities at happiness and self-actualization, I have a problem.  What irked me in the meeting I mentioned previously was a comment made in discussing a hypothetical case.  In said case, a woman in a highly patriarchal culture was constantly demeaned by the men in her world, both younger and older, to the point of a severe depression.  She was expected to function as a slave to these men and felt paralyzed to speak out against this.  This supervisor stated that the woman was “bound” by the expectations of this patriarchal culture.  I felt myself cringe a bit.

I dislike the word “bound.”  It implies being held hostage.  I am a very visual person and when I hear “bound” I literally envision a woman in chains, unable to move, and weighed down by the burden of their culture.  Personally, and perhaps this comes from a more privileged position of whiteness, where real culture, passed down by generations, is so undefined, but I see culture as something you participate in by choice.  I think culture is something you should have pride in and something that gives you strength in your identity, not something that beats you down.  So, to hear that someone is “bound” into a role that results in self-hatred, disempowerment, and depression is frustrating.  But to hear further that this cannot be intervened upon, it more confusing than anything.

I struggle to understand or accept that work in social service and education is limited by this.  That it should not be shaken up.  Reflecting on this and the feminist movement in America, I wonder what would have happened if women in the US during this time were of the mindset that they should not rock the boat, that they are bound by their culture to stay stuck in their roles.  And it makes me wonder, why do we feel it is so taboo to encourage women of other cultures to do the same?  It was not long ago that mainstream American culture was also so patriarchal and made many women feel this same sense of disempowerment and depression.  Why it is not okay to explore this with women of other culture?  The goal is not to change the entire culture, I am not a part of it and that is not my role, but simply to find ways that women can feel strong and perhaps to make their culture work for them.

I understand that for many women in these culture, the roles work for them, just as traditional American culture works for many women, it fits with their identity, their values, and their desires.  However, when it does not, no one should feel “bound” to these restrictive roles.  It may be my cynicism, but I wonder how much of this claim of “cultural acceptance” comes from simply not knowing how to broach the subject and avoiding the issue altogether.  IDK.

I’ll leave this quote here for your further thoughts.