I had once assumed that 21st century America was an enlightened place (relative to other times and places) where, even if not everyone could realize that there are multiple identities for gender, at least those put in the 'female' box could play on the high school football team, and those put in the 'male' box could be prize-winning ikebana style flower arrangers if they wanted to, pursuits stereotypically in the past not open to them.
I have always identified as female, which happens to match my biological sex. I was raised in an empowering environment which taught me that as a young woman I could enjoy the activities that were previously reserved for men. I thought nothing of the 1/4 female:male ratio in my advanced economics and security policy classes, or that I happened to be the only female in our school's strategic board games club. So what if I enjoy calculus and spending my Saturday afternoons plotting European air raid campaigns with little plastic pieces. I had thought that two female Secretaries of State, one of whom had also been National Security Advisor, were proof that our society had got over most of its hangups on gender roles, childern's toy marketing not withstanding. I was wrong.
One afternoon, in the middle of an exciting game of Axis and Allies, I offer to get anyone who wants one a cup of tea. I wanted one for myself, and I thought it was nice to share. From the kitchen, I can hear the voice of on of the players shouting, "Hey! [insert ex-boyfriend's name here] You've got her exactly where you want her- barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen!" Loud guffaws echo through the house, involving everyone (they were all male)including my boyfriend at the time. "Well, at least that's two out of three!" came the quick follow-up sentence from the wiseacre. I find it prudent to mention that I was, indeed, not wearing any shoes at the time. I was absolutely mortified, incensed, and speechless. Though it was intended as a joke, I do believe, I found it not at all amusing. What's a girl to do in a room like that?
My my, what IS a girl to do? I suppose you have two options: to take it in silence and possibly face more comments like it in the future or to explain with dignity that you don't find that type of humour amusing in the slightest and that you won't tolerate another such comment. Personally, I would opt for the latter. Although one does risk being laughed at and having your request for respect dismissed, I believe it's better to stand up for yourself than to keep silent. Sometimes it can be difficult, but some things need to be addressed.
Posts: 406 | From: California | Registered: Jun 2005
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