To the woman telling me that I am oppressed: No, I'm F****ING not.

Monday, January 23, 2017

I don't generally like to get involved with the Facebook "conversations" because, well, let's be honest... they AREN'T usually actual conversations.

Social media has become a place where people unfollow those they don't agree with, join groups only where they can find like-minded people (read as: isolationist), and where the distance of the computer screen allows them to attack one another more quickly for holding different beliefs.

So, yes, I'm probably only feeding that narrative as those of you who don't agree with me may choose to unfriend me, unfollow me, leave me a nasty comment, etc.

That's okay. That's your right. 

Just as it is your right to march in any movement, for any cause, with any reasons (or lack there-of) that you so choose because we live in this INCREDIBLE nation that puts YOUR FREEDOM above everything else.
You have that right because men and women put their ACTUAL LIVES on the line every-single-fucking-day-FOR YOU. 
...but I digress.


This article was the straw that broke the camel's back (the camel being me, of course) today. This was the straw that made me yell out... standing in my kitchen... waking my dog up from his slumber... that "YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!"

And before I go any further, I would like to say that I respect your opinions... I respect that you believe in your heart of hearts that you are right and I may be wrong. But I am asking you to take off your hat for a moment and just hear me as a friend. Just hear what I'm saying. You don't have to agree with me, but I hope that you can open your heart up to the fact that not everyone has to agree with YOU. That we can still love one another, respect one another, and SUPPORT one another despite our differences. 
...it seems to me that THAT is what the message should have been at all of these marches across the country this weekend. 

BUT IT WASN'T. 

First of all... the fact that I actually had to Google what the mission and purpose of the "Women's Rights Marches" across the country was means that there wasn't a mission. There was no concrete agenda or idea being moved forward. With SO MANY PEOPLE backing "the cause" you'd think that any 2 of the women who I inquired to about the "why" behind attending a march would have been the same... but it wasn't. Like actually not once. Which is just downright CONFUSING ladies... and I AM A LADY WHO WANTS TO SUPPORT OTHER LADIES!

Okay... let's just cut right to the article and the REAL reason that I am frustrated, disheartened, concerned, and STRAIGHT UP PISSED about what some of the women who were out there are disseminating. (note: I said "some"... don't get your panties in a twist)

The author responds to some other social media note by saying that: "You are not equal"
She tells me that I am not equal because I get paid less... I get paid less-- WE get paid less because we work less. We work less because we sacrifice time at the office so that we DON'T have to sacrifice time with family.
This is true for doctors, lawyers, designers, personal trainers, salesmen, YOU NAME IT.
Find me a man and a woman who have the same qualifications, the same number of years experience, put in the same hours with the same effort, and THEY GET PAID THE SAME FOR THE SAME JOB. This has LONG been debunked and yet somehow so many people still believe that it is true.
The "GAP" that they cite is the UNADJUSTED gap that DOES NOT ACCOUNT FOR INDIVIDUAL CHOICES. And if we could all look more closely at FACTS instead of simply repeating rhetoric that has been shoved down our throats, we could see that more clearly.

She continues to tell me that I "still don't have paid (or even unpaid) maternity leave".... but what she DOESN'T mention is that Hillary's plans actually didn't include any addition of paid maternal or paternal leave, but Trumps do. So if we could all just sit down and LISTEN, we maybe would learn a thing or two. Another example of messaging and reality not being aligned quite like "they" would like us to believe.
Side note: telling me that Estonian women get over 400 days of maternity leave really doesn't hold a lot of sway... Estonia doesn't hold the weight of the world on it's back. Estonia isn't responsible for maintaining a constant and stable economy to keep the world markets from falling into oblivion. Estonia doesn't have nations coming to them constantly for military support or humanitarian aid. Estonia as a nation has the same number of citizens as the city of San Diego, California has residents... we're not exactly comparing apples to apples here.

She tells me that I "still have to fight to breastfeed in public." No, no I don't. (okay, well, I don't have kids yet, but I WON'T) because if someone doesn't appreciate me feeding my child, they can look away. If you choose to make a scene and draw attention to yourself, then YES- YOU WILL CAUSE AN INCIDENT. I just spent a week with my beautiful beautiful friend who is a new mother... she fed her baby whenever her child needed it. She fed her baby wherever her child needed it. There was not a single instance in which she put the needs or desires of the people around her above those needs of her daughter. She didn't cause a fuss, but she also didn't work overly hard to cover herself up either... and you know what??? She got more SMILES and looks of adoration than anything I've ever seen. People WANT to support you loving your baby. People WANT to let you enjoy that special time with your child. Let them. Stop assuming the worst.
People react to what you put out-- so if you glare at them accusatorially rather than graciously, OF COURSE you will be met with negativity... that's how we as humans work. Simmer down.

She tells me that I am "still abused by my husband." No. As a strong woman, as a strong human I will not let others abuse me. Physically, emotionally, spiritually... and maybe that's why I am responding to her post. I will not allow anyone to talk down to me, belittle me, or hurt me or my loved ones. We have amazing resources in this country for women who fall victim to domestic violence. The women who are abused in this country need stronger FEMALE ALLIANCES. Need stronger friendships, stronger work relationships, stronger connections with other women who can sense when  something is not right... who can intervene on their behalf. But when women are focusing on tearing half of their gender apart because of the DIFFERENCES that we have, they are doing more harm than they can imagine.
WOMEN MISTREATING WOMEN ---> where are the resources for THAT?! Where are the workshops and safe spaces and support groups for the millions and millions of women who grew up being shamed by other women and girls?! We all agree that spousal abuse is not okay... where do you stand when a woman that you disagree with is in need? Where are YOU when a woman that you know is crying on her bedroom floor because she feels so isolated, so judged, so scared that she doesn't even want to go to the grocery store for fear of running into YOU and having you give her THAT look because she hasn't showered today and her clothes are all mis-matched.
Don't you DARE tell me that my husband, or her husband is the problem... you are the problem. WE as women who don't lift and support one another NO MATTER WHAT are the problem. The fact that you have your band of soul sisters that no one else is allowed to disagree with is the problem.
Pick you head up. Look for your sisters in need.

She tells me that my "daughters are told they are beautiful before they are smart." No they won't be. They won't be told that, because as a parent it will be MY JOB to fill my babies' heads with positive affirmation about every aspect of their humanity. It will be MY JOB to make sure that they learn how to work hard for what they want in life, that they know that they can achieve anything that they put their minds to and that they have the power to create an incredible life full of joy and love and prosperity. That is MY JOB. That is YOUR JOB for your daughters. If you are letting society dictate the thoughts and ideas coming into your daughter's head without taking the time to help her filter it through her own lens of love and grace, then that is ON YOU. My daughters will be as wild and free as they damn well please because they will be my children and I will allow them to grow into whatever incredible human they please. If YOU want to tell your little girl to sit down and be quiet while the boys play, that's on YOU.

She tells me that men are "debating over my uterus".... they are debating over my uterus because YOU have asked them to. The fact that you demand free birth control, the fact that you believe that private healthcare organizations should get GOVERNMENT FUNDING... YOU handed them this conversation, NOT ME.
I don't want those men in my pants any more than you do... but I don't invite them in there. If you want them there, if you want them to give you those things that you have asked for-- that you feel ENTITLED to-- then they are going to be involved... forever. That's how it works. OR you can tell them to get the F out and you'll go find your healthcare somewhere else... like those of us who support private health care do.
Male or female, the individuals that you have elected to your government will be involved in every piece of your life that you invite them to. If you don't want them to crash your party, then don't invite them.

I get it. Things aren't perfect. They WON'T ever be "perfect" because we live in an imperfect world where hatred will always exist. But my point is that I AM ENOUGH.
And if I have to have one more woman this week tell me that I am oppressed, I am going to lose my fucking marbles.
I AM STRONG. I AM FREE. I AM EMPOWERED. I AM A FIRST CLASS CITIZEN.
...I AM GRATEFUL for the women AND men who came before me and paved the way for the freedoms and liberties that I have now. I am grateful that there were strong women in our history who fought for these rights. And I'm glad THAT THEY WON. I am glad that we live in a country where as a woman I am not only free to do as I please, but I am free to FLOURISH and I am ENCOURAGED as a woman in this day and age to build my own business, to care for my family, to create goods with my hands, to cook, to clean if I damn well feel like it, and to NOT be held down by any outside forces.

If you don't have what you want in your life-- GO GET IT.
If you want more female doctors-- go to med school.
If you want more female representation in Washington-- run for office.
If you want more female CEOs-- start your own business and work your freaking ass off.
It's on you. It's on all of us to live up to the legacy that those strong women created for us.
They earned those rights for us so that we can have the opportunity to make something... ANYTHING of our lives.... and yet so many of us are still just yelling back and forth at each other. It's time to stop it. Stop clinging to your gender and start clinging to your humanity.
Be a good person. Treat others with respect and dignity. Change starts with YOU.

If you act as though you are oppressed, you will find every possible example to support that notion. 

If you act as though you are blessed beyond measure and live in the most incredible nation on this planet at the most incredible time in history, you will also find every possible example to support THAT notion. 

I have chosen and will continue to choose the latter, because it is true.



Cheers,
B




28 comments:

  1. Omg! YES!! I freakin' love you! I read that article and I was so infuriated that I tossed my phone. I was too busy enjoying my time with my little people to write an adequate response. My daughters are told they are beautiful when people meet them and you know what??? I'm okay with that because it is true they are beautiful humans; their beauty radiates from the inside out. When people meet my son the first comment is: He is so handsome. I don't flip out. It's a compliment.

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  2. Preach it girlfriend!! This is amazing!!

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  3. I respect your opinion but I think you are seeing the world through a very small (and privileged) lens and entirely missing the bigger picture here... And I'm not just talking about the U.S. - I'm European. Women do get paid less than men. To say that this is down to women's choice to stay at home is a very old-fashioned and narrow viewpoint. Laws and policies (and let's be honest, our culture/society) generally assume the responsibility of childcare lies with women. Women in their mid-twenties and thirties frequently get passed over for jobs and promotions because they are seen as a risk, and companies would rather not hire someone that may take time off to have and care for children (just because it hasn't happened to you doesn't mean it doesn't happen.) These attitudes are so engrained and normalised that many are blind to them. But if policies and laws change, so do attitudes, eventually. In Sweden, for example, paternity and maternity leave is shared, and in fact encouraged - if the father takes a significant proportion of this shared time, both parents get more leave as a result. Cultural attitudes are also different - socially, it is frowned upon for fathers not to take their share. As a result, in the eyes of the employer, men and women can be equal, tackling some of the more engrained attitudes to hiring (and properly paying) women.

    And you may not tell your daughters that they are smart before they are beautiful but the rest of the world will. Just open a magazine or turn on the TV and you will see expert panels of men commenting on news, and scantily clad women advertising pretty much anything.

    Anyway, these are just a couple of small examples but I just wanted to share why I marched in London on Saturday (and not for the first time - I take any opportunity to champion what I think is fair and right). As a female engineer and architect in a male dominated industry, I can tell you that there is a lot of work to be done yet. I experience sexism on a weekly if not daily basis - and I'm in a relatively privileged position compared to many other women. Just because you don't directly experience an issue doesn't mean it doesn't exist - just count yourself lucky. As for having to pay for private healthcare, I just think that's nuts - but then again I'm European and we're very passionate about our free healthcare that everyone can afford :)

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    1. In Sweden the "Gender Pay Gap" among couples with children is exactly the same as in the USA...

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    2. VVV- I totally respect your opinions and everything that you stated in your response... I would never suggest that there aren't women who are suffering in our country or in the world at large, and I am glad to know that you were marching elsewhere with such wonderful intentions. I'm not suggesting that issues don't exist... what I was frustrated with was the lack of inclusion and solid message from the organizers. I felt as though because I don't agree with all of their platforms that I (and many others who share similar sentiments) was not welcome. My commentary was meant to be more about the general defeatist attitude that so much of the coverage that I saw was encouraging. There are absolutely real problems facing women around the world, but I didn't feel as though the marches represented or were welcoming to all women.
      I would love to see marches for raising awareness and support for individual issues and organizations that we can then use to make actual change. With such a wide breadth, it was impossible to know what one was truly supporting at any given march.
      As for comparing social structures to Europe... those who founded the United States did so because they wanted a DIFFERENT structure. Less government involvement to be specific, and I support continuing that legacy. I know not everyone does, and that's okay.

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  4. Well done. This is something a man could never say without getting lynched. Please, keep your volume up and keep the common sense and savageness up!

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  5. You are awesome!love every word of this!!

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  6. Well said Bekah. The "victim mentality" gets us nowhere, and unfortunately this march was not for every woman, or representative of every woman. Much of what I saw was vulgar and offensive. You have spoken what many of us felt!

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    1. I completely agree about the victim mentality! I knew that I couldn't be the only woman who felt uncomfortable with what I was seeing-- xo!

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  7. I respect your opinions, but I was pretty sad to read the whole "if you want to succeed then just pull yourself up by your bootstraps" rhetoric. This is simply not the case for everyone. The issue you make so simple in this article is actually a very complex cultural issue, with media, advertisements using women's bodies as sex objects and doing nothing for the development of empathy in both men and women, demand, a harmful definition of masculinity (to both men and women), a harmful representation of sexuality in popular culture (to both men and women), a history that doesn't say much for women, and a present day that is better in many ways for equality between all people, but does not yet have equal opportunity. It is not as simple as you have said. I get that you feel angry, but please don't dehumanized people so much that you make this issue so very black and white.

    Also, I'm so glad you're not personally going to tell your daughter that she's beautiful before she's smart or strong or talented, but I hope you realize that the media, run largely by men and advertising to young men, will do just that. I think you'll agree that sexualization of women in the media is pretty alarming, and doesn't do much for the mindset of women or men when it comes to the abilities of women being equal to those of men. This is a deep cultural issue.

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    1. Sarah I completely agree that it is a complex issue... which is part of the reason that I felt frustrated that the marches lumped SO MANY complex issues into one day and then claimed to be for "women." I think there were a lot of really really REALLY important issues that could have been brought to the forefront, but by trying to do it all at once, the messaging wasn't there and the attitude was wrong (in my opinion). Positive change must come from a place of love and grace... as you point out about my own words-- anger and frustration doesn't get us anywhere.
      But the general doomsday attitude that so many people were encouraging (that is sort of the polar opposite of the "pull yourself up by your bootstraps") is what many of us don't appreciate and don't feel like is the way to initiate real change.
      When Madonna, Miley Cyrus, Beyonce and other female icons are grabbing their crotches while shaking their asses at men while singing sexual vulgarity.... it makes it really difficult to take their complaints about being overly sexualized and disrespected seriously.

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  8. I'm a woman, I'm young, I'm white, I'm straight, I had a great education, have my own businesses, and have done well for myself. I was proud to march still for myself, for ALL the others that are less fortunate than me either growing up or in their adult lives, I marched for groups so negatively biased against and for equality for ALL including YOU. I'm so happy for you. It sounds like you are a white, 20yr old, fortunately educated, straight, very, very, very priveldged young motherless lady (with ONE friend with a child) that should have stuck with your original thought of not ranting on social media. These are issues that you have NEVER experienced. Let me know how telling your future children that they are smart instead of pretty goes. All of your rants sound very young and naive. It will be truly nice if our next generation feels this way when it's actually accurate.

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    1. Emily, you know nothing about me. And that's okay. But because you have no idea what I have or have not experienced in my life, your emotional response can't carry much weight for me. I am 100% ON BOARD with supporting a multitude of issues and organizations that work to further equality and healthy, fulfilling lives for all.
      I will not participate in anything that encourages a victim mentality or points the finger at others. I want women to walk hand in hand with one another and lift each other up, not tear each other down for having different beliefs. And based on some of my personal opinions that I know run counter to some of the organizations that "sponsored" various marches, I knew that I would not have my voice heard or welcomed. Want to organize a march to encourage respect toward all women, no matter what, in all situations? I will lock arms with you.

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  10. "Find me a man and a woman who have the same qualifications, the same number of years experience, put in the same hours with the same effort, and THEY GET PAID THE SAME FOR THE SAME JOB. This has LONG been debunked and yet somehow so many people still believe that it is true."

    True story:

    I have two degrees and am a CPA (at the time of the following story I had passed the exam but had not yet become licensed - there is a work experience requirement). I was hired on with a defense contractor out of school as a contract analyst. The same day I started, a guy the same age as me also started, hired on with the same title. We actually shared an office. He had a political science degree. It was his first job as well. As time went on, I eventually acquired the title of staff accountant in addition to continuing to manage my contracts. My duties doubled. My officemate's stayed as they were. One of my new responsibilities was running payroll. Can you guess where this is going? I had double the education, three more letters after my name, took 100% less smoke breaks than he did and worked 5 to 10 hours more a week. I got paid 25% less. Only when I was walking out the door to take a job as an auditor at a public accounting firm did my superiors finally agree to a raise - literally my last day with the company. This was 5 years ago. Maybe not the most pressing issue on the list. Hell, not an issue at all on lots of folks list, but it's a thing. A very real thing. Debunked for some but not for me. I'd love to see evidence of this.

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    1. Hey Rebekah. You wrote some pretty strong responses to other commenters. Any opinion here? Or better yet, factual data? (I love a good confirmed, third party document being that I used to be an auditor) Just following up.

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