On Mean Girls Day, October 3rd, we should think about how women are seen in society.
I recently flipped out a little bit when getting my oil changed. While in the waiting area, with 3 men, the head shop guy came in. He looked at the TV, turned to me and with a smirk on his face said, "I'm going to have to watch you."
I answered, "Excuse me?" putting down my phone and some paper work I was going over.
"Don't you see this is a waiting room full of men?"
I answered, "Ok, and? What does that mean?"
"Well you can't just change the channel and put on a soap opera. There are men in here" he giggled, thinking he was being cute.
This is where I lost it a little and flipped out. I had been through two weeks of doing rugby coverage prev and post game for USA v AUS. I was repeatedly asked if I was a player's girlfriend. If I even knew what rugby was. Had people cover me from balls coming my way. When I caught a kick, was told, "wow, good hands, and not a bad throw". Unfortunately for this mechanic he had poor timing in his comments, and I let him know it.
"For your information, I didn't change the channel. I don't watch soap operas, and you shouldn't sexually profile me, because of my gender, deciding for me what I would or would not watch."
The man stared at m with a blank face, then said "I didn't mean anything by it, I was just making a joke"
"Well, it wasn't funny, Do you want me to make assumptions on you, when I don't even know who you are? Do you thing sexual harassment is ok? You don't need to watch me do anything. I think it's pretty rude you would say something like that and think it's ok. Maybe next time you should think before you decide to profile someone based on their gender or if they have breasts."
The other three men in the waiting room, kept their heads down, and tried not to laugh. The man who should have did my final paperwork and rang me up had a different mechanic do it.
Being degraded, or put down, or over looked or judged for having a vagina, is not OK! If you are a female athlete, in any sport that does not include a bikini or lingerie, you obviously must be a lesbian. Or manly. Or grown up with all brothers to make you so tough.
You know sports? Wow, you're dad must be so proud, or what a tomboy you are. You can change your own tire? Like cars? Did you learn about that to impress your boyfriend?
Or to he other end, You work with kids, don't you want to be a mom? You're 30 and not married, what is wrong with you? You're hanging out with just the girls, be careful tonight!
NONE OF THESE MIND SETS ARE FAIR. THEY ARE SEXIST. Please do not stereotype me, for any reason. Not because of my ethnicity, not because of what part of the city I live in, and definitely not because of my gender. My upbringing, at Queen of Peace High School, was one that not only empowered me, but also opened my eyes at a young age, to see that the world will only be more challenging because I am a woman. No, it was not made to be something to whine about, nor were we taught to be man haters. Peace and justice, community and partnership were core values, that were driven into us. I was taught to be strong, proud, and not let challenges get in my way. I was also taught that women hating on each other is one of the worse things you can do, and that we a sisterhood, not just competition.
I was told in college, if I am not called on in class as often as I was there, it's because statistically, men are chosen first. My math class freshman year, sat front row, and an A average, was never called on, despite raising my hand almost every class. Also began to notice my teacher never called on female students. When I went to my teacher with my concern, he said he never noticed my hand up and didn't realize he was ignoring the female students.
When home in the city, I was mugged on a train, had my pockets and pants slit open. The police told me, maybe I shouldn't drink so much and ride the CTA by myself.
When at work I asked, why do I run the camp, and have more tasks to do than the full time male instructor, I have been told several time, because the women always do the camp, it's a woman's job.
I am a grown ass woman. Do not refer to me as a girl. In coed leagues, I hate it when there are the "guys" on the team and then the "girls". Weather you realize it or not, that statement alone lets me know you do not consider us equals.
The #YesAllWomen and #HerRugbyCounts social media movements, are things that should not be necessary. Black lives matter just as much as women not being slut shammed, or blamed for rape, or being able to receive equal pay or funding as their male counter parts. Our minds, integrity and the ability to do what we want, should not be questioned. I should not have to be objectified or sexualized to matter. If a "Dad Bod" is hot, so should any woman's beer belly or stretch marks. From infancy we teach categorization, we teach and give values to size, colors, shapes, and have kids pick their favorites and stick to it. Why do I have to chemically alter my body to prevent pregnancy, why is my body ok to be a giant experiment, but men a condom is all you need, because it's a woman's issue (which obviously Planned Parenthood should be made less available to the masses). I can have something implanted into my arm, my uterus (in plasic or copper!) a ring in my vagina, patch on my hip, take monthly pills, squirt foam inside myself, and oh so many other fun options! Boys will be boys, but girls should be sugar and spice and everything nice. Men should be taught to respect women. Women should be taught to respect men, but also not to have to comply with everything a man says. That doesn't make us bitches, it means we have self respect and pride.
I am not sorry I gave a piece of my mind to that mechanic. I am glad there were three other men there to hear it as well. I am not someone's girlfriend because I am at a rugby match, and I am not a lesbian because I have played and still play sports. I don't want to be a mother, working with you naughty children is enough for my fill of kids. I have plenty of home ec skills, but that doesn't mean I am weak or want to be a little house wife. I am a modern HUMAN BEING and should be treated as a valued person, no matter my age, gender, or flesh tone.