Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Hear Us Roar!

I work with a woman, we'll call her Helen*, who is intelligent, humorous, stylish, sporty, and very pretty. She is passionate about issues she cares about, kind and generous to her friends, and has (so far) led a very interesting life with many fascinating experiences. She is also single, and on my side of 30. So, what do you think people ask Helen most about? If you said will she ever climb Mount Everest to benefit Russian orphans, while modeling the latest in winter gear -- you would be wrong.

Take yesterday, for example. A former co-worker came into the office and was making the rounds trying to convince everyone he is better off in his new job. Why he would be visiting his old job if that is actually the case isn't important. What is important is that he came up to Helen, asked her how she had been and, before she could get one word out said "I still keep waiting to hear some lucky guy has snatched you up." Helen just smiled, shaking her head, and I started sharpening a pen into a shiv. He unabashedly continued: "I just don't think men know what they're missing when they pass on you."

Pass on? Snatch up? I'm sorry, I thought Helen was a person, not a topping at a salad bar. I mean, as if it wasn't bad enough this person was prying into her personal life, he was also being condescending about it. AND, he thought he was being friendly and charming!

I really felt sorry for his wife at that moment.

Today marks ninety years since women were given the right to vote in the United States. Ninety years since women got their foot in the door of equality, and really began to push it open. Yet, almost a century later, we still have jerks who assume that women aren't happy until they are married, and assume they can comment on it in front of anyone they want. That makes me madder than the fact I still make 30 percent less than men doing equal work. Well, maybe not madder, but as mad.

I know that there are women who say they capitalize on sexism, or get off on it, or are trying to reclaim the feminine role for themselves. However, how can we reclaim a role that still isn't fully ours? Male dominated culture still controls the majority of images presented to girls and women of what girls and women should be. To know I'm right, all I have to do is look at movies. What was the last film you saw where the female star didn't have some sort of love interest, or wasn't a castrating bitch? Even the estrogen fest "Eat, Pray, Love," that is supposedly all about female self discovery ends with a man. A hot man, but a man nonetheless. Oh, but it also comes with it's own line of signature perfumes available on QVC, so I guess that makes it okay.

I just can't wait until Helen is at the top of Everest, being lauded for her good work with orphans and her jaunty scarf, waving her left hand, with a ring -- if that's what she wants -- or happily ringless, at the the world below.

I will be cheering loudly.


* As in Reddy, as in the title of this blog.

19 comments:

She Said said...

Great post! I'm right there with you. Can't wait until feminism isn't the bad "f" word.

The Vegetable Assassin said...

Um...guys like THAT are the reason Helen's still single. :) I guess it never occurred to him that some woman might have many other interests or options in her life other than men and marriage.

Too bad she didn't say "I was hoping to hear that some lucky lady had kicked your ass to the curb." Hee.

JenS said...

You are so right, I hate that the world thinks a woman is "less than" if she is not formally attached to a man. And today, on THIS anniversary it annoyed me to hear a woman complain about having to listen to the President campaigning for candidates. My response - regardless of your political leanings, at least you now have a voice and told her to go look up suffrage.

C Lo said...

FUCK YEAH!!!!

I<3 you.

Midwestern Mama Holly said...

Reading this makes me want to burn my bra !!!

justmakingourway said...

Hear! Hear!

Damn right, Libby.

G said...

I have friends who are living full and productively happy lives being single and as far as I know, they aren't looking for that band of gold to slap around their ring finger (although they do sport a seriously large diamond ring they bought as a present for themselves).

If you're happy as is, then what's the problem?

kendall said...

It frustrates me to no end when I hear women say that we've won the battle for equal rights and that feminism is dead. I wonder what reality they live in, 'cause it certainly isn't mine! If anything, I feel like we've lost ground in the last 10 years! Young women today are growing up with the message that they're nothing more than arm-candy and the sexual objectification of women in the media and advertising is at an all-time high (or has sunk to an all-time low, depending on how you think about it.)

Basically what I'm saying is we need more Helens and Libbys!

Granny Annie said...

Roar Libby, roar! This is an excellent post. If only women had been the first minority given equality things would have changed faster for everyone. The hardest thing for us to overcome is the lack of support we show other women. Hooray for your support of Helen. Instead of trying to pull her down, you respect what got here where she is.

rockygrace said...

When I got to be around forty, people stopped asking me when I was getting married and started assuming that I'm gay.

Fine by me.

Summer said...

1. Let's call her something besides Helen. I really don't care for that name, unless of course that's her real name-- then it's great.

2. Anyone that says "snatch" needs to be punched in the junk.

3. Sounds like a woman that awesome doesn't need a wind beneath her wings. Why does everyone need to get married and have kids? I don't get it.

Amanda said...

Good post, Lib.

Riot Kitty said...

Hooray!

Wombat Central said...

Well written! I guess you have to feel sorry for the poor boob who doesn't see more in an incredible woman that her being a "good catch." Why don't you get out your lure and see if you can catch yourself a clue, mister.

Kim said...

I waited until I was almost 30 to get married. In the South that means you are either hideous or a lesbian.

FabuLeslie said...

THANK YOU! I am still single and stuff like that is soooo annoying! I may buy a diamond ring for myself at some point just for the beautiful-ness of it all. I don't need a man for that. Or to throw a big party where I am the guest of honor in a beautiful gown for the day. I can do that too. And call it a party instead of a wedding. And in the end, I won't have to compete with anyone hogging the covers or trying to get me to watch a stupid movie about blowing stuff up.

Jules said...

Seriously. It's like if you aren't married or a mother then you aren't a REAL woman. I get that too because I don't have kids. Wasn't the Women's Movement about women getting to have choices and MAKE them?

Maureen@IslandRoar said...

While I wouldn't mind a little love, or sex, in my life, I've been single for 13 years and very happy thank you!
Awesome post. Couldn't have said it better myself.

Rassles said...

A friend of mine had a co-worker tell her that he couldn't believe she was single, that she was very pretty, that she needed to be more confidant. She seemed flattered by all the compliments, but conflicted.

I told her that he was a fucking creepo.