I Have a Gripe

November 13, 2016

The “selling out” of the sisterhood

Filed under: News,Politics,Values — alvb1227 @ 7:59 pm
Tags: , , ,

I have been told I am the worst feminist ever. Guess what? I really don’t care. As the reaction to the presidential election continues, I saw an article that actually referred to Clinton losing as a “sell out” of the sisterhood.

Um, what? Seriously?

I’ll let you in on a little secret. I am not going to vote for someone just because of their gender or someone feels it is “about time” to have a woman as president. I am going to vote for someone based on who I feel will do a better job for this country and their interpretation of the Constitution.

Now, truth be told, I (like many) wasn’t really crazy for either of the candidates from the major parties.

I have posted about what I think feminism should be before and I know many disagree with me. And that’s OK. We are allowed to disagree with each other and still respect each other. I would like to share another example of why I often disagree with “the sisterhood.”

Last week I was in a conference room and was listening to a discussion between a few colleagues. I chose not to participate and just listened. They were talking about a very high-ranking executive and how inspiring she is. And yes, it is laudable she has achieved such success. Then the discussion turned slightly to “encouraging” girls to go into STEM careers, (don’t EVEN get me started on that one), and actively recruiting women for high ranking positions.

It took all my effort not to have what I refer to as a “gumball moment” (brain to the mouth like a gumball machine – absolutely no filter whatsoever). I just kept my mouth shut. I knew my opinions would not be appreciated.

First of all, I HATE STEM. As many of my regular readers know, the lack of the arts in school today has me over the top annoyed.

Yet, I digress.

If girls have an interest in something that happens to be a male-dominated field, such as a STEM field, then fine. If they don’t, that’s fine too. As I have mentioned in previous posts, I have spent most of my career in male-dominated fields. First, in prepress and then in IT. Now, I didn’t expect special treatment because I was a woman. You know what I did? I worked. I proved I belonged there. When I worked in prepress, I was one of two women in a prepress role. The other women in the company included the secretary and two customer service reps. When I wanted to learn how to “strip” (film people, get your mind out of the gutter), I was told to “go back up by the computers where I belonged.” You know what I did? I took lunch times, after work, whenever possible, and showed I really wanted to learn. I eventually learned how to run a vertical camera, fix and maintain a film developer, and make bluelines. I showed them with my work ethic that I deserved a spot. I didn’t bitch about being a woman gave me a right or that they were being sexist.

I often tell another story about a man I worked with in the printing realm. He was not a fan of women in the industry and generally wasn’t quiet about it.Again, I just went about doing my job and increasing my knowledge. When a major problem took place he said I should be the one to go fix the problem. That I was the only one who knew what I was doing. That was probably the best compliment I ever received. I won this guy over. Not because I complained that I deserved his respect. I earned his respect.

That’s what I want. To earn someone’s respect. Not demand it because I am a woman. That includes demanding a particular job because there should be more women. All that is just crap.

Now I’m not naive enough to say there is no such thing as sexism. If someone doesn’t respect me just because I’m a woman, then that really isn’t a person I want to be around anyway. Throughout my career, I’ve experienced the “boy’s club” first hand. Yes, I’ve missed promotions and I’m sure it had to go with my gender. And yes, it made me angry. The way I looked at it, they didn’t deserve my respect. I continued to do my job to the best of my ability and ultimately, the joke was on them. They missed out on a great employee that could’ve provided even more of a contribution than the position I was in at the time.

So people ask me “well, what would you tell today’s young girls?” I would tell them the world doesn’t owe you a damn thing. You will come up against adversity in life and you will have to deal with it. Don’t cry sexism and demand respect. Earn it. Don’t feel obligated to go into a STEM career because you are being told to “break the glass ceiling” or some other nonsense. Believe in yourself. Rely on yourself. Know that you can take whatever is thrown at you. Be strong. And don’t feel you need to be what I call a “traditional feminist” because you always need to support “the sisterhood.” Being a feminist should be more than about supporting the sisterhood. It should be about not being afraid to go your own way. Even when it’s not popular with fellow femme fatales.

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