Sunday, February 5, 2017

A Woman's Career Is "Just An Option"



Not to panic, people! Sexism is alive and well. Just ask Trump. Or just call on people in my supposedly progressive neighbourhood.

Today, I was told that having a career is "just an option". Would such a statement have been thrown at a man? Absolutely not. Because, apparently, only men can have real jobs. For women, a job is just "an option". 

Deferring to the speaker's age (and possible signs of senility), I didn’t bother to retort. Sometimes it’s just best to let the half-wits think they’ve had the last word. Their words hold so little weight, it takes a whole lot of idiotic words, tacked clumsily together into barely intelligible ludicrous statements, for them to even become quote-worthy, you know?

Just what would these half-wits advise that us working women do with our lives? Marry men with "real jobs" and support them I suppose? In my case, this half-wit would rather have me spending my time looking after the day-to-day running of the apartment building in which we live. Don't get me wrong: I admire anyone who can take care of that AND keep up with a job that has round-the-clock demands. I am simply not cut out for it. I twirl and twirl and twirl, but Wonder Woman I am not.

Say, since my career is "just an option" that I can give up, who is going to pay to put food on my table? Since I’m a woman, clearly I should know my place and sponge off my parents perhaps? Or dip into the piggy bank of my brother, what with his real career and all. Or just depend on some random Mr. Money Bags, eh? Or wait... Jesus! He da man! He'll provide if I pray hard enough.

In this day and age, I am aghast that a woman’s career is still taken so lightly. I speak for both single and married women. 

For instance, single women friends have told me how they’ve been taunted for "having no responsibilities". As if marriage and babies are the only real responsibilities for women. How about running a house on your own? Planning your own life so that you’re never going to have to be financially dependent on somebody else? Single women run their own houses, pay rents and maintenance, commute a couple of hours to work each day, work 10 even 15-hour days, take on mortgages, support their parents, put food on their own dining tables, and so on. Those, dear half-wits, are responsibilities too. 

My married women friends, who "choose to continue working", fare no better. When they drag themselves in through the front door of their houses each evening after an exhausting day at work, what do they get? A nice warm cup of coffee is thrust into the hands of their spouse, while they’re dumped with a nice warm baby with a sopping, soiled diaper that needed to be changed three hours ago. Woohoo! Nothing says "Welcome home" better than squelchy poo!

I’ve heard men at a previous workplace tell us, their women counterparts, that they firmly believe men are the primary breadwinners while women are, by design, meant to be caregivers playing a supporting role. This sentiment voiced by men with shiny engineering degrees and fancy Master’s degrees. It just goes to show that education does nothing. Equality? Pfft! 

With such rampant misogynists around and women who continue to perpetuate the notion of this "career optional" mentality, are things really going to change any time soon? 

My boss, a woman I look up to and admire to the core of my being for doing it all and with such strength and poise, including co-founding the company, was recently asked by a business journalist how she supports her co-founder husband’s career. "Supports"? The fact that she co-founded the place is of no consequence – the natural assumption being that the men did the 'real work'. So a woman in a business is just there for what? Aesthetic purposes? To see that the coffee machines are in working order? To chase up on errant housecleaning staff?

Incidentally, in my apartment building, all maintenance responsibilities are carried out by women. Because, you know, the men have 'real jobs'. Yes, even the ones who’ve retired and vegetate in their houses all day. Ass scratching is a real job, you know. I believe the official designation is Chief Ass-ecutive Officer.

Anyway, what would I really know? After all, society says a working woman shouldn’t be taken seriously. Because a career is just an option. Just like a side of fries with your burger. 

I’m pretty sure this post is going to ruffle a lot of patriarchal feathers and raise some chauvinistic hackles. How dare this woman voice her opinion? How dare she speak out? How dare she place it on the internet for all the world to read? While I eagerly await their hate mail, I have one last thing to say to such indignant dunderheads:

Reading this blog post is just like a woman’s career to you – you know, optional.

6 comments:

  1. Chief Anal-ists, the lot of them. I recall my friend's father, who had lived in Muscat for years and had moved to Madras with his retirement and left-hand drive car, giving me amazing advice at that age when we are so easily inspired and ready to take on the world of challenges ahead of us - graduating school and starting College. He said, "Why are you studying so much? A woman's place is at home." I growled, told him what women are really worth and just fell short of telling him that just because his daughter is a wastrel, doesn't mean he needs to dumb the rest of us down.

    Then again, day 01 of my work in Signage, the Senior Printer in my office told me straight, "I'm sorry to say, this is not the job for you. You can't do it, you can take it as you like but I have to say it. I have never seen a woman in this field."
    "You will now."

    Wonder woman, we are! Each of us has different powers is all :D

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    1. Absolutely appalling! But yes, we'll show them. My granddad used to say, "If you want a job done, give it to a man. If you want it done well, give it to a woman."

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  2. I don't understand sexist/patriarchal attitudes. As well as there being no rational argument to support them, I also reduce it down to the question: why would I have such a mind set when I have a wonderful wife and daughter who I desperately want the best for?

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    1. Very well said, Bryan Jones. Where can we find more men like you? :)

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  3. For south asian men, a lot has to do with conditioning. It is way too deeply embedded in our psyche to be a misogynist at different instances. Even the progressive bunch have a lot to unlearn. If not outright sexist, you have progressive liberal men who are either patronizing or mansplaining. It does take some prodding and some confrontation for atleast few men to realise that they are in the wrong.

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    1. Very well said, Mizarukikazaruiwazaru! That, unfortunately, is the sad truth about our times and our men. My issue is also with the women who condition them to be that way and nurture a misogynistic culture.

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