I woke up this morning and engaged in my regular pre-blogging routine or looking at news articles to see if anything happened in the world that would inspire a post. And I came across an article that made me sad for women in a way – but also charged me to call a few things out in the hopes of making the world better for it.
I don’t have kids of my own, but I have a goddaughter who I love very much and want the best for in life – and seeing that article this morning (which I call out in the first little section below) just made me pause and think about her future. As a guy, I feel like one of the best things I can do is acknowledge that I see these issues and call them out.
Everything I share below is based on things I’ve heard from women I’m close friends with and/or things I’ve read. I point out all of it with the admission that this is stuff I don’t personally deal with, and also with the hope that women, in general, won’t have to collectively screw around with any of it either someday in the future.
I had heard from girls and women multiple times throughout my life about an unspoken fear (for lack of a better word) women deal with in life, and the understanding they develop for how to navigate this world for their personal safety. And this goes beyond any concern about a guy’s bruised ego and his potentially harmful physical reactions if you turn him down in a bar. There is more to it than that.
I just don’t think most men live in this world or could really imagine the effort and thought that goes into carrying on a typical daily interaction with a certain level of tact for the sake of your safety. Check out that article I link to above and look through the specific situations. At times, guys reading it might think, “Well that seems a little unnecessary,” (I know I did) but that’s what makes it all ultimately sad.
I know this used to be much worse, but I won’t mince words here: $0.82 on the dollar for the same work between genders isn’t good enough – let’s get it to a 1-to-1 match as a society.
I know women who ultimately expect (not “accept”) that they are being paid less than their male peers based on their gender difference alone. It just isn’t ok that we’ve somehow learned to live with that. Fix it.
Clothing Woes & Body Monitoring
Not only do dresses not have pockets, but then you see stuff like this…
There’s more to this story, the company has released a statement saying that the clip doesn’t show the whole situation and that the woman was basically kicked out for being an asshole in response to being stopped. Hey, policy is policy, right?
Normally I’d agree with things like this, but not in situations where there’s a clear disparity in enforcement based on non-irregular gender or cultural differences. For example, I’m Black. There are definitely policies in some places that seeeeeeem to specifically target & police things Black people normally wear culturally, and there are plenty of videos/articles/studies online of those things potentially being enforced and applied differently vs. other racial groups. This falls into that same category for me.
As a guy, I NEVER have to worry about what I wear getting me in trouble. Not for anything as simple as wearing less leg coverage on a hot day at an amusement park. Men never have to worry about this kind of treatment vs. women, and we have to ask ourselves, “Why?” I bet she was mad, but – again – empathizing as a Black person, I’d be mad too if I felt like your policy was stopping me and calling me out unnecessarily. I bet she did curse them out while she was angry — a lot of people do that when they’re being treated unfairly and inconvenienced based on BS. Go figure.
The Pressure of Nuptials & Parenthood
Based on numerous conversations I’ve had with friends on this one, I get the sense that society views men and women differently based on whether or not they ever get married or have children. Like… We don’t talk about it and shout it from rooftops or anything, but there’s a certain premium value tied to becoming a wife and motherhood (socially speaking) that isn’t placed on men becoming husbands and fathers.
Legit, my mom has said something to me about grandkids once in my entire life. I know women who get this talk literally every single time they’re alone with their parents. Why? I also talk to women who express stress over not being moms by a certain age or married. And they make it clear that it’s not a biological concern – they aren’t worried about being super far off from their child-bearing years or anything. And if it’s not that, I can’t help but wonder, “Why?” (I don’t pry, but I do think it to myself).
There is a pressure there that men just don’t deal with.
Double-Standards About Sex Partner Body Counts
Men are celebrated for seeing different women whereas women are not. I know some dudes with body counts (the number of people they’ve had sex with) in the triple digits, and we don’t give them any crap about it. I am sure I know some women with the same achievement, but they’d never broadcast it because they know what comes with that: You’d likely get shamed and labeled negatively.
I am not saying that we should or shouldn’t celebrate either, but I am saying that if it doesn’t negatively impact one gender – maybe it shouldn’t negatively impact the other. Men don’t have any socially derived pressures put on them for having sex (a natural human thing to do… everybody does it).
Parenting Being Career-Changing/Limiting
I have heard women I know talk about having kids at various points in their careers like it’s a deathblow they really want to delay until certain things are established. They worry about losing their positions of leadership and career momentum due to becoming moms.
On the other hand, I’ve never heard a single guy I know sweat becoming a dad and what that might mean to his career prospects.
I’ll end on one that’s so widely known now it borders on cliché to mention: Women negatively being labeled bossy while men are typically praised for the same behaviors.
I call this one out because I see it at a lot of levels socially all the time. Yep, even at great places to work, you still come across it from time to time. You see it when people talk about politicians. You hear about little kids falling into some of the same traps when a girl speaks up.
I have never been called “bossy” before a day in my life (except for one time, ironically, by my goddaughter – LOL), but I KNOW I can be an asshole. I think that’s something a lot of men just don’t worry about as we operate in our daily lives. We may be seen as assertive, determined, or focused (all positive slants) – but never bossy, forceful, or cold… I’m just saying.
I know this post won’t alter the course of human history or anything like that, but I hope it’s just another piece of wood tossed onto the fire that’s building for a more equalized world where people aren’t subject to having to act differently just to enjoy the same things as others around them. I hope this helps set the stage for the mindsets that are more comfortable with my goddaughter being her WHOLE self, not just being a more agreeable version of herself for the sake of fitting the thought of what a woman should be. I want her to feel safe, respected, supported, and loved with the same ‘reckless abandon to be who she is’ that I have as a dude.