Every so often those “women’s opinions about other women”
articles blog posts spread around the interwebs like wild fire because it’s a slow news day (stop dressing like a slut because it’s ruining my marriage). Then there’s the inevitable hilarious rebuttal that allows me to remove my eyeballs from the ceiling and move on with my life. The articles slide around social media, being shared less and less, until it peters out or gets breathed new life into by a new round of late comer internet readers.
One such “article” cropped up last summer. I read it a few times, thinking maybe I had missed something. But then, I got it, and I just needed to say THANK YOU to this brave woman for carrying the burden of silently judging other women from her perch by the pool. Goodness knows women need some more judgement on how we’re doing it wrong.
Once Upon A Time, Sexism
I’m a child of the 80s. I grew up hearing that I could be and do anything I wanted. Thanks Marlo Thomas.
I watched my mother work full time as an operating room nurse and then go back to school for her master’s degree, while working full time, making our lunches, sewing all of our Halloween costumes, and drinking wine. My dad made dinners, paid the bills, and drove us to school while working full time as a professor at the local university. My parents made pretty close to the same amount. I grew up thinking that sexism had happened in the past, but it didn’t happen anymore.
After I graduated from college and got my first full time job, I learned a very hard lesson; sure I could do and be anything, BUT I would have to work twice as hard as my male colleagues to be respected, twice as hard and still be passed over for promotions because I have a vagina that a kid might spontaneously pop out of, twice as hard and be paid less. Sexism was alive and well. In the beginning, as the shock was wearing off, it was easy to blame it on the men. Then it became clear that it wasn’t just men participating in this bullshit. No, the icing on the cake is that so many successful women are pulling up the ladder.
During my desk career I had many wonderful, brilliant, hard-working women friends. We covered for one another, we grabbed lunches when someone was busy, supported each other. But for every one female that looked out for me – there were two who saw any other female success as detrimental to their own and went out of their way to sabotage other women. This attitude, that there were only so many positions of power and the only way you can look good is if someone else looks bad, was just as pervasive as mean girls in high school.
There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other!
— Gloria Steinem
I spent 10+ years railing against sexist behavior, sexual harassment, unfair treatment, working my BUTT off, to finally get beaten down and walk away from it all because I was afraid the all consuming rage was going to be the early death of me. Nothing I did ever changed anyone’s behavior, any workplace policy, any state or national law. Just because I had the occasional drink (or 7) on a Friday night after work didn’t mean I was any less angry when the asshole who had a lateral title to mine asked me to make him coffee every morning as if I were his secretary – despite the fact that I didn’t even drink coffee. But it did keep me from punching him in the dick.
Just because I drink alcohol doesn’t mean I’m not outraged at what is happening all around me. Having the occasional beverage doesn’t mean I’m not torn apart every time I experience/d or witness/ed co-workers, colleagues, fellow women who have to work harder, try harder, and still get turned away because sexism is very much still a thing. A cosmopolitan or two doesn’t mean I don’t get apocalyptic when I hear/read about women being assaulted and date raped and then getting slut shamed by judges, the media and worst of all; other women.
You Don’t Get To Call Me A Whore
There’s a lot to be angry about as a woman. And unfortunately, women are to blame for some of that. But not because of the way women choose to handle shit we have no control over – whether that be drinking, blowing off steam in other ways, or ignoring it and hoping it will go away.
You don’t get to call me a whore. … I make no apologies for how I chose to repair what you broke. You don’t get to call me a whore.
— Meredith Gray
Side note – just like your article – we’re conveniently forgetting that there are black women and men suffering worse crap than white women. Privileged white women telling BLM protestors that they are doing it wrong. White women, man, we can’t help ourselves, can we??
Women are angry. Millions of women showed up around the world to (among other things) protest – and more and more are joining the fight for a myriad of issues. Women are, and have been, tirelessly, thanklessly, trying to create change every day while you sit poolside rolling your eyes at other women dealing with trying to be a 24-hour woman in their own way. According to your article, by NOT drinking, all you’ve purportedly freed yourself up to do is lounge by the pool with a book and judge your sisters for how they enjoy their own lives.
You know what is just as bad as men telling women what it’s like to be a woman in the workplace? Women who refuse to acknowledge that their own role in pulling up the ladder is just as detrimental as men who refuse to see the problem. And one step behind them is the women who readily throw shade at other women just figuring out how to navigate all this bullshit. You’re the IRL equivalent of the trolls on instagram telling Chrissy Teigen she’s holding her baby wrong. I mean come on.
Listen, you decided to quit drinking, good for you. Seriously. Vegans, vegetarians, cross fitters – however you choose to spend your days and calories, I applaud you. But I am going to enjoy my bacon cheeseburger, my beer, and keep running thank you very much. Neither of us have made a wrong decision. I don’t need YOU to validate my life choices. And you shouldn’t need me (and everyone else) to validate yours… but there’s your article about how HARD it is to be a woman, and also shitting all over women for being women.
Well at least you have three other women willing to telepathically mock other women having fun in the sun. Because THAT is certainly going to solve our problems! But you’ll just have to excuse me while I go finish my 14th half marathon and enjoy a glass of champagne, (that goddamnit, I sure as hell did earn) and then work with other women and men at rallies, town halls, and fund raisers, to enact real change. That’s how I – and a lot of other people – handle this crap. And sometimes, drinking a beverage.
I think the only way we’re ever going to solve any of these messes is empathy. So, maybe work on that while you’re sitting by the pool.