Bitch please.

I've been doing some temp work at my mum's office. One of her colleagues was trying to be helpful about finding a job. However, instead of giving actually helpful advice, he said : 
I shouldn't be picky about jobs and trying to work in fashion. Instead, I should look for jobs that are good for women, and having children. 

Without thinking, I said that I found that offensive; how dare he assume that I want children or that lifestyle, just because society says that's what I should want?  He promptly apologised, but also said "that's just the way it is" and left. 

I then endured a short car ride to the trains station with my mum telling me off for being rude to an older man. 


Seriously?! This only reinforces sexist boundaries; a woman "talking back" and standing up for wanting to be seen on an equal level to men is deemed offensive instead sexism itself. If a man said something similar to what I had said, he would have been praised for not taking shit from someone. This guy implied two things that seriously pissed me off; that I have to have children or as a woman, I have to limit my job prospects. 

I'll admit I was a bit harsh in that the poor guy had no intention of offending me, but he did make multiple comments that were essentially putting me down from being able to achieve what I wanted or work in the field that I want. I also want to note that I never asked for this "advice", not that I'm being ungrateful, but he doesn't work anywhere near to the things I was interested in, so I would never have thought to get useful advice from him - He told me I wouldn't be able to get many fashion related jobs because that's not my degree, which is just wrong. That's the benefit of fashion jobs, pretty much anyone is able to get into it with a bit of dedication. And on top of that, I'm a girl who studied a Fashion Jewellery Design Foundation Diploma and an English degree, pretty sure I am capable to work in what I want if I work at it. 

Anyways, he literally told me to redirect my career to something appropriate for women, which is ludicrous. I have been living in my university bubble, and completely forgot people with this mentality actually exist in the real world. It's just so ridiculous; men do not have to deal with comments such as "look for a job that lets you have children," because that's just absurd! 

I just couldn't stand someone telling me that I can't do something, and that I should look for something "child friendly". I don't think I was wrong to do that. I think I could have been more polite, but then again, that in itself is a constraint on women; to be polite, even when disagreeing with someone. 

Some of the reasons my mum gave for me being in the wrong were also simply preposterous:

     "He's an old white man, why speak back to him?"

Because this is the exact attitude feminism fights back against, and I will not be silenced about what I believe in. The insertion of his race also has some sort of ethnic inferiority issue there that I cannot get into right now. Also, he wasn't old, he was middle-aged. He should be able to think about what he's saying and be open to criticism of he's going to say it in public. 

     "He's older than you so you can't speak back like that."

What is this, 1920?! Do I need to hold my tongue in a man's presence? No! I have the freedom to say what I want and how I feel. 

      "He didn't think about it being offensive, so why get angry about it?"

BECAUSE HE DIDN'T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT. How are women meant to progress in society if their issues aren't even thought about or considered? Sexism exists because people make statements like this without thinking about what they are saying, or what ideals they are enforcing and supporting. These attitudes won't change until people talk about it and understand it.  By saying I should focus on child-friendly jobs, he is saying that my place in the world is ultimately being a mother. Or he is saying that women can't have the career that they want and the family that they want. Either way, please wake up to the modern world. We have Angelina Jolies, and Theresa May's. Both are successful, with and without children. 

***disclaimer, these are paraphrased quotes - I didn't record my conversations, I'm only human!***

It doesn't actually even matter how I feel at this point, he is hired staff and I am not. So I did speak out of turn on that front. And I acknowledge that there were better ways for me to respond rather than get irritated or angry, because those emotions don't get the best response whether you're a man or woman. (But it is far more accepted if you're a man)

I'm not a child hater or a man hater or a hater of women with children. I just don't think this ambition should be enforced on me. I'm only 22 and have already been told I need to be married by this age and have kids at this age and do this and do that a countless number of times. Enough. I don't need to do anything. I am my own person, and I should not have to tolerate this pressure in the twenty first fucking century.

(I've also been told swearing is not ladylike -  a whole other topic I just cannot wait to explore!) 

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