Equality Extends To Your Personal Life (Did You Know That?)

Tuesday, July 11th, 2017

(‘Cause apparently I didn’t.)

(I almost titled this “feminism extends to your personal life” but ugh blah blah *throws head back at the word because so many people hate it. Okay, fine. Let’s just say equality because that’s what feminism is, really… fighting for equality.)

[Just a few back posts left y’all. We can do this.]

in this post, i just wanted to piggyback the one I did about how it felt like there were almost two versions of me – the work girl who has straight up quit two jobs with zero notice because I didn’t feel we were being treated right – who’s like, “I know what I deserve, and I won’t really stand for less,” vs. the personal girl who will make every excuse in the book if a man is mistreating her.

[*Not to say I’ve never given any leeway at jobs that had bad things – I have… I do think big picture (at least sometimes ;)). And not to say I’ve never stood up for myself again sexism from a man I’ve been kind of dating or sleeping with or whatever. But, overall, the two Auroras stand.]

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about it, and while there are some personal reasons those things sort of apply to me specifically, I also feel there’s this overall problem with messaging to girls.

When I was about 5, I think I was kind of how you’d picture a little girl who’s trying to be this super feminist. I think around that time, was when Nike had these “if you let me play sports” ads. (If you’re reading this in my voice, I always kind of breathlessly and really wide-eyed say, “If you let me play sports”)

When I was little, I marched around our house, yelling about, “how DARE Nike make a commercial that’s predicated upon the phrase, “if you let me play sports.” Nobody lets me do anything.” And my parents tried to explain, “No, Nike’s trying to make a point.” But I wouldn’t listen. I had an absolute zero tolerance policy for anyone who I even perceived sort of talked as though women weren’t equal in every way. [I went overboard. But also, I was 5. Cut me a break. (And tbh, I still haven’t work Nikes for the last 20 years.)]

Anyway.

The point is, I feel like I have truly internalized Sheryl Sandberg, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and all these other super strong women. I totally understand to always ask for more money in a negotiation, and always go for promotions – even when you don’t feel 100% qualified. I understand all this stuff in the outside world and my professional life.

And yet, somehow I also have really internalized the idea of “don’t threaten a man by being too smart,” and things along those lines. If you’re successful, play it down. It blows my mind what things I’ve kind of internalized as “threatening to a man,” because having a good career (when I’m lucky enough for that to be happening) is not threatening.

But this can’t just be me, right? I feel like there’s this weird dichotomy that even though progress is moving along (slowly, but still) when it comes to jobs and things… I feel like the messages we’re fed about relationships and traditional gender roles stay firm.

But equality doesn’t stop at the door to your apartment.

If the man I’m with at the time says something I wouldn’t accept from a co-worker, then I need to not accept it from him either. He doesn’t just get some blank giant pass because “he doesn’t really mean it,” or “oh, well, he obviously respects me.” ‘Cause maybe he does mean it. Maybe he doesn’t actually respect me.

I thought it was a little odd that there’s such a defined line in my life, but I think(?) there’s actually maybe a defined line in society too… (I’m not sure. It’s my working hypothesis. Please feel free to give me your thoughts on it.)

I just think there’s more to instill in girls (and boys) about personal relationships… (But again, I don’t totally know… Working hypothesis.)

I'd love to hear from you! So whaddya say?