Can I say something? Can you actually listen to me when I’m speaking? Can you at least remember my name? I have left many a meeting, interview, and social function, inwardly begging various men I’ve had to interact with to do these simple things for me. These are the basic requirements of human interaction, and yet, with certain men, they’re shockingly hard to achieve.
It has always been hard for me to explain exactly what this kind of sexism is, and even harder to prove. It’s the feeling of invisibility. Men who treat me like I’m not even there, because they essentially don’t consider me fuckable. I try to get a word in, to start a conversation, to engage the way normal fucking human beings do, but I am quickly disregarded. His responses to me will be curt, or nonexistent. He’ll glance at me, acknowledging something just came out of my mouth, but that gaze will swiftly readjust itself back onto the other person in the conversation. That other person usually being a “hotter” woman, or another man. The conversation continues to be a struggle, to the point where I just want to shout at the top of my lungs, “Hey asshole, I don’t want to fuck you either!”
In my social life, it doesn’t affect me too much. I’m not going to lie and say it doesn’t at all bruise my self-esteem, but it’s a tiny bruise. One of those miniscule bruises you get after hitting your elbow against a hard surface. The pain goes away in minutes, usually after looking at my phone and seeing the long list of men in there who have been happy to fuck me. Men who broke up with me for my character flaws, which they seem to think I have, rather than my appearance.
I know I’m not ugly. I have never once in my left felt like an ugly person. In fact, as I get older and fatter, I only feel hotter. I call it self-confidence, but you can go ahead and call it delusion, or ego. I don’t care. I’m still aware of the reality of my situation, however. I’m five feet tall and weigh over 170 pounds. I know that not everyone is going to find me and my body as attractive as I find me and my body to be. Especially men in media, many of whom let power get to their heads in destructive ways. These are men who base their entire self-worth off of the digits in their bank account and the level of conventional attractiveness in the women they fuck and interact with. In my professional life, invisibility has been a curse more than a minor annoyance. It’s harder to shrug off the disregard when it’s hurting my career and my chances of success. All because some shitty, shallow dudes who hold more power than I do, don’t want to have sex with me.
It shouldn’t have to matter, but it does. It makes no sense that it’s even an issue, but it is, and it hurts. It hurts to pitch good ideas, and to know that you have talent and the ability to make something of quality, but to be rejected for reasons that are completely irrational.
Take my struggles as a stand up comedian to find a manager. Meeting after meeting I would sit with potential managers — all of whom were male — and they’d immediately want writing samples. They’d ask right off the bat, where’s your pilot? Show me scripts. This is mostly fine, especially considering the fact that I want to write scripts, but it always seemed odd to me that the immediate assumption was that I was a comedian-slash-writer, as opposed to a comedian-slash-actress. On sight, before even speaking about my goals and aspirations, I was not registered as someone who could “work” on-camera. I’d ask my female comedian friends, who I knew had representation, if they had scripts written before their managers decided to represent them. The answer was almost always, no. They were signed without any writing samples, and I couldn’t help but notice that all of these women were in fact thinner than me. In other words, more conventionally attractive.
That one particular example I just gave might not seem like that big of a deal. My obstacle isn’t really that much of an obstacle. I have to write my pilot before getting repped. Totally doable. However, these “little” obstacles add up. They show up in almost every facet of my career, in so many small and hard to describe ways. The accumulation of all this seemingly “minor” sexism, becomes huge. It transforms into a burden. The burden of being unfuckable.
I want to drive home the fact that this isn’t me throwing a pity party. The last thing I want is pity. I really don’t need it. I work hard and am extremely confident in my abilities. I’m just trying to speak honestly and candidly about something so many women in media experience, but find difficult to address. It’s hard to talk about feeling invisible without feeling like a whiny brat. We are pressured to feel like it’s all in our heads, or a pathetic excuse, but it’s not. As a cis, straight, white woman, who is often described by others as “chubby” more so than “fat”, I know that my invisibility is less severe than the invisibility other women receive. As difficult as I’ve had it, I acknowledge that there are women who have to work even harder than I do. The beautiful thing out of all of this is that we do. If anything good has come out of invisibility, it’s the realization that we are stronger and more resilient than the current men in power, which is why we will eventually replace them (get ready boys).
So many heterosexual men in media right now are acting as if they are our allies. They tweet and post about how much they believe women, and don’t stand for sexual harassment. I don’t think this is disingenuous, and it’s definitely uplifting to see so many men rallying against such violent and gross misconduct. However, many of these men are the ones who treat women they don’t want to fuck with complete disregard. If you truly consider yourself an ally, you have to get it in your head that all women are worthy of being heard, and are worthy of being paid attention to. Not just the ones who give you and your extremely narrow sense of what is considered a sexually viable woman, a boner. You must work harder towards viewing your female peers the same way you view your male peers. When it comes to the men you work with, you don’t select which ones to acknowledge based on their fuckability, do you? Treat us this way too, and don’t touch us in the process.