An anecdote Re: Being a woman in the workplace
I walked into my daily team meeting at work on Monday to my boss saying “I want to vomit and pee all the time.” After a few seconds of confusion, a team member filled me in on the big news — my boss was pregnant (yay babies!). Before I continue, I want to give a little insight into the kind of person my boss is: she takes no shit and gives no shit. She is highly diplomatic and truly does care about the welfare and betterment of her team, and encourages personal and career development. So, it is no surprise that after her announcement, she opened the door for us to speak up on any issues, concerns, problems, etc. we may have about having a pregnant boss.
My initial thought: “Typical Michelle*.”
She then went into an anecdote about a hiring manager who had told her, a woman, that he wasn’t looking for anyone with a uterus.
My secondary more developed thought: “What in the blue hell? This can’t be real life.”
After sitting on these thoughts for a while, my stream of consciousness went wild. Here’s the most comprehensible result of my mental processing:
Not only is it illegal to discriminate based on gender, but to be so forthcoming to say that a woman should have no expectations of bringing a child into this world, assuming it would affect her quality as an employee, and judging her for being strong enough and magical enough to do so is utterly reprehensible.
How many heterosexual men can you find who aren’t a fan of a woman’s breasts? What kind of morally marred society do we live in where women are judged based on physical attributes that are genetically dependent? Not only are we required to have certain traits, we are hyper-sexualized yet chastised for being sexual. So, as a woman in America, to be successful one must fit society’s sexualized stereotypes — be thin, dark but not too dark, have a shapely behind, small waist, sizable breasts, and “good hair” — not show one’s sexuality, and ignore motherhood; walk like a woman, talk like a woman, but don’t be too much of a woman.
It’s 2016 and we are on the brink of having our first female president (fingers crossed), but women still earn 77 cents to the man’s dollar. The unfair pay is just a monetary manifestation of the patriarchy we exist within; one example of many. It would be naive to think that Hillary’s rise will be the catalyst for the dissemination of the pay gap and the jumpstart #TeamWoman needs to boost morale in face of the deep seeded lack of respect we get from our XY chromosome counterparts, but representation does matter.
So, its evident, and old news, that change is needed, but it is truly a work in progress. Shoutouts to all my powerful women out there breaking down the walls of stereotypes and working for this change — being mothers, daughters, homemakers, bosses, athletes, and any and everything else they want to be!
*Her name has been changed for this article