Thursday, June 22, 2006

A Trip to the Woodshed

Mrs. Linklater came across an AOL journal called, The world is a wild ride. . . and found this paragraph in an entry entitled "Why I can't relate to other women."

"So, I just finished reading an op-ed piece in the San Francisco Chronicle about women having difficulty getting into college by writer Joanne Levy-Prewitt.  I don't know where this person is coming from.  I have, as a woman, never experienced discrimination in high school, college, or in my professional career post-college.  I think some women simply hate men -- perhaps daddy was not a good sound role model for them encouraging their strength and independence like mine was.  They, therefore, hate all men and blame them for their own shortcomings as a woman.  I think the problem with many women is not so much that they are stressed out, or high standards are placed on them.  I think their problem is they lack a self-esteem and accountability.  It is easier to blame their plight, or lack of self-suredness on a man, then to look in the mirror and come to terms and acceptance with who they are as a person."

Needless to say, this woman is young. Apparently she hasn't read any recent history books. She is acting like discrimination never happened. And never happens now. She also fails to givie proper respect to the women who came before her.  Me for instance.  I tried to leave this comment in her blog, but it was too long.  I tried to send it as an email, but I am not one of her accepted correspondents.  So I decided to post my thoughts here instead.  

Dear I-can't-relate-to-other-women:

You say you don't know where the writer of the Chronicle article was coming from. Forgive me, but I don't know where you're coming from.

Let me start by asking you to explain what you mean when you accuse women of blaming men for their shortcomings as women?  Huh?

I can understand when women "blame" men for assigning themselves power, just because they're male. But blaming them for my "shortcomings" as say, a chef, a mini van driver or a grass stain remover?  If that's what you mean, I don't get it.

I do know that if you scratch guys of a certain age you'll find that many still think that a woman's greatest shortcoming is that she isn't a man. They do seem to spend a lot of time blaming us for not being more like them.

Don't kid yourself about discrimination. It's alive and well, but it's just gone underground. You have no idea what has transpired behind your back. Did you try to get into an engineering school?  Get a science scholarship?  Work for a newspaper or TV station as a sportscaster? As a car expert? Ever have a dream of anchoring the 6:00 news by yourself? 

Your generation is fortunate. A lot of things are now in place that weren't in place for my generation. 

Athletics were for boys. A girl couldn't play on a Llittle League baseball team even if she was the best player in the neighborhood.

Girls had to play girls' basketball -- six players: three defenders on one half of the court, three shooters on the other half. No full court play.

Women couldn't run in the Boston Marathon. There was no Olympic marathon for females.

There was no interscholastic competition for high school or college girls.

There were no athletic scholarships for girls. No FREE EDUCATION for any female with athletic prowess.

Speaking of free education, try to get into a military academy back then as a female.

Or join the armed forces so you could fly jets or helicopters.

Try to get hired by an airline as anything other than a flight attendant, sorry, stewardess, especially if you got pregnant, or were over a certain age, a certain height, or a designated weight. And don't gain an extra pound or you're going to be out of a job.

Women couldn't get jobs as FBI agents, Secret Service agents, dectectives, firefighters and construction workers.

Women couldn't get membership in any of the trade unions to be a plumber or an electrician.

Female journalists got relegated to the women's pages.

Remember the harassment of the first female sportswriters in the lockerroom?

Female ad writers were not allowed to write about "male" products.

Women were ALWAYS paid less because is was assumed they had a husband or would get a husband to take care of them.

It was considered a compliment for an editor to say you wrote like a man.

Our male bosses could make flagrant sexual remarks and overt propositions with impunity.

If pregnant, we HAD to get married. Or go to Mexico for an abortion.

Just try to get hired as a college professor or as the president of a college.

Forget tenure.

Forget running for president, senator or governor.

You were an OLD MAID if you weren't married by 25.

If you went into medicine you became a nurse. If you got into medical school, you went into pediatrics or psychiatry.  Female surgeons did not exist.

If you went into law, you became a lawyer's secretary.  If you actually made it through law school and became an attorney -- just try to make partner.

All anybody cared about was how fast you could type, no matter what school you graduated from.

Your husband made all the decisions.

You couldn't buy a house on your own without a cosigner.

Your husband could rape you.

There was no place to go if you were abused.  My city still only has 500 beds for 7,000,000 people in the metro area. Cops didn't seem to listen to your complaint. Or offer help. Plus there were no laws in place. There still aren't any with teeth.

If you were battered, it was considered something you caused. There were no hotlines, no counseling, no advocacy.  Forget restraining orders.

Women couldn't join a country club without a husband.

To this day most business is conducted on the golf course.

Or gentlemen's clubs.

Welcome to my world.

The struggle is not over.

I don't think women hate men. I think the founders of the modern women's movement responded to the years of built up resentment toward unequal pay and unequal treatment and set about to rectify it.  Good for them.

Like it or not, feminism is in your generation's DNA.  My daughters EXPECT equal pay and equal treatment. I didn't teach them. They absorbed it from their teachers as they were growing up. Equal pay and equal rights were built into the curriculum.
And you who have never been discriminated against -- are you aware that Social Security pays women less than men no matter how much they earned because women live longer.

Did you know that stay at home moms who don't work have nothing put away in Social Security? They have to count on their husbands for their retirement? And they could be SOL in a divorce.

So, please, don't go taking a bite out of the generation that made sure you got dealt a better hand.

Mrs. L


screaminremo303 said...



mutualaide said...

Just one more reason I so enjoy stopping by here!  Go Get Him.  Oh, okay, HER!  She has no clue and well, probably never will.  She might not even have any commen sense.  But you.... you have it all and express it so well.

suzypwr said...

A married couple does not draw two full social security checks, either. A man never had to choose between a career and children. No man was ever asked to leave a job because a woman might need it to support her family.

My own parents told me not to go to college because I was taking the place of a man who needed an education, and they kept me out of law school with the same argument.

We have come a long way, baby, and we don't hate men. We just try to get along with them, equally. Some of them treat us equally, some just want to know what color our underwear is.

I hate when I hear a woman say she doesn't want a woman boss. That is so degrading to the woman saying it. That is the kind of woman who can't relate to other women.


hewasolddog299 said...

LOL Remo -- you're incorrigible.

Remind Little-miss-knows-no-discrimination that 90% of the changes she takes for granted occurred in the past 35 years. They can be undone (and will be, if the likes of George Bush, Ann Coulter and Pat Robertson get their way).


sistercynthiadr said...

Standing and cheering...BRAVA!

screaminremo303 said...

Leave my Uncle George out of this one. Just what exactly does he have up his sleeve that would send women back to the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant? Denying the right to bring a baby halfway out of a vagina so a doctor can kill it?

Women in the workplace are the nastiest of the bunch. Grudges, festering wounds, and outright harassment are the norm. At least guys get it out in the open, deal with it and move on.

I think I feel an entry coming on...

suzypwr said...

I think it's Remo's time of the month.


screaminremo303 said...

Nah. I just got laid and was feeling a little fiesty.

sunnyside46 said...

I read this with my fist in the air... I , too , remember those times...and in my small way, added my voice to help change things.

swibirun said...

I totally get your point but I also that some people use the fatal attribution error of defaulting to crying "discrimination" when things don't go their way.  

For example, only 14% of my management staff is male which is less than the overal m/f ratio.  When we promoted a male candidate to management last year the female candidate had less time with the company, less time in the field, scored lower on the assessment tests, and scored lower in the interviews (in which 3 of 4 interviewers was female).  Yet after we promoted him, she complained it was because he was male and she was a female.  

So yes discrimination occurs.  But just because a male applicant is chosen over a female is not a prima facie case of discrimination.  So when someone complains they were discriminated against, I like to ask them questions to probe further, because some people are just "externalizing".  It's just like the white guys saying they didn't get into college because of affirmative action.  "It's not my fault so it HAS to be someone elses."


jevanslink said...

I was talking about a time when a woman wouldn't even be considered for a job, a scholarship, a school, a political office, etc., simply because she was a woman. Too many people forget how recent that history is.  

As far as I'm concerned, the good news is that people can complain of discrimination and someone has to listen.  You can call it not being accountable for their shortcomings when they do not get the job.

I look at the complaint as one way to make sure that companies are held accountable for their hiring practices.

It also sounds like the woman in your example wasn't told why she didn't get the job.

Mrs. L

emmapeeldallas said...

My mom was one of the nicest women I've ever known.  She was quiet, shy and extremely reticent, but that didn't keep her from noticing how women were discriminated against, and from talking with me about it.  My mom worked in a factory...this was in Minnesota, in the early 60's...and although she didn't smoke, so it didn't affect her, it irritated her that the men employed by the factory were allowed to smoke, but the women weren't.  The men got 30 minute breaks, the women 15.  Don't even ask about the pay rate...of course, the men were paid more. They were doing the same work...assembly line work...but the men were treated much better than the women, there was no question about it.  And back then, in the dark ages, before the Civil Rights Act was passed, in Minnesota, teachers weren't allowed to be married.  Neither were stewardesses.  I could go on and on, but I know that you know what I'm talking about.  Too bad "I don't know where you're coming from" doesn't.

Excellent post.