Friday, February 7, 2014

One of the Boys

I've always been drawn to boys' social circles more than girl circles. It's just who I am. With a few exceptions in my life (and living in a lot of different cities growing up), I was always welcome with the boys. It was great to be included and welcome, and the boys genuinely liked my company.

It never occurred to me that one day the playing field would shift, mindsets would change, and as those boys became adults, they would learn the ways of a culture I myself hadn't even become aware of yet.  I never imagined that one day the only social place I felt safe as a child would be the most unwelcoming and sometimes even hostile environment.

"You won - gender inequality doesn't exist anymore."

If gender inequality doesn't exist, then why are women so vehemently jealous of their partners having friends who are women (and vice versa!)

If gender inequality doesn't exist, then why do men treat women differently (and vice versa!)

If gender inequality doesn't exist, then why are men regarded as better authority figures than women

If gender inequality doesn't exist then why are men seen as 'assertive' and women seen as 'combative'

Stop saying gender inequality doesn't exist.  It does exist.  It permeates the behavior of men who genuinely believe that they are 'modern' men who have equal, respectful relationships with their independent, self-empowered wives.  The mindset is so ingrained that it leaks out in subtle ways constantly.  Each act in itself insignificant, but added up create a persona of superiority, dominance and indifference.

The obvious attacks are the ones you can prepare yourself for.  You can prepare yourself mentally for the comment about to come out of the loud mouth of the ass-slapping type of guy.  There is no preparation for being talked over in the middle of a thought; for watching someone open their phone as you start to speak to them; you simply can't prepare yourself for the subtle ways men have of cordoning you into a box in their mind, and their immediate aversion when you step outside that box.

Stop saying gender inequality doesn't exist.  It does exist.  What's between your legs does not matter.  Instead learn to judge people on the basis of who they are as a human being.

I'm not a kid anymore, and I can't just go hang out with the boys. I've been forced to accept my assigned role, and I'm required to feign gladness at my good fortune that I wasn't unlucky enough to be born in a less fortunate country as a woman.

Gender inequality does exist. And every time you treat someone differently because of gender, you contribute to the problem.

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