I know more than you give me credit for. I know that if I bat my eyes and smile prettily when I state my opinion, you will accept it without balking.
I know that despite the fact that I am a breadwinner just like you—you want me to act subserviently as your wife does. The one you support financially. I earned a Masters so I would never have to be in her position.
I know that if the powers that be offered me your position, they would offer me less money. Because you have a family to support. They assume someone else is taking care of mine.
I know that you feel because I do not cut you slack for your beer drinking, cigar smoking, entitled self, I scare you. Because if “men are men” is not acceptable, you are out of excuses for your poor, chosen behavior.
I know I scare you because I come with tenderness and emotionality, but also a blunt edge and a razor-sharp mind. The latter two are not solely your purview and are actually more effective when combined with the former two. Score one for the ladies and your more enlightened compadres.
I know that you can walk into the conference room carrying an extra 20 pounds, with bags under your eyes—but still command respect from your cohorts because of—your gender? Put a female in the same situation and the scenario plays out a different way. All eyes and ears turn only toward the well-coiffed, svelte female version of you.
I heard two young women scoffing at the idea of feminism the other day. Saying we “no longer need it.” Oh, my dears. As the breadwinner for my family, as a woman who remembers every lewd comment made as I walked out of a meeting room filled with men—your naivete astounds me. Spend a while longer in the world at large. Maybe you have been lucky enough to avoid the Neanderthals. But they’re still out there.
The good news is—many men aren’t Neanderthals. My sons will have grown up with a mother who worked long hours at the kitchen island—on a laptop, not a stovetop–and paid the bills. When it comes to work, they don’t see gender. They see ability. My eldest thinks no differently of the girls in his shop class than the boys. He holds them to the same standard.
That’s feminism. And he’d cringe if he heard me say that. But it is.
I don’t think, like some young girls do, that the world can afford to let it go just yet. But I sure hope it can in my lifetime.