18th November 2016
“You’re pretty funny for a girl”.
Every day woman around the world are praised for having characteristics unmatched to their gender’s supposed abilities and disposition. I have experienced it first hand on numerous occasions.
Recently we have experienced an election result that reportedly indicates that women still face an impenetrable glass ceiling due to our perceived lack of capability in positions of power. People cry out that society disregards women so much so that they would rather choose a racist, inexperienced celebrity over someone fit for the job.
On a personal level I have steered clear of any social media commentary, dodged the conversation at gatherings and generally kept my opinion to myself. I’m not an American; I haven’t lived the life, the struggle and experienced the lack of welfare support. I can’t berate a nation as uneducated and lacking humanity from my middle-class, privileged, glass tower in London. I also can’t stand “know it alls” – something that has stayed with me ever since a girl in primary school told me that the ‘reading carpet’ wasn’t for nap time, and that reading in my dreams didn’t count. I will sleep anywhere I damn please.
However, one comment on the day really struck me… “Women let their fellow woman down today”.
A lot of discourse right now reflects a subdued, defeated sex; a dystopian future for women now awaits us; we don’t even believe in each other, let alone THE MEN.
I couldn’t disagree more.
To give a glimmer of hope to all those subject to countless open letters… let’s break this down:
- The electoral college system is significantly flawed – the popular vote is your first (albeit small) glimmer!
- It’s not just Hilary.. Reagan V Carter anyone?
- People didn’t vote for someone JUST because she was a woman. Is a patronising patriarchal system really what little girls need to grow up in? Drastic change from the norm, the system and the situation was sought. It may not have been the right change (uhum.. Brexit anyone?!), but that desperation and anger may just have been the deciding factor.
Nothing I say is even slightly groundbreaking here, but I wanted to write a blog of positivity – one that documented my experience of women making each other proud every day. And in particular, in my life.
Not only was I raised by some of the most kick-arse women around (mammy, grandmas, aunties – thank you), but I am surrounded by women who lift each other up and consistently shatter the illusion of a stagnant achievement level. These women support me every day.
I work with some spectacular female sports presenters; they have knowledge levels to show-up the saturated ‘lead male’ market and a work ethic that down-right scares me on occasions. I have studied with females who have gone on to work on an international level for think-tanks, as policy makers and as leading journalists in their field. I’m attending weddings of women who, whilst planning total wedding domination, hurtle towards astonishing career heights, manage extreme stresses, and still get all the thank you cards out on time. They are business owners, police women, academics, artists, teachers and doctors. They are hilarious, sassy, individuals. They face body shaming and extreme sexualisation of their image every day, and still manage to wear whatever they damn well please. They have been there through my greatest moments of self-doubt. They are my squad.
There are squads around the world. Even in secret, and in the most deprived situations (i’m not just referencing girls toilets here), women around the world lift each other up every day. Hope isn’t lost because one women didn’t win her position; hope is lost when one women not winning her position compromises how we feel about ours.