Monday, May 30th
Another day shying away from a reputation based on appearance. What happened to not judging a book by its cover? Today I found myself searching Tanger outlets for a few bargains and maybe a new dress for my next date party. Instead, I found myself critiqued based on the cut of the dress. When showing my aunt and mom my dress, my aunt not only looked at me with disapproving eyes, but even went as far as saying “you don’t want to give boys the wrong idea”. The wrong idea? Does a shorter dress imply I don’t have morals? That I don’t respect myself?
As women, we are constantly judged based on the length, size and shape of the clothing we wear. It’s not fair. When a guy is found wearing a tight shirt or a shirt without sleeves, he isn’t judged poorly or called a “slut”. So why are we?
Tuesday, May 31st
Today, Poppy arrived. If anyone can hold on too tight to a stereotype, it’s my grandfather. I think part of his idea that women aren’t as strong comes from the ideas of his generation. It’s not that he necessarily thinks less of women, it’s that he feels women aren’t as capable as men. I found myself shocked to hear that he didn’t give my grandmother a chance to drive during the 12 hour drive. He didn’t see this as a condescending act by any means. However, I feel like his view of women is skewed. He may feel like driving is the man in the relationship’s job, but the truth is they are equally as capable. It’s little things like this that keep women stuck playing second fiddle.
Thursday, June 2nd
A leisurely walk today opened my eyes to a barrier faced by my own mother. We were walking for about 45 minutes when she started telling me about a conference she’s presenting at tomorrow. She was excited, but also nervous. She’s been having a lot of trouble with her feet recently, and began to realize that her pants would be too long without wearing heels. Thinking I had solved her dilemma, I suggested that she wear a skirt instead. To my surprise, she actually responded with laughter, then followed up saying “I have to play the role of ‘dude’ so they respect me”. It’s such a shame that in order to be a well-respected professional businesswoman, you need to try to fit the look of a stereotypical businessperson. Unfortunately, that look is of a man.
Friday, June 3rd
It’s the morning after the first game of the NBA Finals. Stephen Curry and Lebron James, two of the most talented basketball players of our time, went head to head last night in a game I wouldn’t miss. I played basketball for 10 years of my life, training for hours every day. I had the privilege of traveling to Minnesota and Louisiana during two consecutive years for national tournaments. Basketball is my favorite sport to both play and watch, and I dedicated countless hours of my life to getting better at it. Feeling excited about the game, I posted a picture of my TV screen to Snapchat. You can imagine my reaction when a male friend responded saying, “don’t act like you watch sports”. Is a female watching sports not allowed? After years of playing basketball, soccer, swimming, lacrosse, and field hockey, I’m still being questioned about my knowledge of sports due entirely to the fact I’m a female. How ridiculous.
Saturday, June 4th
Will women ever escape the role of housekeeper? This morning I found myself talking to my college-age friend about her parents. Her mom has a tendency to be hard on her and her three siblings, and she was blowing off steam from yet another disagreement. After a couple minutes of ranting, she finally takes a deep breath and calms down. A couple seconds of silence pass before she says, “you know, I give my mom a hard time but she does a lot”. When I asked what she meant, she told me that even though both of her parents work full time, her mom never fails to do the laundry, clean the house, and have dinner on the table by 7:30 every night.
She explained that she had no idea how much work it was until her mom had been away for a week. With 2 brothers, a sister who had moved out, and a mom on vacation, she found herself picking up after not only her siblings, but her dad too. She’d come home from her job as a waitress at the local cafe to a messy kitchen full of “heat and eat” foods, a sink full of dirty dishes, and hampers full of stinky clothes. Despite the fact she expected her dad to take over the housekeeping role while her mother was away, she found herself taking on this role until her return. Her father barely noticed the difference, as he was used to his wife taking care of everything around the house, even after a long day at work. Interesting…
In my family, I feel that most of the responsibility is placed on my mother. While some stereotypes are broken, she tends to pick up the slack. As far as our financials, my father tends to take the reins. I often come home from work to see him at his desk balancing the checkbook, paying bills, and looking over the credit card bill each month. He worries about money a lot and sometimes I think the gray hair is coming from his worries about our financial future. He doesn’t spend money often due to his lack of an eye for interior design and tendency to steer away from recent fashion trends, but can be found spending money on “toys” as my mom calls them. He goes duck and deer hunting with his friends occasionally, and will sometimes splurge on a new hunting gun or bow and arrow. Meanwhile, my mom is usually spending money on furnishing our house and sometimes redecorating when she wants a “refreshing change”, driving my dad insane
When it comes to cleaning the house, mom is the one who does all the work. However, my dad has been doing his own laundry for the past couple years (because my mom ruined one too many shirts). My mom quit her job when I turned 3 to take care of me and get me to school, and returned to work part time with her consulting business when I started high school. Planning family trips has always been my mom’s responsibility, but frankly her Type A personality would take on that responsibility no matter what gender she is.
Family time is really important to my parents. I’m an only child, so both of my parents spend equal time scheduling time with relatives. My mom will generally plan time with her family, and my dad will schedule time with his. I don’t feel like either of my parents necessarily has more “power” than the other. Both of my parents contribute substantially financially with their corporate jobs, and both do a fair amount of work around the house with equal laundry, cooking and scheduling responsibilities. Overall, I feel my parents represent a mostly modernized marriage and it’s inspiring to experience every day when I’m home from school.