Today, I was talking to my sister-in-law about Disney’s new wedding package where you can get married in front of Cinderella’s Castle. She had already started planning my niece’s wedding there, from what kind of dress she and the bridesmaids would wear all the way down to color scheme and how we would get the entire family there. We decided to look up the price of the venue, and discovered that it was expensive (obviously) but still far less expensive than we had thought it would be. She then jokingly remarked, “that’s okay, money’s no issue because little Paigey is going to marry rich, aren’t you?” and “We won’t have to pay for college because you’re just going for that MRS. Degree”. Obviously, i knew she was joking, but it still struck me as odd that we were having this entire conversation about her destined future and she was only born in February.
I started my job as a nanny for three children the past week, and nothing has convinced me that I’m less ready for motherhood than that. However, I have realized just how judgmental people are when it comes to girls my age. The youngest child is 3, and sometimes he forgets my name and just calls me “Mommy”, because that’s who he is used to calling for. He did this in public the other day, and an older gentleman turned to glare at me. I had never met him before, nor had I spoken to him. Yet there he was, glaring at me and my naked, unwed fingers, assuming that this child in my arms was a bastard that I was raising on my own, when the truth was very far from that. I have never felt more like I needed a shirt saying “NOT MY KID” to be in public.
Scrolling through Twitter, I saw a picture of a man who had just graduated high school. The caption said “Y’all said a single dad couldn’t do it”, and for some reason, I found myself cheering him on more than the pictures of single mothers who graduate. I just started thinking about it and I could only come to one conclusion: I have been conditioned by society to judge young girls who get pregnant, as if they chose to have a harder life. However, when I see a young dad step up and take responsibility for his own child, I have been conditioned to cheer for them and say “wow, you don’t see that very often. Look at him go, making something of himself. What a guy.” It really makes me think.
I had a conversation with my friend today about why I don’t want to get a dog yet. “Look, I don’t have the money or the time to properly take care of an animal right now, and I don’t want to bring something in to my life that I can’t properly love and give the right life. My reasoning was simple, I want to be able to provide for the animal that I bring to my life. I had the same conversation with her the other month, but this time it was about having kids. When I put it in the context of an animal, she understood immediately, but when I put it in the context of not wanting to settle down and have kids immediately, she called me selfish and told me that my place on was to bear children for my husband. I almost puked.
I’ve been reading the articles about that disgusting human being who is only being sentenced to 6 months in prison for the rape he committed because he has a promising future and jail would mess that up for him. No shit. Rape messes someone up, too, but that poor girl was faced with prejudice and hate, then wrote an open letter to everyone after the sentencing. The most haunting part was where she stated that right under the detailed description of her attack, the newspaper posted his swimming times. How dare the justice system fail this woman so horribly. It brought me back to a tumblr post I read the other day that said something to the effect of “if you’re promoting changes to women’s behavior to “prevent” rape, you’re really just saying ‘make sure he rapes the other girl'”. What I wear does not and should not determine my consent. How much I drink does not determine my consent. This world constantly reminds me that we still have a long way to go.
After thinking about all of these journal entries, it’s insane to see the amount of sexism that’s accounted on a weekly if not daily basis. Even things like listening to jokes about gender happen so frequently that one doesn’t really stop to think about if it’s harmful to others or not. Telling me that I’m not allowed to wear a strapless bathing suit because I need to be a positive role model for the kids I watch just promotes the idea that I can’t excel at what I do since I have breasts that are visible. Here’s a hint, judgmental human at the pool: stop worrying about what I have on my body since I am comfortable the way I am, and start worrying about your shitty child throwing sand at everyone in the sandbox. Have a nice day, and don’t presume to tell me how mine should go.