It's long overdue that the double standards applied to women be dropped. How can it be that in 2010, women are still paid less, objectified far more, and expected to do more than the average man? This subject is so frustrating for many of us because we can't seem to change the culture that women are held to a higher standard but compensated less. Don't believe me? Here are two situations that might change your mind.
"What are you, depressed?"
I had a sinus infection one Friday as I went into work. My hair was clean and brushed but not styled and I wore no makeup. I wore my usual work attire, but instead of my contact lenses, I had on my glasses. Walking in that day opened my eyes to a very serious issue surrounding modern women. The expectation that we invest far more into our looks than men regardless of how we feel. As soon as I reached my office, my neighbor pops in and he says, "wow, what are you depressed?" Remarks like that from various men and even a few females fly at me like missiles throughout the work day. Was my dress unusual? NO! It was that I hadn't spent 45 minutes on hair and make up to make myself look artificial. Apparently, if you drop the ball, assumptions will fly. On the flip side, the same guy who started the attack of the criticisms that day, had come into work the week before completely hung over. His clothes were wrinkled and hair a mess, yet he still got treated with the utmost respect. Even getting high fives from other men in the office for still managing to "party like a rockstar".
"Must be a lesbian..."
I'm a married woman. Most of the office had met my husband where I worked at the time. It was just starting to warm up outside that spring when I noticed I had gained a lot of weight. Yo-yo dieting had taken its toll and I was stuck in a rut of not being able to fit my office wardrobe from the year before. Deciding to try to mask the gain, I selected neutral toned outfits with extra room. Instead of buying fitted blouses and skirts, I chose roomy pants with looser knit tops. Didn't think anyone would notice. A few weeks into my fashion shift, my friend asks me to lunch. We're sitting in an outdoor seating area basking in the spring breeze when she drops the bomb on me. Most of the office, my boss included, is worried I might be heading for a nervous breakdown. Why? Because they were concerned my divorce and "coming out" might impact the ability for me to properly dedicate to my job. Never had I ever implied or said I was getting divorced or "coming out". My friend relayed to me that when I started wearing the pants and loose tops, they got suspicious. Then as I aggressively pursued a potential client, they were convinced. I must be a lesbian who is clinging to work because of an impending divorce. She asked me to lunch to give me a referral to a counselor. I just really needed the bonus so we could buy a new car.
Now sure, both seem outrageous and there really is more to the story. I do enjoy more activities generally attributed to men. Fantasy football is one of them! But is there really any excuse for assuming I am depressed or a lesbian? Why is it women are expected to be these perfect creatures at all times, with a feminine sexuality about them as they go about their workday?
Women can't gain weight or have any "undesirable" hair on her body, yet men have very little to live up to. Which button up shirt and pants am I wearing today? That's all they have to do. Except shower. I can't even begin to count all the times I have been told "I've let myself go".
Oh have I?
Yes, while I have been writing a manuscript, working full-time, out earning my husband, taking care of my ADHD child, and cleaning my home, I have let myself go.
When will the double standard go away?
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