Welcome to Adulthood

6 months ago, I got my first “grown-up job,” working in an office as opposed to a retail or customer service position.  About 3 weeks ago, I was involved in my first workplace sexual harassment case.  I’m just growing up so fast!  I feel like I could’ve done without this particular part of it though.

It wasn’t particularly traumatizing or horrible, just your basic creep that had to be dealt with, but there were other things that happened in the process.

Throughout the past couple weeks, the head of Human Resources met with me, him, supervisors, and several witnesses, most of us she even talked to twice.  Towards the end of the whole situation, a few things came to light, and in my final meeting with HR, I almost lost my job along with the guy I was fighting against.

After all the decisions had been finalized, I had my final follow-up with HR to wrap up the situation, and she proceeded to lecture me for about 20 minutes about my behavior.  I am well aware that I and everyone else should act a certain way, and at your job, you’re held to a higher standard, but this still rubbed me the wrong way.

It turns out the creep was almost let off the hook completely because I had joked around with him in the past.  Apparently if you’re friendly with someone, that means that all boundaries are gone and any inappropriate comments and behaviors are totally acceptable.

Let me tell you, I was absolutely livid, and I still get angry every time I think about it.  I have completely lost all respect for the Head of HR.  On one hand, I understand that she was just trying to do her job, but on the other hand, how dare she?  To imply, nay, to come right out and say, that friendly conversation with a co-worker is an open door to harassment including, but not limited to, hovering around my desk despite multiple people telling him to go away, constantly finding reasons to touch my shoulders, arms, and back, and making repeated comments about my boobs.

I know I’m new to this, but is this really how things work?  I know that there are plenty of people that share this attitude, which, in itself is downright disgusting.  I guess I just didn’t expect to see it from a person who deals with people and relations for a living.  Is this my official Welcome into Adulthood:  Realizing just how big and close to home the problems are that I’m fighting against?

So now, I’m facing a weird combination of being incredibly bummed and depressed about the state of the world, and being fired up and ready to take on anything that comes my way.  Maybe I won’t go down in history for being a revolutionary and maybe I can’t change the world, but damn me if I just sit down and give up.  That’s for sure not going to happen.

Why I’m Fighting

“You’re never going to change anyone’s mind, why are you even bothering?”

“There are other things that you could be fighting for that might actually be successful, maybe you should focus on one of those.”

“Oh, just another one of those crazy feminists, why don’t you just get over it?”

“You can vote and get a job, what more do you want?”

These are just a sampling of many of the things I’ve heard in my fight for women’s rights, so I thought I would take a moment to sit down and answer these questions and address some of the negativity I see every day.

“You’re never going to change anyone’s mind, why are you even bothering?”

Not everyone is as stubborn as you.  This is a movement that is growing and spreading across the country and across the world, so obviously we’re changing someone’s mind.  When provided with the facts of what is truly going on, it’s hard to believe that anyone’s mind wouldn’t be changed.

Even if I can’t change a single person’s mind, that’s not going to stop me, and since this flows into the next cynical question, I’m going to move on.

“There are things that you could be fighting for that might actually be successful, maybe you should focus on one of those.”

            “It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.”  ~Theodore Roosevelt.

I can’t guarantee my success in this venture, but I can guarantee that I’m going to give it my all, because to me, it’s worth it.  Yes, there are other causes that might be more successful than mine, there are other causes that some feel take precedence over mine, there are other causes that seem a lot worse than mine, but this is my fight.  You can’t tell me what’s important to me.  You can’t tell me what is or isn’t worth my fighting.  I have a multitude of reasons for standing with the feminist movement, some of them are personal experience, some of them are seeing how the world is and seeing what it could be if women weren’t constantly being shut down at every turn.  I see a girl who was almost killed because she wanted to go to school, I see a girl who is emotionally tortured, shamed, and put through endless ridicule because of her personal choices about her sexuality.  There are women beaten and killed because of their personal choices about their sexuality.  I see women controlled, oppressed, ridiculed, and so many other things every day, simply because they’re women.  These are things worth fighting for.  Don’t even try to tell me this fight isn’t worth it.

“Oh, just another one of those crazy feminists, why don’t you just get over it?”

This makes me so angry.  I fight for my right to be treated as an equal human being, and I get called crazy, or a bitch, or a silly woman.  I’m not trying to say that there aren’t crazy feminists out there.  There are.  The same way there are crazy every other type of person.  But simply because some people decide to take things to an extreme level does not mean that they or anyone else in the same fight doesn’t have a valid leg to stand on.  Please don’t try to belittle what I’m doing because either someone takes it too far or you don’t understand.

“You can vote and get a job, what more do you want?”

I want to be treated as an equal human being.  I want to make the same amount of money when I work the same job.  I want to not be judged, demeaned, treated a certain way simply because of the way I look.  I want to walk outside and not be scared that I’m going to be attacked strictly because of my sex.  When something does happen to me, I don’t want to be treated like it was my fault because of what I was wearing, what I had to drink, or where I was.  When something happens to me, I don’t want to be called a liar or a slut.  I want to have control over myself and my body.  I don’t want to be told that there are things I can or can’t do just because I’m a woman.  I want to have a place in this world, and I want that place to be where I determine it to be.  I want to be able to make my own decisions.  I want women around the world to not be treated like property.  I want to be treated like a human being, is that too much to ask?

So there you have it, this is why I continue to fight for women’s equal rights.  There are plenty of other reasons that I haven’t even listed, but rest assured I will get to that another day.  But now I ask, what are some questions you have been asked about why you continue to stand up for what’s right?  What are the reasons you continue to fight?

War on Women

What’s that?  The Republicans’ War on Women isn’t real?  We’re just making things up in order to be spiteful?  Oh yes, that’s exactly it.

Women still make approximately 77 cents to the dollar that men earn, and yet every single Republican Senator voted against the bill to rectify that.

We hear constant claims about “forcible” or “illegitimate” rape, with no word about what the other kind would be, implying that if you weren’t dragged into an alley by a stranger and beaten to within an inch of your life, what you went through doesn’t count.

These are just a few examples, for an extended list of the battles the GOP has waged on women, Stop The War on Women has given a great one here.

Sometimes I wonder why I even bother, and why I don’t just forget about all of this bullshit, pack up and move to a deserted island.  Not that I think it’s pointless or that I shouldn’t bother, more that it just makes me so angry I want to just close my laptop and walk away.  The fact that it is almost 100 years after women earned the right to vote, and we’re still dealing with so many problems, it just makes me sick.  On top of that, there are so many people who don’t even realize there is a problem.  That’s more frightening than angering actually.

If so many people are turning a blind eye to the problem, how can we ever expect to get anywhere?