Back at my old primary school, every year there was an event called the “Western zones”; essentially a multi-day sport contest between the eldest two years of kids from primary schools in the area, the winners of which would go on to represent the region in our city-wide games. In this, instead of track & field events, we all had to choose two sports to play in from a list of four. There was football (soccer), rugby, netball and volleyball. Now, I’ve never been an athletic person. I’m fat. I always have been. But, that’s a different can of worms. My first year, I chose football and netball. I’d never so much as stepped on a netball court during a casual lunchtime game, so I had no clue what was going on. The one time the ball actually came my way, I did manage to pass it correctly to my teammate, so I guess that went ok. But when it came to the football, I actually kinda kicked ass. I had chosen football because I genuinely enjoyed it (despite how rarely I played), and netball because I thought I “should”. It’s always been presented as a girls’ game, right? And yet, I was bored stiff during that game. In the football match, I was shooting and passing and shadowing like nobody’s business. Even this one boy, who’d been my “arch enemy” since year 2, commented on how well I was playing (this kid was English, so he was pretty much treated as an authority on the sport). And he sounded surprised. I know, it was most likely because I’d never once showed any enthusiasm for sport before this at school. But part of me always suspected it was also because I was a girl. Don’t get me wrong, that little bit of encouragement really boosted my confidence for a good while. He’d just sounded a little too amazed, if that makes sense. Either way, next year I opted for volleyball instead of netball. Would’ve made Sakura Avalon proud.
This is basically directed at my dad, so apart from changing the names, I just left it in this letter format seeing as I wrote it as I was feeling it. Coarse language and severe satire follows. Fucking patronising dickhead “when you’re done with your intensive studying can you clean up a little?” fucking prick, because ‘Jacob’ is so clearly the golden child in this situation, sitting in his room, isolated from the world, doing nothing with his life except maybe pissing me off on a daily basis when he looks smugly at me when you praise him. ‘Oh, ‘Jacob’ cleaned the kitchen tonight…’Elaina’ you could’ve cooked dinner for your sister’ Well maybe ‘Jacob’ shouldn’t have eaten our hardworking, uni student-sister’s leftover lunch, and maybe you should’ve cooked dinner. Of course as soon as it becomes more complex than sausages, you refuse to look up a recipe even though you can’t cook- and even when I try to help you find one and make suggestions, you act as if some great burden has been placed upon you and decide it’s too hard. I’ve given up on cooking for you fuckheads because I spent hours finding healthy recipes which wouldn’t inconvenience me too much in (in terms of cooking skill and time)-between having a life, trying to lose weight because I’ve been insecure about that since forever (and thanks for letting ‘fat bitch’ slide for a good 7 years with ‘Hayden’ [other brother], can’t comprehend why such a nickname could be harmful), doing homework, and feeling miserable because I had no friends. Then I would go shopping with you, to which you would always complain if it took too long, then we would get home and I would unpack the whole fucking thing. Emphasis on I. ‘Jacob’ would so graciously bring a few bags inside before he went back to his room. Well done Golden Child (who has a penis), well done! Then I’d cook the damn meal, you’d make some remarks about how the kitchen was a bit messy (sorry I’m not a 50s housewife looking to protect you from dishes). And when I cooked, the dishes were never cleaned properly, so then I would have to re-clean the pots/utensils before I cooked. Worst case scenario, I wrongly assumed you or ‘Jacob’ had completed a simple task, and yet in the middle of cooking the meat, I get last night’s sauce coating tonight’s food. Poor you, you fifty-year old adult, I can’t fix your life when you’re fucking up mine on a daily basis. I used to rely on you before, but now I prefer it when you fuck off, because I don’t need you throwing a tantrum in the kitchen and turning your anger towards me. I’m done taking it, I don’t care how much you scowl at me, this is not going to be a one-sided conversation in which you are correct because you happened to ejaculate some sperm during an orgasm you fucking dickhead. “‘Elaina’, you should do a little more around the house” fuck off. On top of everything, when I came home feeling lonely and miserable from school, I had you in the kitchen-every fucking day and I am not exaggerating-yelling about every little thing. ‘Why is there an empty cup on the coffee table’ Because I’m done with life so I recently just took the last sip of coffee so I can be prepared for your bullshit. I dealt with it for too long, so you only have yourself to blame for the teenager who no longer enjoys going to school which makes doing homework a billion times harder as you helpfully suggest that I should do some laundry as ‘a break’ from studying. I still love you, because you can genuinely feel bad and apologise for these things and you can still be kind, but I don’t want to live under the same roof as you anymore. This keeps going on and we don’t put space between us, the space we will inevitably find will be permanent, as much as the thought of removing family from my life sickens and distresses me. Rant over.
Another sexist advert: McCain Roast Potatoes- just like Mum’s. Because of course only mums cook, don’t they? What about families where the dad does the cooking, or where the parents share the cooking (or indeed if the mother isn’t on the scene for some reason, or if the family is a gay couple who have kids)? The advert for this product is sexist to both women & men. Newsflash, McCain- it’s not just women who cook- men cook as well! This is 2016, not 1956!
A couple of annoyances about sexism with regards to roles in relationships: Some people seem to think that proposing marriage is a ‘man thing’ (i.e. the man should do it) on the grounds that it’s ‘traditional’ for it to be done that way. Last weekend, I was at a wedding reception, & I was party to a conversation where a couple of people were saying as much. To add insult to injury, two of them were women, & one of the women was my sister- a very intelligent young woman, who I thought was quite liberal-minded. She also said something along the lines of how her now-husband (my brother-in-law) wouldn’t have liked it if she’d proposed to him. Whyever not?! Why shouldn’t the woman propose to the man, for heaven’s sake? Talk about sexist, patriarchal & outdated ideas! That conversation annoyed me, & I remember sighing exasperatedly while it was going on. I didn’t want to challenge them on the grounds that I didn’t want to get into an argument, cause a scene & make things even more uncomfortable for the bride’s brother (my sister was talking to him & his girlfriend) than they were already that day. Another gripe revolves round same-sex relationships. Some people seem to think that in such relationships, one partner is the ‘man’ & the other is the ‘woman’. Surely that’s missing the point of a same-sex relationship? Homophobia AND gender stereotyping here, folks.
A few incidences of casual sexism today: I was in the ladies’ washrooms (toilets) in House of Fraser today, & I noticed that there were baby changing facilities & a nappy dispensing machine in there. I wonder if the same provision was made in the gents’ washrooms- as at least one other poster on here has pointed out, not only women change nappies! I also went to Debenham’s, & when I went to the Womenswear section (where there were also kiddies’ clothes), I noticed that the sections were segregated by gender, & there was a section for girls which was pink & a section for boys which was blue. There were also boys’ clothes with things like dinosaurs on, while girls’clothes did not have things like that on them (I can’t remember exactly what there was on the girls’ clothes). When I was at the bus station waiting to catch the bus home, I noticed a sign to the ‘Mother & Baby [something or other- I forget exactly what, it could be baby changing facilities)]’. What about fathers- don’t they change nappies too?
My favorite four-year-old is a tirelessly sweet child who loves hugs and is filled with empathy for his playmates and family members. Unfortunately, in the last year he has started expressing shame for enjoying activities that are outside stereotypical boy gender roles. I expect he is being teased at his daycare. I don’t blame the kids at his daycare, as they’re mostly too young to understand the perpetuation they’re participating in, but it hurts me to see him hurting instead of shamelessly enjoying the world.
Several things have happened at work in the past week. The first thing was when my male colleagues were discussing the WWE and wrestling. I joined in and proceeded to demonstrate that my knowledge of the topic was greater than any of theirs. One of them asked me if I was a man or a woman, as he couldn’t tell anymore after that. These are the same people who laugh in my face when I insist I am capable of lifting things at work. The second thing that happened is a male colleague openly objectifying women passing on the street. He blatantly gawks at them as they walk by, very conspicuously craning his neck to do so, after which he says “Niiiiice!” loudly and unashamedly. It’s so demeaning. Another male colleague suggested that this behaviour might get him beaten by a man accompanying one of these women, for looking at “their women”. Thirdly, the worst thing to happen was yet another male colleague discussing his 20 month old son. His son has become very aggressive lately and kicks violently when being changed and frequently lashes out at strangers for no reason. I understand this; children need to behave like this from time to time to test their boundaries and so that parents can show them right from wrong and establish these boundaries when they lash out. My colleague doesn’t establish boundaries or reprimand his son. He has told us all that he encourages his son’s aggressive behaviour and is delighted by it, as he thinks it means his son will be dominant when he’s older. Toxic masculinity is instilled at a frighteningly young age. This same colleague mimed head butting me and told me to “watch what [I] say” when I made a half hearted joke that his son would ride a pink bicycle when he’s old enough to have a bike.