I work in male dominated professions and you learn very quickly don’t challenge a male ego and don’t be the bitch in the office or your life will be so much harder. One of the most recent interactions that I found particularly messed up was with two of my male work colleagues. They stopped by my desk, asked how my weekend was (it was fine) and then I asked how their weekend went. They spent it with their kids and they were tired. I said I was happy I didn’t have kids. Sighhhh. Here we go. One asked how old I was (37). He said I looked good for my age and I could still have kids (great he knows about my reproductive capabilities by looking at me). For the record my husband can’t have kids and I have failing health and it would literally kill me to have a child. I don’t mention this for obvious reasons. I simple said I wasn’t having kids. He returned with the only way I wouldn’t have children is if my husband got ‘fixed’. At this point he is so insistent that I should have kids I just agree. Yes my husband got the operation and can’t have kids. You’d think he’d leave me alone after I just agreed with him. Nope. He then said, well – you should divorce your husband to find someone to have have kids with. I just stared at him. Did he just tell me to divorce my husband so I could have children? Children I don’t want and can’t have? Because he thought I should. Yes. Yes he just did. You would think he’d be embarrassed by prying into my personal life so much but nope. If anything he really wanted to ‘win’ this idea of me having kids… anyway possible. I just smiled and said OK. I stared at him with my fake smile until he left.
How hard is it to find a new babies card that is plural, neutral or mixed gender?! My mom recently gave birth to triplets (YAY), two girls and a boy. I had to settle on a card that said something along the lines of ‘your little ones have arrived’ with a sunshine on it.
As a father, I have struggled with protecting my children from sexism. When my daughter was a newborn (until the age of 2) I had trouble convincing my colleagues, friends, and family, that it did not matter what color her clothes was. She was a baby and did not care what she wore. But they all insisted she needed to wear “pretty dresses.” I work hard to find “dolls” for my daughter that did not promote the sexuality of the female body– and I have worked equally hard to convince my son that his super hero figures are “dolls” as well. But what I have found particularly troubling was that the people who seemed fine with allowing my baby daughter to wear “boy” clothes (or whatever it was) when she was a baby, were not OK when I wanted my baby son to wear those same clothes. This includes my wife.