Saturday, February 23, 2008

Discrimination; What's Your Station?


What do you say when someone is talking to your husband about babysitting and then (jokingly, although said someone did not know that I was (pardon me, you were) listening when he said it,) lists you as one of the children who need watching? Hmmm. Not funny.

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Not even really that funny when it is the other way around, and the husband is considered as one of the wife's kids. Which is much more the common form of the "joke", for lack of a better term. Right? Hmm. Not actually anger-inspiring, but certainly annoying to me. Likely because this is one in a long line of similar comments from someone.

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I grew up in a family where there were no gender restrictions; as a girl I played with Tonka trucks, climbed trees, made forts, baked, played with dolls, basically did whatever interested me. (Aside: which is probably why I am scared of manicures and pedicures.) I went to a Women's College and graduated thinking (knowing) I was as smart as anyone else. I went to graduate school and laughed the first time I came across gender discrimination, because I thought it was a joke, it was so flagrant; and once I realized that it wasn't a joke and it kept happening, I learned ways to work around it (or bring attention to it, on occasion,) and still get and do what I wanted. I went to work and got tangled in the old boy's network and still complain to whomever will listen, but I know how to get my work done and be successful. And every chance I get (and I get many,) I teach girls about equality, self-respect, and self-confidence.

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So I'm a little surprised that this comment caught me, but I generally don't expect to deal with stuff like this among friends and family. Just business, usually, you know? Or maybe I'm just getting sensitive. Or I'm getting spoiled. I really am not sure. I dealt with the comment with a good natured joking reply of some sort (people laughed, anyway) and moved on.

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So really, what do you do when you face discrimination? And do you react differently depending on who else is around you? I want answers!

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