Reader Titfortat posed a very interesting question that, in my opinion, deserves a separate thread:
I’m curious if any of the theorists in magic land actually encounter even 1 tenth of the nasty gender stuff they claim happens out in the real world?? That question goes out to both male and female that inhabit Clarissa’s fine blog.
In my own life, I can say that it took me years of very painful struggles to get rid of gender conditioning that was undermining my existence in a variety of ways. In grad school, I remember lying on my bed trying to read a book in preparation for the comprehensive exams, and in the meanwhile, this nasty voice in my head kept reminding me that reading was not what a woman should be doing and that it made me a total loser as a woman to be doing that.
There were forced public gynecological exams I had to undergo as a child since the age of 11 (Soviet Union, everybody). I had to get married when I didn’t want to in the least because good girls didn’t shame their families by having long-term boyfriends, they got married. I’ve been pawed, harassed and beaten in the street by men who didn’t accept a “no” (Ukraine, people). I’ve been fired from a teaching position for being “too pretty” (Montreal, folks). I’ve been offered a lesser salary than male colleagues with lesser qualifications for the same job. I’ve been told more times than I can remember that I’m not a real woman, I’m a man, I have something seriously wrong with me for wanting to have a career, for not being interested in finding a husband to keep me, for paying my own way, for liking to read, for liking my job. Every single time I heard this, it came out of a woman’s mouth. I’ve had male colleagues suggest that my good grades, my publications, my grants were all a product of me sleeping with both male and female professors. I’ve been slut-shamed by female friends many many times.
Still, the hardest part was getting rid of my own inner gender conditioning, learning to accept all the ways in which I didn’t conform to the gender stereotypes of what a woman should be like. I think I managed to do it, and it has been such a relief to shed the burden of gender expectations.
So this is my story. Please share yours.
I’ll make this post sticky for a while, so that people can share their own stories of how gender stereotypes, roles, conflicts and issues hurt them in their lives. Scroll down for new posts.
Please remember that I’m not looking for statistics on what happens in New Zealand or wherever. This is a thread where we share personal stories. Anonymity is welcome.