Thursday, June 7, 2012

It’s a Man’s, Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World After All

Sigh, it happened again this morning. It’s so reassuring to find out your place, your status, your worth. Let me give some examples:

May I speak to your husband? Sure, and tell him to finish cleaning the toilets while you’re at it…

Is your husband home? Home? For the love of god I can’t get rid of him.

Would it be possible for your husband to be there when I give you the quote so he could decide then? Why, sure. And the fact that he could care less what color I paint the laundry room is completely inconsequential…

I can’t give you that information without speaking to your husband. Would you have to shoot me if you did? I swear, he’s not my mama.

Do you work? Well, of course not. We all know that housecleaning and yard work and child rearing have zero labor component involved. It’s a freakin’ miracle around here…all the time.

Do you have a real job? And you think you’re being more politically correct by phrasing it this way. You think wrong. It’s real, what I do, real irritating, real annoying, and at times real rewarding…just like a real job.

What do you do for a living? I breathe in and out…how do you keep living?

We refinanced our mortgage recently. And I so thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I loved, loved, loved it when I called to close out the home equity line, which we had never drawn a single penny on, and was informed that they could only do it with my husband’s consent but did not need mine. This despite the fact that I signed all the papers for it and my name was on it. Hubby called them and they said it was just that I was not considered a responsible party - woo hoo, time to replay my teenage years, this time with money - despite my name being on it. Hmph, betcha they wouldn’t have had a problem tracking me down like a dog if we’d taken money on it and hadn’t paid it on time, uh huh.

And after the refinancing was completed the mortgage company has about broken their necks to thank hubby for allowing them to have our business. Ask me if I’ve gotten a thank-you call or email – go ahead, ask me, I dare you. Now who do you think pays the bills around here? I don’t mean makes the money, I mean gets all the bills set up to draft on time or the checks in the mail? Hmmm? Why that would be the person with that Bachelor’s of Science in Accounting whose work in the world used to be worth a pretty penny…But I’m worthless in the world now because I bring in no income of worth.
I’m sure all of you have heard about the famous heel-in-mouth moment by Hilary Rosen, a political strategist who was quoted as saying that Ann Romney had never “actually worked” a day in her life. I blogged about it, and Mary blogged about it as did many others. But the issue is deeper than the Mommy wars. Long ago I realized that the only judge that counted regarding my children was my own conscience. I didn’t stay home to make a political statement and when I was working it wasn’t to make a political statement either. It was to make sense of where I was supposed to be at the time.
And whether I’ve been in an actual workplace or at home, the dismissal of women has been a recurring theme. Let me share some more examples, this time from my prior life:

Can you take the notes? The secretary is out. (Why, no I can’t. See I’m at a higher level than you are, so you take the damn notes.)

What would you do if we had an emergency at the plant and you had a sick child? (Well, I’ll just tell my kid to call a cab, of course. He’s brilliant for a two-year-old.)

Can you make us some coffee? (Nope, I don’t drink coffee. Perhaps you should ask one of the admin’s instead of the CONTROLLER.)

Every single statement I’ve used has actually occurred. My answers have not, well, except the once – I’ll let you pick which one that might have been. Sadly, I could give more and more examples. And even sadder, there are women who dismiss other women – because they can’t seem to comprehend our own value. They’ve been brainwashed…or they’re just stupid, err unenlightened…take your pick.

Women are often summarily dismissed. I lay part of the blame at how we are raised to be accommodating to others, but at some stage of life, you would think most reasonable people would recognize how unreasonable it is to dismiss others. Perhaps we should judge people based on how they treat others and not on their income. As the mother of two sons, I am thrilled anytime they discuss topics with me on an equal level. Of course since they are teenagers I’m actually thrilled if they just acknowledge me, but on a deeper level, I want them to know that women are not to be dismissed. And it actually is a lot of work to raise men out of boys, especially men who recognize the worth of a woman.


  1. This is one of the best things I've read in quite some time.

    I only wish I could write as well as you do.

  2. You hit this one out of the ball park! It doesn't seem to matter if you "work" in or out of the home. I had the local newpaper call and ask to speak to da hubby. Seems that even with working outside of the home, I still am not valued enough to make a decision...oh, and the paper? Nah,I'll read it online.

  3. Paul - thank you so much! I can't tell you how much that means to me. Mary - you know exactly what I'm talkin' 'bout!

  4. Evelyn, it took my divorce more me to realize HOW accommodating I had been of others...especially toward my (now) ex-husband and children. I completely agree that women are conditioned to be that way. Great writing!!


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