I wrote most of this post before the elections, but I figured today was a good day to finalize and officially come out as a feminist. Because today, the biggest lie we all want to believe has been debunked.
“Girls, if you work hard enough, you can achieve anything.”
Turns out, you cannot. One of the reasons I really love tweeting and blogging (with TimeHop) is that it allows me to see my past self reflected, every day. I can see how my opinions have grown more and more feminist over a relatively short time span. I mean, in 2013 one of my propositions with my defense was that “There is no such thing as positive discrimination” , meaning affirmative action is bad. While I am still on the fence about quota, my reasoning behind it has drastically changed. From my own blog post (January 2013), I took these two quotes:
“I am aware of studies showing the bias for male candidates” and “I don’t feel like I need it”
OMG the cognitive dissonance! I am being discriminated, but it is fine! I will make it. Okay, one more quote from the horrible piece: “I do not feel in need of help and this makes me feel uncomfortable about the whole idea.” I am so ashamed. How ignorant and selfish I was, just 3.5 years ago. At this point I am just leaving it up as a reminder to myself to never stop learning. Before I wrote this sexist bullshit, I even attended a lecture by a female Dutch scientist, who showed me the famous picture of the Solvay conference.
The picture was accompanied by the words “Marie Curie is the only one in the picture that has two Nobel prices. That goes to show that as a women, you have to work twice as hard” I was willing to work twice as hard, and I felt that other women need to do that too. Stop whining, start working, and we will make it. But, I stopped believing that, after a while. Mainly after so many confrontations with studies about bias and people unable to believe them. It started with a blog post explaining why I had a hard time sympathizing with feminists. Clickbait title -> many views 🙂
I mean, I said it before:
“changing your mind is the only way not to die stupid”
Why the f*ck did I ever believe this shit? Well, because us girls and women, we are being lied to. If you work hard enough, you will make it. If you play nice enough, all will be fine. Be like a boy, but not too much. Work hard. I believed this! In school, in high school, in college, in grad school. I was doing fine, wasn’t I? My grades were good, I got papers accepted, people inviting me for things. Yeah, there was the occasional backlash, annoying questions about my “background”, remarks about my body, positive and negative. But all will be good and things will change.
I really do not know why we feed girls this crap. I mean we do tell them about the killing of seals, the demise of the planet (as a kid I was terrified of acid rain!), the horror of WW2. Why don’t we just tell them about bias, about sexism and racism. Let’s all stop pretending that the world is fine and women (and other minorities) have anything like a fair shot at anything. Yes, some us of do make it (I might) but that does not mean the whole system isn’t rigged against us.
If today taught us anything, it is that it does not matter how good you are. Two times, five times. You can have devoted your entire life to fighting injustice and inequality, and you can still lose to literally the least qualified man in the history of the US. You can spend I do not even want to imagine how many hours on being female enough but not soft, looking likable enough but not girly, moderate your tone but not too much, be strong enough but not manly, and you will still lose to a man just shouting words, because A) he will get the benefit of the doubt, every fucking time, and B) the majority of people in power look like him (minus the orange)
I stopped believing the lie, slowly, steady, through my own experience and education. Today is a huge wake up call. Your qualities, your effort and likeableness have nothing to do with anything. People are sexist. They forgive Trump his lies and his demeaning behavior towards everyone, but hold Hillary accountable for all half truths and political realities.
All of us (me included) are sexist and racist. Let’s talk about that. So much policy is based on this idea that women need help. This is at the core of “Lean in”, diversity panels and forums, and even quota. This all would not be needed is we would just address our bias with (for example) blind interviews, and clear checklists for job interviews instead of relying on “culture fit” and double standards.
PS Also climate change.