Kolika Elle Kirk

Kolika Elle Kirk
Kansas City, Missouri, USA
March 08
Pastry Chef
Follow me on Twitter @WannabeGourmande OR check me out on Blogger for my more-recent food adventures at http://wannabgourmande.blogspot.com/


JUNE 7, 2012 12:19PM

A Young Woman in America

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Being an American woman is extremely confusing...especially in times like these.

 For those of you who hadn't already heard, pretty much every single Republican senator voted "no" on the Fair Pay act. What's that? It's the thing that ensures equal pay for equal work - you know, instead of women making 77 cents to the dollar that men make.  That may not seem like a lot, but 77% of 30k a year is 23.1k. And 77% of 40k is 30.8k. And 77% of 50k is 38.5k, and so on and so forth.

 So let's say a woman holds an executive position or an office position. If she makes less than a man does already in that same position, wouldn't that be enough of an insult? Well, what if she makes a mistake? A tiny error or a bad presentation one day. If a man in that same position were to do that, it would probably be written up as a 'no harm, no foul' or 'some days just suck' kind of thing. If she were to make a mistake, then it would probably be a mark on her entire gender. 

"That's what I get for putting a woman to do a mans' job," some might say.

And what if she had children and a career all at once? She would likely be pressured or ridiculed for 'ignoring' her kids, or not being able to concentrate on her work because of them. If a man has kids and a full-time career, he would be called amazing for showing his the time of day.

 The sucky thing about Male Privilege is that not everybody is willing to admit its there. Of course it's there! Even if you, the person who is reading this, is a man and you think it's stupid and outdated(because it kind of is), doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

 Oh don't get me wrong. I would much rather be an American woman than be a woman in Iran or Afghanistan or China or India. There are places in this world where the separation between man and woman is monumental - like, a housecat has more rights than a woman does.

 But the point is that being an American woman is confusing. Since the day we are born we are told one thing by our dads, one thing by our moms, one thing by kids at school(more like twelve), one thing from teachers, one thing by relatives... For some perspective, here are the messages that I, personally, have been given from my life on this earth for the past 24 years, all presented to you in one, big, run-on sentence:

Don't  dress like that, dress like that, sex isn't okay, sex with protection is okay, birth control is a bad thing, I hate condoms so we're not using them, you have to make these decisions by yourself, you're not allowed to decide if you want to have kids or not, you have to get a job, don't date anyone like this, don't date anyone like that, you're stupid, you're selfish, don't be such a doormat, date someone with a job that will take care of you, take care of yourself,  life is compromises, nobody likes a smart girl, don't pursue guys because guys like to chase, just let it go, don't get pregnant, get married then have babies, listen to your boyfriend, you don't need a boyfriend, you don't need anyone, be okay on your own, he's treating you that way because he likes you and doesn't know how to express it, you probably deserve it, don't dress like that if you don't want me to look, don't whine about male privilege when you don't have to deal with female privilege, women have it all, women have equality and supremecy, stop being such a femenazi, how can you claim to be a femenist if you think like that, I thought that women didn't like this, chivalry is dead because of women like you, shut up, shut the fuck up, you deserve this, don't trust something that bleeds for a week and doesn't die, get over it, you're such a bitch, don't be a doormat, tell me what you feel, hang on I'm doing something, don't talk to me while I'm doing something important, you're never going to get a man like that, change yourself, you suck, why are you like this, fuck you, you never listen, you're crazy, hey it's not your fault that you're a woman, it's not your fault you're crazy, suck my dick, if you support women in the military then you support war, get back in the kitchen, go sit down where you belong, you won't go to prom dressed like that, you need to get your hair styled, nobody will ever like you like the way you are now, don't be so smart, keep your thoughts to yourself. 

 Keep in mind, these are statements that are from both men and women. 

 Being a woman in America is confusing. I think we have to deal with a lot of crap from men, just like men have to deal with a lot of crap from us. I feel bad for men because they're sent a lot of mixed signals about women, from women, to women...there's no clear message. And it sucks being a woman trying to make something for herself in this crazy world full of crazy contradictions.  Truth be told, there are plenty of time I wished I was a man, just to see what it's like from the other side.

 I'm sure that being a man in America is confusing, especially when you have to deal with American women who have - basically - been crazy-conditioned since the day we are born. Cracked.com even did an article on the "5 Ways modern men are Trained to Hate Women".  (It's actually a really interesting read, I highly recommend it, even if it is only on a case-by-case basis.) Our society is extremely complex. There are even days when I wish I lived in a more strict society with harsher gender roles just so I could finally know my place and where I fit in with things.

But this is America, where change is good, and we have the power to take a step in the right direction. I just wish that - since we live in an equally confusing world - we should get equal pay for equal work.

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It really is maddening. As a society we are not yet past the point where, in the workplace, there are distinct "negative" and "positive" columns that include categories individuals cannot control. Race matters, gender matters...a lot of things that shouldn't matter...matter. It doesn't seem an undue burden on employers to provide a hiring and pay structure that starts all employees off on equal footing.

I work in an environment that is mostly women, and while all entry-level employees start off at the same pay rate, the way to increased pay is to take on more responsibilities, promote creative individual projects that are designed to increase profits and promote the business, and just be a good employee -- be reliable, flexible and pleasant to be around. Why should anyone be rewarded for attributes that are unrelated to job performance? Yet, there's no denying that in a lot of industries white men get a head start over women and minorities with the same qualifications.
yeah the gender thing is pretty crazy in this country. lots more on that in my blog.