Sunday, May 15, 2016

Update - My Scribbles

The Subtlety of Ignorance


The problem with sexism is that these days it's far more subtle, so subtle in fact, that some people are totally unaware that they themselves are discriminative in nature. When we become complacent with sexism or any kind of ism, we are in danger of simply accepting this nonchalant mindset as a society.

Due to the nature of my 9-5 in retail, I am forced to listen to the local radio over the speaker system 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, it's my idea of torture, however because I've worked similar jobs over the years, I've developed a knack for drowning out the repetitive and dull music, as well as the incessant drole and pandering nattering of talk-show hosts. 

However, on occasion, perhaps when I find my mind wandering from the menial tasks required of my position, I am caught off guard by an ignorant, thoughtless or provocative remark wafting through the airwaves. more often than not, the comment has been delivered by he talk-show host.

Now I understand, part of their job is to create controversy in order to get listeners passionate enough to participate, however this reasoning does not excuse the use of sexist remarks. 

I was unfortunate enough to be listening to Neil Prendeville's show just a few days ago. The store where I work is rather large so it can be difficult to properly hear the speakers, which helps when I'm trying to drown out the noise. As I was carrying out my daily duties, I happen to hear Neil's co-host talking about a woman, who had been faced with blatant sexism at her place of work.

It turned out she was responsible for greeting clients at reception and then would escort them to their meeting within the building. From what I could gather, she had decided to wear flat pumps on her feet rather than high heals, which landed her in some trouble. 

When questioned about the shoes, she queried as to why her male colleague wasn't required to wear high heals, to which she was met with hysterical laughter.

This alone, boiled my blood but what truly infuriated me was Neil's puzzlement and his rationality behind his own thinking. He commented on how this woman had gone to the trouble of looking smart in her suit and spoiled it all by wearing flats, he went on to ask his co-host "Do Women want to be men, is that it?" 

Again, I understand that he needs to create conflict in order to hold onto his listeners but A. Be controversial with something worth arguing against, who's honestly against equal rights? And B. His puzzlement seemed genuinely ignorant. He wholly believes that woman need to be concerned with looking smart, rather than actually being smart. He humbly believes that every woman out there, deep down strives to be a man?

Why would I want to be a man? So I have the ability to whip it out and jerk it on an plane?

I want the same rights as a man, I want the same pay prospects as a man, I want the same opportunities as a man, I want to be treated fairly, based on my merits, skills and intelligence, as a man would be. I want men to see me for my brain, not for my footwear. I'm pretty sure what any woman wants is fair treatment and respect. If we make a decision to wear flat shoes because it makes us more efficient at work, then respect our logical decision.

I could divulge further and list examples of daily sexism that I encounter during work, again not all is super blatant but more often than not, I could be talking with some male colleagues, a customer would approach and I would greet and acknowledge them, however they will most likely then turn to one of my male colleagues for help rather than me. Don't ask me, I'm just a girl.

Anyway Neil, despite your disappointment, we are real women and real women don't always fit your expectations of being dainty little ladies who clip clop along in their high heals for your entertainment and pleasure. I will continue to spoil my smart outfits with a pair of flat pumps, I will continue to expose the world to my flawed, bare face everyday and I will continue to lounge around in pyjamas and hoody while I write at home.

Anyway, don't just take my word on this scourge of ignorant sexism, Emma Watson goes much further in her stirring UN speech.

© Sarah O’Regan

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