My reference in this blog to men and women also include those who identify as such and transgender folk, too.
I feel like not a great amount of people understand what sexism is. If I read another comment from a disgruntled white man about women being sexist towards men, I think I'll scream.
You can be discriminative towards men. You can be a jerk towards men. You can have an attitude of exclusion towards men. You can not be sexist towards men. Here's why.
Sexism is a form of oppression. Just like Racism. You can't be racist towards white people. You can be discriminatory, but not racist. Oppression happens to minority groups, not to majority rules. You can challenge me all you like on this, but in this case I am right and you are very wrong.
And I know the dictionary says sexism is against any sex and actually, I believe that more if the definition is talking about transgender people or non-conforming to gender people, but, it isn't. The dictionary is wrong.
Moving on. It's International Women's Day, today. Ordinarily, I'd enjoy the day, reflect on the increasingly difficult road women have travelled to get to where we are now, feel compassion toward women in places like Mexico and the Middle East where life is still very difficult. But this year, I felt compelled to rant on my blog because of the comments section on stuff.co.nz.
Part of my job as a public relations and content strategist is to pitch stories about my clients to mainstream media outlets. I had three positive women stories in mainstream over the weekend, and I don't usually read the comments, however in this one I'm really glad I did. Because for the last few years, I've been reasonably protected from sexism and discrimination, thanks to my incredibly large privilege. The comments in that article are grotesque. Full of stupidity. And I mean real moronic comments from moronic men who really don't have a clue. Go ahead and read them, if you've got a strong stomach.
And bizarrely, up until May last year, I naively thought that equality was here. That we'd achieved it. That in New Zealand, our progressiveness had somewhat eliminated sexism and discrimination against women. Yeah, nah.
Last May, I was very pregnant and still pitching for business, because while I'm a working mother, I'm also self-employed and have a career and unfortunately ditching my career and taking a long maternity leave where I get to put my feet up a month before giving birth, actually isn't an option. My scheduled C-Section was on 7th July and on 6th July I was still pitching for business, but that's another story.
This pitch in particular (the one in June), was going well. I delivered my value, I educated best practice, I gave 10% of the solution away for free, because that's what I do. I closed well.
The next day I got some feedback. Not from the owner of the business, but from their receptionist. She said "The boss really liked you, but he thought your pregnancy would get in the way of you doing a really great job. He thought it might look weird, you being pregnant while pitching our story to the media"
Furious, much? Sure was. How can a man (or anyone for that matter) know how my pregnancy affects my ability to do my job. It was clear it didn't affect my ability to pitch as that was excellent. The work would have been well finished by the time I was due to have my scheduled c-section. And to comment on how I looked while pitching to the media? Honestly, mainstream media professionals don't actually have time to be affected by a pregnant pr person. Pitches are mainly done over the phone and email and in some instances in person where the relationship is incredibly strong.
After about 5 minutes of exasperation - (There's no time for a drawn out indulgence, I'm a self employed woman with a busy pr firm to run!) I got on with working with excellent clients who absolutely support working mothers, such as, but not limited to, IT Engine, OptimalBI, Simply Payroll, PaperKite, Posboss, Optimation, Spotlight Reporting and Red Vespa.
I'm back from my brief maternity leave because I love my job and it is my right to go back to work and earn an income for my family. My infant son is well cared for, as is my preschooler daughter. I'm lucky I have excellent clients on my books who not only supported my maternity leave, despite their work sometimes left in the hands of contractors who were a mix of both appalling and excellent, but the same clients support me now as a working mother of two. They are choice.