Tuesday, November 27, 2012

And then I got all deep and philosophical while maybe not wearing a bra on the train.


Ok so I like to consider myself all enlightened and worldly and a totally independent woman, akin to my soul sister Beyonce. But lately I’ve realized that I’m kind of none of those things when it comes to standing on a bus. Or a train. Or really doing anything that requires extra physical exertion during my daily commute while a man sits down and reads his paper all bragg-y and non-chivalrously.  And I'm really starting to get on my nerves.

I mean, dude. No contest. 
You see, I was raised knowing that, being a girl, I could pretty much do anything a guy could do, plus some. Like alright, a guy can probably, in general, lift heavier things than me. Unless it’s one of those hipster guys who has a moustache and wears ironic shirts around Brooklyn, in which case I can definitely lift heavier things than him and also not get on everyone’s nerves every waking moment of the day. Plus, I can totally have babies, theoretically, even though I haven’t proven that yet and everywhere I go people try to remind me that my clock is ticking and so I really should get on with it already.

So anyway, I already know that I’ve got this woman thing handled, and because of people like Gloria Steinem and Madonna, I can go both bra-less OR sport the cone bra and it doesn’t make me lesser than or better than or pretty much anything other than incredibly uncomfortable in both scenarios. So when I find myself getting irrationally annoyed with man strangers on a bus, I have very conflicted feelings about my frustration and then I get all confused, tired, hungry, and basically just take it out on some male co-worker for no reason at some point during the day.

See? Told you I was a woman.

But answer me this: is it possible to be both a feminist, without all of the weird, negative connotations attached to it, and also really want the 25 year old guy in a suit more expensive than everything I own to get up and offer me his seat on a crowded train?

No? Yes? I need answers, people! 

Perhaps it’s the years of realizing that I (or some other woman) am usually the one who offers my seat to the elderly person or pregnant woman on public transportation. And then the guilty guy next to me does the half get-up that he feels obligated to charade for all to see once he realizes that he was a complete a-hole for not doing this in the first place.

Thanks for fighting for my
right to be cray-cray.
So then obviously I do the polite thing and decline while secretly judging him for the rest of the ride and feeling superior for my selflessness. I mean, duh.

But if I was truly playing the equal-but-equal card, I should be no less inclined to get up off my keister than Gordon Gekko over there and not think twice about it, right? Is it possible to demand equality but also want the guy to sometimes hold the door for me and offer his seat to the ladies?

Is it insulting? Am I over-thinking this? Is it lunchtime yet? I’m exhausted.

Help me out here, what do you think? 

18 comments:

  1. I'm like you, I will be annoyed I gave up my seat, but won't take it when he offers it back to me. I want equality yes, but I'd also like some chivalry.

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  2. Yeah, I feel the same way. I mean, I always hold open doors for people or give up my seat for the old, infirm or pregnant, regardless of gender (except for the pregnant one, but EVEN THEN, you can identify as male and be pregnant), and I don't necessarily think it's a matter of chivalry or feminism to do so, but rather common courtesy. Ergo, in a world of true equality, yes I'd expect a man to do the same, but only because I'd expect ANYONE to do the same and yes, I probably will sit there and quietly judge you if you don't.
    That being said, if I'm wearing heels and Mr. Dudeface is wearing sneakers, he best be standing up for me to sit down, and there will be no polite declining. I'm taking his damn seat. And, just to be fair, if I ever encounter a dude in heels and I'm in my sneakers, I will extend him the same courtesy. But, if he's in wedges, lets be real. Those are comfy. I'd stand in them, too.

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    1. Great points all around. That's maybe more of what it is, you just want people to have some common courtesy. Plus, maybe I'm a teensy bit sexist?

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    2. I was with you up to the heels.

      You ~could~ wear sneakers to work and then change into your heels. Or you could wear wedges every day. The type of painful shoe wear (and I'm sympathetic to your plight, though I don't wear heels myself) is still a personal choice.

      Just, ya know, sayin'.

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    3. Aargh! Painful shoe wear is not always a personal choice. For serious. I have been in a battle with bosses before because even though they may not say that wearing flats/brogues (even to and from work) is unprofessional for a female professional (although that has been said a number of times, just not always), some have certainly made it difficult and made snide comments regarding it. I know that the attitude is different because I have only had to wear flats exclusively for the last year due to a foot injury. I am completely against this attitude, my view being that women should be able to wear flats with suits so long as they are smart, but it is prevalent in old school professions, and can negatively affect your career. This is the case even to and from work, because if you are seen by your boss or coworker or, heaven forbid, a client(!) then you are still representing your firm/boss. I can't actually imagine a pair of wedges that would be appropriate for professional wear, but perhaps someone can find a picture... It is also very difficult to even find women's shoes that are comfortable and not sneakers, even if they ARE flats!

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  3. I think it's about courtesy, mostly. And maybe (here's a generalization) it's because we're women and we can multi-task. While dude is sitting there, reading his paper, he's probably so engrossed, he doesn't notice that an elderly person has gotten on the bus, and that he should offer up his seat. He's probably thinking only about the financial section or whatever it is that he's reading, and any courteous sense he has is left behind, since he can only think about one thing at once.

    That's probably a horrible stereotype, but I'm just sayin'. My husband can't put his laundry on if he's going to watch TV, no matter how many times I explain to him that in this modern day, you don't have to stop everything you're doing to do laundry.

    Then again, maybe Mr. Businessman just likes the view of your ass as you stand in front of him. That could also be it!

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    1. Haha I like the way you think! It must be the last one. ;-)

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  4. I agree wholeheartedly with all said here, I am a bit on the men being gentlemanly and less douchey with their newspapers and obliviousness. I love a door held for me (especailly by my husband who sometimes lets it slam in my head - he's a nice guy but ^^ oblivious sometimes) So yes, I dig it when a guy will give up his seat or hold open the door and the best! Let you go ahead when you both reach the Starbucks line at the same time. Hells yeah, I'd date THAT guy or maybe buy him a latte cuz' I'm gentlemanly like that. :)

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  5. I JUST had this discussion on Facebook a month or so ago. Someone was complaining about the same thing. Having to stand on the bus. Now, she isn't old, or disabled. Just female (ha ha.) Anyway, I think that if we are equal, we are equal. Sitting, or standing. I don't need his seat. And I could offer one to him, if he was standing. I just feel like it is one tie-all tie.

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  6. I think I'm going to remove my bra!

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  7. Whoops, I forgot to tell you I just dropped by from SITS and hope you will return the visit!

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    1. Oh than you for the visit!!! I hope you'll come again and I'll definitely return the visit!

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  8. Interesting that you bring this up. This week the ACLU is suing the Pentagon to get women assigned to "Front Line Combat" roles, which is one of the only areas that still uses gender as a deciding factor who to assign. Not that women aren't in combat, but just that, presently, if a role is defined as "Front Line Direct Combat" then it's a male's only role. There are lots of other roles that will get into combat, it's true, but that distinction still exists.

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    1. I saw that today, too!!! I'm so ahead of the trend. ;-)

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  9. Chivalry will ALWAYS be in fashion. Otherwise, I like common sense. Whoever is carrying the most crap gets the seat! :)

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    1. Oooh good rule! And I totally agree!

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  10. I get stupidly tired after really long days at work (and am still tired the next day going in) and so will always nab a seat if I can, but I don't think I'm entitled to it just because of my sex. If someone offers me their seat, I don't take it until I've checked their age and whether they're carrying stuff, but I will take it. It is often the older gentlemen who want to give up their seat for me. I usually say, "I'm fine!" and they insist, at which point I see that it will actually make them happy, and yay I get a seat, so why not. And in the UK, I have noticed that the males here are much quicker off the mark to give up their seats for pregnant/elderly people (and women, though that tends to be the older gentlemen rather than my peers), so I don't have your gripe! I always keep one eye/ear open for new passengers and will give up my seat in a second for pregnant or elderly people. I always think that it's difficult for people who are feeling sick or faint because they often don't look ill and so if they take a seat they get death stares if they don't give up their seat (has happened to me a number of times as I always look fine!).

    I get most annoyed by people who are on child or concession cards who don't give up their seat, regardless of gender. I had bags of energy when I was young AND they pay less for the ticket, and in Australia (where I'm from originally) they were the public transport rules. That gets me riled up!

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