MEN: This may come as a surprise, but I just thought i’d casually bring to your attention that NOT EVERY ASPECT OF MY LIFE IS INTENDED TO PLEASE YOU.
Ready for my real-life example?
The other day, I was discussing my career plans with a man friend. I told him I was considering a career in English teaching or journalism, to which he bluntly responded, “That’s hot.”
What’s hot about my aspiration to become an English professor? Or a newspaper journalist? Is that some kind of joke? Or do people really have fetishes for those with a fondness for language arts?
This sort of makes me feel as though my man friend wasn’t taking my career plan seriously.
If this conversation had been an intelligent, two-sided conversation in which both participants were genuinely interested in what one participant was expressing, it would have gone a little more like this:
Me: “I’m thinking I want to be an English professor.”
Man friend: “Oh, really? What made you decide that career path?”
Me: “Well, I love to write and learn about literature, and I think it’d be a fun, challenging career to teach students how to write.”
Man friend: “Well that sounds like a great choice for you, then!”
And then it could continue in the same manner.
But, this was indeed not a two-sided conversation in which both participants were genuinely interested in what one participant was expressing. It was a boy belittling a woman’s intelligence and ambition.
I wasn’t trying to be hot. I was trying to answer his inquiry of what I would like to become when I grow up. Did it ever occur to him that maybe it isn’t my constant goal to impress him and gain his approval when we talk? That maybe I was trying to have a person-to-person conversation and express what my aspirations were?
It all comes back to shallow, physical attraction, doesn’t it?
Because Heaven forbid some guy would actually want to know what my passions and interests were, just for the sake of getting to know me better.
Another lad and I were having a similar discussion earlier today. In an effort to flatter me, he asked if i’d ever considered modeling as a career. I told him that I hadn’t because I do not advocate the fashion industry and media’s glorification of physical beauty and skinny-ness.
His response? “Well, maybe you could try acting then?”
Arg. Another point completely missed.
He thinks I have the looks to be displayed and manipulated in the media as an icon of what “ideal beauty” is. Which, frankly, I don’t take as a compliment at all. He hadn’t even considered the possibility that maybe I had no interest in a career in the media.
This is just a prime example of the objectification of women. The belief that my physical beauty should be used as a commodity to promote and sell physical items, as well as a skewed and artificial icon of what a beautiful woman is.
There is way more to a woman than her physical appearance. I have far more to offer than my looks, thank you. And I intend to pursue a career that suits my interests and puts my intellectuality to good use.