2013 – My Year in Review

This year was significant for me as a person, and as a woman – what a learning curve it has been.

It was the year sexism stopped being that thing that happens to others, and started being something that happens, period. Both to me and other women.

Perhaps it’s the feminist Facebook groups, perhaps it’s the intellectual discussions with the members of my department, or perhaps it’s just the things that have happened to me in the workplace.

“Ms. K told me not to call her babe,” complained a co-worker. “I was just saying it to be friendly.”

“That’s not something to make a fuss over,” I thought to myself. That was just about three years ago.

Before the Texan yelled at me in the staff room, and threatened me on the tennis court in front of the students, in the middle of a photo shoot, telling me the fact that I had cried because of his comments was unprofessional, and that if I ever did that again … well, I didn’t let him get that far. When I sought help I was the one J dragged to the other side of the tennis court, like I was the one in the wrong, like I was a criminal that needed to be isolated for everyone’s good. The Texan also tried to buy back my forgiveness a week later with a 5,000 yen Amazon voucher and a note, “Forgiveness is the best form of revenge.” Because I’m that cheap. Because I don’t deserve a vocal apology. Because I’m young. Because I’m female. Because I am nothing.

Before the goatee told me my hobby was sleeping with strangers. Before “Did you forget to take your pill? Is that why you’re so aggressive?” Before he never apologised to me. Because I’m young. Because I’m female. Because I am nothing.

Before the womanizer sent me a drunken e-mail telling me I dressed badIy, I dressed unflatteringly, I dressed frumpily. Telling me I had nice big boobs and a nice big bum, and that I should be proud and flaunt them. Before he laughed it off, like it was nothing. Because I’m young. Because I’m female. Because I am nothing.

Before the betrayal. Before the wolf in sheep’s clothing. Before my beloved and trusted HoD, the one I thought had my back no matter what became just the person who stuck the knife into it. Before his word was taken for it with no verification. Before he lied straight to my face to keep up a good working relationship, bending his own “honesty is always the best policy” rule. Convenient that. The best way to be rid of me. Because I’m young. Because I’m female. Because I am nothing.

Before the Cockney yelled “Imagine saying you’re the Queen’s gynecologist!”

Texan: “Eww! Maybe if she were 25!”

Right, because only young women and their young lady bits deserve to have sexual health care.

These are the things that have stayed with me, and made me want to scream and throw desks out of the window and pull my hair out and rake my nails down my arms in anger. Anger for what has been done to me, and even more for what has been and is being done to women less fortunate than I every day that goes by.

Every magazine that slams a woman for having cellulite, for having “let herself go,” for being bigger than a size 10, for daring to be less than perfect, is another nail in the coffin.

Every violence, every rape, every leer, every wolf whistle makes my blood boil until I’m afraid I will spontaneously combust.

“Real women _________.” This is BS. If you have a vagina, or if you identify as a woman, if you live and breathe, you are a real woman. If you identify as something else, that’s your reality, no one has the right to decide for you, or tell you how to feel, or be.

I must thank the perpetrators. Without them I would have continued to live in my castle in the sky, to think that sexism was all in women’s heads.

Without them I would not be angry.

Without them I would not have the rage enough to speak out.

I will scream until you hear it. Until your ears bleed. Until you have no choice but to listen.

This is me. This is my rebellion. I have a voice. And you will hear it.

 

 

Goodness, that was a very angry and emotional post, wasn’t it? But I’m glad I’ve gotten it all off my chest, very cathartic. As you can probably tell, I’ve been though a lot this year, but I’m actually very grateful for it all. I have learned a lifetime’s worth of stuff in a working environment where I have not always felt safe (something I would never have believed possible), more than I could ever have imagined, and hopefully it will serve me well in the future and I’m stronger for it. Here’s to a wonderful 2014 – I’m ready, so bring it on!

Happy New Year to you, lovelies! Stay awesome, just the way you are.

Chuuu xxx

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18 thoughts on “2013 – My Year in Review

  1. Very empowering post! I’m so happy you wrote this as I could feel your frustrations leaving you and you feeling at peace ❤ Here's to a better and peaceful year!

    Christina

    • Thank you 🙂 Fighting this battle isn’t over yet, but I’m trying to be positive about it, live my life, and have faith that karma will make sure justice happens 😉 Justin was so right when he sang, “What goes around comes around comes around, goes all the way back around”… or something like that 😀

  2. I think I’m a little bit in love with you 😛
    I had actual tears and smiles while reading this because I related to it so much. While nothing in any way scary or confrontational has happened to me, as I continue in academia I am constantly discovering how deep the underlying sexism goes. While there are women in my department, there are few I would identify strongly with. There are “its a man’s world so I’m going to dress and act like a man” ones and those who striving so hard to be accepted as “intellectuals” they eschew any clothes or activities that don’t scream “I am serious! Take me seriously!” I waltz around in yellow dresses, wearing too much pink, passionately talking about my hobbies, playing Disney playlists in my office. Down with the patriarchy, I’m going to be whoever-the-hell I want to be!!

    • Aww thank you so much for your comment, my darling! It has got to be one of the top ten compliments of my life! I am definitely beaming from ear to ear right now 😀
      We must be soul mates of some sort because I’m the one with the pink sparkly pens and adorable stickers in my staff room 😉
      There’s a quote I came across last year, and I LOVED it – “Always be yourself, unless you can be a unicorn. Then always be a unicorn.” Isn’t it fab? 😀 Let’s be our awesome selves, always! It’s the best way to give patriarchy the finger, I reckon xxx

  3. Hi dear, I’m so sorry you had such a shit year. I wish I had something to offer to fix these things, to make them stop happening, to give the world a good shake and demand why does anyone think this is OK, why do we not shun people who act like this and drive them from society. But in lieu of that I will say you are not and will never be alone. I see this bullshit. I am on your side. Obviously from the comments, lots of other people are too. And though it’d be nice if our day of victory and vengeance were RIGHT NOW, at the very least, it’ll come.

    If you ever find you need help getting your head around peoples’ horrible behavior, or advice on dealing with it in the most efficient and beneficial way for you, I am a big fan of http://www.captainawkward.com. The advice there has really helped me feel like a) I am not the one acting “crazy”, I am right and b) I am prepared and in control again when bigoted nonsense happens.

    GOOD LUCK in the new year. Wishing you all the best. ❤

    • Thank you so much for your support my darling, it really means a lot to me! 🙂 2013 wasn’t all bad, but it has been one of my most challenging yet, especially on the work side of things, something I never thought I’d have a problem with. There is a lot of testosterone and big egos and empire building going on in my staff room, so I can only assume it all plays a part.
      Also, I must thank you for the link you’ve provided – I’ve been checking it out and I think it’s so fabulous that there is someone out there like Captain Awkward, who offers sensible advice to people 😉

      Good luck to you as well! I hope you have a truly marvellous 2014. I’m definitely looking forward to your future blog posts 😀 xxx

  4. Hey tweet, I meant to comment earlier, but… what a week. But nevermind. It’s Friday.

    Reading this I feel lucky I’ve only ever had one silly comment from a co-worker.
    The idiot once thought I’d appreciate his advice on how to dress. He said “you’re fit, why don’t you wear something nicer for work?”
    With “nicer” he meant “more revealing”. And don’t get me started on the word “fit”?!

    I was about to write a long rant about magazines and the media harrassing female celebrities for having gained or lost weight, having pimples or a bad hair day… but I deleted it. I simply couldn’t stop ranting. Maybe I’ll do a post about it some day.

    • You should! I’d love to read it, and also, I wouldn’t think that I was the one being mental or overreacting! 🙂 Why do men even think it’s acceptable to make comments like that?

      I just happen to work with a number of white, privileged, egocentric, know-it-all, two-faced, pompous men who have their heads jammed so far up their a******s there’s just no hope for them – Japan seems to attract them, and they seem to all have gathered at my workplace *sigh*.
      Sorry for being crass, but I feel so much better now that’s out – it’s been tough week 😉
      Much love xxx

  5. Well said, well vented. Sorry to hear you’ve had to listen to and put up with such BS though. Texan is an all too familiar character I have seen in Japan. It is probably not legal to write what I would like to do with his kind. As for HoD – I hate when people let me down; the loss of the kinship is always far greater than the act they perpertrate. Sorry for your loss 😦

    Another of my mantras “onwards and upwards”; sounds like your ready to do just that in 2014. 🙂

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