Thank you, beautiful

I usually only post on weekends, but yesterday I didn’t really write much. Plus, today I am very angry. My day was going fine until 1:30, then one thing after another kept coming up as if trying purposely to make me bothered. It started off with a comment from a girl in my class. She was reading the newspaper and then suddenly started laughing. She had found a headline called “Ku Klux Klan paid a black transvestite for sexual service”. Then everyone started laughing. I don’t understand why in the world the newspaper would think it is appropriate or even necessary to say that Ku Klux Klan was having sex when he was arrested, let alone that it was with a transvestite person –though I have my doubts whether or not the person was really transvestite or preferred some other term that better represents their identity and gender. The only reason to say that the person he was having sex with was black is because Ku Klux Klan worked for a racist organization, otherwise that information would also be absolutely irrelevant.
Right after this, somebody shouted “¡Hija de p***!” outside our classroom window (literally means daughter of prostitute in Spanish). It’s actually the most used insult here in Spain, but after having my gender discrimination sensitivity mode turned on, the swearword really got to me. It is incredibly sexist. First of all, the fact that you are calling somebody else’s mother a prostitute is not nice to the mother, but also offensive to the prostitute. Prostitution is not a thing to laugh about. Women who work in this business usually have no other option but to do so and I can bet that they probably do not enjoy selling their bodies to older men who are most likely to have sexual desires that they could not put into action with women who they don’t pay. If one of these women happens to get pregnant, they will have to abort (though they can’t anymore thanks to Gallardón’s new abortion law) or keep the baby and, most likely, bring it up on her own. This means she cannot continue to work in the sex industry while she is pregnant –or after, really- and has to somehow find another job. If there were other jobs available to her she wouldn’t have become a prostitute in the first place. Now, calling somebody a son/daughter of a prostitute is underestimating and ignoring the incredible work that the mother must have gone through to bring up a child in that situation.
Hey, but my class wasn’t over yet. My history of art teacher goes around asking everyone whether they knew the answer to her question, and of course nobody did (how are we supposed to know which artist made a statue she barely mentioned two months ago?). When my turn to say I didn’t know came up, she said “you have no idea, do you, beautiful?”. This comment offended me. Mainly because I am not a girl and I dislike being so noticeably gendered like this, but also because she would have never said “you have no idea, do you, handsome?” if I was male. It’s as if it was ok to state that my looks are acceptable even though I am clueless and ignorant about art history, because it is important for girls to be pretty. It doesn’t matter if a boy isn’t good looking because he is expected to have the brains, while it is preferred that girls have the looks instead of the capability of thinking for themselves. Not only that, but it also seems fine if somebody comments my appearance for no apparent reason whatsoever; I’ve had bus-drivers, cinema ticket sellers, shop keepers, even old men I help up the stairs say something about how nice I look when saying thank you or goodbye. These comments are not welcome and always make me feel insecure and inferior to the other person; clearly my appearance is the most important factor about me. Couldn’t the old man who I helped have said “thank you, you strong girl”?
I finally left the class and thought I could go back home and crawl into a corner of my room and hate the world, but then I saw a shirt in a shop as I was walking down the school slope that had the phrase “Who needs Google? My wife knows everything” on it. This actually links to what I said before; girls have the looks, boys have the brains (non-binary genders are totally ignored, of course). When a girl gets “too smart”, smarter than her male companion, that is, she will be named “know-it-all”, “impertinent” or even “bossy”. You probably wouldn’t find a shirt that said the inverse.
My sister then convinced me to go shopping with her because she needed to buy summer clothes, which was a big mistake, but I might get into the male and female sections in shops another day.
What are your thoughts about these aspects of gender discrimination (or other aspects)? I will say goodbye now because I have an exam tomorrow about a book written by the only Catalan female author you might ever hear of, Mercè Rodoreda.

Look at Mercè's lovely laugh!

Look at Mercè’s lovely laugh!

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4 thoughts on “Thank you, beautiful

  1. Casual sexism (genderism?) is rampant. It’s ingrained in our culture here in the U.S., too. I’m most disturbed when it comes from another woman — I guess I’d like to think we’re a sisterhood fighting against stereotypes together.

  2. I really appreciate reading your observations here. These types of things certainly bother me a ton too. People should treat all genders equally but instead the subtle sexism is everywhere, all the time, and far too often I probably don’t even notice it but I’m sure I do notice it and get bothered by it much more than most people. Because I read about these issues online and I realize I should care.

    • I became a feminist because of a webcomic I read online. One of the characters is extremely into the gender equality thing and it really got me thinking about everything.

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