You may have heard that flagrant misogynist/stupidly popular presidential candidate/all-around creepy guy Donald Trump thinks Hillary Clinton, dedicated public servant/former senator/former Secretary of State, only gets votes for “playing the woman card.”
As a recent woman card recipient (What took so long, society? My girlfriends got theirs when they were in fifth grade, getting catcalled from moving cars as they walked home from the school bus, but I had to wait til I was 26?), allow me to woman-splain what happens when your reproductive organs take precedence over anything going on above the neckline.
When I’m at a party and a co-worker suggests that female professors are nicer to female students, and I bring up the growing body of research that demonstrates the exact opposite, I get this look like, “Oh great, another feminazi.” Meanwhile, another guy gently shushes the first, presumably to shield everyone present from my menstruation-fueled fury. God forbid a roomful of aspiring scientists have an informed discussion about gender inequality in academia.
When I’m on the subway, headed to the aforementioned party, holding a Ziploc bag of cookies, a middle-aged homeless man strikes up a one-sided conversation about his favorite baked goods, his lack of self-control in the presence of sweet treats, and (not surprisingly I suppose) his history of diabetes. He wants me to know that all the women in his life are trying to kill him with good cooking, and also, could he have a cookie? I smile and nod and will the train to move faster. As I exit at my stop, I think to myself, “At least he was just being nice, I guess?”
When I’m walking on the street, around 7pm in a well lit residential neighborhood bordering campus, a complete stranger asks, “Excuse me, sorry, don’t mean to interrupt, but do you have a boyfriend?” I have to respond politely, mumbling, “Yea, I do, sorry,” as I try to speed up. Has any woman, asked the same question, regardless of relationship status or sexual orientation, answered otherwise? I’m annoyed and offended, but I’m also secretly grateful that he let it go after just one inquiry.
As I’m speed-walking away, I think to myself, “This person knows nothing about me. He can’t even see my face under my coat, hat, and scarf. Literally the only thing he knows about me is that I am a woman, small-ish, with dark hair.”
But that is enough.
So is that all I am?
Wait, what. No!
That is absolutely not all I am. Why can anyone make me feel like that?