Archive for January, 2011

The absurdity of paternity leave

January 15, 2011

I am pregnant. For all sorts of reasons we have decided that – all being well – I will take 4-5 months maternity leave, and my partner will take 3 months unpaid leave to follow on from that. This will provide our future child with 7-8 months of full time parental care before we start to partially outsource things.

When we told my partner’s mum about this plan she asked me: “only 4 months? Our daughter took 9 months off work to care for her baby” then turned to my boyfriend to say: “what is your employer going to think if you take 3 months off work?”

Well, what does she think my employer is going to think if I take 9 months off?

DOH – stupid me – of course it is my responsibility – and mine alone – to sacrifice my work for my child – #MFIF!

Trying-to-be-pregnant-together, London, UK

PS my partner was awesome! He told his mum that 4 months plus 3 months equals 7 months – which is almost 9. Brave man!


BP’s diversity strategy

January 15, 2011

I work for BP’s trading organization. We just had a round table discussion about how to get more women into higher level roles, and into trading. Our Head of Trading said that we were going to start “recruiting female athletes for the intern trading program, as long as they can count.” This was after he attested to “giving permission” to the recruiters to lower the bar so they would get more female recruits. I guess it’s #MFIF

BP employee

Patronised by my union

January 15, 2011

I work for the NHS and am a member of a trade union. My union proudly claim to fight workplace discrimination, whether based on gender, age, race, sexual orientation, etc. I just received a 2011 diary from my union, and couldn’t help but notice it is pink. Yes, pink. I wonder if the male union members also received pink diaries?

Well, I doubt it, because we all know by now that pink is for girls and blue is for boys. Am I a 4-year-old girl? No, I’m a 30-year-old paramedic, and not only do I hate the colour pink, but I also hate gender stereotyping. It’s bad enough that my patients are surprised that a woman is “allowed” to do my job (what with all that fast driving and heavy lifting- how on earth could a woman do that?!), but my own union supports the ridiculous notion that anyone in possession of a vagina must automatically like a certain colour.

Well, I think pink is vile, and I’m off to cancel my union membership.


Lady in green

Always with the food!

January 12, 2011

I live interstate, so I don’t get to see my family all that often. But we got together for a big dinner, and all was lovely until Mother started telling my sister-in-law that she wasn’t feeding my brother enough.

My brother pointed out that HE did all the cooking in their household, and he wasn’t exactly going hungry. Mother listened to all this, nodded, then said to my SiL, “But you really need to make sure he eats properly.”

Embarrassed sister-in-law

Man who needs feeding

January 12, 2011

After years of having only crappy minimum wage jobs with no benefits, I finally found an ok job in a major insurance company. For now, it’s an entry-level position in the call center, and my schedule is 1pm to 8:30pm, Monday to Friday.

When I announced it to my mother-in-law, instead of the expected congratulations for finding a job that will finally take me over the poverty line, she said, in shock: “But HOW will my son eat DINNER?” hum… let’s see… he will open the fridge, take out the food, cook it, eat it, rinse his plate, and put it in the dishwasher. But I guess this is no good, after all, my place is at home to cook for my husband all day, even though he has an entry-level job himself, we have no children, and the cost of living in our city is exorbitant. #MFIF

Sophie LB

Making up for lost insults

January 12, 2011

Years ago during my first year at university, I was having trouble writing a paper for a politics class and I went to the (highly respected) professor’s office to ask for some guidance.

He spent less than 5 minutes addressing my questions and then dismissed me by saying, “I really don’t think you need to worry about this so much. Someone as good looking as you will do just fine.”

I was too flustered to respond, muttered “thank you” and walked out.

It’s been 8 years and I’m happy to say that I’ve channeled my anger into creating an arsenal of responses for all subsequent events of this nature. I’ve never passed up an opportunity to use them. How many other women did he demean like that? Oh wait, I’m sorry. It’s #MFIF

Just a useless female student, USA

No wife at home

January 12, 2011

I’m a management consultant- and I do know that means long hours, lots of travel and often thankless work. However, about 6 months ago I refused to do a trip that would have meant I was at home for 4 hours in 6 weeks, which I was told about at short notice. I was called into the partner’s office and told off- I was disappointing the client etc. I said I didn’t think the request was reasonable, explained that I had basic admin I needed to do- I needed to leave money out for the cleaner, pay bills and check post, do some washing etc and that I thought my proposal (going home over two weekends) was better given the demands on my time. His face fell- and he said ‘I suppose you don’t have a wife to help you out, do you’- before he told me I needed to arrange my personal life to ensure it didn’t interfere with my work.

There is so much wrong with this I don’t know where to start- from the ‘anytime, anywhere’ business model, via the assumptions about wives and their roles, to the disadvantage anyone without a stay at home partner is forced to surmount. And when did doing washing become my personal life?!


One rule for the girls, another for the boys

January 12, 2011

I’ve recently begun hanging out with my boyfriend’s friends (all guys), and I’ve decided that’s been a mistake. Despite thinking for the past few weeks we were getting along great, I realised how wrong I was.

A few nights ago one of the guys had a going away party. My boyfriend and I had been there for a few hours, I’d had a little to drink and was enjoying myself but wanted to talk to my boyfriend about some things on my mind. I took him upstairs and we were followed by jeers and catcalls. I didn’t care and we went into the bathroom to talk. About three minutes later the door was being banged on by some of his friends. I invited them to come in, as we weren’t doing anything suss, but clearly that wouldn’t have been funny so they didn’t.

Spurred on by the playful/reckless behaviour I adopt when I drink, I thought it would be a great joke to go down and play to their suspicions. I went down first, and was greeted by an expectant silence. I smirked and high-fived the guy who had been banging on the door. You know, cause that’s what you do? Or is it just guys? Oh, only guys are allowed to do that and girls aren’t? Right.

I’d never been slut-shamed, and had no idea it could happen when it involves someone I’ve been with for nearly two years and come from people I considered friends, but clearly I didn’t get the memo. I was immediately met with disgust and shit like “Oh man, don’t touch her, you don’t know where it’s been!”

Humiliated and speechless by this reaction, I went outside to get away from them. Moments later, my boyfriend came down the stairs.

Guess what he was met with? Fucking applause.

Thankfully, he’s a wonderful person who took me home soon after when he realised what had happened and how angry and upset I was. I shouldn’t be so surprised and pissed off that everyone else did that though, right? After all, it’s #MFIF

C, Australia


January 12, 2011

I told my boyfriend’s parents that I was a feminist.

Me: …Yes, I’m a feminist.

My boyfriend’s mother: Oh dear, I’m not too sure about that stuff. I do love a good apron you know.

My boyfriend’s father: I know you do darling.

MFIF or… My fault I’m a feminist.

Ella, Iceland

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