I usually steer clear of the Observer, not just because I’m a total fascist who prefers the Sunday Times, but because the levels of middle-class w@nk usually soar off the charts. You know what I mean – the juxtaposition of a photospread on some ignored warzone with articles on which organic toys would be most beneficial to helping your darling three year old become fluent in French before he leaves nursery. Those people who can write about working from home (in their gorgeous London townhouses) and somehow equate the ‘rigours’ of shopping at Waitrose and writing one article per week with being on a chain-gang.
So when I clicked the Guardian link in my favourites yesterday, it was simple addle-mindedness because I had forgotten that it was Sunday. Imagine my surprise to find an article that didn’t make me want to stab someone in the eye with a divine antique letter opening they discovered after brunch in Notting Hill, etc.
Women really can have it all. Well, of course we bloody can! The writer’s admitted jealousy aside, it’s actually an incredibly positive article. No implications of sluttiness for having more than one sexual partner, no “spirits unsex me here” for women to have taken their place in the boardroom; no, this is simply a celebration of women behaving like people instead of being held back by their gender.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: the greatest threat to female progression in the workplace is other women. Men are easily overcome, and overt sexism is decidedly on the wane. Girls do perform better academically, and why shouldn’t that be converted into parity in the working environment. The only problem I have ever come across professionally is the spitefulness of other women, particularly when working in group environments. The not-so-silent disapproval when a woman pushes herself forward for promotion, the bitchiness and backstabbing – it is other women who question your femininity when you move into the traditionally male spheres, not the men themselves.
There was a slight tone to the article that the secret to success was in behaving more like a man, and while I think that premise is a little too far-reaching, I believe the process is more like being a political centrist – pick and choose from each side what will benefit you, what suits your nature, and proceed along those lines. If you’re too busy insisting how much a woman you are, that’s time that could be better spent on getting the job done.
This is what I want for myself – the six figure salary, the steady yet exciting relationship, the opportunities beyond those offered to my mother’s generation, and if I feel like it in 10-12 years, maybe a rugrat or two thrown in the mix. I don’t see why I should apologise for it, and it’s fantastic to read articles agreeing that I really don’t have to.
No I just have to hurry up and graduate, and start turning my brainpower into cash. It seems very far away today.
Also, Walkers Baked crisps are the work of the devil. I don’t even like crisps, why am I eating them? Bah, still, the lowest calories of everything in the shop.