Dinner with the Three Headed Monster last night.
Hockey Girl went first: “So [my name], what did you do for work in America?”
I hate this question. But, I get that it’s a normal question, it’s always going to come up sooner or later. “Oh nothing much,” I said, kind of shrugging casually but super aware of all their eyes suddenly on me. “I specialized in getting fired from crappy dead end jobs mostly.”
There’s a silence. Then Asterix pipes up. “Is that a competitive field?” He kills me!
Here’s the thing. I didn’t actually finish high school. And when you don’t have a high school diploma, it’s kind of hard to go to college. Or get a masters, which now seems to be required for most career jobs. Never mind that I’m smart and could do a lot of jobs that I can’t even apply for, that’s how that is. And actually, I’m okay with that. Yes I know I’ve had time and probably, if I’m honest, opportunity, to get my GED and I can’t really tell you why I haven’t. In a weird way I sometimes think it’s because I resent that I have to. I’m self educated (I grew up with my nose in a book which is why my grammar is a lot better than a lot of people way more formally educated than me) and I guess a part of me wants that to count for something.
Anyway, defensive rant over. It is what it is.
So, I’ve had a colorful “career”. It’s not impressive by most people’s standards, but I’ve supported myself since I was 17 and actually worked some interesting jobs with interesting people, but it’s so varied because I take what I can take, that I can’t exactly say I’m a “…”. And I can’t always be bothered explaining all that to people (and I don’t want to go into the reasons I dropped out, especially not with people I already feel uncomfortable with), so I usually mutter some throwaway remark or sometimes, if I’m unlikely to see the people again, will just make something up (that doesn’t always go well… 😉 ).
Then ABBA Girl said: “Good thing you came here then, maybe you can start a new career.” And I forced myself to keep smiling and telling myself that she was probably trying to be nice in her condescending bitchy way and mumbled, “maybe.”
And then, I can’t remember who started it, probably Hockey Girl, they all started on this conversation about how women have a duty to have careers because of feminism, and I was like, no, surely the point of feminism is that we each make individual choices for ourselves? Why is forcing all women to be high flying executives any better than forcing them all to be stay at home moms?
I’m totally on board with solidarity in terms of slut shaming and reproductive rights (‘down with’ and ‘up with’ respectively), but I also think that an aim of feminism should be to accept and acknowledge that we’re all individuals with different choices and challenges and circumstances, rather than this one big single entity “women.” Men get to be individuals. If one guy is a layabout or a jerk or heck, a psychopath, everybody accepts that that’s just him, he doesn’t have to represent “men”. But it’s always “women want”, “women are”, “like all women, I…”. Speak for yourselves!
Oh, and, it wasn’t just me being spacey and oversensitive last weekend. Those guys are jerks.