I was just having a wee browse to myself through the shortlists for the blog awards when MissMaryMcGill gave me pause. Hmmm. Sexism. Depressingly familiar stuff. I stopped following everyday sexism on twitter, despite it being fascinating, because there was just so much of it.
So what was the pause for? The realisation that I’ve reached the invisible stage. My social life is confined to people/ places I know well. I don’t travel much. Anyone who thinks that I’m a housewife would be horrified at the state of the house. I’m not experiencing everyday sexism in its blatant fashion. I’m not naive, I know the invisibility thing is part of it, that I live in a largely patriarchal society, and that women are bearing the brunt of Dave’s political agenda. In my everyday world I’m bothered by all that, but not experiencing it full on. Unless of course I’m shopping, when the merchanisers think I need my own special ‘women’s interest’ magazines, or a ‘for her’ biro.
Generally, it feels like I’ve vanished from view. If I were an actor I’d have been despairing the lack of roles for the last 10 years, but I’ve only just recognised the gap. (Not the sharpest tool in the box, me.)
Now that’s not to say I don’t feel underestimated and disregarded at times. That, I certainly do. I think the basis for that isn’t my gender, per se, but that I’m unpaid. Even some health charities can be inclined to pat carers on head and consider us ‘too emotional’, too unaware of ‘the bigger picture’. A volunteer should maybe be labelling things in a charity shop, not considering strategy, or speaking to politicians.
Sadly for them, volunteering has helped me find my voice again. I’m learning the politics and the varieties of big pictures. I will always care and be driven by experience of emotional and distressing situations. Paid or unpaid, I will not be walked over. My opinion – and those of the thousands like me- matters.
I’m 47. My white hair is dyed blonde. I have a chronic illness and a big mouth. My confidence is returning. I will not be invisble. I will be part of the outside world.
Then maybe I’ll experience that everyday sexism again… updates as they happen…
Warning, blatant cheeky bit: don’t forget to vote for your favourite blog post this week.