I was part of a very loud, very proud, very female angry mob today.
"Women, reclaim the streets!" was their protest cry. That, catcalls, ululations and loud metal music.
I walked with them. After a wedding and pasta dinner, I had time to kill until my train home left - I ran into them, and something clicked.
"Sloggi = Sexistenlobby" was another of their slogans. They gave me a flyer. They're young. Proud. And angry.
I don't fit in - hey - I just returned from a wedding. I didn't expect to walk with a demo through our Capital city.
They're all clad in black, autonomous, red shoelaces, short hair (I fit in there), energetic, and loud.
I walk with them, because their issues concern me. This summer I had a few revelations.
This summer I awoke from part of my world. In my world being a woman is neither an advantage nor a disadvantage. Gender has never been an issue. I am Cindy. And that's it. I happen to be female, and that's neat. So, I can have babies and look a bit different and stuff. Hey, next life I might be a man, who knows. This time round I'm a woman, and that's it. End of discussion.
That's what I thought.
This summer I realised that that was in my world only. In this, the "real" world, in this Western, civilised world, with our equal rights laws and women suffragette, in this world there are still gender based differences.
They are not blatant and obvious anymore - I have the right to vote, I can attend any school I like to, I'm supposed to earn the same salary for the same job - yet...
There are differences.
Some unconscious even, some obvious.
Guys at night (well, evening after nightfall) give me catcalls. I hate that. On the train home they give me the look. I hate that. They wouldn't do that to another guy - would they? I ignore them and despise them in their alcohol induced stupor.
"Women, reclaim the streets!"
That's just part of it. The part that really pisses me off is the subtle part. The part people are hardly conscious of. The most obvious part there is the whole "yeah, it's nice that you have this really cool education and it's neat that we let you work for a bit, but I think you and I we both agree that kids are best raised by their mothers."
Girls here are taught how to cook, how to mend, how to clean - guys - well... If they're lucky their parents taught them.
The other, more unconscious part is in schools. Teachers, subconsciously pushing boys more in one and girls more in other directions. Guidance counsellors recommending certain choices, lines of career, based on some vague subconscious idea about gender.
At university - every 2nd student is female, only every 14th professor is a woman. Lack of ambition? Lack of support?
And then, at work, why is there still a difference in pay? And in career chances?
There are tons more examples - This rant has been written before, and probably needs to be written time and time again.
This summer I woke from my world where these issues were not any issues because it was clear that gender had no influence in my chances on life. I realised, that though my world is probably ideal it is far far from the real world.
Today, I realised that I'm not alone in my realisation.