We ran a series on Women of HR where contributors discussed whether or not there are lines, i.e., societal expectations, in the workplace that are different for women vs. men.
I was thinking about the amazing posts in the series as I, mascara in hand, got ready for the day. Gender differences. Societal expectations. Been there. Done that.
I worked in a male (military) culture, was almost not hired for a position because I was living with a man who was not yet my husband and experienced the joys of being on the receiving end of harassment more than once.
I see these instances as matter of gender related lines, yet, I don’t see the same when looking at my overall success and failure. A friend posted on Twitter a few weeks ago, “I’ve never experienced or been aware of gender inequity. . . is it male/female OR something else? If I fail, it’s ME, not because I’m a woman.”
Welcome to my world.
Naivete? No. And I am sure about that. I am also sure that there are ‘lines’ in the workplace a man clearly does not have to endure.
What ‘lines’ am I talking about?
I am talking about bathroom lines, panty lines, hem lines, laugh lines, and (biological) time lines. How about lip liner, eyebrow lines (aka unibrows), hair lines, and tan lines? Let’s not forget smile lines, crow’s feet, and cheek lines.
Think about this:
- The Worldwatch Institue reports that the amount of money spent annually on cosmetics in the United States is $8 billion. This is $1 billion less than the amount of money needed each year (in addition to current expenditures) to provide water and sanitation for all people in developing nations.
- Nancy Lynn Kanter, Beauty is Inside writes on her website that our culture bombards us with ways to make our external selves sparkly, svelte, and sexy. Unrealistic standards of beauty not only hurts our self worth, but diminishes our social and political power.
Wow. A man can set his alarm clock to t-10 minutes to departure, jump in the shower and hit the door running right on time. Not me. I don’t get very far or anywhere very fast as I bemoan the morning rituals that delay my departure (stomps feet and sifts through her Lancome, Clinique and Jane Iredale Minerals stuffs).
“The … problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn.” — Gloria Steinem
Unlearn the morning ritual? Fly in the face of cultural messages? Prepare for the inevitable questions, “Are you feeling well?” “Did you change your hair?” “Is that a gray hair I see?”
No, not this girl.
Lines exist. So what?
I am much more than the color of my eye shadow and my power is not in my hemline.
Photo credit iStockPhoto