I was brought up in a strong female household where the women had more degrees than the males and we could carve our own roasts. Even my favourite childhood books were about a female plumber, “Mrs Plumb” and her house-husband, presents from my godmother and her girlfriend.
Which is why it surprised me recently when some out and out chauvinism made my day.
I had woken up feeling fat and ugly. Maybe not literally (with the benefit of hindsight) but I had one of the days when my hair, skin, face and thighs showed the strain of a few weeks of hedonism.
Instead of hiding behind tracksuit pants and a headscarf, I decided to address the situation head on and go for a walk.
As I took off wearing what I thought were some exceptionally unflattering lycra tights, I started the usual female self-abuse by mentally cataloguing all of my flaws and comparing myself to friends and celebrities wondering if my bottom had sagged so low it had hit my knees yet.
That was until I heard a car horn beep repeatedly and insistently. Oh crap, I thought, someone I actually know has recognised me – from behind no less. Could this get any worse? As I looked up ready to die with shame, a tradie van drove past, one young bloke yelling out the window at me and the other beeping and cheering. “Wooooo hooooooooo sweat heart, YEOOOOOW”.
Instead of feeling any form of sexism, objectification, or repulsion I felt good. I smiled in spite of my feminist self. And what’s wrong with that? Did I feel like a piece of meat? Hell no. It was an innocent 5 seconds of those two bloke’s day that made me feel a bit better about myself for the rest of the afternoon.
So what does that say about me? That I need a man’s approval to feel good about myself? Or that my worth is measured by my rate of attractiveness?
I think it just means I think too much. Sometimes it just feels good to feel like a woman, and the woman in me likes her men to be stereotypically men – or at least one from the 50s.