Thursday, April 6, 2017

Bloody Hell

Not that long ago, not so very far away, I was a bright eyed teenager going out on my own into the world. I went to an Interview for a local retailer and was ushered into the cubicle of a low level manager and his dumpling of a secretary. I wore a short skirt, because that is what I owned in 1974. I sat down, adjusted my skirt, and came to attention. The manager greeted me as Miss and asked me a series of questions, most of which I do not remember. But there was one question I DO remember- quite clearly in fact. He asked me if I would have any trouble directing servants.

Yep. Servants.

I was taken aback, because in my family I WAS the servant.

Now before I tell you the rest of the story and my reason for blogging today, let me just take you in the Way-Back Machine ( And if you know what that is, you can skip this section if you like!)

In the days of Black and White Television, there was a little show called " Hazel", She was the maid of a middle-class white family. She was sassy, and bossy and got into some hi-jinks or other every week. She kept her family safe and happy while doing her job with a smile. I take the time to add, Hazel was a middle aged white woman.

Then there was The Brady Bunch and their lovable maid named Alice. She ran the kitchen, deferring to Mr. Brady's wise and sage advice all while keep the brood of six children well fed and rounded -up. Mrs Brady did nothing but sit on the couch and look pretty.

Since there were seven of us children in our house, I used to ask my mother," Why don't we have a maid?" Her standard answer; "You all are the Maids."

So When Mr Manager asked me if I could direct servants, I didn't hesitate, I said "of course."

Then he asked me if I was planning to get married and have children.

After escaping the above-mentioned family with 6 children and all my families chores, of course I said, "No.".

I learned much later that those kinds of questions were really inappropriate. The reason they asked was to determine how much training they were going to give me in my job. If I was only there to look for a husband, they were only going to give me basic work. If I wanted a career, ( AKA No Children) then the Company would invest in more training and a higher salary for me.

A few years later, I applied for another job. I again went to the interview in a short skirt. The Interviewer asked me why I wanted a job at UPS. I told him I liked trucks, and showed him my work hardened hands. He hired me on the spot. I don't know if it was my hands or the fact that I had a great pair of pins- it didn't matter. I got the job, and for the next 12 years I fought like a wildcat to keep it.

Why? Because men did not want to give a young girl a job in a man's industry- driving trucks.
I was asked daily why I wanted to take away a MAN's job? I guess it didn't occur to them that I was supporting a young daughter by myself.

If I had ever called in sick because of a bad cramp, or said I couldn't lift the boxes, or couldn't haul the truck around, I would have lost my job. I did that job- rain or shine. I did it while sick. I did it while pregnant and I even lost two babies while doing it.

Feminism~ bah! When the men on the line are watching you, waiting for you to fail, waiting for you to cry Uncle, waiting for you to break down, you learn to just bear down and work. Because of me and a few hardy women like me, we made it possible for other women to have those higher paying but difficult jobs. Our mantra: Anything you can do,I can do too. And we did. And we looked good doing it.  

Like Tom Hanks said in a League Of Their Own, " There is no crying in baseball.."

So when I heard on the news the other day that Italy has implemented a Menstrual Day Off Policy I just about croaked. I feel like the rug was pulled out from under our feet and that all the sacrifices that my women friends and I made are for nothing.
For so many years we worked like men. Demanded the same pay, the same days off, the same benefits as our men counter parts, only to now have some bull shit legislator undermine it by giving us Menstrual Days off.

As if having a Period was a sickness, or worse, a weakness.

I am ashamed of our young women, to use our femininity like this.

What next?
Ordering servants around?