Women’s equality. It seems like such an easy concept, not to mention that women make up half of the world’s population, so why is it such a fight to gain equal footing? If you are waiting for the one-word answer here, it’s going to be awhile. In the meantime, I want to share a story of my trip to the vet with my dog, Lennox.
Lennox was a Murphy’s Law kind of dog; if it could happen to him, it would happen to him. On this particular day, he was playing with my daughter and she scratched his eye, so off to the vet we went. This was our first time going to this practice since we had just moved to the area, but the office came recommended. I called and they were able to see him that day. Great! Now, Lennox had a long medical history and I had it memorized because that is what Mom’s do. At this appointment, we met with a young, female veterinarian who took her time reviewing his medical history. This was dutiful and appreciated, but Lennox was annoyed and partially blind, so he became agitated around minute 45 and it was time to go. She was great about it and we left with eye ointment and a follow up appointment for a week later. For this appointment my husband was free, so he joined us. After about 5 minutes of waiting, an older, male veterinarian, who happened to be the head of the practice, came into the room. Within a few seconds of walking in he announced, “Oh, I am glad the Alpha is here this time” and proceeded to shake ONLY my husband’s hand. I am pretty sure my jaw remained open for about 30 seconds before I was fully able to process what had just happened.
Now, as all you women out there that are responsible for the pets, children, spouse and house know, there is no doubt who the Alpha is in your home. My husband may be bigger than I am, but my dog listens to me. I found myself in strange waters. I came to expect stereotypical reactions in certain areas of my life, but I never expected to have to prove myself in a veterinary exam room. He assumed I could not handle my dog and was somehow incapable of being Alpha without knowing a thing about me or the nuances of our last appointment. Instead of being solely focused on the health of my pet, I spent the rest of the visit using 4+ syllable words, maintaining full eye contact and answering every question with ninja-like precision. By the end of the appointment, the vet questioned if I had a degree in the medical field, apologized for the long appointment last time and shook BOTH of our hands as we left.
Why did he automatically assume that my dog was agitated because I couldn’t handle him? Why did he feel the need to make a statement as he entered our room and attribute dominance to my husband? But most importantly, why did I have to prove him wrong? For equality. As a woman, and one of smaller stature, I have had to be a little louder, a little more confident and, frankly, much more clever than those around me to be seen the way I know I SHOULD be seen. When I say “Women’s Equality” I am not saying it because I only want equal pay or a management position; I am saying it because I want people to see no difference when it comes to ability or aptitude just because I'm a female. Equality means opportunity, but it also means no excuses and no hand-outs. I want to earn everything I am given and be given the opportunity to earn everything. To be judged independently of my gender, that is equality. So, the next time someone decides to judge your role based strictly on your gender, show them how proud you are to be a female. And with grace and kindness, permanently change those ugly stereotypes that have no place in the 21st Century. #americanbbservations #19thamendment #commoninterestclothing
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