Oh shit, I just said the F word
18 months ago I crept home from London, cold and exhausted from six months of working in what I had assumed would be The Job Of My Future.
I have returned to the Motherland for a flying visit, now the fuller version of myself. As is glaringly obvious from this blogging thing, I'm no longer a lawyer. What wasn't so obvious pre-blog era was that I was a shadow of myself; how I lived my values sadly didn't match how I thought about my values.
So when I used to sit at my desk in my London supervisor's office I had been - there is no other word for it - a meekling. Daily, I would listen to quips dripping with sexism. I obediently giggled in acceptance of my nickname Andy, given because I was judged good enough to be on par with males, and should assume a male persona accordingly.
By being a Kiwi, I was a fish out of water. Everyone knew it and accepted me for it. In fact, this gave me a hall pass for not being an Oxbridge grad. I should've flashed this hall pass when faced with blatant degradation of women. Take a stand and say, actually that isn't ok in my country - why is it considered ok in yours?
But a meekling doesn't have the guts to call out sexism. I didn't have the guts to stand up for myself, for my colleagues trapped under the glass ceiling, for women in general.
This admission is bad enough, but what makes me incredibly sad is that even if I went back to that moment as my fuller self, I couldn't make that statement anyway.
The discrimination of women is ok in my country.
Oh, we gave women the vote before any other country in the world? I think that's great, honestly I do. But I'm not convinced it's of much comfort to the woman at the centre of the Chiefs scandal. And it doesn't make me feel much better about the fact that TVNZ is willing to foster deliberate degradation of women on national television.
We are not calling this issue out. And I am not just talking about our rugby players or our politicians. I'm talking about you and me. That banter the boys share and the girls shrug aside? It's perpetuating.
I am encouraged to see our men, traditionally of the 'she'll be right' mentality, calling out the stigma of depression. I hope to see the same guys calling out the banter that comes at the expense of women. Because I'm yet to come across a valid excuse for it.
So what have I learnt from my trip back to the UK? I am no longer a meekling. I am a feminist. And I'll call someone out if I need to. Will you?