Friday, January 21, 2011

I just found my statement of purpose for grad school...

Just when I start to like France it decides to let me know that it hates me right back.  Actually, this isn't France's fault, so much as the people I work for.

A few days ago, the Boy was doing geometry and told me that women don't need to learn geometry because all they do is cook, clean, and go shopping.  I told him he's had some piss-poor role models if that's what he thinks, but brushed it off because it really is a fairly accurate reflection of the women in his life.

Last night at dinner Christine mentioned to Frank and the Boy that she wants to get a job and work, which, considering my general opinions of stay-at-home moms and the quality of the children they produce, seems like a great idea to me.  According to Frank and her son, it's "ridiculous."  I told her that her son could probably use some working female role models and told her and Frank his comment out geometry.  Not only did Frank find this hilarious, but he then proceeded to tell "jokes" (in quotations because they weren't really funny, not because they are sexist - even I can appreciate a good offensive joke occasionally - but because French people just aren't that funny to me) about how women belong in the kitchen washing dishes, etc. etc.  I'm sorry, the 1950s want their jokes back.

I should put this on refrigerator and see their reaction...
I'm starting to wonder if this is the general attitude in France as a whole.  Several days ago, while researching the possibility of getting another job in Paris and being able to quit mine while still staying here, I stumbled upon an article about French women in the workplace.  The gist of it: women aren't taken that seriously.  French women apparently will give up their careers no questions asked to raise their families.  Sounds great, but all that means is that male employers are hesitant to hire women because their work will almost definitely be affected if and when they have children.  Women working is seen as "incidental and not necessary," while it is the exact opposite for men.

Examining the subject further, I found an article about Nicolas Sarkozy's political opponent during the 2007 presidential campaign, Segolene Royal.  Although her resume appears to mirror Sarkozy's, she was generally said to be less experienced, was constantly critiqued for her clothing and appearance, and even referred to as a "bitch," initially by those in her own party during primaries, and later by the conservative opposition.  As much as I'd like to sit here aghast at how French female politicians are held to a different standard than their male counterparts, it sounds eerily similar to a certain Democratic primary election only a few years back...

Maybe I'm just lucky to have had women in my life who early on showed me the benefits of being an independent, self-reliant person (thanks, Mom, for having a brain and some ambition).  And maybe I've just overlooked this kind of thing in my own life for years, and am only noticing it here because I'm looking for reasons to dislike these people.  However, whenever jokes or comments like the ones at dinner were made in America, I was always around people who I knew were joking, and now I'm not really so sure that's the case.

I never liked the idea of being labeled a feminist, because there are so many negative connotations that go along with the word (similar to, for instance, "liberal" or "frat boy" or "Sarah Palin").  But, similar to how I have recently found myself wanting to smack Republicans in the face every time they open their obnoxious mouths (though that would be admittedly difficult to do from another continent, and quite possibly illegal), I think it may be time to recognize a trend.

On the bright side, regardless of how I choose to identify, I am suddenly extremely motivated to get my masters and make more money than any guy I've ever dated.  I think I might even get a personal statement out of this.


Day 21
EDIT: Oh, and here's my day 21 photo, the Arc de tTiomphe, stop 6 on the Axe Historique. 2 metro stops down the road from me. The circle is called Place de Charles de Gaulle, or also known as Place de l'Etoile, it is known throughout Europe for it's crazy round-about that serves as an intersection of 12 roads and to which the normal rules of driving do not apply. I've even been told that rental car insurance won't cover you if you get in an accident here, which seems extremely likely but surprisingly almost never seems to happen.  I guess they are better drivers than they let on.

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