What This Woman Wants is a Non-Gender Biased Expo!

So there’s been a lot of talk around the office this week about two of Bangor’s recent events. The Man Expo and the What Women Want Expo have generated much conversation. I went to neither, mostly because the very idea of them pisses me off, and I generally do not attend events that piss me off before I’ve even gone. Guess what folks; there are women who like craft beer and smoked meats and men who love white wine and brie! No, really!

Oh don’t get me wrong, I’m sure they were both lovely events and I support the businesses and sponsors that put them on. It’s just not my thing. I am fed up to my eyeballs lately with continuing rampant gender inequality. I am just literally blown away by it, and by the ignorance that still surrounds it. I guess I just expected more from my fellow humans, here in 2013, but like bipartisan politics and world peace, it’s always a good idea in theory, but in reality it often appears an unreachable goal.

I can tell you without any uncertainty that were I to attend an event that seems to think my wants center around plastic surgery, weight loss, jewelry and having my nails done I would end up becoming violent at some point, in a very non-lady like way!

Don’t get me wrong, jewelry and make up are fun sometimes, I just want to know what kind of response folks are getting at these events when someone outside the assigned gender role expresses an interest in having their nails done? Yes, there are days when I want to talk hair products but there are more days when I want to talk politics, or debate religion, or discuss art! And what I want often changes from day to day, so don’t trying pinning me in! As soon as you say I “should” want it because I’m a woman, then it is the last thing I want! Cause I’m that way sometimes.

And by the way, if you think calling me a raging feminist is going to be an insult, don’t bother because the belief that males, females, and everyone in between, all deserve equal rights is a label I am proud to have!

So I thought I’d share what I want today, and what I bet lots of my fellow humans, of all genders want, and not because we have certain parts in our pants either, but just because we want this stuff! So here goes:

  1. I want us to stop putting our little girls in pink and our little boys in blue, and then forcing them into activities that support those roles. I want us to let our children just be who they are, and love them all the more for it!
  2. I want us to stop shaming the children who don’t fit into those gender roles. I want every little boy to be able to have a doll if he wants one, not just because we think he might be gay and want to support that, but because gay or straight he might be a daddy someday and let’s let him practice his nurturing skills so he can be a good one.
  3. I want a little girl to play with a truck, or climb a tree and to never, ever again be called a “Tom Boy” as if it’s some oddity or something cute we need to pat her on the head and smile over. Neither trees nor trucks have any gender preferences about who enjoys them.
  4. I want every single woman I know, who has the same or better qualifications, to make the same money as every single man who is doing the exact same job. No really, I know we think we’ve gotten there, but we haven’t! Ask around.
  5. I want every single girl in a “non-traditional” major in college to feel like she belongs and to have the strength and the self-confidence to see it through. Guys you could help with this. Ask those girls in your Calculus or Physics classes about their experiences. You may be surprised.
  6. I want every single male in a “non-traditional” major in college to feel like he belongs and to not have to take shit from his fellow male students about his choice to become a nurse, or a hair stylist, or whatever else his dreams may be!
  7. I want bathrooms in public that aren’t labeled “men” and “women” so that my transgendered friends don’t have to stand outside them and feel uncomfortable and awkward about their choices. Really, it’s a toilet and sink, just like we use at home, what is the big stinking deal who goes in which one! I support this dream of mine by constantly using the men’s room whenever the ladies room is full, no matter where I am! I enjoy the looks I get from people when doing this!
  8. I want the Man Expo to include info for my drag queen friends. Where do you find a classic black pump in a size 12 and what are the secrets to good chest hair removal? You have that stuff and I will be there next year!
  9. I want a Women’s Expos that includes an informational table from the College of Engineering!
  10. How about a table at the men’s expo that discusses birth control options, reproductive rights and single parenting for men? Yeah, I know, now I am just being silly.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying we shouldn’t have events like this that showcase local businesses and local services. I love any event that brings the community together. What I’m saying is that Bangor has come a long way to become a city that promotes gender equality; one that is welcoming and safe for everyone. Why not showcase that in an expo that really shows who we are now, not something that has us stuck in the past. Let’s combine the two expos and call it “What Mainers Want!”

Let’s let our children see us exploring and learning about the businesses and services in our community together, with no preconceived notions about what is expected of any of us based on the bodies were born in. I want a place where that little girl who wants so badly to be allowed to go to hunting camp with her dad and her brothers and that little boy who dreams of the purple sparkle nail polish that his mom has, can both feel comfortable and safe enough to explore their passions! Now that is an expo I could get behind!

 

Karen Foley

About Karen Foley

Karen Foley, has successfully been writing her blog for the BDN since May 2011. By successful, she means a few people read it, and she has not been sued, stalked or fired since starting it.