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There are so many times women, no matter what type of shoes they are wearing, have to go toe to toe with a world ruled and ran by men. My experience today is one small example that compounds on the many others each day to frustrate even the strongest feminist heart.
This afternoon I was waiting for a flight back to DC in the American Airlines
Admirals Club and decided to enjoy an alcoholic beverage. However, the (female)
bartender informed me that she did not have the ingredients for the amaretto sour I
had ordered. No problem, nothing unusual there, I would just order something else.
“What can you make that’s fruity,” I asked. “Nothing really,” was her response, “just
the hard stuff.” Did she have a Bacardi O or a Smirnoff Ice? Nope, and she pointed
me to the long line of beer bottles from which I could make a choice. I told her I’m
not a beer drinker and must have looked quite confused since I’ve never had such a
difficult time ordering a drink. She had an idea; she could make me a martini. Great!
I told her an apple martini would be fantastic. Oh, but she didn’t have the
ingredients to make an apple martini, just the regular one. Hmmm.
That’s when I got it – this bar was stocked for men. The hard liquor, the beer
selection, and the lack of a feminine selection of drinks made it abundantly clear
that American Airlines felt only men should be gracing their privileged club. Of
course that makes sense, since only men could possibly be successful enough to
afford the pricey club fees, right?
Beaded Sandals and Laptop Computers
So I took a quick glance around to see how many other women were in the club.
There were quite a few. There was a mom with her kids. A few businesswomen were
pounding away at their computers and headphones connecting them to their cell
After this lengthy ordeal with the bartender, I settled for a coke, sauntered off to
rejoin my carry-ons, and opened my computer up to type this piece. Behind my
leather armchair sits a businesswoman eating a quick lunch. To my right is another
businesswoman with her high tech gadgets strung across a table while she works
from the airport between flights. She is dressed a bit more “butch” than the rest of
the women here, a step many women had to take just to make it in the business
I refuse to conform though. I’m wearing my favorite beaded sandals, my turquoise
bracelet is dangling from my wrist just below my manicured hand and my hair is
long and flowing – not pulled back in a bun or business do. I look professional, but I
don’t look manly.
The Best Man for the Job Can Be a Woman
Whether in business, politics or society at large, women are more than capable of
integrating with feminine grace into areas previously restricted to men only. I know
it’s a dog eat dog world out there, but women have been putting up with those
same kind of dogs for a long time inside the house – so we have no problem dealing
with them outside of the house as well.
Women do not want, nor do we need, to be protected from the mean world. It
infuriates me to hear patronizing excuses from men for hiring a woman to do a job
they cannot do themselves instead of just resigning to the fact that they hired the
best man for the job and she is a woman.
No Backing Down
I will continue to frequent American Airlines Admirals Club and other such places
just to let the boys club know it’s time to take the “Girls Not Allowed” sign off the
door. It’s also time to get some feminine drinks in the bar. This is not a man’s world
anymore; it is a human world now. Women are not invading their space – we are
simply occupying space that rightfully belonged to us all along.
In a few minutes I’ll board my plane and sit in first class, where I can at least get an
amaretto and Sprite. It seems women are expected to travel first class, but not as
businesswomen. During my flight, I will start an article I was hired to write for a
businessman who has good ideas but doesn’t have a strong writing ability. How
ironic that I am not expected to function in the business world, yet the business
world needs me (and women like me) in order to function.
I refuse to back down one inch on my assertion that equality for women should flow
into every aspect of life. However, I also refuse to relinquish even one of my
feminine traits in my quest for equality. Inequality is the first injustice imposed on
women and the expectation to masculine conformity is the second injustice.
The small things like my experience today will change one by one as more and more
women take their rightful place in the world. Until then, I will politely request that
American Airlines start stocking their bars to accommodate the tastes of both men
and women. After all, a woman needs a good stiff (fruity) drink sometimes too.
write by Jena